A friend just reminded me of this one. It was not long after I finished college. My neighbor - whom I only remember as "Rob" was recently married and had this gold Chevelle sitting in the dirt for what I was led to believe quite a long time. I had pestered him a couple of times about it, saying if he ever wanted to part with it, to let me know.

Sure enough, one night I hear raised voices next door for over 2 hours. It gets quiet for about 15 minutes and next thing I know, I hear a knock at my door.

"Are you OK, Rob?" I asked.

"The wife wants me to get rid of the Chevelle NOW. You've asked me about it so you get first dibs. Do you want it?"

"Sure" I responded. "What do you want for it?"

I was getting nervous, because I was really strapped for cash at the time. Payday was still a couple days away.

"What do you have on you?"

I began fishing my pockets for every available penny.

"About $20..." I said wincing, expecting him to turn around and walk away.

But he didn't. In fact, he didn't even say a word. He took my four crumpled fives, shoved them in his pocket, plopped the keys and the title in my hand, then walked back to his condo and slammed the door.

"IT'S FUCKING GONE! ARE YOU HAPPY, BITCH??" I heard him roar from next door.

It was silent over there the rest of the evening.

I waited until the next morning to check it out. It was a grimy gold '72 Chevelle 4 door sedan. Very basic, very ordinary. It had a 250 cid straight six, a column shifted two speed Powerglide automatic transmission, an AM radio and a bench seat. It had this god awful puke green interior known as the "Greenbriar" interior option. The odometer read 55,000 miles. The body was straight but neglected - but for $20 what more could I ask for?

Being horrendously optimistic, I tried to start it. Nothing happened. I went back to the condo for a spare battery and swapped it out. Being curious I checked the fusebox before trying to start it. Most of them were burned out, so I changed them all. I checked the engine compartment and noticed a voltage regulator was completely burned out and there was a tear in the radiator hose. I changed the oil, then grabbed money out of my change jar to get parts from the boneyard. I bumped into Rob's wife on the way to my car.

"Good luck with that shitbox. You'll need it" she sneered and continued on her way before I could say anything.

Whatever, bitch.

I found a voltage regulator in good shape, then stopped at Auto Value for a new set of plugs, a rad hose, antifreeze, power steering fluid and brake fluid. As I spent part of the day replacing everything and cleaning the car out, I noticed Rob peering out the window from time to time. I decided I should try to start the car the next day on payday - then at least I could afford to fill it up.

The next morning I went to the nearest gas station and filled up a huge jug with gas. I dumped it into the Chevelle's gas tank, sat in the car and placed the key into the ignition. I held my breath and turned the key. It turned over but wouldn't start. I pumped the accelerator a few times and tried again. The little six roared to life! I jumped out and checked under the hood to see if everything was okay. I could see Rob glaring at me from his window. The smooth running engine was like music to my ears. Not bad for $20.... it was like Rob gave me a crusty old piece of gold. At that moment I decided to name it Goldie. I ran back in the house and grabbed my spare plate. It seemed good enough to drive to work.

The drive to work was fine. I had to accept the fact that with a six banger and a two speed Powerglide trans, I wasn't going anywhere in a hurry. But this thing was built like a tank. At that time one of my part time jobs was working for a privately owned import repair shop in the NW. I used to be a gopher for parts, lunch, customers, vehicles and supplies if they couldn't wait for the regular pickups. I also used to help out in minor repairs, picking up as much as I could while I was there. When I pulled up, the razzing started right away.

"What the FUCK is that?"

"Tell me you didn't pay anything for that piece of shit!"

"Grandma called, she wants her car back."

...and so on. After crawling in and out of it for 15 minutes, my co-workers agreed that at least it was in good shape. After work that night we had drinks at a local pub and I played designated driver. We were surprised to discover that Goldie could hold 7 people in comfort.

"This shitbox ain't half that bad" they agreed in unison.

I brought it to work Saturday. I was out dropping off and picking up customers all day. At the end of the workday I found Goldie in the corner of the shop sitting on a lift. The boys had replaced the shocks, brakes, and any burned out headlights and tail lights. I unlocked the lift and brought Goldie to the ground. It had been washed and the interior vacuumed. They even tuned the engine. The mechanics were always pitying my transportation and made a habit of throwing a few bucks at whatever piece of crap I had at the time. You could say they sort of liked me.

I drove Goldie as often as I could in the 5 months that I owned it. If we hit the clubs, Goldie was the obvious choice. And if there was a 70's theme night? It fit right in. We used to spend hours doing 180's in the dirt, bush or snow. Yes, I abused that car. But at the time it wasn't deemed as collectible in any way. The water pump finally went and the temperature light would always go off after about 15 minutes of driving, but I still drove it anyway. Every so often I would see Rob eyeballing the car. He even took a few pictures of it and asked me to drive it one day. We cruised for a couple of hours, having a blast the whole time. It was then he told me his grandmother was the original owner and that she had bought it in Regina. He went back into his condo grinning from ear to ear after the ride.

In the end I got bored with it. It had no power and the two speed automatic was dismally pathetic. And in those days 4 doors were just plain uncool. I sold it to a friend for $950 in a moment of weakness. He in turn sold it to a mechanic a year later. I know nothing of it's whereabouts after that. I still remember watching the tail lights disappear into the night as my friend drove it away.

I offered Rob first dibs on the car before selling it to my friend. It only seemed fair he get a chance to buy it back. That evening was filled with raised voices next door. Two days later he came to my door with tears welling up in his eyes.

"Sell the car. She won't let me buy it back even if it's fixed."

I even told him I was willing to sell Goldie back to him just for the cost of the replaced parts. The car obviously meant something to him. He went back and tried to convince his wife that night. More raised voices. The following morning he was back on my doorstep.

"She won't go for it no matter what."

"I would keep it if I had the space" I told him.

You just don't see 4 door Chevelles anymore. I miss Goldie.