PIERCE, Neb. | Rumor had it that celebrities including the likes of Jay Leno and John Travolta might be browsing among the old cars and trucks at this weekend's Lambrecht Auto Auction.
Well, rumors proved to be just that, as far as Dana Kaufman knows. What Kaufman, communications director for Proxibid, Inc., the company overseeing the auction's online bids, could say for certain Sunday was that the 505 Chevrolet vehicles for sale on grass lots in a tiny Nebraska town captivated a worldwide audience.
An estimated 15,000 car enthusiasts showed up Saturday and thousands more were searching for their dream car online.
As of midafternoon Sunday, an estimated 4,000 online bidders had comprised about 27 percent of all sales for the auction, Kaufman said.
Among those vying for vintage vehicles from their computer screens were two buyers from Tokyo, Kaufman said. And many more virtual auctiongoers tuned in online, not to buy but simply to catch the excitement of watching the cars being sold.
The online auction catalog had drawn nearly 5 million page views as of Sunday afternoon, Kaufman said.
"Traffic has been really strong this weekend," she said.
Bidders registered from all 50 states for the auction that seemed to gain overnight fame in the town of 1,700 just outside Norfolk. The decades-old vehicles were mostly from the 1930s through 1970s, collected by former dealership owner Ray Lambrecht.
The auction's prized feature proved to be a rare 1958 Chevrolet Apache Cameo pickup. Selling for $140,000 on Saturday to a New Hampshire buyer, the truck is a rarity because Chevrolet stopped making them when farmers complained about the vehicle's fiberglass siding, Kaufman said. Not to mention, this one had slightly more than one mile showing on the odometer.
As of Sunday afternoon, the second-highest price paid was $97,500 for a 1963 Impala, bought by an online bidder.
Of the 505 vehicles for sale on Lambrecht's 80 acres, about 200 had yet to be sold by late afternoon, Kaufman said, but she expected every vehicle to go home with a new owner.