Thanks for taking care of it for me.
December 14, 2011 12:47 PM   Subscribe

What are the odds? When Jim showed up to buy Eric's 63 VW convertible, he already had the key in his pocket.

Jim remembered being with his dad when they bought the car at the VW dealer in 1963, and years later, Jim had learned to drive in it. The seller even had the original owner's card with Jim's father's signature on it.

Sadly, Jim's dad passed away a few years back, and won't be able to enjoy watching his grandson learn to drive in the car.
posted by richyoung (22 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
She's a beaut.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:57 PM on December 14, 2011

Wow, yeah, OK so if anyone knows anything about the potential sale of a 77 Chevy van, 3 on the tree, silver with a green stripe...
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 1:02 PM on December 14, 2011

What are the odds? Me and my, new to me, 1962 VW Beetle have already had alot of fun. This one looks even nicer and the sentimental value is enormous. Great post.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:05 PM on December 14, 2011

When I was 9 years old my uncle came over to my house. Dinner was over and he asked me if I wanted to go for some ice-cream. It was 1989. My uncle drove a midnight blue 1979 535i BMW, 4 doors, moon-roof, leather seats. It was and for all time will be the most bitching of cars. He took me and my dad out for a ride on the highway. It was 10 p.m. on a weekday and the roads were clear. He threw in some Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I stood up in between the front seat while my dad held my legs and poked my head through the roof and screamed with joy. On the way home I jokingly said to my uncle: "I'm going to own this car some day." 8 years later on my 17th birthday, my uncle handed me the keys. His two children had used that car and moved on to university. He had long ago abandoned this car to younger generations (teenagers with expensive insurance and poor driving skills). The car leaked like a wrecked tanker, the back left speaker didn't work, and you needed tiny pliers to adjust the volume on the radio. The car died shortly after I graduated from high school. There's something about a car - it holds a little bit of the previous owner each time it passes from one person to the next. I miss that car.

That was also the very first time I had listend to The Beatles. I owe my uncle so very much.
posted by Fizz at 1:06 PM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]

Ever since I started hanging out on classic car forums I keep seeing these stories. They're so hammy and rich with family values and americana, but they really are sweet.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:06 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed this video if you're into cars and feeling good.

There's an ad first, I apologize for that, it's obnoxious and terrible, and I can't make it go away.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:12 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Stagger: 10 bucks says that thing has zero power steering... Go grandma, work your arm muscles!
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:17 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

The odds are good
posted by growabrain at 1:19 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's a link to the eBay auction. It has a lot of great pictures and information about the car.
And this shot just had to be shared...this Praying Mantis was discovered on the hood and posed for a perfect photo. Check out how he is taking on the red color of the car...amazing...anyway, they say that the Praying Mantis is a sign of good perhaps that is another sign that this car is a special one?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:32 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

(and here's a non-eBay link for when the auction expires)
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:36 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

In 1992 I was with my parents on the way out to my grandparents for Sunday dinner. I saw in a driveway a bright red 1970 Impala Hardtop with a For Sale sign. There was no way I could afford it, and anyway, by the time we were on our way home it was gone. But I always looked in that driveway, like some cargo cultist...

Two years later, I was driving myself out to cut my grandparents' lawn in my 1977 Impala wagon (with the tailgate window down and two lawnmowers out the back) when, hot damn, there was the '70 in the driveway! I pulled a U-turn across traffic and put two wheels in the grass alongside the road.

The little old lady at the house said her son had just pulled the car out of the garage not five minutes before. She took my name and number and left a message on her son's answering machine, noting "this boy's got dibs!"

As it turns out, Jerry, the owner (her son) had purchased the car in 1977 for his son to drive, but his son didn't like it, so she sat in the garage until 1992...when I had first seen her. To hear Jerry tell it, the first guy to inquire (in 1992 - and the car had only been outside for about half an hour then) had a heart attack on the way to the bank to get a cashier's check, so Jerry chalked it up to fate and put her back in the garage again for another couple years. Whereupon I showed up.

So I *happened* to see the car both (very short) times she was in the driveway, two years apart. My mechanic couldn't find more than a slightly worn belt, the fact that there were polyglass tires on her, and that she'd need a timing belt in about 20,000 miles. Sold!

