The car that got away.... - Ferrari Life
 
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post #1 of 20 Old 12-20-2008, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
 
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The car that got away....

I use to do these interesting threads, so here is an attempt to regain my interesting thread title. Name the car that got away from you...meaning the car that you had every intention of buying and it just got away, and you still wonder what it would've been like to own that car.

Chris

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post #2 of 20 Old 12-20-2008, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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The car that got away from me was suppose to be my first car. I found while looking at Autotrader a 1991 Acura NSX with 60-80k miles (I forgot). The car was going for $7,995 which was well out of my range. I had $6,500 in the bank. I was going to take a small loan out to get it.

The story behind the car was that it was located in New York, being stored at a dealer, because the man that owned it had moved to Europe with his family and was not going to take the car with them. The numbers for the dealer and the car transporter were legit and he was going to send the car to Detroit to a dealer so that I could test drive it and see if I liked it. It was fully loaded with a set of summer tires on aftermarket rims, and stock rims with winter tires. I made a 70 slide powerpoint presentation about the NSX to show my dad (I was 16 with a lot of time and creativity on hand). My dad agreed because everything was legitamate and there was no scam going on....until the next day. My dad called the insurance company, the quote was like $3,000 a year, which he said was too much(although my eventual first car, my Firebird, had an insurance rate of $2,500). The insurance agent pulled up autotrader and said the average 1991 Acura NSX (at the time) was over $30k so it would be a bad idea to allow me to get it....

Needless to say, I did not get the NSX, and I wish to this day I had (it would've been cheaper to run and own than my Firebird was. There also was a similar story about a BMW 325is, BMW 323i, and a '86 Corvette. I really don't like that insurance agent, he told my dad all the bad things in not allowing me to own all of those cars....One day I will prove him wrong when I but 2 BMWs, 1 Corvette, an NSX, and a F355/360.

Chris

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.-Anatole France
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post #3 of 20 Old 12-20-2008, 11:21 PM
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Slipped thru my fingers

Mine was a Miura. Selling price was agreed, but another buyer came along overbidding me. Another one was for sale in the States but got sold right before getting on plane to buy. Oh well,...ad continuum. w/ smiles Jimmy
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post #4 of 20 Old 12-21-2008, 12:07 AM
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Mine was a long time ago when I didn't have a lot of money. Somebody was selling an MG from underneath their barn for $200. I went and looked at it, it wouldn't run but it would turn over. I told them I needed to check with my wife and I would be back the next day to collect it. I came back and they had already sold it a couple hours after I left. Oh Well.

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post #5 of 20 Old 12-21-2008, 04:20 AM
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A "72" Chevelle Super Sport..Blue...White SS stripes...Showroom condition...454 (LS6?). This car remains in my top 2. I was 20 years old, 200 bucks short, and my cheap ass step father wouldn't help me out. It was 1200 and I had 1000. Probably a good thing cuz I would have killed myself in that beast. If I had survived it, imagine what that thing would be worth now. The 348 and 70-72 Chevelle are my all time favorites machines. Very differant purposes, same emotional response.

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post #6 of 20 Old 12-21-2008, 08:52 AM
 
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The car that got away was the one that hit me a few years back and never stopped to look back at what he hit !!!
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post #7 of 20 Old 12-21-2008, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basosz View Post
The car that got away was the one that hit me a few years back and never stopped to look back at what he hit !!!
Should've seen that one coming hahahaha

Chris

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.-Anatole France
"Dude, it's just math"-Pete
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post #8 of 20 Old 12-21-2008, 12:41 PM
 
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You may laugh now, but back then it was terrible. I think I actually broke a nail when I hit it (just a tad too late)
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post #9 of 20 Old 12-21-2008, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basosz View Post
You may laugh now, but back then it was terrible. I think I actually broke a nail when I hit it (just a tad too late)
Haha, I was laughing at how you responded to my question.

Chris

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post #10 of 20 Old 12-21-2008, 08:37 PM
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Cool topic.

There was a 1967 Porsche 911S that was for sale. It was the sixth "S" chassis built and was actually built at the end of 1966 (model year 1967). The car was in pieces and needed to be reassembled but was complete. My girlfriend (who is now my wife) went mental about me even contemplating the car (I was still completing my accounting articles).

The price of the car was, I kid not, ZAR30,000 (US$3,000).

