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Tell us about the one that got away........


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   Many of us have been around a while and have often though of the car that got away. Maybe it was one that you wanted to buy but did not “pull the trigger” or perhaps it was one you sold and have had “seller’s remorse”. Well, I have experienced both. Here, with pictures, are both:

 

The one that I regret selling is my 1929 Model A Cabriolet, a compact and sporty car that everyone loved and it drove sooooo nice....

 

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The one I didn’t buy was this 1926 Packard 2-36 Phaeton with RHD offered by Tom L. in Rhode Island back in 2013. It is featured in the December 2012 issue of Hemmings Classic Car. A very interesting story.

 

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Edited by Jeff Perkins / Mn (see edit history)
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So many that I regret letting go of. My all original 1929 Franklin 135 six sport sedan (no photo), my 1930 DeSoto eight cylinder sedan, my 1936 Dodge Brothers touring sedan with side mounts, my 1957 Dodge 1/2 ton pickup (no photo), my 1968 Plymouth Road Runner, my 1955 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer two door hardtop, and most recently, my 1967 Dodge A100 compact pickup. Sigh....

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1923 Marmon on this site- claiming to be a Holbrook for 85k

 

two months later its on here for 25k, because it couldnt be verified. one fella was ahead of me and I missed it.

 

I didnt care about the stinkin badges!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

what a car and engine.

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As a freshman in college in 1977, I had the opportunity to purchase a real, complete 1969 Boss 429 Mustang with a spun rod bearing. I was paying tuition at MIT. I couldn't have come up with $150 for a non-functioning car, let alone $1500. I'm not a Ford guy, but that one still bothers me.

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Vintage Sports Car racing way just starting to catch on in the 1970's, there were so many cars I could have bought but didn't. Sitting on them for the last 50 years wouldn't have been possible but it is fun to dream. Bob 

 

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Back in '89 I was working with a guy that was the original owner of a 1970 Ford Torino fastback with the Cobra Jet motor.

It was green with white interior and the shaker hood.

He was going to sell it because his wife didn't want an 'old car' around.

I'm not a Ford guy at all but I still regret not giving him the $1,500 he offered it up for.

 

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There must be a dozen but the one that sticks in my mind was a Jaguar Mk V drophead coupe, for sale at a local gas station for $250 when I was in high school in 1968. My father wouldn't let me buy it (where you gonna get parts for it). If I had bought it no doubt I would have sold it in a year or 2 and it would be long gone. Still I think about it every now and then. In case you are not familiar, it was the first Jaguar sold in North America and looked like something Cary Grant would drive.

 

Image result for jaguar mk v drophead coupe

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Hi Steve,

The 1912 Hudson 33 was/wasn’t/was/wasn’t for sale. I think the family just wanted me to get it running for them. When I figured that out I returned it to them. It will never leave their nest.

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In 1985 I was a college student, working full time,  just married, with an 88 dollar a month payment on a 1976 VW.

Turned down a one owner 1961, 356 Porsche.  An older fellow I worked with wanted me to have it. I did maintenance on it for him.  Arizona car, no rust.
just could not swing 1500,.

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My dad has many more interesting misses than I.    1962,   Byrd estate auction on Island.  The greatest collector car auction of all time for those of you that are not familiar.     My dad had 5k in his pocket and the Mercedes SS with 19k original miles sold for 5,500.   He was up against a guy with a lot more money than him,  so it didn't matter how much he had in reality,  but a huge miss as that is a 4-5 million dollar car now.

 

http://www.vanderbiltcupraces.com/blog/article/the_1962_auction_of_the_century_at_the_farnesworth_estate

 

 

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Seemed bigger when I owned it. Low mileage Tennessee car. It was one I liked but it was all a process to get where I am. And today I wouldn't really be interested in some of the former dream cars.

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1 hour ago, 60FlatTop said:

Seemed bigger when I owned it. Low mileage Tennessee car. It was one I liked but it was all a process to get where I am. And today I wouldn't really be interested in some of the former dream cars.

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I had the slightly older brother. Same colour but a 1961 with the higher fins and wire wheels. Sold it to a HS buddy to put toward a 1965 MGB. Even in the mid 70's Sunbeam parts were starting to dry up. Traded the B on a very decent MGA about a year later. Been hooked on MGA's ever since.

