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Name the Deal That You Let Get Away


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Back in '68, I almost bought a '56 Bel-Air Convertible.  It was a solid #3 car, maybe even a little better.  It was Black with a Black Top and I believe a Black and White Interior.  Very good solid car, ready to drive, with no problems.  Had fresh Paint, although nothing award winning and pretty nice Chrome.  The reason I didn't buy it was because it was a 235-6, Automatic.  Any other combination and I might have bought it, although what I really wanted was a 265, 3-Speed.  But as a young teenager with that combo, I let it pass, lol. 

 

The asking price?

 

 .....$295.00.

 

 

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When I was 17 I bought a 1964 Olds Starfire from my dad for $2500.00 I drove it for a 2 years, It got impounded for sitting on a street and I got it back a year later.  I stripped it down and did a 75% rest on it (not a frame off). rebuilt the engine, re did the interior, did all the body work and painted it. It was black with a white interior with a 394 4 barrel. I loved that car. It was the lead car in my wedding. I had to sell it when we divorced.

 

3 years ago I googled 1964 strafer and found this very car for sale in my home town. I wanted to buy it back so badly. I didn't have time to go back and check it out so I asked my parents to look at it for me. for whatever reason they didn't and it sold before I could buy it. 

 

Who knows...... maybe some day fate will give me another chance.

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I'm an Oldsmobile guy, but in 1977, I had the opportunity to buy a real 1969 Boss 429 Mustang for $1500.  The motor had a spun rod bearing.  I was an impoverished freshman in college and had to pass.   :(

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From back in the dark ages;  a '37 Lincoln Le Baron Convertible Sedan, $250!   Or, a swap of my '37 Olds Sedan and $250 for a '39 LaSalle Convertible!  Ah, impoverished youth.  But things didn't all go bad; I did manage in 1951 to swap a '40 Buick Sedan for a '37 Cord, which I still have.

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I was browsing in the record section of a used bookstore one day when I came across a first pressing copy of the soundtrack for the movie The Caine Mutiny.  It cost $3, but it wasn't the type of record I collect so I passed.  The only reason I remembered it was because the photo on the cover of Ernest Borgnine was so bad I thought out loud "if that was me I'd sue". 

 

That evening I was looking up the records in one of my value guides I did buy that day, and happened to check this one as well.  Soundtracks are notoriously valueless, so I wasn't expecting much. 

 

$13,500.

 

:o

 

I drove straight back to the store.  It was gone.

 

  maladebleu07.gif

 

I've never had a car incident that came even close to that.

Edited by Dave@Moon (see edit history)
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It was 1968. A rural gas station had a 1948 Jaguar Mark V drophead for sale, $250 and drive it home. It was the most beautiful car I ever saw.  I was 17. I asked my father's advice, he said "where you gonna get parts for it?" so I didn't buy it.

 

I may have listened to him another time or 2 but by the time I was 18 I knew better than to expect him to be right about anything.post-91860-0-60126500-1432424243_thumb.j

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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I'll make it short. Bought a '37 Chevrolet coupe from a guy on the outskirts of my hometown in Louisiana. Went to pick it up, he said if you like old cars, you should buy the '33 Packard next door. Huh? And it was, a '33 Packard V-12 coupe roadster, in very nice original condition (this was early 70's, so car only 40 years old). Made an offer, doubled it, he still wouldn't take it . A dealer came in a week later and made him a slightly higher offer, he sold it. We're talking just into 5 figures here.....I was at 10k.....

THAT'S the one I missed.......haven't cried about it, but may have moaned a time or two when I see what they're bringing.....

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In 1967 I had owned a 1957 Porsche Speedster 1600N for 2 years and was ready to separate from the USAF

while stationed in Germany. The car was great and had been the perfect car for us to see Europe.

I had some work done in anticipation of using it back in the USA as a civilian. The mechanic I used, who

loved my Speedster, offered to sell me and install a Porsche 911 engine and trans-axle it for $1500.00.

