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What was the biggest mistake you made,auto wise?


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Where to begin with this sordid tale?

There was a 1965 Lincoln four door convertible, one owner, pale blue with white top and interior in like new condition but needed a water pump. The price was $225.00 but instead I bought a battered 1942 Chevy p.u. for $200. This was in the late 1970s.

Other missed opportunities -

2001 - 1949 Chrysler coupe - a 53,000 original mile, garage kept car for $3500. I put off calling due to my schedule and called the day after it sold - for $3,000!

1996 - I was in need of a good, basic transportation car and looked at a 1 owner 1955 Buick s/w. With exception of paint the car was very nice and the asking price was $500. I wanted to look at a couple of other cars and came back after work to find it had sold.

My top story of loss is a real hard one to accept. I was with a friend who was looking for parts for his rare 1936 Hudson p.u. We stopped at this old garage near Parker, Arizona that had a large yard of old cars, many missing doors and such.

In the process of talking cars he offered us a very straight 1957 Old s/w for $500.00 All the chrome was there and even the hubcaps but the windows had been down for a dozen years or more, cats were living in it and some of the glass was broken so we passed without a second look. We later found out, when it sold to a collector in Phoenix, the car was equipped with the J2 package and had factory air conditioning. This was in 1999.

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I have another. Years ago when I was 18 I was walking with my grandfather through his appartment garage to his Impala. He asked me what I thought of an old car (1956 Chevy sedan). It was an odd yellow-ish green and black two tone, and I told him I thought it was pretty ugly. He told me 'well, I bought it from some neighbors and was going to give it to you, but I'll give it to your aunt Ruth instead'. It had 23,000 original miles. My aunt and her husband used it to haul hay on their ranch. :-(

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My one and only antique car. My baby, a 1979 Lincoln Mark V Cartier was purchased from the original owner who special ordered it from the factory with almost every option including moonroof and velour interior. I owned it for 11 years and had it as a daily driver. I retired it from daily use when it became an antique. I parked it in the garage in disgust for a couple years when no one seemed to be able to fix the a/c, an intermittent chugging problem, and some other misc. stuff. At his suggestion, I took it to my friend's mechanic, spent $1200.00, and had EVERYTHING fixed. I took it to work the next day to make sure everything was ok. It was running flawlessly, the best it had been in years. My new a$$*^&% boss made me stay late to do work that a collegue that had nothing to do, didn't FEEL like doing. (and she left early) On the way home I was so happy with how the car was running. I stopped for gas about a mile from home and filled it with premium ($50). 2 blocks from my house, an 18 year old idiot rear-ended it at 50 mph (in a 40 mph zone) and totalled it. It was hit so bad the gas tank folded in half and ruptured, pouring all the gas down the sewer. He had no insurance, and is living with his mother and grandmother in an apartment on welfare. In other words, no money to collect even if I sued. A month later the repair and gas bill came in the mail. I had to pay $1250 for a car I didn't even have anymore. So what was my biggest mistake, driving it that day, staying late, having it repaired, stopping for gas? Almost a year later, I still don't speak to my boss.

Shopping for a replacement, Not bidding higher was my mistake. I drove 5 hours one way to look at a 1956 Packard 400. It looked like a decent car, but needed things. Paint, seats, gas tank and fuel lines, headliner, smelled like mouse pee, etc. But it seemed to run strong, based on the fact that I couldn't take it on the street, and could only go in circles around the barn. 90% of the chrome was good, no bondo, and after fuel system and brakes were done, it could be driven as is for a few years until I had the money to pretty it up. The opening bid on Ebay was already high, and the auction was ending the next day. It had no bids on it. I asked the guy if he would take cash on the spot for it. He refused, wouldn't even listen to an offer. He wanted to see how much it went for on Ebay. I wasn't entirely comfortable with it because while I know Packards and their history, mechanical knowledge and repairs are not my strong point. I had been looking at Lincoln Mark V's (which I know very well) but this was the first Packard I had looked at, and I was not entirely sure what I should be looking for as far as problems. There was nothing more I could say or do with the owner, so I left. Only to find out that my friend had put on the emergency brakes in my Buick (which I said should never be used because the cable was no good) when he moved it so the Packard could be taken out of the garage. One mile from there the brakes completely locked up and were smoking. I pulled into some windmill power plant that was closed. There was nothing else around for miles. My friend said that he had a mechanic friend that lives about an hour from where we were. So he called him at home. The guy said he would be right out. The guy had no cell phone. 4 hours later he showed up and fixed the brakes. He said he got lost. He said we could stay overnite at his house since it was now quite late. Driving there I noticed the Buick was stranded 1/2 mile from the ramp of the expressway that took him almost to his front door. The next morning I wanted to put a bid on the Packard, but the guy had no computer. I made my friend call and wake up his brother at home to put a bid on it for me in the last 2-3 minutes of the auction. It still had no bids. Still not entirely comfortable, I placed a bid $400 over the already high opening bid. I got outbid in the last 2 seconds of the auction by a guy who never even drove out to look at it. There were no other bidders. 6 months later I still have not found one as well equipped at any price range. Condition wise, I can find only complete basket cases or mint ones I can't afford. I should have bid $500 to $1000 higher, but that still doesn't guarantee I would have gotten it.

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