As an old car nut, particularly the Muscle Car era, every time I see a deteriorating car I can’t help imagining its potential. I know I can’t afford every project, but I see some cars almost every day during my normal routine – and they drive me crazy because I can’t have them. In particular the cars that gnaw at me aren’t too expensive – they’re cars their owners won’t sell. So I keep driving past them day after day, watching them turn to dust and lamenting that they may never be nice again.
For example, for several years I rented a house that was in a cul-de-sac. A neighbor parked a 1970 GTO there that looked very sad but mostly complete. It had been sitting for over a decade with no attention other than (ironically) getting new parking permits every year to keep the city from towing it. It was a classic case of an owner who was “going to restore it someday” so it wasn’t for sale. About ten years after I’d moved I happened to be in the neighborhood so I went over there, and sure enough the GTO was still sitting there and looking even sadder. I couldn’t buy it because the owner is still planning to restore it.
Another time I was working at a small company whose offices were on the fringe of a neighborhood. While taking a lunchtime walk I noticed a 1967 GTO parked in a carport looking very weathered but complete and possibly wearing HO badges. I talked to the nice lady who lived there but it wasn’t for sale because she was saving it for her son who had bought it just before serving in the Vietnam war. She was clinging to the hope that he’d come back for it… after almost thirty years. I’m afraid he had already made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Now I drive past a 1971 El Camino SS that has been sitting for at least fifteen years but looks pretty solid and restorable. It even has a For Sale sign in the window. The owner is willing to sell fairly cheaply. But it is mired in a family dispute. It is locked in a fence on his brother’s property, who claims ownership since it was abandoned there. He won’t allow me on the property to retrieve it, and he won’t allow me to pay him something for storing it, and he showed me a big gun to prove he was serious. He wants money and apologies from the owner, who refuses to comply even if I give him the money. This feud apparently has been going on too long to ever be resolved. So the El Camino sits and rusts.
Oh well, there are plenty of attainable projects. Just sad to watch desirable cars wasting away.