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Hiding in the back yard


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I've known the owner of this Charger since about 1975.  He bought it a couple of years before that.  At that time, it was dark green with a black vinyl top.  It was a running driving car when he got it, but by 1975, it wasn't running.  It sat outside for several years.  In the early 1980s, the owner had some work done to the body, and a slick-looking black paint job was applied.  The car started enjoying indoor storage at this point.

 

After ten or so years, the owner got married and moved to a place where there was no indoor storage for this car.  So, it has been sitting outside for pretty close to thirty years now.  I go by now and then to see if it is still there.  Although I'm still friends with the owner, we haven't had a conversation in over 15 years.  Life changes.....

 

But, it's a shame this is happening to such a collectible car.  I realize that many, if not most, on this forum may not be interested in cars of this type.  They aren't my main interest, either.  But, I'm pretty sure that there are some that are present who can appreciate how desirable a car of this type can be to those so inclined.  

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For years I passed a 1957 Chevy Nomad that was parked outside next to a garage.  Finally after what seemed like 30 years it disappeared.  This is in PA where moisture and temperature would not be kind to a car like that.

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Great looking car, I like that era, but not particularly mopars. Theres a early 70's challenger down the road from me as well as a 69 camaro. They are both in plain sight and I can only imagine the owners are tired of people asking if they are for sale. Theres a 79 formula firebird close by as well. It has been parked for many, many years. Typical story, I saw someone in the yard one day, stopped to see if it was for sale. Guy said 'let me go ask my dad, its his car'. Reply was, No, He bought it new and is going to restore it someday. Car is slowly rotting into the ground, but hey, its his car and if the thought of a future resto keeps him happy then so be it.

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For me it was a 57 Caddy with shiny top and suicide doors that sat in a gas station for years. Tried to buy it several times but was always rebuffed. Years later I saw it at Auburn - still had a crack in one vent window.

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When I was in high school there was a 71 mach 1 sitting in the weeds behind a house, at that time the car was only 9 or 10 years old. Always on the prowell for a hot rod I stopped and asked if it was for sale. The cranky old owner told me that for all of the people that had asked to buy, that it must be worth something. I passed that car for years on my travels watching it slowly sink into the ground until it finally dissapeared.

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Sorry to point it out again, but there are millions of similar “never-going-to-happen” stories like this in the backyards, barns, driveways, fields, garages, etc. around the globe and has been over hundred years.

And no matter how much they’re romanticized, most will eventually end up getting scrapped.
Sad perhaps, but that’s reality.

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I suspect some people do indeed want to restore their rotting, old desirable cars. They just can't ever seem to get ahead financially to do so. They keep hanging on to the dream, not ready to give up and let it go. It seems every time things start to look good, something happens again, forcing you back into debt. Maybe health costs? Aging parents maybe? Or another family member needing financial help? We should never give up on our dreams.  I too don't like seeing a great old car rotting in the weather. However I will try and give the benefit of the doubt to the owner. They may have the best intentions. The  owner could indeed have legitimate reasons.

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4 minutes ago, keithb7 said:

I suspect some people do indeed want to restore their rotting, old desirable cars. They just can't ever seem to get ahead financially to do so. They keep hanging on to the dream, not ready to give up and let it go. It seems every time things start to look good, something happens again, forcing you back into debt. Maybe health costs? Aging parents maybe? Or another family member needing financial help? We should never give up on our dreams.  I too don't like seeing a great old car rotting in the weather. However I will try and give the benefit of the doubt to the owner. They may have the best intentions. The  owner could indeed have legitimate reasons.

Leaving it sitting outside for ten or more years is a 'two steps' back approach.    First priority should be finding cover for it to slow the effects of weather deterioration, as the longer it sits outside in the elements, the more costly it will be to restore.  For example, the interior will survive better under cover and all that may be required is a good cleaning of the original components, and not a restoration of every item to add to the costs.  Say it has a perfect uncracked dash, and it sits outside and the where sun destroys it, count on $1-$3K for a repop, depending on the make.

 

Craig 

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Being parked under a tree like that is probably the best place possible to store an old car.

The leaves and pine needles will get into every nook and cranny and stay moist thus protecting the metals.

About the only place that would be better is if you get lucky enough to find one that is completely entombed in briars and not visible to those pesky shoppers.

I love pulling those out and getting all those blackberry vines that have intertwined just about every possible growth path removed. This usually helps save the upholstery.

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I have a 78 Ford Pinto.

It sat next the driveway for 19 years, 1990 to 2009, cause the garage was full of cool stuff.

