Sometimes, you can go back
By Jim Volgarino
The year was 1964, and Rich Kallander’s older brother was graduating from high school. He needed a car.
In tiny Burke, S.D., where the brothers grew up, there were no new car dealers, or at least none with gleaming new cars, freshly polished and sitting on carefully swept lots where young men could gawk and fawn over them.
“We had a dealer,” explained Kallander, “but he didn’t keep an inventory and could order pretty much anything. But that wasn’t enough for my brother.”
So the dealer and Rich’s older brother hopped in a car and went on a journey to find a car that would suit the taste of an 18-year-old South Dakota kid. Since the dealer had a bona fide license, they figured they’d get the best deal once they landed on the right spot.
Burke is just 15 miles north of the Nebraska border, so the pair headed that direction, stopping in small towns and looking over the new iron that was displayed on the tiny dealer lots they came upon. But this was rural Nebraska, so the pair was having trouble finding suitable wheels that an 18-year-old was willing to take home, until they arrived in Pierce, Neb., home of Lambrecht Chevrolet Co.
Ray Lambrecht indeed had a stock of new 1964 Chevrolets on hand, and there just happened to be a Daytona Blue Impala Super Sport parked on the lot. It was love at first sight. The young high school graduate made the deal with Lambrecht (one price, one chance), paid $3,400, and headed home with a beauty.
“It was a 327, four on the floor, as we called it,” said Kallander of his brother’s find. “I fell in love with it immediately.”
Kallander said his brother was, of course, proud of his purchase, but had some curious stories about the dealer in Pierce. “He had all these old ‘new’ cars,” he remembers his brother describing, including a Daytona Blue 1963 “twin” his brother asked about, but Ray Lambrecht refused to sell. Guess where that car is today?
Kallander always loved his brother’s ’64 Impala SS and when the time came for his new car, his father asked him what he wanted. “I want the Impala,” he said, much to his father’s surprise. “So my older brother got another new car, this time a Dodge Charger.” Kallander said his father was mystified and for years after felt his son had not gotten much of a deal.
Kallander drove his brother’s former Impala SS into the early ’70s and used it to head out to California where he blew up the engine, placing himself in the position of needing new transportation. “I really couldn’t justify fixing the car,” he said. Being in California, where the low rider culture almost worshipped the 1964 Impala, it was just a natural decision. The beloved Super Sport left him.
In August of this year, Kallander found himself standing outside the Lambrecht Chevrolet dealership, where his brother had been almost 50 years earlier. Instead of new Chevrolets, Kallander saw a swarm of media personnel interviewing Yvette VanDerBrink, who will be auctioning off all those old “new” cars Ray Lambrecht has been hiding off-site all these years.
“My wife and I were in Omaha visiting our daughter and son-in-law,” he explained, “and I knew the dealership was not too far off our path back home to Keystone (South Dakota),” where Kallander now calls home.
“I figured I’d swing by and see if I could see anything after hearing about the auction, but I understand why they aren’t allowing any previews,” he said while standing near the media group there to view the collection of vintage iron. “It was worth trying, anyway.”
So will Rich Kallander be among the hordes of bidders who are expected to show up for this historic sale? “Oh, you bet, in some form,” he said. “I’ll either come down to be in person or try the Proxibid route. But I’ll be here somehow.”
Will he try for the “new” ’64 Impala with the 327 and three speed on the column? “Not sure,” he says. “I’m kind of curious about that leftover ’63 that is the twin to my brother’s car. That might be the one.”