Sid Harchelroad was known across the region for his passion for Corvettes.
Harchelroad name, Corvettes synonymous
Mention the name Sid Harchelroad, and many people think of Corvettes. Mention Corvettes, and people think of Sid Harchelroad. The two were synonymous.
Over the past 15 years, Sid Harchelroad and the family’s Chevy dealership created a niche market as the go-to Corvette dealer in the Midwest and even around the country.
Now, his son, Dillon, and brother, Brian, will be responsible for carrying on that legacy.
The Imperial, Nebraska, and Wauneta, Nebraska, communities and Harchelroad’s customers have been rocked by his death at Enders Lake Jan. 30 at the age of 57.
Harchelroad’s legacy with the Corvette brand started with an idea while sitting on Enders Lake. Dillon recalled the time he and his dad were sitting in a boat on Enders Lake. Sid looked across the lake with all the boats and jet skis and declared that people will pay for things to have fun.
That’s when Sid had the revelation that people wanting to have fun would buy a Corvette to do it. So Sid decided Harchelroads needed to sell more Corvettes.
From there on, Harchelroad’s legacy as one of the premier Corvette dealers began to grow.
Harchelroad wasn’t satisfied with just selling off-the-line Corvettes. He wanted to become a dealer for Callaway Cars, as well. The company became famous for their twin turbo-charged engine retrofits on Corvette models. The modifications significantly increased horsepower and speed of the vehicle.
Sid had to hound the company, who was skeptical of granting a dealership out in the middle of nowhere.
After selling the first three Callaway Corvettes he ordered, Harchelroad had proven to Callaway that he could market their cars. In his first year as a Callaway dealer, he was their top dealer for Corvettes.
Today, Harchelroad’s remains one of Callaway’s top three dealers in the country, with the company adding retrofitting of Chevy pickups and Camaros. Harchelroad’s has sold Corvettes to customers throughout North America and into Europe and Australia, as well.
The Harchelroads have been big supporters of the Chase County Fair in Imperial. Their Chase County Corvette Classic has been a staple during the fair. This year’s annual show marked the 14th year the event has been held.
For those who knew Harchelroad, they knew he loved speed. That’s why he built a Corvette racing car that ran in the Sandhills Open Road Challenge at Arnold, Nebraska. In 2017, Harchelroad averaged 175.7 mph over three runs in a 2017 Corvette in SOAR’s One Mile Shootout for street cars.
He was also a part owner in Motor Sports Park Hastings. MPH features a paved 2.14-mile road course that attracts drivers of all skill levels. Harchelroad Motors would often hold customer appreciation events for Corvette owners there, giving owners the opportunity to drive on the course.
Family dealer roots run deep
Dillon said he and Brian have “great people” and the “right people” to carry on the Harchelroad dealership.
The Harchelroad family has been involved in the car and farm equipment dealer business since 1941, dating back to its founder, Harvey Harchelroad.
When Harvey suffered a second, fatal stroke in 1952, son Gene, only 23 at the time, was thrust into the business. He took over the business and was joined by his two sons, Sid and Brian.
In 2002, Gene was honored for 50 years as a General Motors dealer.
Sid was the first to join the business, joining his father in Wauneta after graduating from Chadron State College. After completing his college education, Brian also returned to Wauneta and the family business.
After his college education, Sid’s son Dillon would join the family operation.
The company expanded their dealership to Imperial, located in a building on south Broadway that had served several other car dealers over the years.
The company rebounded from a devastating fire in October 2009 that destroyed their downtown Imperial location. They set up operations in a storage building they owned across the street from the dealership.
Since that time, they built a new collision and restoration center in 2010 and opened a new dealership facility on East Highway 6 in October 2015. They continue to operate their Wauneta location.
Funeral services for Sid Harchelroad were held Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Zion Lutheran in Imperial. Click here for the full obituary.