I passed, but enjoyed the car another 2 years USA and sold it for $1400.00 and thought I was the salesman

of the century, because that was twice what I paid for it, and Uncle Sam Shipped it home for me.

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I actually have a few more missed deals, but this one was 2 older Chevys.  One was a '40  and the other a '42.  Both were Black 2-Dr cars and both were all original in excellent condition.  This was around 1970. 

 

My choice,

 

$350 Each...

 

Probably could have got both for $650.

 

Wish I had a lot of money and a big garage back then, lol.

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1975. I was working late at night at a gas station in Phoenix. ( enlisted guy, trying to make a few extra bucks) About 11pm one night a college age kid comes in driving a blue 1968 Shelby GT500KR. All stock. Blue paint faded from the Arizona sun, otherwise nice. Wanted to sell it for $1,700. I didn't have 17 cents.

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Guest my3buicks

In 1981, a totally drivable 53 Skylark, painted brown & tan with brown vinyl seats, chrome good and no rust, just that ugly paint and interior for $8K

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Around 59/60, Tiny Snell's Model A Garage was closing down and he was retiring. All the cars in back of the shop were 150 bucks each. I remember a real nice 31 Victoria, a bunch of coupes and sedans and some pickups. Probably 15 or 20 "A"s.There was also a very decent 26 Pontiac, also $150. The one that caught my eye was way over in the corner. Tiny said that one would cost me 250 bucks 'cause they didn't make very many of them. It was a complete, running '34 Auburn Speedster

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After having been given Dad's every day driver one 1958 Buick Limited 2 dr as my first car, then buying a 1958 Buick Special convertable two years later (1972) don't I see an ad for a 1958 Buick LIMITED convertible for sale! Driving four hours my dad and I see this car in a tight old garage with no lights and the first thing we notice is the pot metal chrome has a green film on it meaning there is moisture involved. Then the fellow says the battery is dead so can't hear it run....

The asking price was $2,000.00 and with just starting College that was waaay more than I could afford!

Went to the Buick National Meet in Flint and guess what was there?! ............

Kick myself every time I think about it!

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In 1968 I bought a 55 ford crown vic for a work car. Just another old car at the time. It was pink and white and my wife told me it was not going to sit in the driveway next to her 66 fairlane 2 door hardtop. Traded it for a tan 60 dodge 4 door. I point the crown vic prices out to her even now when I get a chance.

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In 1963 I was at a local car show with a 1937 Dodge Business Coupe. I was in high school at the time. A guy walked up to me, looked my coupe over, and asked if I'd be interested in swapping cars with him. I asked him what he had. He wanted to swap me a Jaguar XK-120 even for the Dodge. I called my Dad and asked him if we could do the deal. Dad told me I was an idiot for even considering it. I had to wait until 2003, and, I bought a new Jag.  Dad couldn't wait to take a ride in it. Naturally I reminded him of the deal he blew for me years ago on a car now worth about $100k.

 

 

 

 

Regards:

Oldengineer

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I think we all had opportunities to buy an "average" something back in the 60s and 70s that is now a rare six figure vehicle, but what about recently?  I'm talking about the last 10 years or so.  Just 3 months ago, I dithered and lost a local Craigslist deal on a cherry Cushman Eagle motor scooter.  I believe it was a 1957 or 1958.  The Eagles are still out there, but this seller wanted only wanted $3,000.00 for it.  As luck would have it, I encountered the new owner a few weeks later, and, indeed, that scooter is cherry.  The new owner told me he showed up with $2500.00 in cash and rode it home.  He who hesitates ...

