Here’s your Question Of The Day: What vehicle do you know is bad for you but yet long to own? Something you’d have to be insane to take on in real life, but for which there’s still a big ol’ spot in your dream garage?
For me, two come to mind.
One would be full-size Jeeps. I know about the body build quality issues. I know how they like to rust. I know that many of them are mechanical nightmares now thirty years on – but yet I am drawn to them. Owning the two I did (COAL here and here) cured me of that to some extent; I dismiss any wrecks much more quickly, mostly because I can now size them up on the fly. But somehow, I know that if a nice one crosses my path again, and if the price is cheap enough, it’ll probably be going home with me.
If Jeeps are one, ’60s Chevy vans would be the other. I have a set of really fat 15″ ET slots sitting on my shelf, just waiting for the day they can be mounted on an early flat-nose GM van. They’ve been there for years, and will continue to wait there until that day finally comes.
That day came mighty close once. I knew a fellow in the semi-nearby town of Saint Cloud had been advertising such a van for weeks. After waiting until I was sure he’d be in a negotiating mood, I finally called him up and made an appointment.
The van turned out to be pretty much what I’d been wanting: 90″ wheelbase, factory two-barrel 307, manual gearbox (“three in the tree”), not rusted to hell and going cheap. It had windows in the side doors, but hey – beggars can’t be choosers. After a quick joyride we talked money; several minutes later I was heading home, $700 poorer, with the van in tow.
Cleaning out the van yielded some interesting time capsule pieces: a roughed-up Led Zeppelin sticker (stuck it on my toolbox), an eight-track of Nazareth’s ‘Hair Of The Dog’ (which somehow seemed to fit with my vision for the van) and a matching set of Cheech and Chong dashboard figurines (no comment).
After the requisite tune-up, I began formulating my plans for the van. The body damage was unfortunate (I still wonder what it hit, and/or what hit it), as was the previous owner’s decision to cut off the somewhat rusted rockers. Meantime, I decided to drive it as it was while hunting for body parts.
But as with so many ill-conceived plans, this one would end up backfiring. Months of scouring the countryside yielded almost no donor vans, and none whatsoever that could provide the sheet metal I so desperately needed. My hopes for restoration began to stall.
Eventually a friend of a friend came along who wanted to buy the van. I doubled my money on it (part of my original consideration when negotiating – I never like to pay more than 50% of what I think I can sell a given vehicle for). But with the ETs once again shelved, the itch had yet to be scratched. Someday…
So, how about you? What vehicle do you wish you owned, even though it might not be the best thing for you? Or – better still, was there a time when you gave in to temptation and said ‘yes’ to some jalopy you shouldn’t have?