It was 1958 and Elvis Presley, the king of rock 'n' roll, was an Army private.
Explorer 1, the first successful American satellite, was launched into orbit.
And at a Chevrolet manufacturing plant somewhere in the United States, a Cameo pickup truck rolled off an assembly line and ended up at small-town dealership in northeast Nebraska.
No one test drove the turquoise pickup with a black roof. No one bought it. Today, plastic still covers the bench seat. The floor mat is rolled up behind the seat. Its odometer is unchanged, at 1.3 miles.
Later this week the pickup will be the first of about 500 vehicles sold at a two-day public auction in Pierce, Neb., that has generated enough international buzz to jump-start retro crew cuts as a hairstyle trend.
The 55-year-old Cameo is one of at least 30 vintage Chevys from the 1950s and '60s that will be sold as new cars because they have never been titled and still carry the manufacturer's statement of origin.
The vehicles are leftovers from Ray and Mildred Lambrecht's Chevrolet dealership in Pierce. When the Lambrechts, now in their 90s, retired nearly two decades ago, hundreds of unsold new and used vehicles were left behind. Now they will be sold.
Auctioneer Yvette VanDerBrink of Hardwick, Minn., said that to say the collection and the international interest is quite unusual would be an understatement.
“It was Ray's business model not to sell trade-ins and to keep his inventory,'' she said. “That's what makes this so unique. Where else can you go and buy a 1965 Chevrolet Impala new in 2013? It's amazing.''
The auction will be conducted in an 80-acre oat field adjacent to the Pierce golf course. No one knows how many people will turn out in the community of 1,755 residents. Estimates range from several thousand to 20,000. Pierce is 15 miles north of Norfolk, a city 110 miles northwest of Omaha.
Norfolk's 650 motel rooms have been sold out for months. “No vacancy” signs are lighted in the regional communities of Columbus, Madison, Wayne, West Point and Wisner in Nebraska and in Yankton, S.D.
The Lambrecht vehicles are in all conditions from nice to not so nice. Most have been outside over the years. Many will be valuable for parts and as restoration projects, VanDerBrink said.
Saturday's sale will start with Chevrolet advertising materials, parts and books before launching into many of the “new'' cars, such as the '58 Cameo. Sunday's lineup will include more parts, tools and project and parts cars. All inventory will be sold.
The collection will be available for viewing Friday, with certain rules.
“No sitting in vehicles, no slamming hoods, doors,'' VanDerBrink said. “It's OK to look under, in and around.''
VanDerBrink purposely selected the ultra-low-mileage six-cylinder Cameo with original tires and belts as the first vehicle to sell.
“Then the losing bidders will still have money to buy something else.''
Where: Pierce, Neb.
When: 9:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Gates open by 7 a.m. Open to public. Free admission.
Preview: 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday
Parking: 13 sites around town; shuttle stops at five locations
Online bidding and viewing: proxibid.com
For more information: vanderbrinkauctions.com