Here’s a genuine Curbside Classic for you. This car has probably not moved from its place since the early 1980s, maybe earlier. Think of that–every day for 40 years, the sun shone on one side, then the other; rain came down, heavily and lightly; snow fell and melted, the wind blew; the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and several others have come and gone; elementary school students who walked past it on the way to school are now in their 30s–and now it’s time for this car to go.
This 1946 Chevrolet has just been posted on Craigslist, with a price (negotiable) of $2999. It has “been in the same family for generations,” and “currently sitting idle and has not been started in years.” I believe it.
There are a few clues to let us know how long it’s been since this car has actually been driven on the road. This license plate is from either 1977 or ’78. Those were the years when “N.J.” was spelled out “New Jersey”. But then in 1979, the plate colors were changed from straw and black to blue and yellow.
A second clue–the windshield inspection sticker is on the passenger side. The state switched it to the driver’s side circa 1983.
Here are a few more artistic detail shots:
The car is located in Glen Ridge, NJ–not far from me. As you can see, this part of northern New Jersey is very densely populated–all those little streets have houses on them. Meaning, the odds of finding an oddball old car preserved within a given area is relatively high. New Jersey is a good place to find curbside classics.
The car (and its owner?) in better days. Exact year unknown.
Here’s the title, dated 1965. Owned by Anthony J. Proto.
Let me tell you something about my fellow Italian-American paisan’s. Not all (but many of us) are thrifty and like to hold on to and preserve old, good things (houses, cars, furniture, recipes, traditional family values, and more).
We saw a little peek of this phenomenon in the movie Moonstruck. The family living room has that well-preserved “antiquish” look, with ornate furniture lovingly kept and passed down the generations. Although this is the 1980s, the heavy 1940s wood console radio is still in place, tubes glowing. Why throw it out if it still works beautifully? What about all the memories it brings forth? (And it’s paid for!)
And hey, the strategy pays off! The 1829 house at 19 Cranberry Street in Brooklyn where Moonstruck was filmed would have been purchased for next-to-nothing by the family decades before, when Brooklyn was considered an outworn area and strictly working-class. The house is now up for sale. Asking price? $12.85 million!
I’ve seen lots of examples of this. My own ’58 Ford was one-family owned. Louis Galtieri (1899-1996) bought it new, and passed it on to his son Joseph (1927-2016).
Joseph went to Harvard, so he put a HARVARD decal on the back window.
But this may be the local record holder! This ’54 Mercury was pulled out of a garage in East Orange, NJ in 2018. The inspection sticker was from 1964, meaning this Merc probably hadn’t seen the light of day in 54 years!
It too wound up on Craigslist. What happened to it after that I have no idea.
According to the ad, the Chevy is “A perfect project car—for restoration, parts or rat rod conversion.” So this familiar landmark in Glen Ridge will be departing soon, one way or another. Will people in the neighborhood miss it?