I’ve accepted that I have an acute talent for losing hideous money on cars, but this scenario is extensive and ends in just plain blackmail.
Let’s go back to 1998 when I decide to build a Rat rod ’28-’29 Model A roadster pickup after scoring a complete, bone-stock rolling chassis and drivetrain that a neighbor had liberated from a barn-find ’29 coupe on the way to ruining it with a small-block and a bunch of bellybutton billet. Anyway, I buy the roller for $1, 000. Then I find a Model AA flatbed truck onto which someone has put a decent roadster cab, so there’s another $1, 500. The neighbors gripe about the monstrosity on the trailer in front of the house, so I jerk the sheetmetal from the AA, sell the chassis to a guy for $100, then spend more than that on gas to deliver the thing to his house. The slope has begun.
Rounding out the roadster pickup fiasco, I buy some $400 doors from eBay Motors and a vintage Thomas two-pot aluminum intake for the banger from a swap meet for $150. Then I notice an ad in the Recycler for a Model A roadster cowl, which I naturally go look at, and naturally buy since it’s cleaner than my original one. Another $750 gone. On a road trip a year later, I finally find an A truck bed for $100 and some dash rails for $50. That’s $3, 850 by now, but I figure I’ve still got a few things to sell off, so it’s OK.
Wrong. I get the job at HOT ROD, life spins out of control, more neighbors gripe, and the pile of roadster parts needs to leave the driveway. Long story short, I end up trading the Model A for a pretty clean ’65 Chevy longbed with a 235ci six and a swapped-in five-speed. At least it moves under its own power, and I should be able to sell it more easily than a massive Rat rod project and maybe even come out close to even.
No chance. The truck gets stolen before I even register it in my name. No insurance, so I’m out the $3, 850, but manage to sell my extra roadster cowl for only a $350 loss, so that puts me at just $3, 500 in the red.
Six months later I get a call: The ’65 Chevy has been recovered, meaning it was scraped off the side of the road after the lowlife who stole it (then painted it brown with a brush) rear-ended someone at about 300 mph. I visited the impound lot, realized there was only about a square foot of salvageable sheetmetal, turned the truck over to the tow yard for lien sale, and didn’t think about it again.
Photo by daniel cristian on Unsplash