My cousin Ty has always loved American Muscle. I remember when he was a kid his bedroom was decorated with posters of old Chevelles and Novas. He drove an old pickup for a long time, but was always on the lookout for some cool “Detroit Iron.”
Ty found a 1985 Monte Carlo SS a few years back and bought it on the spot. He used it as his second car/summer car for a couple years, fixing little things and always trying to use NOS parts. I teased him about waxing it so much he was going to wear the paint off!
This Monte Carlo SS was burgundy with a 305 V8. It had fairly low miles, (I think less than 100k). It was mostly stock, and Ty left it that way, but ended up making a few small improvements when he had the engine rebuilt. He wanted more power, and a lot more chrome under the hood. The engine compartment was spotless. Of course, he couldn’t leave the rest of the drivetrain stock. After a couple years he got a brand new overdrive transmission and had the differential rebuilt too. Ty took it to car shows and never got to see any of the other cars because he was always polishing and shining his baby. His wife had their first child and I joked that he had two babies! He was getting it ready for a re-paint when he had to report.
Ty was in the Army but was not a mechanic. When he was told he was going to Afghanistan in 2007 I figured he’d be perfect at fixing Humvees or something, but apparently that’s not how the Army works. Ty and his wife had small house with a one car garage and he wanted his wife to be able to use the garage in the winter, so he was trying to line up storage for the SS while he was overseas. An inside 10 x 20 rental space was hard to find, and he was trying not to spend a bunch of money. He could not find place to put his car.
My Aunt Mary was Ty’s mom. She lived kind of a chaotic life and had had some alcoholism issues it seemed like her whole adult life. She had a hard time keeping a job and seemed to have a new boyfriend every six months, not the most stable person if you know what I mean. Her house had a two car garage full of junk. Can you guess what happened next?
Ty made a deal with her. He would clean and organize her garage if he could store the ’85 SS in there. He thought it would be for about a year. EVERYONE told Ty not to leave the keys there, and he did not. He put the car on jack stands (so the tires would not have flat spots), and locked it up and put a brand-new car cover over it. He told her not to store anything on it, but as a precaution, put some foam on the trunk, roof, and hood between the car and the cover because he knew junk might end up getting piled on it.
Ty was in Afghanistan for a long time. When he left, they had just found out they were pregnant for the second time. He was able to get back to the states to see them and the new baby, but didn’t get out to Mary’s house because he had to report back.
Fast forward another year or so. My Dad called one day and he told me that Mary was having problems again. I didn’t really think anything of it, but my dad mentioned going to visit her. I jokingly said “Check on the Monte Carlo.” Dad said Ty had got his car out “before the foreclosure”. Wait, what? Ty was in Afghanistan. Aunt Mary was foreclosed on while she was in rehab.
Where was the car? I was freaking out on the phone with my dad about where it was. He said he would look into it. Ty’s wife was confused, she has two little kids and practically never talked to my Aunt Mary. She knew about the rehab, but she had no idea about the foreclosure.
My dad went out to the house. Neighbors said that the real estate agent told them the house was abandoned. Months earlier, people saw a giant pile of furniture and household items put out at the street for the garbage man. Apparently people were even stopping and picking through the stuff before trash day. The neighbors across the street did not remember any cars. My dad called the lender but they would not give him any information. Privacy rules. The family who was renting the house knew nothing about a car in the garage. They said the garage was empty the first day they went in.
Ty got back from Afghanistan and learned the whole story. He was surprisingly calm. He still had the title so he could report the car stolen. He made a bunch of calls to the police, the real estate agency, the lender, the courthouse, and was getting nowhere. A few more weeks passed. He decided to try one last thing. He took his title to the DMV. He explained the situation to the clerk and she did a search on her computer. Voila! There was a title request and a “mechanic’s lien” on his 1985 Chevrolet. Ty was getting excited, but was trying to process all this info.
Anyway, He got the name and address of the towing company. It was about an hour away. He went there, and guess what was sitting in their parking lot? He happened to be wearing his drill uniform and the people there were super nice to him. They apologized. They were called to remove a car from a foreclosed home. The car sat in their yard for about a year and were surprised no one came to get it. They waived the towing and storage fees and even offered to take it wherever he wanted them to. They delivered it to his house a couple days later – for free! Alls well that ends well. It needed tires, and a good buffing. If I know Ty, he will keep plenty of wax on it.