This was going to be a column about feelings but because men don't talk about feelings it's a column about...finances. A few months ago a Craigslist customer came to the house and bought a $10 piece of clutter from me. During his visit he spotted my 1969 Camaro deep in the garage and was immediately infatuated.
As it looked on the 4th of July 1984 after recent paint.
Oops - not infatuated...impressed. Claiming to have been on the hunt for one of these for some time he made an offer to buy it on the spot for a sum that he claimed to have available. This Camaro is far from a showpiece, honestly it's a bit world weary but it is one of only 17,000 or so Convertible Camaros made that model year so it is rare and has become somewhat collectible.
As it looks today, January 16th 2022. No it was not happy about being asked to pose on this 15 degree (Fahrenheit) day but eventually relented.
I've owned it all my adult life, bolted on all the cliche speed parts that we all did as kids like warmed over motors, different transmissions, headers, traction bars etc. I'm particularly proud of the panel of gauges I made to replace the cardboard glove compartment.
Through the ensuing decades I've had countless adventures in it, most enabling me to live my life to its fullest and in at least one instance undeniably cheating death. If I were not a man I would freely admit that I love this inanimate yet handsome thing that's been a part of me for so long but instead I have to say I appreciate its design and I'm thoroughly knowledgeable of its history and capabilities.
Not being in a pressing financial situation at the moment it was easy to politely but firmly make clear to my customer that the car was not for sale and I wished him good luck in his search. My wish evidently being denied he stayed in touch with me. Over the course of months this included several voicemails and two uninvited visits to leave messages in the driveway reminding me that he was still interested.
I'd always assumed I would have this car for the rest of my driving life but if I were able to let it go, here was a dedicated buyer who would likely overlook the idiosyncrasies of an old pony car that has seen some hard use. Idiosyncrasies that would not escape the eyes of a trained appraiser but would likely be lost in the rosy vision of this gentleman, who had become somewhat of a pest. It's been said that every man has his price and being a man, I began to wonder if I had one, and if so what it might be.
A thorough search on Bring A Trailer revealed there were exactly zero 1969 Camaro convertibles being offered for sale. The history of the few past sales on record showed closings at staggering amounts, enough to justify no longer having this delicate, finicky, rattle-ly machine taking up a full third of my available garage space. Using those completed listings as comparables I had broken through a barrier: I had arrived at my price. It took more gumption than I would've predicted but I made the call to invite the man over to see the car up close and chat.
I had nothing (financially) to lose and everything (financially) to gain but it was still a difficult meeting for me. Something akin to modeling the family pet for sale because pet food is a recurring liability with no profitability.
When I stated my price his expression told me we were worlds apart and, numbers be damned, I'd never been so content to lose a sale. So after all the angst/I mean internal conflict the final outcome is my delicate, finicky, rattle-ly yet beautiful machine and I will continue to age together enjoying this unique relationship...I mean ownership.
I love it! The classic mis-match between what people think a vehicle is worth and what its actually worth in the market, paired with a "seller" having deep rooted love for their vehicle. Thank you for sharing this story @Tinkerah !
I think it's great that you considered the unthinkable of selling your car. Sometimes it's a good exercise to question yourself to see if the love is still there. Let's face it, sometimes the cars we love can just tire us out, or we reach a point where we neglect them because we don't have the time to enjoy them. I really enjoyed your post, plus it had a happy ending.
Thanks for the compliments CitationMan - the love is most certainly still here but what surprised me the most was that I was able to put a price on that love. On some level I'm disappointed in myself but then again, it would've been foolish to not follow through. And how would I really feel about no longer owning my car (it would always be "my" car no matter who's name is on the title) but having a great big number on my bank statement? Thankfully I didn't get to find out.
One of the things I see as people get older is them being set in their ways and not considering alternative paths. I run things past my oldest friends these days and say, "Am I thinking clearly on this?", or, "Am I missing something?"
I just want to hear another opinion and do not want to be rigid in my thinking.
I want to be open to the world of possibilities.
Now get that car ready to drive with the top down when there's a warm day!
Despite @Tinkerah's blatant attempts to disguise his "feelings" under the guise of "finances", I saw through and felt "the love" in there... And I'm not ashamed to admit that I've had similar feelings myself - and I suspect that most all of us have, too.
I liked the story and admire the car (although it looked better with the SS mags, IMHO 😎) - and am wishing that I knew more of those stories that it and the owner have shared over so many years. Betting there are some doozies in there!
Yeah, money in the bank is fine - albeit typically temporary - whereas enjoying some new days with an old friend and fellow adventurer seems to me to be more valuable than cash. Money, after all, is only good for one thing: spending. I'm betting that Tinkerah can think of hundreds of things that '69 Camaro Convertibles are good for!
I agree, it's great to hear these stories...I am just lucky most folks aren't interested in my 70s-90s oddball cars so I will never get offers like this!
I'm delighted you were able to relate DUB6! Oh yes there are stories. Unfortunately the best ones are the sort that I won't disclose publicly. And I'm with ya on the Cragar S/S's but I couldn't keep them from rusting and got sick of replacing them. The aluminum slots are lighter, won't rust and I've come to like the look just as much.