Jeff Perkins / Mn

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

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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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Posted (edited)

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
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Posted (edited)

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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Posted (edited)

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. 

 

0CF2DA02-9883-4742-B670-F3B50EA88A0E.jpeg

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As for the car that we had that got away...there are two. 

The one I knew was my mom's Chevelle. She had this until 1990, and then my dad sold it out from under her...he didn't want to fix the floors, which had begun to rust through. This is the first vehicle I remember being in. Photo taken in 1989.  It's the best photo that exists of it, and it's blurry because I cropped 5 year old me out of it. There's only two known photos of it, both where it got caught in the background of a picture of me. The other is from the front hubcap forward only. 

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She never forgave my dad for what he did and still talks about this car to this day. It was a 4-door with blue vinyl interior, I distinctly remember being in the back seat and watching the road pass by through the hole in the floor.  

 

The other was my dad's 55 Chevrolet. He drag raced this at Dover dragstrip in the 1960s, this photo is from 1967...I still have the trophy he's holding, although in 4 pieces now. He had this stored as his parents house and they sued him to get it out of there. Terrible. I never met them or the car, them it was their choice. The car was gone before I was born, so I never had the chance to even see it. Didn't even think a photo existed until we found this one in my dad's stuff after the cancer got him. 

2vL3JMiox2zUmm.jpg

 

Unfortunately both cars have gotten super expensive so that prevented any chance of ever replacing them, even in 4-door form. I have always wanted to be able to get my mom a new Chevelle. 

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Posted (edited)
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Now I'm only allowed ONE PHOTO per day. Enjoy the photo I'll tell the story tonight. Bob 

DSCF4479.JPG Trying to post another, I'll try again tomorrow, sure takes the fun out of posting. Bob 

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Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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Lots of Mustang stories, here's mine.  Couple years ago, I found a new craigslist add for a 66 GT 'K' code 4 speed convertible for 15k.  Should have left work with cash, but I waited till after work.  I was the second guy there.  It was a really nice driver with a little bondo in the left rear quarter. Ugh.

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Back in 1965 I bought this '56 Corvette for $1200 and set off for college that fall. Met, dated, and eventually (later) married my wife while owning this car. Unfortunately in late '66 I t-boned a station wagon at 35 mph and never had a chance to touch the brakes. I was told that parts were not available and I was slated to join the Navy in a few months anyway, so my Dad sold it to a local repair shop after I shipped off.

Always thought that the repair shop was crooked, but at that young age, what did I know. Regardless, I tried to find out who bought it from the repair shop while in the Navy and never could get a solid lead. The great memories and the performance of the '63, 327 375 hp 3-speed engine is something I will always regret losing. 

It had a hardtop, but this is the only surviving photo.

Scan 132530015.jpg

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image.thumb.png.b73a503d664d5bb7bc29804231f3fb10.png     Back in May, 1967 I was involved with a small, new nationwide car club.....in fact I was the co-founder with David Phillips.  It was called The Contemporary Historical Vehicle Assoc. and covered cars 1928-1948.  At the time half of those cars had no collector club to be part of since AACA had a cut-off at 1935, except for some recognized Classic cars.  Dave and I had decided to have our first-ever "National Meet" in Baltimore that month.  It turned out to be very successful and we had cars from several distant states attend, but first I need to regress.

     There was a relatively new member, #123, who wrote and said he was coming.  Now, I really didn't expect that to happen. After all, he lived in southern California.  About three days before the Meet, I was out in front of my house cutting the grass when suddenly the longest Buick I had ever seen rolled to a stop in front of the house.  It looked to me like it stretched from one side of my 75-foot lot to the other (which of course it didn't really).  Out of the car stepped Olin Alfred Newman, who would, for awhile, become famous in our circles as "Al Newman".   Al turned out to be a lanky, gregarious guy with a big smile.  The car?  Oh, it was a 1941 Buick Series 91 Limited....all black....and, it had made the trip in three days!  As Al would say, "not too shabby, huh?"

     I was 27  or 28  years old at the time and it never even occurred to me that the car was only 26 years old.  I'd never ever seen a car like it before and it really seemed old to me for such a trip.  Since Al was such an affable guy we immediately became friends.  He ate with us, and spent three nights at our house.  His car was the star of the show of course.  After the Show, we had a big party and club meeting at my house, in the basement rec room.  And then, on Sunday morning, he was gone.  He drove back to Los Angeles again in three days, stopping to pick up his daughter at his mother's house in Pittsburgh.  Al became the main man out west alright!  He was a guy who burned the candle at both ends and a hard driver in more ways than one.  He wasn't home long before he'd gotten together the SOCAL Region of CHVA.   He drove that old Limited up and down the West Coast, attending many events and selling the idea of CHVA.  He also helped start a second CHVA Region outside of San Francisco.

      Over the years he had some ups and downs, a 5-way bypass, and much more, but we had another big Meet in Baltimore in 1971, after the club had really started to grow.  By this time he had re-married a lady with, I think, four kids.  Al wrote me and said he was coming, kids and all.  Sure enough he arrived in that big old Limited on Friday before the show and we put them all up at our house.  The 1941 Limited was again the star of the show.  In 1973 my wife and I took our new car out to California on a five week vacation trip which eventually ended up at Al's house for the SOCAL Show.  The SOCAL show was held at The Cars of the Stars Museum.  Al had left the food company where he had worked for years and gone to work with Cars of the Stars who rented cars to the movie industry.

