Our Two Cents: Cars we sold and still see around town
Would you ever see your car again if you sold it to an online retailer like Carvana? Or if you sold it on the national classifieds platform, better known as Facebook Marketplace?
The days of selling a car in the local community newspaper, on a corkboard at the grocery store, or by word of mouth on Sunday at church are gone, for the most part. But sometimes we sell a car that winds up remaining in our geographical orbit even after we cash the check and hand over the keys. These stories are precisely what we wanted from staffers here at Hagerty Media, and they didn’t disappoint. So let’s see which cars we sold that we still see around town.
Your van is now installation art
“We had an ’83 Plymouth Voyager for years and years. It was the last of the full-size Voyagers before Chrysler gave the name to the minivan. Ours had one of those ginormous single rear doors and was total basic van, with an AM radio and rubber flooring. It was our family camping rig. When it started to nickel and dime my dad, he sold it to his mechanic, who then used it as a parts runner for a couple years.
That was until his son was driving one winter night and slid off the road, over a fire hydrant. Which promptly erupted all up into the van and over it. And it was about -20 degrees outside, so the entire geyser started to freeze as fast as it was coming out, ensuring the van was stuck there for a very long time. We happened to be driving past that intersection sometime in the aftermath and caught a glimpse of it there in its frigid cocoon. Equal parts sad and hilarious.” — Stefan Lombard
Let’s keep in touch
I still occasionally talk to the guy who bought my 1997 Lexus LS400. He was super cool, but he ended up trading it and some cash to buy an E46 M3. Still, I was impressed because of all the neat stuff in his collection: tons of Saabs, cool bikes, et cetera. He’s awesome. But I am not sure where my Lexus is now. — Nathan Petroelje
Is that my Impala?
My old Impala was a tough car, and it was easy to spot with the paint damage to the rear bumper. I once sped up to see if an Impala ahead of me was indeed mine, because it had the same rear bumper scuff. Hard to tell with these cars, though, especially in southeast Michigan. — Cameron Neveu
I knew nothing about bodywork when I ‘fixed’ the rust in my 1973 Chevrolet short-bed pickup with a factory 454. I bondo’d where there was rust and put a $400 two-tone paint job on it. The truck looked great. I traded it for a used Nissan Z. I saw the truck a year later; it had rust holes big enough to put my hand through. Lesson learned. — Steven Cole Smith
The gas station was its new home
I sold my first car, a third-gen Firebird, to a guy who owned a gas station in Caldwell, West Virginia, near where I worked at a camp in the summer. In subsequent years, when I was in town I’d occasionally see it at the gas station or out and about in the Lewisburg area. I knew it was mine from the 16-inch Formula wheels I’d put on it and the fact that the rear axle set out to the left an extra inch from when I did a 180 into an embankment in ’99. (My exuberance exceeded my car control by a wide margin at the time.)
Not too long after that, I heard the guy had been killed—evidently, he was running a poker game in the back of his gas station and things got a little heated. I didn’t see the car after that. — Eddy Eckart
You painted it … what color?
When I went off to college, my parents sold my first car, a black-on-black ’65 Ford Galaxie 500 LTD that I truly loved. And they did too, as it was the car that picked them up from the train station and ushered them to a new college and to new careers in America. The owners of the Galaxie were my parents’ host family in college. They became my godparents, and my godfather gave the Galaxie to me on my 16th birthday. Sadly, things must change over time, and the Galaxie was sold via classic car magazine classified to a nice guy in Florida who promised to take great care of it. So much so, in fact, that he would write letters to my parents (not too many folks had email in the mid-1990s), including photos of the new paint job he bestowed upon it.
Along with the photos came profuse apologies: He re-painted the Galaxie to his Alma Mater’s colors, and he knew how attached we were to the car. Luckily he used a 1965 Ford color (vintage burgundy), but the change was so dramatic the entire Mehta family decided to visit him during a vacation in Miami and see it for ourselves. He was a sweet guy, his wife offered us tea and cookies, and I must admit that a shiny red paint job on ‘my’ Galaxie was better than faded black. Well, kinda better … — Sajeev Mehta