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Thread: One that got away....

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    One that got away....

    Many of you who are old enough to remember the early '80s will probably have a similar story... .

    It was fall of '83. Scene - a semi-seedy used car/consignment lot that's long since disappeared. The car: Super Bee with a 383 and manual transmission - in yellow and black with Cragar mags and Gabriel Hi-jacker air shocks. All there, though. Not bad shape; just tired.

    Price?

    $2,400.... .

    If only I knew then what we all know now about the future value of big block Mopars!

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    Re: One that got away....

    Yeah, but think if it this way - $2400.00 is about 6000.00 in today's money.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: One that got away....

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    Yeah, but think if it this way - $2400.00 is about 6000.00 in today's money.

    True - but try to buy a driveable 383 Super Bee 4-speed for $6k today!

  4. #4
    mrblanche
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    Re: One that got away....

    We were carless in about 1968, and we looked around for a good used car. The local Chevy dealer (Siloam Springs, AR) had a 1959 Cadillac on his lot. Beautiful car, white, in good shape with about 50,000 miles on it, for $500.

    You can't buy the taillights for that car today for that price.

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: One that got away....

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    We were carless in about 1968, and we looked around for a good used car. The local Chevy dealer (Siloam Springs, AR) had a 1959 Cadillac on his lot. Beautiful car, white, in good shape with about 50,000 miles on it, for $500.

    You can't buy the taillights for that car today for that price.
    Man, that hurts... just reading about it!

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    Re: One that got away....

    Eric,

    Who would have known back in 1983, what the big block Mopars would be going for now. That's definitely one that got away.

    Mr Blanche,

    The '59 Caddy for $500 would have been a nice find back in 1968, especially if you kept it until now.


    I've got two "the one that got away" stories:

    1) Back in 1994 I was working at an IT company and a co-worker of mine had father who owned an all original mint conditioned low mileage '69 Trans Am (Ram Air III) which he had owned for many years. His father had decided to sell it, since my co-worker knew I liked Trans Ams he gave me a heads up on the sale of the car, his father wanted $12,000 for it. At the time It seemed a little high and I had just purchased a new Jeep a few months before the T/A came up for sale (so money was tight), so I took a pass on the car. If I could go back in time now, I would have bought the T/A, it would be worth over $60,000 in todays market.

    2) In June of 1988, I went to the local Pontiac dealership to buy some wheel locks for my newly purchased 1986 Fiero SE 2M6 which I had only owned for a month. While I was at the dealership, the salesman I purchased the Fiero from told me about this mint 1978 Trans Am some guy had traded in on a new car. He insisted I check out the car which he said I could buy for $1,800, and so I agreed to have a look. He gave me the keys and told me I could drive it around the lot. When I saw the car I was impressed, it was in mint condition (paint and interior were perfect) with only around 60,000 mile on the odometer. It was painted in Solar Gold, had factory pinstriping, gold tinted T-tops, T/A 6.6 decal on the shaker hood scoop, 15x8" gold snowflake wheels, gold metal plated dash, upscale factory velour interior, loaded with all the options, and was an automatic. I really liked the car but since I had just purchased the Fiero, I decided to pass on the car. The thing I did not realize at the time was that this 1978 Trans Am was the (low production) Y88 Gold Special Edition which had the top motor for '78, the T/A 6.6 Pontiac 400 (W72 package) and it was an automatic (most W72s for 1978 came equipped with 4-speed manual transmissions). One of these cars is worth at least $30,000 in todays market if you can find one.

    Here's a W72 powered Y88, that looks exactly like the one I should have bought:


  7. #7
    mrblanche
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    Re: One that got away....

    Well, I DO have to mention that my first car was a 1941 Chevy. It was in pretty good shape. I bought it when I was only 14, with funds from a summer beekeeping job. It cost me $65 in 1966. The next summer, we moved from Colorado to Arkansas in it. I went back to Colorado to work on a cattle ranch, and in the time I was gone, my mother got it stuck in a mud puddle, burned out the clutch, and traded it for a wringer washing machine.

    In 1969, I had the chance to buy a spiffy 1957 Chevy. It didn't run, but everything on the car worked and I would bet the problem was something like a bad coil or some such thing. $75. I passed it up.

  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: One that got away....

    Pete - that story on the RAIII pains me!

    Even more the '78 T/A 6.6 automatic.... I have never even SEEN a 78 T/A 6.6 automatic! ... and $1,800? Gawwwwd!

    PS: Did I ever tell you about my idiot friend Hank? We went to HS together and after graduation, his dad bought him one Trans-Am after another, all of which he beat into the ground, including a '79 10th Anniversary TA just like yours and a Gold '78 403 automatic....

    One day I will kick myself for not buying Jack's Formula....









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    Re: One that got away....