(I still have Big Red...yes I know, unoriginal name...)
posted by notsnot at 1:41 PM on December 14, 2011 [8 favorites]

What are the odds? When Sid showed up to help my much younger sister move from the family home, he was driving my first car.

Sid, Sid, if you're out there Sid, have you still got that beaut blue Datsun 1600?
posted by Kerasia at 1:43 PM on December 14, 2011

My first was a BMW 2002. She is gone now residing in the great junk yard in the sky.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:57 PM on December 14, 2011


OK, actually reading the article now. God, samoyeds will sleep anywhere.
posted by maryr at 2:02 PM on December 14, 2011

notsnot - pics?
posted by Sassyfras at 3:25 PM on December 14, 2011

My parents bought a beat up Mustang in the 70's. It was a 64 1/2, which was a special model year, a collectible now. They rebuilt the engine and restored it to original as much as they could. During that time, they tracked the history and found out that the car rolled off the assembly line on April 17th, 1964 – the same day that the Ford Mustang itself debuted at the World's Fair and changed history forever. They got special plates for it, "4 17 64".

When I was born on April 17th, 1978 they decide to keep the car...and they gifted it to me on my 16th birthday, the car's 20th. Few days in my life have topped that one, let me tell you.

I could ramble a million stories about me and that car. The time I locked myself inside it. Breaking down, well, everywhere. Catching it on fire, inside, outside. Giving myself a black eye while trying to change the generator (and then having to convince skeptical people of the veracity of that explanation). The big wreck. But so many great times too. Sunny roads where you do the hand wavey thing out the window. Oh, the mixtapes (I installed a tape player, it was so pimp). Driving endlessly. My dad and I installing a Pony Interior Kit...and accidentally leaving the tools inside one of the seatbacks and having to tear it all apart to get to them. On and on with the stories.

Like others have said, there is something about a car. Her name was Sally, of course. I wonder where she is now.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:57 PM on December 14, 2011

I still have my first car, or more correctly all of the pieces that aren't rusted away: a golgdenrod yellow 1955 tbird. She was 20 yrs old when I first said "that's the one." Never could part with such a unique beast. Stupid, but there you go.

Now, my 28 y.o. nephew and I are rebuilding the car, frame-off and all. Hello educational experience. Since it is no longer in original condition we are thinking of changing it from 6 volts to 12 and actually having air conditioning and something other than a non-working tube radio. It should take no more than another 5 yrs...
posted by mightshould at 5:13 PM on December 14, 2011

mightshould: does your T-bird have the 292 V8? MY first car was a 1949 Willy's pickup that some nut had dumped a 292 into. It even had the little oval T-bird fake exhaust vents stuck onto the side of the hood! It ate the Willy's 3-speed trannys like candy.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 5:40 PM on December 14, 2011

My dad will be 76 this month, he came of age in the golden era of hot rodding in the early to mid 50's. He had a series of '33 and '34 Ford coupes powered by the same state of the art (for the time) bored/stroked Ford flathead V8. A 49AB Mercury block, originally 239 cubic inches, but bored 3/16" and stroked to 286 cubic inches. An Iskendarian "400 Jr" camshaft, with the block ported/relieved, and a pair of Stromberg 97's mounted on top. A 3-speed manual transmission with gears from a Lincoln Zephyr backed it up. Every time he traded cars, the engine/trans went into the next car.

Life being life, he wound up letting his last '34 Ford 5-window coupe go in about 1961, complete with the hotrod flathead. Sold it to someone a couple hours away, and never expected to see it again.

About 10 years ago my phone rings, Dad's on the other end...and he's rather excited. He'd just gotten a strange phone call. Turns out a guy who lives across town from him had bought an old '34 Ford and was turning it into a modern hotrod. In the process of disassembly, he discovered the heater box under the dash had been written on, and it read "built by (my dad's name), 1959." Dad always signs his work, you see.

Anyway, the car had been sitting in a garage in the same condition dad had sold it in 40 years before...engine and all. The guy had by chance been talking to some acquaintances from the same area Dad grew up in, mentioned the signature, and it turned out that one of them knew Dad, AND the car. Phone calls ensued.

