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Why Do People Do This?


Guest James Conkwright
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Guest James Conkwright

A few weeks ago I was drving through the country when I came across a HUGE field of Antique cars. Corvettes,Packards, Cadillacs, Buicks etc. Everything you could possibly think off. As you would expect I had to pull in. What I found was a 1950 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon, 1957 Cadillac Eldo Seville, 1957 Cadillac Eldo Conv, 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham ($$$$$$$). After listing these few you can imagine what this guy has. These cars have been sitting for about 10 years and are still able to be saved. But he wont sell them! He has approx 3000 cars sitting and his comment was "Im going to fix that one for my wife." The Mustang he was refering to had a 6 inch round tree growing in the trunk. The man is crazy and hes letting precious american cars go to waste! He wont sell anything...I dont understand.<P>James<BR>50 Buick Special<BR>58 Cad Conv<BR>71 Monte Carlo

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The other part of the story [i can imagine] is that this fellow thinks the cars are getting more valuable every day. It really is a shame. Who knows what drum this guy is marching to, but the old car hobby - like life in general - has lots of characters. My question has always been, though; were they eccentric BEFORE they came into the hobby or AFTER. I sure hope it was before!

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There's a similar guy in Southern Missouri. Teresa and I were out driving around on a nice summer day and just like you, saw this huge field full of old cars. We thought it was a bone yard and at the time we had a '57 Coue deVille. It needed the lock mechanism for the glove box door. Well, we stopped and rang the door bell and upon explaining to this guy what I was after he replied "These cars aren't for sale, I'm restoring them". He had like 2 acres of cars. I remember that there were rolling hills on this property with nothing but old cars as far as the eye can see. Then he 'lead' us to our car and made sure we left his property (we thought we were going to get shot to be honest with you).<P>First, where do these guys get the money to buy all these cars, because I have no doubt they ARE crazy, and second what are they thinking? That one day they'll wake up and all those cars will be as new and worth a billion dollars then they can retire???<P>It makes my blood boil because I know that nothing I can say will change they're point of view that "they are restoring those cars". The only hope is - as sad as this may sound - that when they pass on the cars will be auctioned and maybe they'll still be in good enough shape to restore.<P>Here's another one. I worked for a while as a flight simulation engineer and of course the trainer was on an Air Force base in the middle of nowhere. Altus, OK to be exact. I would find myself driving into Texas on occasion and there I saw several mid-fifties Cadillacs just sitting in a field that looked to pertain to no one. Teresa and I were through those parts recently and five years later the cars are still there.<P>OK. Enough complaining. I'll stop.

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Lets send this guy and others like him on week long cruises and then while they are gone have a rumage sale and leave the guy a check for what we have rescued so we are not tynically stealing.

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One of my friends in the Buick Club has a gorgeous '53 Skylark and would love to obtain another to restore. We know an individual with a couple of Skylarks, as well as numerous very collectible Buicks of the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. We have never seen the cars belonging to this individual, because he never gets them on the road. All of them, however, are being "restored". My friend inquired about buying one of the Skylarks, but the individual replied that he could not possibly sell one of them because he is restoring them.<P>We concluded that some people just like to keep "bragging rights" associated with owning desirable cars, regardless of the fact that they will never restore, drive, or show the cars.<P>Similarly frustrating are those individuals who hoard parts that they will never need or use. Why? It makes it more difficult for others to restore their cars. If it's important to the person to have the only one around, then they will do everything possible to keep it that way. I honestly think that some of these guys would rather "cut up" a perfectly restorable and desirable car than to let someone else have the pleasure of owning it.<P>Yep, there are some pretty eccentric folks in our hobby.

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one never REALLY knows the TRUE nature of the ownership of these type of abandons. Sometimes (in the past) they were used as collateral for small loans at the local bank. I know of several situations where this occured especialy during the 60's and 70's. In some cases these cars NEVER were legaly the farm owners to begin with but were rather cars traded back and forth between friends at one time unti l it broke down or something ... one of those 'who can freeze who out ' the longest strategies and time just continued to pass. This was especialy tru during the 50's, 60's and 70's when 3 or 4 or more families of certain ethnic sectors of our society were known to share a High End new car.

