Nightly News   |  August 15, 2013

One for the road: Hundreds of classic cars for sale

It’s a car collector’s dream. An auctioneer is putting up hundreds of classic cars for sale in a small Nebraska town. Learn how one car dealer managed to store so many autos from the 1950s. NBC’s Harry Smith reports.

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>>> finally tonight, they are pieces of the past. from a time when american cars ruled the road, and for those who worship those cars and that era, the discovery of a lifetime. hundreds of vintage models have been uncovered and will soon be sold. we sent nbc's harry smith to pierce, nebraska , for a trip down memory lane .

>> reporter: they are lined up in a remote nebraska farmfield like a crop someone forgot to harvest. old cars and old pickup trucks, hundreds of them, many used, really used, but some never, ever driven.

>> i have seen grown men cry in places like this. oh, yes.

>> reporter: yvette branderbrink is an auctioneer who grew up at race being tracks and car sheds. she has rust in her blood, she said. to anyone driving by, this probably looks like a highly organized junkyard. it is anything but. it is proof of an urban legend about a small town car dealer who closed his doors leaving years and years of unsold inventory. and if you're a car collector, this is a field of dreams . the dealer's name is ray lambricht. when he came back from world war ii , he and his wife mildred went into the car business. he was a born salesman but a conventional businessman he was not.

>> after somebody bought a new vehicle, he would take the trade-in and drive it out to the farm or put it in a building and you couldn't buy it. you had to buy a new car. so he was a master at selling new chevrolets.

>> reporter: people traveled from all over to buy a new chevy from ray. he sold a lot of cars. but after 50 years, the lamb ricketts were ready to retire and what they've left behind will blow the minds of car collectors.

>> it's alike being inside a time capsule .

>> yes, it is, and it still has the delivery numbers on the window.

>> wow. ray and mildred now in their 90s, their health frail, thought it was time for their last closeout ale. yvette will auction off all the cars as-is the last weekend in september. so they will come by the thousands next month to see for themselves the legend was true. there is a holy grail , and it looks like an old chevy. harry smith nbc news, pierce, nebraska .