After the guy who bought the car dropped insane amounts of cash on it turning it into a modern hot rod, he came by my dad's house in it and let dad take it for a spin. I've got a couple of pics of him in the driveway next to it, grinning from ear to ear.
posted by rhythim at 6:49 PM on December 14, 2011

Mei. The bird has 292 Y-block and she has volume. The dual exhaust runs directly under each floorboard which means very toasty feet.
posted by mightshould at 7:19 PM on December 14, 2011

Fortunately, with the exception of an MGA my father owned before meeting my mother, my father's cars were mostly horrible. I don't lament the passing of our silver and purple Suburban, the Comet that caught fire in the parking lot where George Wallace was shot, or even the cars of his brief prosperity—the Jaguars, which were pretty and lovely to drive, but money pits behind all human understanding.

I did retrieve his motorcycle, though. Trekked to semi-rural Pennsylvania, laboriously extracted it from a junk-filled shed, evicted a family of mice from the seat, and spent $2K getting it running, safe, and legal. The day I kicked the bike into life for the first proper time, with tags and insurance and all the rest, I sat on it, felt very comfortable with the posture, as my father and I shared a longitude of trunk and a paucity of inseam, put it in gear, and had the worst ride I have ever had on a motorcycle. In fact, I had a great many of that kind of ride, swearing the whole time as I struggled with a ragged, roaring, intractable beast that doesn't want to do anything but open up and charge around like an American tourist in France.

It was an expensive lesson about the nature of my father and his relationship with my mother.

"Hon, I'm thinking of buying a motorcycle to save us on gas money," he told my mother in 1974, and because he pretty much did what he wanted at all times, always having a great rationalization for what he wanted.

"Cleve, I dunno. Aren't they sort of dangerous?"

"Nah, I'm just going to get a small, simple one."

And he did...after a fashion. When I couldn't figure out why the Beast idled like a meth addict waiting on the end of the world and wasn't happy at anything less than a flat-out charge for oblivion, I did a bit of research, and was displeased to find that a '72 Triumph Daytona wasn't a small, simple bike, but a homologation build of a flat-track racer barely adapted for day-to-day existence. The little fucker would never settle down, or just relax, for chrissakes. Another score for my dad in the longstanding battle for getting his way, and his way was an early mid-life crisis present that I'd lovingly invested with my own projected sense of familial continuity.

"Dad was a dick, you know," I explained to my mother, complaining about the two thousand dollar boondoggle. "Did he really expect you to believe this goddamn thing was a reasonable way to save gas?"

"Your father always did what he wanted. I don't know why he even asked me."

"I just...well, I can't ride this thing to work. It's a goddamn Beast."

"Sell it. Sell it and spend the money on something you actually want."


Of course, I can't. I tried my damnedest for months, then, while sitting on the side of the road tinkering with the Beast, trying to restore the Thunderous Cacophony that would get me home, called my piano teacher and started the gears in motion to buy her '98 BMW F650ST, which is as precise, polite, and perfect as a dream.

My father would have called it a "kraut bike," and I'd have irritably pointed out that it's actually mostly Italian, which would have amused him even more. The two bikes, parked alongside each other, neatly sum up decades of regular arguments, that tangle the wrinkles in my brain fourteen years after he died.

On a good day, I do a bit of meditation to prepare myself, then gear up, roll out the Beast, and head out for a short charge around the last few country roads left in my swiftly urbanizing town. It's loud as a bomber, cantankerous and always half-broken, but it always starts on the first kick, every time. It'll never take a long trip without a sag wagon, and isn't remotely reliable, and I regret wasting my money reviving it rather than just bringing it home to be a handsome garage ornament, but we do the best we can.

Meanwhile, the key to my '72 Saab hangs on a hook, waiting. That would be a reunion, but I think I know where Astrid is now, and there's no coming home.
posted by sonascope at 5:01 AM on December 15, 2011 [6 favorites]

Sassyfras: "notsnot - pics?"
posted by notsnot at 9:04 PM on December 16, 2011

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