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Question of the Week: Tells us about the car that got away

I was 17 in 1984 and found a 1966 Belvedere hardtop for sale in the paper. I called and arranged to see the car. Drove out to see it and it was right up my alley. 440 6 pack 4 speed, 3.90 Posi. The paint was an ugly metallic green, but the car had no rust and a nice white bucket seat interior. The owner took me for a ride and I was hooked. He was asking $3500. I told him I’d think about it and call him. Called the next day and said I’d give him $3500 for it. He said another guy had looked at the car and offered $3500, too. I said I’ll go $3700. We went back and fourth up to $4200 and I finally gave up. I bought my '71 Nova the next week. A week after that the guy called and said the other guy couldn’t come up with the money and I could have it for $3500. I regret that I didn’t take the money with me and buy it on the spot.

I was 18 years old and my cousin told me he had a corvette for sale that he had owned for years and didn’t drive it and it had been stored in his grams garage. My dad took me to see it as I did not yet own a car. This was 40 years ago. My cousin said it had a Pontiac rearend and when my dad heard that he said this is nothing you want and told me I should not waste my money on a mismatched car. Turns out it was a 1967 stingray! I’ll never know what I could have had but I sure know I wish I did.

Back in '71 I was looking for “the most perfect Corvair” and had taken out a want ad to that effect. I got a reply, offering me the car I eventually bought, but not before I had come across a '66 Corsa turbo convertible, new clutch, clean with just two small imperfections the size of a quarter on the rear carpet and front end panel by the headlight. With just 44,000 miles on it, it was beautiful. But it was Marina Blue in and out, and I couldn’t drive a stick. So not being a “blue” person and it being a manual, I took a chance and passed it up.

But within a week I had gotten the aforementioned reply. The owner had a '67 Monza convertible, automatic with factory air. But what sold it was that it was an automatic AND it was maroon (my favorite color)!

Today I probably would have been farther ahead with the Corsa, but I feel I didn’t do too badly, as I still have that '67, after 48 years and counting. What makes the difference is that I will probably never sell it, but the Corsa probably would have been sold by now.

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It is hard now to find them without factory air
Indeed, that’s the missing piece that makes my boy’s ride be an extremely fair weather ride around these parts. With a black interior, and sitting in the sun at long lights, it is quick to fry as an occupant in the vehicle.
I remember reading somewhere the presence of air conditioning on a corvair adds about 1000 to the value, so well done there.

The power glide tranny can be a bit temperamental, or, at least his is.

When I was in High School I had the opportunity to buy a 1968 Buick GS 40. My girlfriend’s father was friends with Gordon Johncock the 2 time Indy 500 winner. The car was Gordon’s and it was at my girlfriends because of the exposure there property gave it. It was on M 46 in Michigan, the main trunk across the center of Michigan going east to west. Anyway, I was stupid and didn’t realize how special that car was. The big problem was that it was yellow and white. No 17 year old country boy would ever buy a yellow and white car. It is a rare thing to have the opportunity to buy a racing legend’s daily driver. We went for rides occasionally and he could scare the absolute shit out of you.

I have two. The first was my '69 Sport Satellite. It was a 383 car that had a 440 sitting in its place. Car had a 727 Buckets, console, splapstick, rallye gauge package, and 8 3/4 sure grip diff. That car was FAAAASSSST, but couldn’t take a curve to save its life.

The second one was my 1979 Camaro. 327 340 horse, four speed. I sold one to go to college, and the other to move to Georgia.

In 1971 it was a 1967 Hemi 4 speed GTX that had light collision damage on the RF. The fellow that owned it, the next door neighbor had lost his drivers license for drunken driving and it could have been bought for $500. I was 20 years at the time. By this time the insurance companies had really wised up and were charging crazy money to insure hi performance cars - especially with 4 speed transmissions. I could have afforded the car, but not the insurance. Had to pass !!!

In 1967 I was serving in the USAF at a fighter base in Germany. A fellow pilot was being returned to the US suddenly because his wife had come down with a serious illness. He asked me if I would buy his car because he had to leave quickly. I asked him what he had. It was a 1955 Mercedes 300SL gullwing coupe. I am not a Mercedes fan but I thought I could help out a friend. I drove it on the Autobahn and liked the way it handled but the rear end was a little noisy. It had just been to the factory where a rebuilt engine was installed. He had just had it painted Silver and a new interior installed.
I asked the price and was floored when he said $3500. I was only earning $500 a month. I said I had to pass on it but wished him luck. I think he sold it to a local. 6 months later I returned to the US and brought back a 60 Porsche 356B coupe at a price of $1800. Sold that and bought a 1959 Ferrari 250GT coupe for $1400. Oh, the good old days!!!

Never mind. I brain farted. Already posted the two I let get away. If it’s this bad at 45…

The year was 1973 and a local dealer had just taken in a beautiful 1958 Dodge300 two door. Red with a white top and matching interior. The dealer only wanted $300 for it. I took my dad to see it and begged him for the money. He said no because of big v8 engine and ever increasing gas prices not to mention Insurance. That was a hard car to walk away from.