 

Cheers,

Grog

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Not terribly valuable but less than 10 years ago,  I put a generic ad in the local newspaper looking for old car to tinker with.  I'm sure the way a few of you have to see what's out their and hopefully turn up some hidden treasure.  (usually you get a bunch of calls for crazy overpriced cars that need a ton of work and are at the bottom end of desirable or appealing list)

  Anyways I get a call from the lady at the ad department of the paper who was processing the mail in ad (not yet run in the paper) and says she has a 63 VW Bug convertible she wants to sell because she doesn't use it and is paying storage on it.  It's in the next town over so my wife and I go to look it over.  All original paint chrome and interior. Black paint with red interior.  A little dusty with light oxidation but it would buff up really well.  There was a little rust on the underside of one of the 1/4's and in the boards as well as a tiny thumb sized hole under the battery box.  The best part was she had just spent in the last 2 years $3500 at a local VW dealer to have the engine rebuilt,  all new brakes and tires put on and the fuel system including tank completely rebuilt.    Her price was $1500.  Her Dad bought it new and she could remember as a kid driving home in it from the dealership. 

  The reason I let it pass.  The heater boxes under the car had rust out.  (not knowing a thing about Volkswagens, ) I thought it was the frame.  I found out differently the next day , but when I called her back,  She sold it to someone else.   I actually hope they didn't restore it.  It had a great Aura about it and was a great survivor as is.

Edited by auburnseeker (see edit history)
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Interesting how perspectives and times change things. I envy you guys who could buy cars for triple digit prices back in the day. My "one that got away" was a 1934 Packard Twelve sedan that I probably could have bought for $65,000. It would have required me to sell everything I owned and mortgage everything I couldn't sell and probably take out a loan, but I regret it once in a while.

 

I regret it even more in that we had it consigned and for sale and the buyer and seller made a private deal and cut me out of the transaction, so I didn't even get a commission. I'm not in the business of suing people, but it was a pretty lousy thing to do, especially since the buyer is a guy known for doing things like this. My mistake and I don't let it happen anymore, but I still regret the whole thing.

 

I also regret selling my all-original 1941 Cadillac 60 Special. That was a wonderful car.

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Along Matt's lines,  at Hershey around 8 years ago there was a 35 Auburn Speedster in the car Corral when it was in front of the Giant Center with $90,000  on it.  Seemed like a deal at the time but I didn't even try to figure out how to afford it. (look what they are selling for now)  It was Maroon I think and had some chips and marks/ wear but it still was impressive.  Was it all original?  I'm not sure .  May have even been a rebody, but it looked the part.  I didn't examine it too close as there were too many other distractions that fit my pocket better. 

Most recently a 33 Auburn Convertible sedan for 65,000  that needed to be finished but was probably nearing the 80 percent mark and what was done was exceptional. 

One I kind of forgot about was a 1930?  Marmon Phaeton at Carlisle back in the 90's for I think $7500.  It was missing various little parts,  Door handles and what not but was rust free and I couldn't help but think that it seemed like such a deal since Model A's were trading in the same range in similar shape.    Ironically I had just spent a similar amount on a car a week or 2 before so I was out of the car buying market at the time.

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Two cars.

 

In 1967 I passed up a white 1963 Corvette split window coupe with a 327 and 4 speed.  It had a metallic silver blue-ish interior.  The car looked brand new with 37,000 miles and the price was $1,200.

 

1968 and the second car was a 1955 MG TF 1500.  Exterior was British Racing Green and I can't remember whether the interior was black or red.  It had around 45,000 miles and the price was $1,000.

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In the mid-1980s I saw an ad for a 1928 Studebaker President FB rumble seat roadster for sale in San Francisco.   Both my brother, and I, were into Studebakers and this was a very desirable model.  We decided to take a trip and check it out.  We arrived in the heart of the city and sure enough the car was an older presentable restoration with the roadster top missing.  The car had been part of the Bill Harrah collection that was recently sold.  Whoever bought the car at the Harrah’s auction took the roadster top off and then resold the car to the guy in San Francisco who now wanted to sell it because he could not find a replacement roadster top for the car.  The asking price was $25,000.  We test drove the car in the streets of San Francisco and fell in love with it.  We later learned that the roadster had the optional high compression head and high speed rear end.  However, at the time, both my brother, and I, were newly married and starting families and between the two of us pooling our money we could not come up with the asking price.  We had to walk away, kicking ourselves all the way home. 

