When car dealerships close their doors, there is generally a protocol where the management does all they can to sell off inventory at rock bottom prices. At the very least, a dealer will usually at least try and sell whatever cars are left on the lot to a competitor. But
Now, a Midwest auction house ran by Yvette VanDerBrink is taking on the liquidation of almost 500 vehicles – mostly Chevy’s – that have been sitting in storage for decades. Many of these cars are classics that were thought to be impossible to find in mint condition from a rebuild, let alone fresh from the factory. In some cases, the cars still even have the wrapping on the seats, and a good portion of the cars only have mileage in the single digits. Most of the cars still have oil in the the crankcases that was poured by workers in the Chevy factory and stickers from the manufacturer in the side window.
Here is a look at a few of the highlights from the collection and what makes them so valuable when found in such impeccable condition.
The Apache was the name for Chevy’s 30-series, or light-duty, line of trucks, and the 1958 model is among the rarest to ever hit the market. Introduced in 1955, the Cameo was essentially the Cadillac of pickups, as they were not only the highest quality models on the market but they also cost more than most of the competition. As a result, sales were hardly spectacular, and Chevrolet struggled to sell the roughly 1,500 units they built that year.
However, the Cameo Apache was a styling milestone when it came to pickup trucks. Instead of being strictly utility vehicles, these were essentially precursors to the modern day Escalade ESV or Lincoln Fleetwood in that they were styled to turn heads. While this model was more than well equipped to handle all the duties of a standard pickup, it had chrome accents – a first for cars of this era – and smooth curves that were reminiscent of the sleekest cars on the market. In 1958, Chevy even put a full-width rear bodywork, bumpers, a busy grill, trendy (for the time) quad headlamps and a wide array of color options – in total, consumers had a choice of 15 different solid shades from the factory.
The pale blue cameo going up for auction from the Lambrecht liquidation has the floor mats that were never installed by the dealer still rolled up behind the seats and only 1.3 miles on the odometer. Considering replacement parts for the 1958 Cameo are extremely rare to come by and this thing has barely even been driven in more than half a century, you can expect there to be some fierce competition when this hits the block.
While less popular than the Bel Air series of coupes, this precursor to the Biscayne and other full-sized sedans from Chevrolet is still a pretty rare find. The car got its name from the production code of the vehicle – 2100 – minus a digit to go with the popular numerical name trend that was all the rage at the time. This car, in sedan and wagon form, was a fixture of the Chevrolet lineup between 1953 and 1957. At the Lambrecht auction, there is a low-mileage Two-Ten that, except for a little bit of dust, is in pristine running condition, and since this is the last model year, it is among the most valuable Two-Tens on the road.
The Chevrolet Corvair is a model that gets a bad rep despite being a distinctly exciting example of a fun car that combined great performance with stunning good looks. However, design flaws that caused fatal fires in a good portion of the Corvairs that eventually hit the market have tarnished the reputation of this once popular line of cars. The final nail in the coffin was Ralph Nader’s book “Unsafe at Any Speed,” which called out all three of Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers, but none moreso than General Motors.
The Corvair, which was introduced in 1959, came in coupe, sedan, wagon and even convertible form, making it one of the most versatile nameplates in the brand’s stable. However, it was the powerful Monza coupe that really made this car a legend among speed demons and hot rod enthusiasts alike. With sporty good looks, a lightweight body and a powerful engine, this thing could move and looked good doing it.
This was the only mass-produced model in the United States to feature a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine – which proved to be what would actually do the Corvair in. While Americans initially embraced this unconventional design, a lack of cooling made the engine prone to overheating, and while a mid-engine Italian sports car or even a rear-engine Volkswagen Beetle worked out just fine, a rear-end collision with one of these cars could prove to be explosive.
There are many fans of the Corvair around today, and, like the Edsel, which is today a major collectors item precisely because of its bad reputation, any press has proven to be good press, and collectors pine for these models. Luckily, there are a bevy of coupes in the Lambrecht warehouse that will go on sale after sitting dormant for the past 50-plus years. Some models, like one “Turbo Air” Monza with a four-speed manual transmission and a 145 hp engine, have less than 20 miles on the odometer.
The Impala badge has been attached to some amazing cars and quite a few not-so-great models over the years, but it has endured as one of the proudest nameplates in the industry, and that’s thanks to model years like 1964. The Impala simply never looked better – with the exception of the current incarnation, which is everything you’d want in a sedan – than it did in the early ’60s. Not only was this car a killer when it came to appearance, it was also one of the most impressively performing economy cars ever built.
At the Lambrecht auction, there’s going to be a 1964 Impala Sports Coupe on sale with a 327 engine under the hood, a three-speed transmission and only 4.4 miles on it. This car is so factory fresh the wheel hubs haven’t even been put on yet and are sitting in the trunk.
Will you be bidding on one of these mint condition classics at the upcoming Lambrecht auction this September 28? If so, there is sure to be a lot of competition for many of the rarer models going on sale. Which car would you buy if you could? Leave your thoughts below:
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