That car was subsequently bought by someone else and after retoration, sold for ZAR300,000. Today that car must be worth upwards of US$100k!

Another car I would have loved was a 1992 964 Speedster. One of 14 RHD versions made. I simply didn't have the money for that car though... Would've been a great investment.
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post #11 of 20 Old 12-21-2008, 11:18 PM
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Don't laugh. this is back in 95

1980 DMC Delorean I owned a Eurosport 911sc at the time of which I had to sell first in order purchase the Delorean. I took it out for two test drives loved the car was lacking in power but I didn't care I wanted gullwing doors but it was not meant to be as he could not wait for my car to sell and ended up selling to someone else.

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post #12 of 20 Old 12-21-2008, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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Don't laugh. this is back in 95

1980 DMC Delorean I owned a Eurosport 911sc at the time of which I had to sell first in order purchase the Delorean. I took it out for two test drives loved the car was lacking in power but I didn't care I wanted gullwing doors but it was not meant to be as he could not wait for my car to sell and ended up selling to someone else.
I can't laugh...I sincerely considered purchasing a Delorean about 3 years ago, it was $9,000...too many problems with it. I don't however think I would sell a 911sc for it... What year was the 911?

Chris

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.-Anatole France
"Dude, it's just math"-Pete
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post #13 of 20 Old 12-22-2008, 09:43 PM
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It was a rare 1978 Eurosport it comes with a few upgraded options but what gives it away is an all black whale tail. That car scared the hell out of me I never got comfortable driving it, the rule for 911 is slow in fast out and let me tell ya it's a good rule that car was nuts it felt like you were driving a Beetle until you steeped on the gas then hold on for dear life.

Night life........ain't a good life........but it's my life -- Willy Nelson
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post #14 of 20 Old 12-23-2008, 05:56 AM
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There have been many that got away, but as far as my having "had every intention of buying and it just got away," . . . nope, there aren't any. I bought 'em all!

But I do have a story of a particular car that almost got away from me, a car that I wanted for about seven years before I finally bought it:

My favorite car in the world, Lotus Esprit S1 chassis no. 454H.


PART I


The story begins in 2000: I first saw 454H in a photograph on a yahoogroup for Lotus Esprit owners. It had been owned by the same gentleman for many years, he having bought it directly from the original enthusiast owner, and had been meticulously maintained over the years. It was a rare color -- Oxford Blue -- and looked, in my opinion, majestic on the Esprit S1's arrow-like form. The interior was trimmed in brown and cream leather, and just looked absolutely stunning with the blue. On top of that, it had air conditionng, which is a rare dealer/importer conversion on series 1 Esprits. I wanted it.

But the gentleman had owned it since it was only a few years old, and didn't show any signs of being ready to sell, so I could only dream of owning it, while I enjoyed my red S1 (I never liked red, just bought my particular car because it was the best condition one I could find).


Photos of 454H in the hands of its long time owner, circa 2001

So there it was, the Oxford Blue S1 . . . maybe some day I might find something similar.


Fast forward to 2003: The long-time owner of 454H was deciding to sell his car. He was restoring an Elan, and both wanted the extra cash and did not have the time and attention to devote to the blue S1. And his price -- well, it was in my opinion well underpriced. If I recall correctly, he did that on purpose to ensure that the first person to look at the car would buy it, rather than having to deal with tire kickers. I wanted to buy it, but I didn't have the money at the time. If I did, I would have bought it first and worried about selling my red S1 later. But it was a moot point; I had no money, and the car sold locally to the first person who saw it.

And so the car went.

Soon thereafter, the car's new owner appeared on the yahoogroup. As it turned out, he was as enthusiastic about it as could be, and he lavished money on it. He sure seemed to love it. It looked like he'd be keeping it for a loooong time. I could only hope that he doesn't disappear with it, and that he would take as good care of it as the previous owner. . . .


Fast forward to 2005: 454H's owner has spent well more than the car's purchase price on maintaining it. He's a perfectionist, and takes it to the British car specialist for every little thing that deviates from perfect. He's tired of spending money on the car. He offers it to the yahoo group for the same attractive price at which he bought it. No takers, as they all already have their S1s and S2s! I still have no money. Frustration. I wonder what will happen to it. Shortly thereafter, the car is on eBay. Ugh. There it goes, to never be seen again. I watch the auction . . . his reserve is ridiculously low, and it sells for stupid money.