      I only saw Al one more time after that.  Howard Scotland, a friend of mine from Baltimore, and I flew out to an AACA Meet.  SOCAL had their Meet and dinner the next day.  Howard and I stopped by Al's new house in Fullerton.  By then Al had a low mileage 1940 Buick Series 80 that he used sometimes in the TV series "Wonder Woman".  The old '41 Limited and a beat up '42 Limited shared the storage area.  I asked Al about the cross country 41 Limited and he said it was temporarily broken down.  Then, about ten years later word came to me that Al had died in an accident while unloading cars in Hawaii for some movie.  I never saw the '41 Limited again.  By that time I had satisfied my thirst for it by buying my own '41 Limited and having it restored to AACA Senior status.  I never knew what had happened to the old cross country travel car.

     Well, many years later an ad turned up in Hemmings for a car I was sure was that car.....the rear window venistion blinds gave it away.  I called the guy and sure enough he said it was Al's car.  His Grandfather, who was a friend of Al's at Cars of the Stars, had bought the car from Al's daughter and taken it to Oklahoma when he retired.  Upon his death the family had passed it to his Grandson in California.  As it turned out the Grandson had put it up as collateral for a business loan.  The loan company had the title and he had the car.  I tried everything to get that car, but just couldn't figure out how to get the car together with the title, gave up, and it disappeared again.

     In 2018, during the Sentimental Tour in Mississippi, the car turned up on eBay, in Kansas City.  The loan company had put it up for auction, and this guy, a small car dealer in Kansas City and made the only bid on it.  I talked to him for almost two months, but I couldn't go out there, and he wouldn't let anybody I knew in Kansas City look at it for me.  His price was out of sight at first, but I eventually got him down to within $50 or $100 of what I was willing to pay, but I had to see that title and wanted one in his name, not the loan company or whoever.  He wouldn't get one.  Then, the car suddenly disappeared again.

     Yesterday, I got an email on this website from a man in Texas asking if I was the man who had history on the car.  He said he didn't really want to sell it.  Amazed, I wrote him back and now we've become pen pals almost.  He finally admitted he would sell it for the right price.  It's back up to that first Kansas City price, but that's not the worst of it.  Since the deal in California I bought a nice original 1941 Buick Roadmaster, helped convince the CCCA the series 70 was also a Full Classic car and spent myself blind restoring it to what I kind of hope will someday be AACA prize-winning condition car.  I've turned 81 and also undergone open heart surgery last summer, a pacemaker last December, and now the collapse of the stock market.  All those guys from the 1960s and 1970s have gotten older too, and many have gone on.  Few would ever remember the feats of Al Newman now.  That kind of takes away from the story, but for me, if things were different I'd buy it and just look at the old bird resting in my garage calling out so many good memories.  End of story, my friends, I guess that old, black, 1941 Buick Limited limo qualifies as the one that got away for me.  I've had lots of fun and memories in this hobby and I guess, as Al would say, "that's not too shabby."

 

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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That's a great story, Dynaflash.

 

Mine?, Well in '68 I caught the ferry to Tasmania for the first time, driving my Bugeye Sprite. Kind of like going to Newfoundland, only further. I went down for the apple picking. While there, I attended the motor races at Symmond's Plains and Baskerville. At the latter meet there was a Lotus 7 competing, and it was offered for sale after the meeting for $475. Complete, on a trailer, with all spares, lights etc to road register it. And that was my dream car, at the time. I had the readies, but eventually the logistics of being an itinerant worker in an island State, and a long way from my parents place on the mainland got the better of me. In hindsight I should have somehow fitted a tow-bar to the Sprite, I guess. For reference, the eight year old Sprite was worth about $700 at the time.

 

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Didn't happen to me but a guy here restored a 1914 Overland in the 60's then sold it shortly thereafter. Guy who bought it never drove it, simply parked in his garage. Then 40 odd years later the guy who restored it gets a call from the now deceased owners wife "Come and take it way". Which he did. He lightly re-restored it, got it running and now enjoys it the second time round.

 

14 Overland.JPG

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I definately have had a few get away.  The one that may fit hete best was my friend Ray's 1930 Lincoln Model L coupe.  It actually looked more like a victoria, a nice look.  In some ways this Full Classic looked like an overgrown Model A, fairly simple interior, not a lot of flash.  Especially compared to it's 30 Caddy stablemate.  Aluminum body, V8.  Nice interior, a complete runner.  Well Ray wanted to thin out a bit.  

 

Occasional forum poster Daytona ended up with the Caddy.  I hemmed and hawed too long.  Another forum member, Steve Pughes out west bought "my Lincoln"...  

 

I understand they are not big money cars like the K series but I really did like it, and Ray would have made it easy financially.  You can't buy them all.. 

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In 1971, when I was 17, I was visiting my uncle in Norfolk, VA. He had a couple used car lots where he sold and bought cars from the Navy boys. When he heard that I was getting a motorcycle for $600. He took me around back and showed me a 1960 Red & White Corvette. Said if I promised to not get a bike, he’d sell me the Vette for the $600. I told him that I could promise not to get one this year, maybe for 5 years but I couldn’t promise I’d Never get one. He said that was the deal, so I walk away. I’ve stared at them ever since!

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, yachtflame said:

 

 

4 hours ago, yachtflame said:

In 1971, when I was 17, I was visiting my uncle in Norfolk, VA. He had a couple used car lots where he sold and bought cars from the Navy boys. When he heard that I was getting a motorcycle for $600. He took me around back and showed me a 1960 Red & White Corvette. Said if I promised to not get a bike, he’d sell me the Vette for the $600. I told him that I could promise not to get one this year, maybe for 5 years but I couldn’t promise I’d Never get one. He said that was the deal, so I walk away. I’ve stared at them ever since!

With you on that one ,  58 /62 corvette top of my dream list 

pilgrim

Edited by Pilgrim65 (see edit history)

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