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Well,<BR> Maybe I can shed some light having run some junkyards for owners like you found here I'll tell you what's going on. They get all sorts of guys asking for this and that and more than 80% of the time no one either comes back or won't pay the asking price or shoots a low offer. These guys get sick of that, say for exmaple its a 53 skylark conv. rusty and beat but all there, you offer $500.00,they watch the car books so do you really think he'll talk to you.. and further what would YOU sell something like that for? Yep, they too want a fair price and yes everyone want's a deal.<BR> I also have seen where guys come in and ask to look over only to come back and steal parts later another reason why these guys chase people out.<BR> For the guys who know the people who have this stuff you know why they don't sell. Don't forget they have time invested it getting the car, paying taxes on yards, probably dealing with the town,the D.E.P. and dealing with some who "just needs that one piece of chrome they have been looking all over for"...but can't scratch up the price...The junkman's attitude is then let it sit end of story.<BR> Its just business you wouldn't expect Dell computer to sell a good computer for $25.00 and neither will these guys "give" away anything any more than you or I would.<p>[ 04-15-2002: Message edited by: Scott W. Taylor ]

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I ran into that a few years ago here in Indianapolis. An old guy had the woods behind his house (he had a farm) full of old cars. There were hundreds of them. He had cars with big trees growing up through the engine compartment too. People would try to buy a car and none were for sale. I never knew about this car until he died. His family hired a crusher to come in and crush everything. Fortunately, some car guys made a deal with the crusher to open the place for a couple of days. I spent a day in there pulling parts of of at least a dozen 56 Belairs. After a couple of days, they were all crushed; and so were we.

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Concerning the above story....and the guy died without getting a dime. All that time he could have been earning interest on the money and ended up with a lot more than any possible income from a good car, allowed to rust to zero value out in the woods. But on a similar subject, I've been trying to buy a Buick convertible from a fellow for 35 years, ... believe it... it's become an obsession. If I ever get it, I'll go at least $10,000 (my last offer) in the hole trying to restore it (it'll never be worth what it'll cost to restore it); so, does that make a lot more sense than the guy with the cars in the woods? grin.gif" border="0

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Similar story, I tried to buy a 51 Buick convertible from a fellow about 20 years ago. the price he gave me was outlandish for what was there, basically a body, frame, and top bows. About seven or eight years later he approached me and told me that he should have just given me the car because since then it sunk into the ground from the blocks and the floor and frame were now gone. I would have given him at the time what was a fair price, but not the figure that he wanted which was what a running #3 was going for. Another one lost to the elements.

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I have a 76 centry special with a 403 and a 74 camaro z/28 both in really rough shape. I dont know what goes through these guys minds but I am just waiting to scrounge up enough cash to fix them up. I keep the buick around because I just love it, and the camaro has rare options

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I can tell you from experience on this board, its hard to get a reply. <P>I put my 55 on here for sale and havent gotten a reply, not even a snort of derision for the asking price.<P>And the ONLY inquiry Ive gotten anywhere has been from a guy who wants to derby it.

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The flip side to this story is the guy who puts a plain-vanilla mid-60's olive green four-door post sedan up for sale, but wouldn't DREAM of taking less than $9K-$10K for it. In reality, it has NO collector value, may or may not be a rust bucket, may or may not be running or missing parts ("I had A/C but took it off years ago") and yet, he looks at the TOP price in the CPA book or Hemmings (maybe the number is for a four-door HARDTOP, not a sedan, or a convertible) and won't accept one dime less. The car may be a nice old car that would be fun to own, drive and work on, but it is actually worth between $1,500-$4,000 at the MOST. You see them at swap meets and on ebay all the time. <P><BR>Oh well, when these old excentrics die, their kids sell their "prize possession" for ten or twenty cents on the dollar--you know, those incredible bargains someone gets every once in a while? <P>Just be patient and wait...<P>Joe

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