Growing up as the son of a mechanic, Mark Brenner was always surrounded by cars.
His love of automobiles grew as he got older, and Brenner’s success in the rental management business has given him the chance to purchase 16 classic cars. Brenner carried his passion with him when he attended the Lambrecht Auto Auction in Pierce, Neb., last month. He left the auction without his dream car but with many memories of the weekend.
“For days after I got back, all I could talk about was the auction,” Brenner said.
The crowd packed the auction area, to the point that Brenner said it was hard to move through the hoards to get to the auctioneer’s block and place his bid.
He met a group that had flown from Brazil and an 86-year-old man who had driven from Washington just to attend the auction.
“It was like kids in a candy store,” Brenner said. “There were people there with their families, and dads telling their kids, ‘I had a car like this.’”
Brenner was there to bid on a 1963 Chevy Corvair with 17 miles on it. Some of the cars at the auction had as few as one or two miles.
Brenner had taken his son, Bradlee, to the auction and the two of them went from car to car, checking the mileage.
“It was amusing to see how few miles some of them had on them,” Brenner said.
His collection began when he was only 16. Brenner still owns his first car, a 1967 Camero that he bought for $35 and took two years to restore. He bought his second car at 18 and still owns that one, as well.
Over the years, he’s collected not only Corvairs and Cameros but also Cadillacs and Corvettes.
As his children get older, he has their names put on personalized license plates for one of his cars.
“We’ve acquired some since we’ve been married, but for every new acquisition there’s a memory associated with it,” said Brenner’s wife, Jenni.
For example, one of their Corvettes was damaged in an accident and the insurance company was going to total the car.
Jenni, however, said she wanted to keep the car because the couple had ridden in it on their first date.
The cars occasionally need repairs or restoration, but Brenner doesn’t just keep them in a garage.
He and Jenni take drives for the occasional date night. He also lends cars to friends and family for newlyweds to drive away from weddings.
In fact, the Brenners attended a family wedding at a lake in Iowa with their 1959 Corvette, and Brenner said the car garnered quite a bit of attention.
“I think every couple took a drive around the lake,” he said.