Only owned one other Sunbeam in later years, a  $50.00 Arrow Sedan that was my winter beater for a term at college in the  early 1980's. The MGA's needed to be kept away from salt or they dissolved, the Sunbeam I didn't really care about.

 

Greg in Canada

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One that still burns, many many years later. A Austin Healey 100 - 4 with much racing prep. 4 wheel disks,  AC Bristol engine and GB. A very quick track car , but a somewhat damaged engine. But no broken castings, the crank was still savable. Fire sale price. I was in grade 12 at the time, went to look at it as soon as I heard about it. I was the first one there and said I would buy it , offered to put $100.00 down on it.

The seller said " don't worry , just pay in full when you pick it up". I was back at 3:30 that same afternoon with a friends fathers pick up and car trailer and a wallet full of cash. The seller said " sorry it's gone, I didn't think you were serious, you are just a kid after all " He even showed me the empty spot in his shop where it had been a couple of hours previous. I was spitting nails but what can you do ?

Lesson learned the hard way, I have never bought a car without a substantial deposit since.

Greg in Canada

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A year or two out of high school, sometime around 1985, there was an early 50’s Allard J2 for sale at 20k that was being stored at a friends house. It might as well have been a million at that time but looking at these now it was a steal...

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I'd have to tell too many stories, some maybe I can't even remember.  But the biggest fishes that got away were a 1953 Buick Skylark with 50some thousand original miles (I didn't have the needed $500, but showed to one of my best friends at the time and then he slipped around and bought it himself), a 1939 Buick Special convertible coupe (in a barn for years, never could buy it, man promised it to me over and over, but I finally got another one later), and a 1941 Buick Limited (that belonged long ago to a late great old fried, that I couldn't work out, twice, more recently), but I'd owned two others back in the 1970s and early 80s.  The current owner contacted me, only today in fact and that brought it back to mind.  Since 1962 in AACA, those three probably only scratch the surface. 😃

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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Al. I was at the Wallace Byrd estate auction as well, and so was Austin Clark ( he drove over a few miles from his house in a Phantom I or a Silver Ghost RR he owned) I remember that there were some really neat cars parked in the field next to the garages at the Byrd estate that people drove in with just for the sake of attending in a neat old car. Several Packards,

Regarding the car that I missed and "got away" it was in the late 1960s and on Merrick Road in Valley Stream, NY here on Long Island there was a used car lot on the north side of the road. there in the front row sat a 1941 Oldsmobile convertible sedan that looked like it had just been pulled out of a garage after long storage. Complete with fender skirts, paint in great condition but dull, top needed to be replaced too. This was the Olds that shared the same body as the Buick Roadmaster and Cadillac series 62 . Friends and I could never seem to be there when the lot was open!  Car disappeared and we never knew where it went. If I recall correctly the price was an "asking" $1,000 . Other cars that got away were a pair of 1936-37 Cord sedans that were in Hempstead , NY and there was also a 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial sedan parked between two buildings in Hempstead as well - those buildings have since disappeared due to redevelopment of that area.

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1958 Cadillac Eldorado Seville with tri-power, nice driver. The fellow wanted $1,500.00 for it. This was back in 1972. My dad didn't think the car was worth the money. I see his point now , didn't at the time,  about spending that much cash. Pretty  car . 

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19 minutes ago, Walt G said:

Al. I was at the Wallace Byrd estate auction as well, and so was Austin Clark ( he drove over a few miles from his house in a Phantom I or a Silver Ghost RR he owned) I remember that there were some really neat cars parked in the field next to the garages at the Byrd estate that people drove in with just for the sake of attending in a neat old car. Several Packards,

Regarding the car that I missed and "got away" it was in the late 1960s and on Merrick Road in Valley Stream, NY here on Long Island there was a used car lot on the north side of the road. there in the front row sat a 1941 Oldsmobile convertible sedan that looked like it had just been pulled out of a garage after long storage. Complete with fender skirts, paint in great condition but dull, top needed to be replaced too. This was the Olds that shared the same body as the Buick Roadmaster and Cadillac series 62 . Friends and I could never seem to be there when the lot was open!  Car disappeared and we never knew where it went. If I recall correctly the price was an "asking" $1,000 . Other cars that got away were a pair of 1936-37 Cord sedans that were in Hempstead , NY and there was also a 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial sedan parked between two buildings in Hempstead as well - those buildings have since disappeared due to redevelopment of that area.