And so the car went.


454H circa 2003


Soon thereafter, history repeated itself, and the car's new owner appeared on the yahoogroup. He was a very sharp guy who obviously knew how to take care of the car. I was glad to see that the car was in good hands. Maybe some day he would sell it . . .

Over the course of the decade, I became more and more involved with early Esprits. I serviced quite a few of them, and picked up another one, a project car, of my own. I put up a small web site with my cars, and between my two cars and my forum participation (and a little bit of word-of-mouth), people started coming to me when they wanted to buy or sell an S1.


Fast forward to 2006: In the fall of 2006, I got a random email from the car's owner. He had just quit a career as a journalist and went back to school to pursue an engineering degree. . . . and his wife had just become pregnant (not planned). He was going to have to sell the car. He recognized it was a special example, and didn't want to see it go to just anyone; he wanted to make sure it went to a good home. He knew I was connected, so he asked if I could help.

Wow. What do I do? What do I say? Do I tell him of the secret lust for that blue Lotus that I have harbored for the past six years? Of course, I still didn't have the money for the car, which now was frustrating me to no end. So I tried to find him a buyer for the car. At least I would know (not just be aware of) who it would be going to, and maybe I would have first dibs on it the next time it would be for sale.

I found a serious, interested buyer in Miami. This gentleman was a former S1 owner (and a 308 GT4 owner), and was always interested in buying another S1. We arranged a deal. I was about to see my favorite S1 go to yet another owner. I was jealous, but at least it would be going to a good home, and I would have an inside line on it. . . . But the deal fell through at the last minute.


Fast forward to 2007: I had finally come into better financial times. My white Esprit S1 project was chugging along. I was planning my wedding -- my fiancee and I were to be married in July. We agreed to use the white S1 as our wedding car. I was starting to get nervous about whether the car would be ready on time. So nervous, in fact, that I was starting to look around for a backup car. A blue 308 GTB with cream leather turned up for sale . . . wow, was that beautiful! I was seriously interested in the car, but it looked like it was going to sell for more than what I was willing to pay. Then the thought came to me: "I wonder what ever happened to that blue S1. . ."

So out of the blue, I emailed the owner, asking him if he still had it. ... Yes, he did, and he really needed to sell it, why, was I interested or did I know someone?

I sat there for a moment just to take in the whole situation. Here it is, available to me, and I actually have the money to buy it. I've been lusting after this car for years. But how serious was I really? I never had to face that question before, because I never had the money when the car was available. Now it was time to put up or shut up. If I wanted the car, here was my chance.

"I'm interested."

I wrote him a quick email, and we took it to the telephone.

"How serious are you?" he asked me.

"I wouldn't have gone this far if I weren't," was my reply; "I've bought and sold quite a few cars myself, and I try not to jerk people around."

He could not have been happier -- In his words, he could not have hoped for a better person for the car to go to than me.

Here it is, Tony, here's your chance I thought to myself.

Needless to say, I bought it.

Went down to Orlando in May of 2007 and saw it in the flesh. It was everything it was supposed to be, everything I expected it to be, and everything an Esprit S1 should be. Wish fulfilled. I didn't think there was a car anywhere in the world that I liked more than this S1.

My fiancee and I were staying at a hotel in Orlando. The seller, with whom I have become good friends, at the time was gracious enough to let my fiancee and I take the car for the night to the hotel. Our first night with 454H; we were to complete the transaction the next day.


One of my favorite photos, that my wife-to-be took of the car outside of the hotel while I was checking us in. The mood of this photograph is exactly how driving the car that evening felt.

Tony K.

1980 308 GTBi

Last edited by Tony K; 12-23-2008 at 07:34 AM.
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post #15 of 20 Old 12-23-2008, 07:14 AM
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PART II


That's the story of the one that didn't get away, but the story doesn't end there! What about "what it would have been like to own that car," as stated in the original post?

Well, it has been living a dream.

