A reference to the late 60's Monty Python's Flying Circus , a photo and a wish I didn't sell that car !! If you are a car guy many cars have passed through your hands. Some are meant to as they are just transportation, some though labors of love have to be sold for life events or "other" projects. Such if life with machinery.
A recent hand drawn note on Facebook got me thinking (AGAIN) about the car I wish I had never sold ! As seen above, a 1967 Saab 97 (Sonett II Two Stroke). One of just over 250 made, one that was AZ rust free and one that holds too many fond memories for me to forget.
Car 121 was a challenge from the start ( read won't start). For a car guy ANY CAR that doesn't start is just taunting you to get involved, work on it as you know you can get it running. Advertised in 1993 when a "three line ad" that required a phone call to locate the seller was all you got. (you don't know how good you have it with GPS)
Armed with cash and trailer, actually a borrowed truck and trailer I "found" the ranch in upstate AZ. Beau was a cowboy.There was no need for him to fabricate any story to sell this car, himself or his life. He couldn't have made it up! Eclectic? Hell ya. Excentric - I think I've become that way myself!
Did he sell me? No/YES ! The car was what it was. A used up car that was kept running at a time when you "fixed" what you could to keep it alive. His story was the hook. Purchased on the Saab "European Vacation" package from University Motors in SF by a wealth family that bought 2 that trip. (the other car #122 was SCCA raced and parted out in the 70's). Tales of bonzi runs from SF to Washington St. and trips to AZ in the 70's on dirt roads spoke to of time I didn't know. An hour of talking and a minute of running (if you can call it that on Ether) and I to had be involved with that car. I have to admit I kept eyeing the Arnolt Bristol Roadster in aluminum also in the horse barn.
Some things I learned along the road of restoration. Rust in fuel tanks will allow a car to run for a few minuets but clogg the first time you go around a corner -hence the need to push home many times! Saab use of aluminum bearing shells isn't the best choice of materials under load -having custom made cage bearings was the cheap part of the rebuild! In fact I have often joked that "per cylinder" it was the most I had spent for a rebuild. I also learned I would retain another car relationship -going on 24 years now with Beau! We have "horse traded" other cars, hit home runs at the auctions and talk often considering his age. We DON'T talk about his refusal to sell me the Bolide Roadster claiming "you have a new baby what do you need that for in 1996!"
Sell or buying a car is an emotional event for all parties. The seller has his memories, the buyer has his wishes and dreams. That note on facebook was just that a graph showing peak interest when wanting something, flat line when owning and again peak interest after you have sold something. I feel his pain - in his case it was over a 65 GT350. In mine it is this silly little ice racing car that weighed 1534 lb and had a 110HP Bud Clark engine! Its funny when I flew Jon in from Seattle to see the car he said "I wasn't going to buy until we went for a ride-then I knew I had to have it"! I guess that was his hook.
It's these relationships with people, with cars WITH people with cars that fuel our lives. That car produced 7 friends as a result of interaction. Today I am selling a 1970 Ford Mustang Q Code on Ebay for that friend above. To some it might just be an old car -to him he is going to miss it just like I miss #Car 121.