 

Attached is a picture of the car and the friend who did buy it.  He allowed me to drive it occasionally when we attend the same car meets in later years.  He still has it nearly 30 years later.   

post-76098-0-60398700-1432503047_thumb.j

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This one is probably only a 'one that got away' in a nostalgic sort of way.  In 1978 I visited the US and did a road trip, mainly to attend the POCI convention in Orlando, Florida.  I needed a Pontiac to drive and a neighbour of the folks I stayed with in Pomona for the first few days had a one family owner 1967 Pontiac Le Mans two door hardtop with about 90,000 miles with a recent not-very-good repaint but new tyres.  I bought it for $600 and drove it 12,000 miles: from LA across the south to  Florida, then back west via a more central route back to LA (including the 12,000 ft Fall River Ridge road in Colorado and a few passes at Orange County drag strip), and then up the west coast almost to Canada and back to San Diego where I sold it for $400.  At the time NZ's economy was quite restrictive and it wasn't practical to take it home.  It was a straight tidy car and gave me no trouble except for a slight leak in the top radiator tank when I was in Texas.  It received an oil and filter change in Missouri and while there we took the plugs out an cleaned them and it was obvious they had not been out for a very long time.  I averaged about 22 mpg (US not Imperial).  This of course was when gas was 68c gal in LA (I remember 59c in Louisiana and about 80+c in northern California) and a night in a motel was about $10.  My total gas bill for the trip was about $300.  The California black plate number on the car was TWZ 970. I wonder if it still exists. It was just a transportation car at the time so maybe not.

 

About 5 years ago an acquaintance here in NZ arrived home from a US trip with a car of the same model, but in near mint condition, for which he had paid US$33,000 at a dealer.

 

As an aside on spark plugs, my son just bought himself a 2003 Toyota Camry as a go to work car.  It is a four cylinder, five speed manual with 350,000 km (about 220,000 miles) on it and he found it still had its original factory plugs.  I guess that is a result of unleaded gas and electronic ignition? Back in the day it seemed we were forever replacing plugs.

Edited by nzcarnerd (see edit history)
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I've had so many cars get away its hard to pick. 1930 Rolls Royce Town Car Limo in running condition for $3000.  1967 Mustang GT350 running and driving for $1700. Lamborghini Miura looking gorgeous on a used car lot for $6500, it goes on and on...

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Aye ... so many cars that got away.  Imagine what'd be like if they hadn't gotten away....

 

I've sold a few I regret, but the list of deals that got away for me ... is far too numerous.  I've put a lot of them out of my mind, as much as I could, anyway.

 

 

Cort :) www.oldcarsstronghearts.com

1979 & 1989 Caprice Classics | pigValve, paceMaker, cowValve
"I had a momentary temporary lack of self control" __ Ty Herndon __ 'I Want My Goodbye Back'
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In the spring of 1978 a co-worker asked if I was was interested in buying a Corvette. It could almost be seen from the second floor cafeteria window we were looking out of, at the farm across the road. The following weekend, with pleasent weather, my wife and I decided to go for a ride, and with no particular place to go, I decided to have a look at this Corvette. We entered the driveway, and there parked by the barn sat a 1966 Corvette roadster, dark blue with blue interior, four speed, big block engine, I believe 396 CID, possibly side pipes which were removed. Asking price, $2500. The motor had a spun bearing, the front calipers were froze, and for some reason, the front directionals were sawed off, but laying inside the car. I didn't by the car because the previous November I had borrowed money from my dad in order to make the twenty percent down payment required for a more favorable interest rate on our first house, and still owed him $6K. However, twenty / twenty hindsight tells me that, as my dad had no concept of the value of Corvettes, I could've convinced him that Corvettes in need of repair were near valueless, and received the car in trade for a favor done for a friend. I still have photos of that car, maybe someday I'll build a model of it.

Edited by Larry W (see edit history)
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Just some of the deals we passed up...