 

Did you take any pictures Walt?  People don't realize when they throw around the term "ultimate barn find" that there was clearly one that was and it was the Farnsworth estate sale.   Makes A.K. Miller's auction look like an yard sale.

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Back in about 1989 my wife and I were looking for a 68-72 Vette. Saw a 59 Caddy convt for sale at Lump’s Car and Parts Swap meet in Springfield for about $7500, the same price I paid for a 70 Vette. I still have the Vette but it did not appreciate like the 59 Caddy’s have. 

 

Tom

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Way too many that I didn't have enough sense or nerve to buy, but a 66 SC Cobra roadster for 7 K and a perfect one owner  Mercedes 300 SL gull wing for 12 K  in Texas back in 69 come to mind as the ones that seem the most valuable slip-aways I turned down... sigh...  I have also had some neat ones tho', but sold all except one of our collection so we could move to Hawaii. Glad I did, enjoyed my time with 99% of our vehicles thru the years, but dearly LOVE being warm in a paid for home in Paradise !.

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In 1999 my dad and I were looking for a car for me, as in 2001 I would finally be able to drive. We were going to fix it together and then enjoy. There was a 70s El Camino in the newspaper in Peekskill, NY, my family's home town. I think it was a 1976 but I don't remember for sure anymore. My parents had me call the number listed and I've been sure since that day they did not sell it to me due to my voice. To this day I still want an El Camino of that generation, and am known to most people as El Camino Billy due to my fanatacism of all El Caminos.

 

In 2000/2001 my health took a turn for the worse, permanently robbing me of my ability to work on or even drive cars. In February 2002 my dad lost his battle with cancer, ending my chances of ever fulfilling my lifelong dream of classic car ownership. It's a void in my life that will likely never be filled.

Edited by Billy Kingsley
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For me it was my '67 Camaro 4-speed/AC autocross car. Being under 21 it was in my mother's name. About a year and a half later was deployed to Southeast Asia. While gone my mother tried to drive it, found the Blue Streaks needed air every day, was taking up garage space, and sold it. Gave me a 66 Caprice automagic with Flower Power stickers when I got back.

camaro.jpg

 

 

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Hey Al

I have some b & w photos I took of the classic cars in the field attending  the Byrd estate auction. I tried to take some of the ones that Wallace Byrd owned but it was to dark in the garages ( those garages have since  been turned into homes) to get any photos besides there were so many people around it was hard to get a clear photo of a car. Someplace in my collection I have the auction catalog listing the cars that got auctioned.  The cars that I recall the most vividly were the Duesenberg model J Beverly sedan and the pair of 1938 Buick sedans . The Buicks had very very little mileage on them  and if I recall correctly the Duesenberg had its shift lever sawed off .

The 1936-37 Cord sedans in Hempstead I only saw twice and did not have a camera with me , I do recall one had a cracked cover over the transmission in front ; the 1931 Chrysler Imperial I went to look at , at night with my buddy Guy Roese. He had a black 1955 Chevy conv. that was his everyday driver ( car was most likely only a decade or so old) and we went there to see the car at about 11pm. .The neighborhood area at that time was not the greatest/safest, but there we rolled up with the top down and to see the car clearer (- it was parked down between to buildings) Guy used the spotlight on his Chevy. Well that worked until the light beam from the spot lamp shined on the faces of several nearly passed out drunk patrons of the area who were collapsed on the ground. Got one angry enough to have him throw his mostly empty bottle ( little one) of cheap booze at us . He missed us by a large margin  .  After that on the way back home Guy and I decided to celebrate viewing the Chrysler Imperial sedan and not being hit by a flying  bottle by stopping at a favorite ice cream shop and having two scoops of our favorite ice cream. Guy did not drink coffee, couldn't stand it, but did like coffee ice cream.

