Saturday, October 12, 2013

About 2 months ago, I happened on an interesting news story at the end of the nightly news.  It was about a car auction in Nebraska.  A small town.  A field full of old cars.  I hadn't heard the beginning of the story so I went on a google hunt that weekend.  I knew that the auction was to be in Pierce, NE.  So, a-googling I went.  What I found was thrilling!

We have always wanted an old car.  In particular, a pre-war Willy, but those are extremely hard to come by, so we had set our sights on a 1955 Chevy.  The auction site was still in the beginning stages of getting the inventory online, but we soon discovered that there were several '55's to be had.  Most of these cars had sat in the field and trees for over 50 years, but they claimed they were in decent condition.  It was worth a shot!

Hubby spent several weeks pouring over the online auction portion, watching as the bids crept up a little.  There were about 500 cars, mostly Chevy's, it was really amazing!  We decided that we were definitely going to make the 4 1/2 hour trip and go see what we could see.  Best buddy and her hubby went with us.

What a weekend we were in for!

We knew it was going to be big, but the sea of humanity was incredible!  We couldn't even get near the auctioneer's trailer, let alone see any of the vehicles when we got there.

It was a pretty cool morning with quite blustery winds, but that did not deter the over 10,000 people who came that first day.  A and I decided to plunk down in the center of things and let the guys go digging through the people.  It was a people watching extravaganza, which always makes me happy, so we chatted with folks and watched as the auctioneer's trailer inched closer, along with the massive crowd.  They had already sold off the most expensive cars.  There were several that had never been titled before and had been stored in buildings.  A couple were extremely rare.  Several still had the plastic on the seats!!  A Chevy Cameo pickup sold for $140,000!  Several others were in the $90,000 range and on down the scale.  We were in no way in the market for those cars, but it was fascinating to watch it happening!

Most of the cars that hubby wanted to bid on were going to be on Sunday, we weren't really holding out hope for one of the ones on Saturday, so A and I weren't really paying to much attention.  I would usually hear what was up and then hear the "Sold!" from the auctioneer, but we were enjoying watching the crowd and meeting people.

Late in the morning, I heard them get to some 1957 Chevy's.  I listened with one ear, but since I no idea where hubby was in the crowd, I doubted I needed to be paying attention.  Then...I heard them mention a '55.  My ears perked up a little.  I knew there was one on Saturday he was particularly interested in, but he didn't think he'd be able to get.  I could sort of hear the bidding going on, but it was a little ways down the row from where we were, so it wasn't always clear.  However, clear as a bell, I heard, "Sold for $3000 to bidder number 3890!"  The auctioneer was on to the next car, but my heart was suddenly beating out of my chest.  $3000 was what he wanted to pay and I knew that our bidder number started with 38, but was unsure of the rest.  We grabbed our chairs and took off searching for them.  The crowd was so thick, we couldn't see a thing.  Finally, we went back to our central location to let them find us.

A short time later, they came walking towards our spot. A grin on hubby's face.  He had done it!  He had gotten the car!

We know that it was a blessing from God!  All the other cars in that row went for significantly higher amounts and many were not in as good of shape as ours!  What a gift!  

Proud new owners!

To the untrained eye, it looks like a bucket of rust, however, to the trained eye, it's a dream machine!  For sitting outside since 1961, it is in phenomenal shape.  The chrome is perfect, no pitting.  There is no rust on the fenders (through the metal) which is amazing, I'm told.  We plan to take it back to it's original turquoise and cream beauty, but with a bigger motor and wider back tires!

The rest of the day was spent just enjoying people watching for us girls and car heaven for the boys!  We came back on Sunday just in case we could get another bargain, but people were choosing to spend way more than we were willing to.  Here are a few more highlights from the weekend.

The original dealership

Cars, cars, and more cars!

A 1939 we were interested in, but it ultimately sold for $6000!  Way out of our price range!

Really cool trim inside the '39.

The auctioneer.

It really was one of the most enjoyable weekends I've ever had (apart from family events).  To be able to just sit back and people-watch.  To wonder about the previous owners of all those cars.  What stories could those cars tell?  Some were used by state and federal agencies.  Others were first cars.  Cars they went on their first date with their future wives in.  In fact, one fellow actually bought back the car he had traded in many, many years before!  Another fellow had looked at the car he bought on the show room floor many years ago!  It was a step back in time.  A time when technology didn't rule.  A time when a cruise on a summer's evening meant something.  The open windows, the open road.  Things moved so much slower.  

Maybe we can recreate a bit of that as we restore our '55 beauty!    

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