As someone who’s has owned quite a few cars over the years, and continues trading up on a regular basis, I occasionally get to see a former vehicle of mine in the hands of its latest owner.
Sometimes it makes me smile. A few of my ex-cars have gone on to continue leading long and pampered lives after I sold them; seeing them rolling around, shiny and well cared for, makes me proud to have found and revived them when I did.
Sometimes it’s a bit more disturbing. Like when you see a formerly treasured ride in the junkyard, thoroughly abused and with nothing left to give. Or, worse yet, seeing it in a degraded state but still on the road, being actively abused and/or neglected by its current owner. (I always make a point to sell any car with sentimental value, to people from outside my area, for this very reason.)
But sometimes, it’s just the small surprise of seeing an old friend again.
While the rest of the world was waiting in lines at Black Friday sales, I was on my way to the U-Pull to check out a newly arrived B-body coupe (yes, another one in the same yard – watch for it in this Friday’s Junkyard Outtake). As I was rolling down the freeway, just over a mile from the yard, I was surprised to see a white ’90s Cutlass Supreme coupe with five-spoke wheels and composite headlights pass me in the opposite direction. I knew immediately that it had to be my old one.
(Disclaimer: kids, don’t try this at home!)
Without a moment’s hesitation, I whipped a tire squealing U-turn and gave chase. Its driver almost immediately signaled to take a left, and became the first car in the turn lane; four other cars fell into line before I could get there. Once the light changed, we all took the corner, and I was left to watch as the Olds sped away while the four other stragglers slowly gained speed.
Throwing my better judgement to the wind, I let the faux Touring Sedan off its leash. Three of the four cars were passed in the mile that followed; the fourth took a right just as I was preparing to pass it as well. There was nothing between me and the Cutlass but a mile of road. He was making time, but I still managed to reel him in in short order. Now we were riding together – and I needed to figure a way to get a good shot without startling the driver.
Finally, after going several miles out of my way, the Cutlass decided to take a right. Cross traffic forced him to stop for a moment, which I capitalized on by taking this picture through my bug-streaked windshield. I really wanted to get the car’s nose in the shot, but short of trying to get the driver to pull over, that just wasn’t going to happen. (I suppose I could have followed him to his destination, but I had no idea how many dozens of miles away it might have been.)
So there you have it – one more of my re-creations still out there and earning its keep.
How about you? Have you ever encountered a former car of yours, long after you’d moved on? Was it a good experience, or one you wish you’d missed?