Our Two Cents: Cars we sold and still see around town

Staffer Eddy Eckart in his 1992 Firebird. Prom, he thinks, 1998. Eddy Eckart

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

Young Stefan, socks pulled high, with his family and the big base Voyager. Stefan Lombard

“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

1997 Lexus LS400
My magnificent white whale, a 1997 Lexus LS400. I still talk about this car a lot. Probably too much. I need to work on letting go. Nate Petroelje

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?

Not Cam’s car, but looks like Cam’s car, just like every silver 2012 Impala that’s not Cam’s car. Chevrolet

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

Memorable bodywork?

This is a press photo: Most all my old car pictures were lost in a flood at my parents’ house. Fortunately, my baby pictures were lost too. Chevrolet

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

1992 Firebird
The day I got it! Thanksgiving week, 1997. Eddy Eckart

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?

My car, before and after. Sajeev Mehta

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




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    Sajeev your story is the best! I don’t know if I could bear it. The last of my cars I saw after selling was a beautiful 1984 red Honda CRX which was my first new car that I sweat for sold in perfect condition in 1988 to an airline 747 captain who was buying it for his college son. I was about to enter my Custom Cruiser period. Saw the car dented up and the nice alloys I put on all scuffed a few months later while driving around the “U” in Minneapolis. Too much money and no respect!!!

    Had a 1980 Corvette for about 4 months in 2021 that I sold WAYYY too soon. Nice kid bought it – stationed at the local AFB – and just recently saw that he’d done some work to it and put it up on FB marketplace. If I had the spare cash to buy it back…

    I wish I would see some of my past cars. Most were sold and went on to places far away.

    Only my 1968 Chevelle SS is close and it is in a garage under a tarp as it has been for the last 30 plus years. The engine was removed not long after I sold it and the project for a 502 stalled.

    What is crazy is it is now just a mile from me and one block over from my buddies parents house where we used to hang out. The car never left the hood.

    The rest vanished. The 63 Ford did die a week after sale. It was stolen and crashed.

    A number of my vehicles ended up in Florida. Not sure why people from Florida like my Ohio cars but several are there now.

    I only remember seeing two of the cars I’ve sold in the last 60 years or so. One was a ’61 Jeep CJ that I’d given to my youngest son, but he wanted no part of it, so we sold it. Saw it about 16 years later through the chain link fence of a storage facility lot in the town where I now live. Then, it was gone!
    The other was a ’56 Chevy Bel Air 2-dr. hardtop. I’d sold the engine to a guy for his race car, and another friend bought the body to make into a street car for his wife. It had 10″ wide cheater slicks, which coupled with whatever power he’d dropped into it didn’t mix well on a rain-slicked road one night. She downshifted going into a curve, lost traction, and went through the front of a cinderblock building just between two rollup doors (ironically, the building held the paint and body shop that had painted that very car). A large portion of the building collapsed onto it. I saw it a few days later at an impound lot (even more ironically right across the street from the collapsed building). As I recall, there wasn’t a square foot of straight sheet metal on the whole car – cinderblocks and oversized rollup doors falling on your car can do that to it, I guess.
    Other than that I don’t recall even seeing any others of my cars after they were gone.

    I generally pass vehicles to family (and back) so we have a lot of sightings I won’t bother to describe.

    My 64 Buick was sold to a dreamer a block away. Within a year it was sitting in a ditch 45 minutes outside of town with a head off. Sat like that a few years and then lost.

    An 87 GM van my parents bought new and had lettered up on the side for the band my dad had at the time was sold a few years later. For the next decade a drywaller in town booted around with my dad’s old band name on the side. Cracked us up every time. Was sad to see it decay though.

    I sold a Firebird once… 91 305 throttle body. It was more of a workhorse than a hotrod, although it did get down the road fairly well. It was pushing 200K when I let it go to a coworker. He lived 2 states away and commuted back and forth with it to home base on the weekends. He pushed the odo up to 250K before passing it on to another coworker who gave it to his son for a project car. I still saw it here and there until it went into the disassembly process and I never saw it after that

    I lived in town A, sold my 5.0 Mustang to a friend in town B, then moved to town C, where apparently my friend had sold the car to a kid about a mile up the road from me. It had racing stripes and a picture of a pony in the back window crashing through the window, so there was no mistaking it was mine. It had obviously had some rough handling in their hands because the front half of the car was primered. Saw it here and there for about a year then no more, so I suspect they finished the job

    I had a ’02 Tacoma extra cab that I bought (stole price wise) in 2006 when I retired my ’87 Toyota truck. Drove that thing for 170,000 miles and sold it to a super nice Hispanic fellow in 2012 or so. It had ICON coilovers and Camburg upper control arms along with a posse of other little modifications. Years later I was at a Hispanic flea market I bought veggies from and saw a familiar looking truck pull up. Looked under the front end and it was the same suspension I put on with my own two hands. Through limited Spanish & English we talked about the truck. He had bought it off the guy I sold it to and was in love with it. It was his “Sunday driver” with his wife and kids.

    Seeing “my” truck and hearing the happiness in his voice brought so much joy to me. I would love to see it again.

    Like Nate, I still bemoan a Lexus… Mine was a 1992 SC400.
    What’s funny is that, to this day, I’ve NEVER seen another; on the road, or anywhere!

    Another “owned-then-sold” was a 1957 Cadillac. That one went to a buyer in Sweden, so there’s not much chance of me spotting it “around town”.

    Anyone seeking any/all info on those first-edition Lexus SC’s; contact me.
    I’ve amassed a huge collection of info, and it’s all in pdf/texts & bookmarked webpages.
    It’s yours for the asking.

    I can remember two, a 1966 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham and a 1973 Dodge Charger. Saw them in the local junkyards I frequented.

    My first new car was a 2005 Scion TC. It was the first one on the lot. At $17k it seemed like a ton of money to me and I took care of it for the next 12 years. It was taken from me in divorce.
    The ex-wife and my daughter have beaten it up for the last few years and I can’t even look at it.

    My first car was a used 1964 Triumph Spitfire, white with a green steel hardtop. It got me through high school and my first year of college. In 1969 I sold it to a gentleman that promised to bring it back as new. Several years later I was passing by a bowling alley about 40 miles from my home town. There was my old Spitfire, in the same condition as I sold it. It even had the same wooden orange crate that supported the back of the drivers seat when the welds broke.

    I’ve had the depressing experience to see some of my old cars destroyed in wrecks, but most seem to just disappear into the world. I’ll do a google search for the VINs of a couple of favorite cars from time to time but no luck so far. I do enjoy some of the guys who’ve bought some of my cars: they call or email with how the car is doing, thank me, and remain friendly. I do the same with my latest old car, which I had to essentially pass an interview to buy.

    I knew when I saw it in a parking lot, that the Scion xB there was my old 2011. The giveaway? Well, aside from the color, it was the large dent in the hood just next to the driver’s side headlight, gained when my cousin and I blew up a stump with Tannerite, and a chunk of it found my then 2-week-old car. I never got it repaired in 5 years of ownership because the stump didn’t damage the paint, just caved in the hood.

    Yeah, be careful selling cars to your friends, especially when they are on that list of cars you wish you never sold. Ordered a 2000 BMW M-Roadster, Estoril Blue, black top and all black interior. Kept for about 8 years and sold it to a good friend with about 12K miles on it. He’s still has it, and it was perfect when I sold it and still is. Now I still see and periodically ride in it, and kick myself.

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