In New England, rust free cars don’t exist. When you buy an old car, a “solid body” means that it will only need doors, fenders, floors, and quarters. Replacing sheetmetal is just a way of life for us. So when car enthusiasts up here see a car for sale that still has good original floors in it, for cheap cash, it sends us into a panic. That is exactly what happened to me this last weekend, and it reminded me of the two most important rules to being a proper gearhead:
1) Buy now, think later.
2) Always….. ALWAYS…. keep an extra spot in your yard just in case you need to bring some rolling stock home on a whim.
I failed hard on both accounts, and can only blame my own procrastination & cheapness.
Each month, I go to a car show / swap meet in Amherst NH that is always full of things I want but don’t need. Last Sunday I found myself non chalantly looking at a 1970 Buick GS that was mostly taken apart with all of the important bits stuffed inside it. My initial thought was “Hey, I like these! I wonder how much it is!?” (as if I need any MORE projects in my life). So I wandered around it a bit and noticed that the floors, rockers, and most of the quarter panels were still there. As I mentioned earlier, that is a rarity in these parts. When I saw the price tag, panic began to set in. It was 600 bucks, and I hadn’t even looked under the hood to see what was inside.
Deep breaths…… I needed to focus. My mind was racing thinking “will my wife kill me? Nah, she likes these! Where will I hide this thing so my neighbors don’t get totally cheesed? Can I hide it at a friend’s house temporarily until I get my act together? Will I ever have a chance to work on it in this lifetime? I wonder what is under the hood?” I peeked in the wheel well and saw coil on plug ignition. “Oh no, don’t even tell me that this car has a……. yup, cast iron LQ4 6.0L Silverado engine.” My stomach sank even deeper because I am in love with the LS / LQ series engines. This guy was really selling a semi solid 70 A-Body with an LQ4 for $600. I MUST to have missed something majorly wrong with this car.
I hopped up on the trailer and discovered the reason why the price was so low, but honestly, I didn’t even care at this point because the engine alone was worth the 6 Benjamins. Where the vinyl roof had once met the quarter panels, there were holes, large ones. The holes were big enough to stick your hand through. See the pictures to get a real perspective of how bad it was. Normal people, smarter people than me, especially in the dry climates, would think its crazy the fix that sort of thing, but up here, that kind of rot just isn’t so bad. In my mind, buying this car was a no brainer, but where in the world was I going to put this thing? Ugh.
I needed oxygen again, so I took a breather and walked away with the logical area of my brain in complete shut down. About a half an hour later, the panic subsided and I was back there getting his phone number so that I could discuss this grand idea with my wife and get back to him. Right now you are probably screaming at the computer screen “Oh hellllssss no, don’t ask your wife!!!“. I asked her for her opinions, and she was totally cool with me getting the Buick as long as it didn’t sit outdoors and make our yard look like a junkyard. Fair enough, I can handle that somehow. I gave him a call….
Ring…. Ring….. Hi Mr. Awesome Buick owner, I would like to purchase your vehicle for the sum of 600 Benjamins. ::pause:: Sorry buddy, somebody else bought it already. Oh noesssss.
So I had officially missed the boat because I procrastinated all the way to the point of failure. Lesson learned though! I am now in the process of finding a new home for 1 giant hunk o’ metal with wheels that I don’t need, and next time I will be buying first and thinking later. It’s the proper gearhead way.