Every year several people stopped by, can I buy the Pinto ?

Not for sale.

One guy in particular stopped by several years in a row.

I was thinking of selling to this guy, got the Pinto running and drove down the street.

A flood of memories came racing back.  The Pinto is restored now, looking nice as ever, I had to kick a Lincoln out of the garage to make room.

Sitting outside for 19 years does a car no good.

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Had an elderly lady that used to come to the hardware store driving her husbands 1963 Nova SS.  He had wanted the car for a long time, he passed away a year after they got the car.  Looked like brand new but that was in 1981.  She said she would never sell it because she loved it when the teenage boys would ask her if they could look at it.  I was always a Mustang guy but for a Chevy, it looked pretty good, I think it was a 283cid?

 

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I think that the SS package was mostly an appearance group.  Wikipedia says the 6 was the engine choice in 63 with a 283 in 64 and of course more later.  GM Heritage says the 194 was it as well I suspect 3 speed manual or powerglide.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Chevy_II_/_Nova

 

https://www.gmheritagecenter.com/gm-vehicle-collection/1963_Chevrolet_Nova.html

Edited by plymouthcranbrook (see edit history)
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I would think this Pontiac Safari would have too much value to be relegated to a lawn ornament behind a body shop, but what do I know. Obviously, it would be very expensive to restore back to original, but you'd think that maybe a street rodder would be lusting after it. Oh, well.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, TAKerry said:

That Pontiac is probably not worth the cost of a restoration (but how many cars actually are?). Yes its rare, but as typical they dont garner the attention or prices of their Chevrolet cousins.

Regardless of make & model, at least 9 out 10 vintage cars are “not worth the cost of a restoration” and likely reason why at least 8-9 out of 10 of them never receive a proper or even close to thorough restoration.

 

For example, I’d imagine attempting to properly restore the pictured Pontiac or its less expensive, but more popular cousin, even if the carcass of the project was free, one would likely be under water by the time all missing parts were obtained and no labor costs were ever recorded throughout the endeavor, which in the case like this I could easily see amounting to at least couple of thousand hours.

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"That Pontiac is probably not worth the cost of a restoration " prolly just my opinion but did you realize that is a Safari wagon, the Pontiac equivalent of a Chevvy Nomad ?

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20 hours ago, padgett said:

"That Pontiac is probably not worth the cost of a restoration " prolly just my opinion but did you realize that is a Safari wagon, the Pontiac equivalent of a Chevvy Nomad ?

Im a Pontiac guy, and certainly didnt mean to step on any toes, but yes I know what it is and have seen nice examples selling upwards of 50k,  Chevy nomads are much more popular and generally sell for more, car vs. car. My point was that it would most likely cost more to restore that car than what a finished model would be worth. Thus my comment, that most restorations cost more than the car is worth. Would I try to save that car if I had the chance, you bet I would!

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4 minutes ago, keithb7 said:

 

Is that one of those Pre-War Chrysler Woodie kit cars I keep hearing about?....Some assembly required.

I think you'll need Direct Connection with Tech Support!   Prepare to be 'on hold' longer than it will take to restore it!!

 

Craig

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11 hours ago, TAKerry said:

Would I try to save that car if I had the chance, you bet I would!

 

I thought I'd mention that I actually took that picture of the Safari, and it's in my city. I was walking home after dropping one of my vehicles off at a shop and was very surprised to come across it during my walk. If you or anyone else would like more info on it, let me know and I'll PM you the contact information. Unfortunately, I can't exactly remember the name of the body shop, but I can drive up there easy enough and find out what it is. I'm pretty sure I remember the location.

 

I absolutely agree with you that it would not be economically practical to take the car from it's current condition to a full restoration. So that gets me to thinking...is it destined to spend the next 100 years in that condition? It was hard to get a good viewing from where I was, but though it's basically a shell, I don't think it's a rusty shell (no big areas of rust through.) If economics make it unrestorable for the indefinite future, would it matter or not if it was crushed and melted down? I personally could never do that to a car like that, but it's a question worth asking.

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Thanks for the offer but my hands are full right now. I am the same way, I think they all should be saved. I have a rusted/burnt shell sitting beside my barn that I havent had the nerve yet to send it to the crusher. I posted a couple of days ago a Malibu that I found that seems to be rusted on every corner, however it still looks to me like a car that could be saved. After looking up some sheet metal prices (a pair of quarters for $4k!) I know I wont be the one saving it. BUT, it does look like the trim is good for someone that might be looking for those kind of things.

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