Photo Credit: Hemmings
The debate had ranged for months.
To wash or not?
For Nebraska farmer John Kaldahl, it was an easy decision.
“Well, it was all dirty,” he said. “It hadn’t been cleaned up or anything.”
The “it” he was referring to is a very special 1978 Corvette Indy Pace Car, one of the prize cars in the unusual collection of small-town Chevy dealer Ray Lambrecht in Pierce, Neb., that was auctioned off recently, drawing thousands of curious collectors and car enthusiasts from across the country.
Amazingly, the Corvette had just four miles on the odometer and was one of the 500 cars and trucks Lambrecht accumulated during the 50 years he ran the dealership, many of which had never been titled.
Just as amazing, Kaldahl bought the car sight unseen, skipping the preview the day before the auction and doing his bidding online because he had a more important wedding to attend the day of the auction.
“I saw it advertised, and I knew it would be a one-of-a-kind thing,” he said. “We just sort of bought it for fun.”
That “fun” apparently was worth the $80,000 that Kaldahl ended up bidding to win the Corvette.
Apparently not everyone feels the way Kaldahl does about getting rid of decades of dirt. For instance, a collector from New Hampshire shelled out $140,000 for a 1958 pickup and plans to keep the truck just like it is – including the dirt – in a climate-controlled showroom.
Of course, 35 years of dirt isn’t as easy as just washing it off with a waterhose. After trying for an hour to get the oily grime off his new Pace Car (which was one of the lucky cars to be stored indoors all those years), Kaldahl says he plans to have the car buffed out.
But while he may have removed the famous “Lambrecht dirt,” Kaldahl doesn’t have any plans to start driving the car soon.
“I haven’t taken the plastic off the seats yet,” he quipped.