Cars for the rest of us.

Clunker Vision and Buried Treasure

Jun 14, 13 • by Tony Cerulle • Vintage Cars3 CommentsRead More »

xray_specsI bet we all have a wish list of cars we’d like to own someday, right? If you’re like me you probably have a few you’ve spotted in yards and garages and are keeping an eye on them for “someday.”

Although it seems that the same week you tell your friend about that Hemi ‘Cuda you saw in a back yard is the same week it disappears, let’s tempt fate and talk about our hidden treasures here amongst friends. It’s a pretty safe bet no one here will know where these cars are so there’s little chance of having them sniped away from us. I’ll go first;

The Boss 302


In 1980 my brother was looking for a winter beater. Knowing he had a fondness for early Mustangs our father mentioned a co-worker with an old Mustang with “the big boss engine” that had been sitting for years. We flipped out thinking it was a Boss 429 but it turned out it was “only” a Boss 302. Still, quite a find!

It was burnt orange with a black interior, rear window louvers, no shaker scoop, AM-8 track radio with factory door speakers, 2nd owner since 1971, (supposed) 4.11 Detroit locker and 39,000 miles! It was this guy’s daily driver til 1976 when he stripped the threads of the last spark plug hole on the driver’s head.

Hearing that the stock TRW pistons had a propensity to crack he decided to pull the engine to have it rebuilt. He’d got it running but hadn’t driven it since the rebuild and was thinking about selling. He just wanted to take her out “one more time” before letting go though.

Well, in 2013 it’s still sitting there in his driveway. My brother went by a year or so ago and spoke to his wife and though she’d love to see it gone the story is still the same. Amazingly it’s not a rotted hulk despite being outside it’s whole life. Someday…

The Trans Am

Trans Am brochure

I moved to Wakefield, Massachusetts in 1997 and around the corner from my old house there was a 1970 Trans Am sitting in a driveway. I couldn’t believe it so I went by to check it out one day and it’s a real (I checked the VIN) white with blue stripes 1970, stick shift Trans Am.

I went to the door but no one answered and by coincidence found out the owner is a co-worker of a friend of mine. My friend checked into it for me and was told “I’ll sell it but I know what it’s worth!” so I never actually got a price for it. If it was a ’71-’72 455 HO version I’d probably have bought it and got sick of it by now but you never know. I drive by it every weekend so I may rescue it from that driveway yet…

The ‘Vette

1962 Corvette

Down the street from the Trans Am is a 1962 Corvette that rarely leaves the garage. It’s red and looks pretty nice but the paint is faded. I saw it in the driveway getting a bath last year but otherwise it’s always sitting in the garage beside a late ’70s Camaro that’s in pieces.

My oldest actually goes to school with the granddaughter of the people who live there so I told him to ask what the story is with the ‘Vette. He told me I had enough cars so if I wanted another one I had to go the house myself. He wasn’t helping. Sweet boy. It’s probably too much money and I really want a ’65 if I buy an old Vette, but I would like to know what the story is with it.

The ’55 Chevy

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

This one is about 3 blocks from my house. It’s a white ’55 Chevy buried under cardboard boxes and junk in a one car, brick garage. I spotted it about five years ago and try to drive by on the chance the garage door is open to see if it’s still there.

I had a decent ’55 back in the ’80s but the original 235 was huffing oil like the Raid truck’s mosquito spray so I dumped it, but always wanted a better one.

This one has no grill and the hood is open so I’m imagining the owner was setting the valves on its radical 327 and never finished. Or he died in a racing accident, his family can’t bear to have it around and is waiting for a guy like me to buy it for $1000 and stop their pain.

In reality it’s probably a 4 door or wagon and the 6 cylinder needs a valve job that the cheap skate owner doesn’t want to pay for. You never know though…

What treasures are you sitting on?

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3 Responses to Clunker Vision and Buried Treasure

  1. Mike Eldred says:

    A guy up the road from me has a 1955 MG TF 1500 stuffed into a little lawnmower shed. It hasn’t seen the light of day for more than a dozen years, and even then he’d just wheel it out for a while, then wheel it back in.
    The shed sits on the bank of a river, and when the river flooded during Tropical Storm Irene, I figured I’d soon be able to find MG parts during walks along the river. But when I stopped and talked to him, he told me the water never reached the hubs (of those beautiful, original wire wheels). It did, however, flood the basement of his building.
    I also got the interesting story that explains why the car will probably stay where it is for a while. The TF was his first car as a teenager (imagine your first car being a TF), that he and his father bought together. He drove it through college, then had it refurbished, and drove it on and off again for many years. For several years he parked it out in front of his business as an attraction during the summer.
    Now, although it’s in very good shape with lots of original chrome, it needs another refurb. He’s at retirement age, spending more time in warmer places, and one of his kids has taken over the business where the car is located. I doubt he’ll ever be able to let it go, and I doubt it will get that refurb any time soon.
    I need another TF like I need a hole in the head, and can’t afford either, but I still stare at the closed door of that shed every time I drive by.

  2. Roger Henry says:

    In 1976, when I was 8, my uncle took me for a ride in his restored 1929 Model A Coupe. I have loved old cars ever since.

    He parked the Model A in his garage in 1980–it was smoking–a lot. It remains there today. Even though I wrote him a letter pleading him to let me buy it…it remains in that garage. Someday….

  3. Channing Greene says:

    In the mid ’70s when I was a kid living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, there was a Petty Blue Plymouth Super Bird for sale at a gas station on Pass Road. It was in great shape and running. They wanted $1500! I was about 12 at the time, but begged my mum to buy it so I could drive it when I got my license (driving age was 15, then). I told her, “That thing’ll be worth a lot of money one day.” Needless to say, she did not buy it for me. I always hoped I’d find it someday. I suspect I’ve seen it in a magazine or cross an auction block…