Why do I recall all of this in vivid detail like it happened last week and neglect to  remember to take daily medication (pills) that I need to keep me vertical, and alive?  Old cars are more fun then taking pills.

Thanks to all for reading this long memory.

One of these days I may tell the tale of removing a weather vane shaped like a car from the top of a gas station 2 stories up in the middle of the night in the dark in  November when it was about 30 degrees  with a stiff wind blowing around................................ I did get the weather vane and still have it, that I have period photos of.

Edited by Walt G
correction (see edit history)
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Walt, Love reading first hand accounts of the Byrd Auction. I think there were more cars than mentioned in an earlier account. Think there was a 1911 MERCER Toy Tonneau that Miles Coverdale bought and had Ralph Buckley restore. The World owes Miles a thank you for turning down Buckley's offer to turn it into another Raceabout. I thought it was nice when I first saw it on the cover of Boys" Life October 1966. Years later around 1978 or so I got to pull the engine and work on the rebuild. The car can been seen on the reruns of the History Channel series The Men Who Built America. Last I knew it was still in a Oyster Bay collection. Bob 

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Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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Bob, earliest car in the Byrd auction was the Duesenberg J Beverly sedan, the Mercer that Miles had was not in the Byrd estate. I will dig out the auction catalog and look, perhaps scan and put a few pages on here.

Like you I was happy that Miles restored the Mercer as a toy tonneau and did not make it into a raceabout. He didn't drive it much, preferred his Bugatti's . Miles, Austin Clark , Wally McCarthy and I all belonged to the L.I. Old Car Club, but Miles didn't attend many LIOCC functions.

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The Type 43 Bugatti that Mr. Wattles bought has the engine removed for inspection/rebuild but never went back together in his ownership. Peter Giddings bought it, don't know if he did anything with it or traded it for a Vintage Race car. He had a fantastic collection of Vintage cars and raced them as they were new, sadly he passed away last year. Bob

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In 1970 I had a 67 Mustang GT  fastback with a 390.  This fellow came into the dealership where I worked with a 65 Shelby 350 that had a bit of a bent frame but no bodywork.  Frame work was  not always done very well in those days and he offered to trade it to me for my GT.   The front end alignment man advised me against the deal so I passed.  Regretted it ever since. 

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3 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

The Type 43 Bugatti that Mr. Wattles bought has the engine removed for inspection/rebuild but never went back together in his ownership. Peter Giddings bought it, don't know if he did anything with it or traded it for a Vintage Race car. He had a fantastic collection of Vintage cars and raced them as they were new, sadly he passed away last year. Bob

 

Peter Giddings was a regular at our Vancouver B.C. yearly vintage race meeting, the much missed Westwood track during the later 1980's. Usually his Talbot - Lago , but some years a J2X  { if I recall correctly }  Allard .  I have quite a few photos somewhere . Also saw him in action at the Monterey Historics  a few times. He was a very spirited driver !

 

Greg in Canada

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Kept tabs on a friends grandfathers 1927 Ghost, even 20 years after my friend died in a car wreck. Always willing to offer a going market price. Car never moved for 30-35 years. Grandmother passes and I contact one of the sons. “Someone at a restoration shop” told him it was worth $200K restored. At that time the market was about $100K-125K for an open US bodied RR. Keep in mind it had not run in many many years and painted the wrong color. He wouldn’t sell it for anything less than the restored price. Wanted to sell a 1914 T that was also in the garage instead.  He then graciously offered me the opportunity to get it started for him for free since he had no idea how the  dual magnetos worked or how to start it.

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In 1978 I went to a collection in Nebraska to look at a car which I didn't purchase.  The owner showed me a 300 Sl Gullwing Coupe and a Bazzarrini GT5300 which were priced at$16,500 each.  My 12 year old son and I took the Bazzarrini for a test drive.  He never forgave me for not buying it.

Later that year I purchased a 78 Mercury Station Wagon.  The dealer had two 289 Cobra's for $8500.  I wasn't smart enough to buy any of them

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Not me but My dad had an opportunity to buy a 69 Shelby convertible for $1500 in Rockland county NY back in the early 80s. My grandpa wouldn’t give him the two hundred he needed to buy it. My dad also had his 66,71 mustangs and 75 beetle outside the house on top of my uncles three cars. So see his point there.