 

1932 Packard Super 8 Conv, driveable for $3500

 

Cut down Duesenberg, running, no body, $2500

 

1929 Cadillac Dual Cowl, in the old Blue field at Hershey, $6000

 

A pair of 120 Jag Roadsters, $1500 for the pair

 

Fully and meticulously restored '32 Ford Coupe, $2500

 

Driveable 1959 Cadillac Coupe, free for the taking

 

1951 Ford Conv, ran, free for the taking

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Guest BillP

34 Packard V12 coupe, complete, solid, not running, possible rod damage. $1000.

 

E-Type Jag coupe, needs paint. $1200.

 

64? factory lightweight Pontiac 421, 4 speed complete, no rust, no damage, needs a little work. $800.

 

'47 Ford Super Deluxe Convertible. $60.00 Bought it!

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Back in the early 80's I knew a couple of guys who used to scrap cars. They had an original 64 GTO, the standard tranny was removed and in the trunk needing repairs. I asked the one guy how much for the car and he said $50.00. When I returned with the money the second guy said no, $200.00. A week or so later I came up with the money and the second guy said he wanted more so I told him to keep it then. What happened to the GTO you ask? Unfortunately it ended up scrapped because no one would buy it. I remember the guys name but won't reveal it but I hope he is haunted by his selfish actions today whenever he sees what an original GTO is worth today

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In 1983 I was 16 and saw a very nice 1970 GTO Judge sitting along highway 1 for $5000 .

I had an $85 dollar a week job at the grocery store and had to go to the bank of DAD.

He said your 16 and you already have 73 lemans and a 1965 GTO why would you need another car.

Car was long gone before I could come up with the money on my own.

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Great stories. In thinking back, having a supportive/involved dad is more positive than negative but we did miss out on a few in my teen years due to disagreement - somehow, my vote did not carry as much weight as his.

Two I wanted, but he vetoed were a '70 - '73 Formula Firebird with a 400 4 speed, sidepipes and flares, etc. - cannot remember all the details but I wanted it the moment I saw it, anyway, "hmmm, a bit much for a 16 year old..." and of course the Healey Bug eye with no rust $400 around '77 or so, running, Nope, too small. I do recall him wanting a '48 Pontiac sedan up at the old Foxborough Stadium swap meet around the same time, admittedly the car was mint, but I sure did not want it. I mean, 4 doors, Nope, I don't want THAT thing... Then there was the plain jane, seafoam green '57 Chevy sedan for sale on the walk home from school. Wanted that one for a beater, we agreed a good deal, all those doors did not seem to matter for some reason, may have been $400 or a little less, but it was sold to someone with restoration plans while we were considering it. So a few got away, nothing super valuable though - and we did have some fun cars pass through the house despite these misses...

One big miss that comes to mind when I was around 19 was a '57 Chevy two door hardtop, black, stock for sale by the bodyshop where I was having my Camaro painted. $2,500 - cannot remember what got in the way of that deal, but it was a very, very nice car for short money even then.

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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A lot of mentions of Dads.

My dad wasn't a car guy. Every time I mentioned an old car he drug out his two favorite objections. First was, "Where are you gonna get parts for that thing???". My main interest, at that time, was Model A Fords. The second was, "All the metal is crystallized on that old thing". He felt any car over 20 years old turned to a glass like substance and would crumble up at the slightest provocation. His work car was a 40 Ford, already 20 years old. He defied the odds and drove the crystalline structure until 1965 when he traded it in on a new Ford pickup. That was the car, for me, that got away. It was promised to me since I was a little kid. Oh yeah, he got 50 bucks for it in1965. He had been offered as much as 500 dollars by strangers. I'm sure it was crushed the very next day if not the same day.

I still mourn the loss of that 40

Edited by CarlLaFong (see edit history)
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I will add that while Dad didn't help me get the 70 Judge, he did finance half of the 1965 GTO by letting the owner pick a couple of guns from his gunshop inventory that I then worked off over the course of a few months.

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