By Michael Avok
PIERCE, Nebr. | Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:30pm EDT
PIERCE, Nebr. (Reuters) - America's love affair with the automobile was on full display Saturday as thousands of people converged on a muddy field in rural Nebraska for the auction of one of the nation's largest collections of vintage Chevrolets.
Antique car buyers mingled with history buffs and ordinary folks who just wanted to show their kids the cars of days gone by at the weekend sale of some 500 vehicles owned by the late Ray Lambrecht, who was the local Chevrolet dealer for 50 years.
Until his retirement in 1996, Lambrecht stored any unsold new vehicles in a shed, outbuildings, and behind a grove of trees outside of town.
Locals knew about all the cars and pickup trucks, but people in auto circles and history buffs did not - until the family decided to put them up for auction earlier this year.
"From the road, you would have never guessed that all of this was here," said family member Cassie Wondersee of Dwight, Kansas, as she stood in the mud with her Mastiff dog.
More than 430 "new" cars and pickup trucks were pulled out from among the trees. Another 50, in better shape, were moved out of the sheds.
Among those up for auction were a 1958 Cameo Pickup with the odometer showing it had traveled only one mile, a 1964 Chevrolet Impala with four miles, and a red 1963 Impala with 11 miles.
People peered into and poked around the engines, doors and interiors of row after row of cars and trucks.