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This is a similar story but absolutely true 

when I was 19 ,in the crazy 60s ,  I frequented a blues club it was in the cellar below a wimpy bar , at that time in the Uk many of the young generation were beatnik types or mods and there was a good mix of both in the club . During the year or so I visited , I became friends with a chap(Alan) bit older than me 22 and he had a Jaguar D type , it was originally British racing green , but as it was the crazy 60s he had it painted pink! 

We had great fun driving around town , I used to sit on back along the rear fin. 

Alan  was a young officer in the army , and one night in the club told me he was being transferred to west Germany and would I like to buy his car for 250 pounds , which was  fair bit of money then , but cheap for car  ,  I had been saving for a car and had about 200 , I worked at week ends for my aunt in her shop and she offered me the 50 , so I agreed to buy it .

however as I had only been driving a year and had insurance on my fathers insurance, I asked my father if he would put car in  his name , he wasn’t keen on me driving such a fast car and when  the insurance company quoted over a 100 pounds with huge excess for me driving , he refused to pay , and I had no other way of raising money , perhaps I should have gone back to my aunt , so sadly I had to tell Alan I couldn’t buy car , he sold it to an army buddy before he left . Sent me a postcard later when he was on a skiing holiday but never saw him again. 

It was a lovely car , would have changed the pink , great at the time and we all know how much those cars rose in value , big opportunity missed, spent my money on a Vauxhall . Cei la vie 😀

 

Edited by Pilgrim65
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Was sometime in the early 1970s, saw an ad in the local newspaper for a 1930 Model A Sedan Delivery (not the panel) for sale.  Car was in Fallbrook, CA, which at the time was about as far back in the woods as you could get in San Diego County.  Stopped in that evening on my way to a job in Long Beach, car was unrestored, very straight and 100% there and original.  Guy wanted $1500 which at the time was way more than my 'discretionary budget' as a young married working guy.  Called my wife and told her about it and that I just couldn't spend the $1500.   She called the seller the next day, on her own, to offer to buy it at the $1500--but it had already sold.  Saw what I believed was the same car years later at a show, it had been restored, blue with black fenders, apparently a multi-show winner.  Shortly thereafter I bought my 34 Plymouth PE sedan, which I still have today, and which started me down the road to my fixation with 34 Mopars--so sometimes it all works out for the best.  By the way, still have the same wife today as well--again, sometimes it all works out for the best.

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Wow there are many such memories on both sides. Many old lost buying opportunities due to lack of funds that seem insignificant now but unobtainable at the time. Two examples: a 1930 something Rolls Royce town car limousine with open driver compartment and red velvet upholstered passenger area, nice original running condition with a leaky water pump for $1,800. and a 1966-67 Lamborghini Miura just sitting on the lot of a bargain basement used car dealer, nice exterior but unknown mechanicals for $5,000. If only...

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Lots I wish I had bought and lots I wish I had kept.

 

If I had to choose one I wish I had kept, it's a 65 Mustang 2+2 - 289/auto and factory AC.

 

The one that got away wasn't a car - it was a 53 Merc flathead with Paxton supercharger.  The Paxton had a little use on it but was in mint condition.  The Merc was complete and brand new - it had been correctly stored and was not frozen.  This was the late 60s - seller had acquired the package to build a racer that never materialized.  He wanted $400 for everything - about $2,900 now but still a good deal.  Unfortunately, I was a poor student at the time and couldn't afford it.

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Not a car story but memorabilia.  Went to a public sale near Hamburg PA in the mid-1980s.  A well know restaurant and one time gas station on old Rt 22 was having a barn sale of excess items to help with a planned remodeling project.  The barn had lots of great old collectibles including signs, gas globes etc.  Most sold for more than I could or wanted to pay.  I stayed to the end of the sale hoping something would come up that I would like at a price I wanted to pay.  It did, they found a stack of tall Fisk tire signs and offered them by the piece.  I hung in and was the high bidder for the first one sold, my high bid was $18.  The auctioneer asked how many I wanted since I was the high bidder and dumbly said just one.  I figured that’s all I would need for my garage.  Boy that was a dumb mistake I still regret today.  Here is a photo of the sign. 

 

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