It began with the car's arrival to my parents' house in Cleveland, where it would reside until my wedding. I drove it around a little bit. What can I say; it was so much fun. It was quick for an S1, and I was thoroughly impressed. My father -- a salty old man from whom a compliment of any kind is rare and valuable -- was impressed. Of the thirty or so cars I had bought in my lifetime -- including two previous Esprits -- only one other (a steadfast Porsche) had ever met his approval. He couldn't grouch about this one; he just stood there with his hands in his pockets, looking at it with a tight smile and nodding approval. A father's approval always brings joy to a son.


But not knowing the car well enough and with my wedding day approaching, I wasn't going to drive it -- after all, it was a 30-year-old Lotus -- and risk having something major go wrong before the wedding! So it sat in my parents' garage waiting for several weeks, while I came on weekends to check it over and clean it . . .


Then came my wedding day. I was in heaven as I, wearing a tuxedo, drove the car in the Saturday morning sunlight from my parents' house to the church. I had detailed it to concours-level perfection, and it was running perfectly and eagerly. The sunlight shot off of the deep, glossy lacquer in fine little glints, the kind you only get when a finish has no swirls. It is subtle, in a way that catches the eye without the onlooker usually being aware as to why; it just looks crisp, and different in a good way.

I hit about [ahem] miles per hour on the [ahem] as there were no cars around me that glorious morning, the surface was warm and smooth in the sunlight, and the Lotus just wanted to go. And go it did -- steady and stable, like in a groove, it wrinkled the sweepig curves of [ahem]. It was a moment of heaven, just perfect for the anticipation that was the morning of the most wonderful day of my life; In less than an hour I would see my bride in a white gown, much more of heaven than any car could ever bring.

But this story is not about my wedding; it is about my favorite car, so I'll skip to the car part. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll let a picture or two do the talking:








What fun it was that day, 7 July 2007, blasting around Cleveland with my lovely bride from photo location to photo location, and to the reception. It was fun for many other motorists, too -- first they would see the car, then they would see a happy bride and groom in it. Lots of honks and waves that day!

For the weekend, we rented this place:





Yes, it is a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. On Sunday we had all of our out-of-town guests and close friends/family over for a casual gathering. One friend came in his 308 GTSi. . . . Let me tell you . . . the roads around there are just plain awesome . . .



Our honeymoon was a simple affair; we toured Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands, visited Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous work, and hiked in the state parks. Of course, we took the blue Lotus!









Those were wonderful days without equal, but of course, the fun continues. 454H has been every bit the dream car that it should be. In the past year and a half, it has been to shows and events, and has been a part of special times -- and it's always just right.




I've never had as much fun with a classic or sports car as I have had with 454H, and no car has ever lived up to its promise like this one. The memories keep piling up. I am glad I don't have to wonder what it would have been like; this is what it is like.

At the end of the day, a car is just a car. There are many things in life whose importance is infinitely greater. But the car is fun, like icing on a cake. I hope you don't mind my threadjack and long story; I hope you found it a pleasurable read.

My reason for posting this as a reply to this thread:

This car got away from me twice, and almost did a third time. Had I not bought it, it would have certainly become the one that got away. I'm glad things turned out the way they did, and I have no regrets -- anything but!

When you have the chance to buy that car that you want, don't hesitate!


Best regards,

Tony

Tony K.

1980 308 GTBi

Last edited by Tony K; 12-23-2008 at 07:38 AM.
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post #16 of 20 Old 12-23-2008, 07:45 AM
 
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Wow, great story Tony. I don't have a story to tell, every car (Mustang) I've wanted I've bought. Now if I could just find a way to buy an F430,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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post #17 of 20 Old 12-23-2008, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
 
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Wow! Tony, that was an amazing story! Thank you for sharing it

Chris

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.-Anatole France
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post #18 of 20 Old 12-23-2008, 11:39 AM
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Wow

Tony what a great story and presentation.

I love your car and you are in my sights as loving many of the same as I do. I have a great passion for functional design and art in general: FLW's house, know it well, is one, of course everyone's favorites. Next to Koohaus, Pei, Nelson and the gang he ranks there for me.


rik

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Rik -- LAH !


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post #19 of 20 Old 12-23-2008, 01:16 PM
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Tony, awesome story and awesome pictures! Thanks for sharing it!

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post #20 of 20 Old 12-27-2008, 07:56 PM
 
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Tony, when you decide to write a long post, it's always good stuff, I have to find the time to read it hehehe

congrats for the car, the wedding and the story!

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going." - J. P. Kennedy
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