    Eric,

    I remember you mentioning your friend Hank. The best story was the one where you and Hank ran through the tunnel going well over 100 mph in the 10th anniversary T/A. It's a pity he destroyed so many now collectible T/As. I remember you mentioned the friend you had whose father had a non-decal package 1 of 346 '79 W72 Forumla (I believe it had a vinyl top). I have run across a few of these '79 W72 Forumla in Trans Am circles, every single one I have come across has had the decal package. Your friend's father really had a rare car, I wonder what happened to it? Also do you remember the 'Van Nelson' blue '70 Formula 400 (it was either a Ram Air III or the 330 horsepower Pontiac 400), I remember looking over that car when Jimmy showed it to me in his garage in Oakton back in 1986. That car was in great condition, I remember seeing Jimmy drive it a few times, he did so with a lead foot. I wonder what happened to it. A friend of mine who went to my high school had gone to Oakton High for a few years had a friend who graduated from Oakton High, he and his brother owned three '77 - '78 W72 Trans Ams (I believe his name was Russ or Ross). He had two of them parked in his carport and another parked next to his house, all were in good condition. I also remember a guy who went to my high school who worked at a gas station and owned a '62 409 Impala convertible and a '68 Ram Air 400 GTO both were in very good condition and were purchased for peanuts. And there was some guy at this same time who went to Langley High who drove daily a '70 LS6 Chevelle. His claim to fame were the rumored burnouts he performed in the Langley High parking lot. Looking back now this was the perfect time to pick up these muscle cars, they all were dirt cheap back then.

    I kick myself on not buying the '69 T/A, however the '78 Gold Y88 W72 was the one I really was stupid for not buying. The car was impressive, however back in 1988 the 1970s Trans Ams were not "in" cars anymore, some even laughed at them (the big hood bird was the subject of many jokes). I unfortunately let myself be impressed at 19 years old by popular opinion. These Trans Ams were as popular as Disco in the 1970s, when Disco died these Trans Ams fell out of favor and the '82 and newer T/As took on a European flair which was then popular with the public. Back in 1988 the Trans Am that was hot was the new Trans Am GTA. Since the big bird T/As of the 1970s were no longer popular back in 1988, they were dirt cheap. As time has passed Disco again has gained in popularity and the big bird Trans Ams are soaring in price and will continue to do so. When I was a kid I loved the late 2nd generation Trans Ams. When my Dad bought a '82 Trans Am, and popular opinion turned against these big bird T/As, I placed my interest in the 3rd generation Trans Am. By the early 1990s, I gravitated back to the 2nd generation Trans Ams. If my head had been in the right place back in 1988, I would have bought the Y88 T/A, and I would still own it. As for the Fiero, it's long gone.

    Did Jack sell his Formula? I told him he should keep it, that he regret selling it.




  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: One that got away....

    "I remember you mentioning your friend Hank. "

    I haven't seen or heard from/of Hank in probably 12 years now, at least. I wonder what became of him? That trip up to NY, and running through the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel at 100 -plus - was something I'll awalys remember, though!

    I also remember the Van Nelson's Firebird; he was a crayz driver. One day, he tried to pass my friend Stu's 440 GTX ... on a blind curve on Hunter Mill Road... we ran parallel for several seconds before he gave up (the GTX was faster)... but had a car been coming the other way, it would have been ugly... .

    "I kick myself on not buying the '69 T/A, however the '78 Gold Y88 W72 was the one I really was stupid for not buying. "


    Have to agree with you there... $1,800.. crikey! But I remember the times, too - and how few people thought much about those mid-late '70s TAs then...

    "Did Jack sell his Formula? I told him he should keep it, that he regret selling it. "

    I actually talked with him today; he has NOT sold the car... which is good for you and good for me since maybe one of us will be able to buy it one of these days. For my part, I feel obliged to get my TA properly restored cosmetically before I buy another car... and that's on the back burner for the moment due to home projects that have takenpriority ... a sure sign of impending senesence!





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    Re: One that got away....

    Eric,

    Smart move putting your T/A first on the priority list in terms of restoring it before buying another classic muscle car. I have known too many people who bought far too many old muscle cars only to lose them all because they over extended themselves financially. Maybe one of us will be in a position to buy Jack's Formula if he decides to sell it in the future. Its a beautiful car and ultra rare.

    That's crazy the 'Van Nelson' blind curve maneuver. The GTX with the 440 at 375 horsepower or 390 horsepower (six pack) are tough to beat. The GTX weighed the same as the Formula yet outgunned it in horsepower and especially torque so its no surprise to the results.

    Hey I forgot to mention there was a friend of my family back in the mid 1980s (he lived in Annandale) whose son had a Hemi Super Bee (I forgot what year it was). His son had it parked in his (father's) carport while he was overseas in the army. This guy would mention that his doorbell would ring at least once a week with someone offering to buy the car. The door bell rings got so frequent that he finally put it under a car cover. We lost touch with him a few years later, and I don't know what ever happened to the car. If the car is still around it is probably worth a mint.

  12. #12
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: One that got away....

    "Smart move putting your T/A first on the priority list in terms of restoring it before buying another classic muscle car. "

    Agreed!

    (Jack fell victim to the "too many cars/not enough time" syndrome; I refuse to get sucked into that.)

    "That's crazy the 'Van Nelson' blind curve maneuver. The GTX with the 440 at 375 horsepower or 390 horsepower (six pack) are tough to beat. The GTX weighed the same as the Formula yet outgunned it in horsepower and especially torque so its no surprise to the results."

    We were teenagers - and complete dumb-asses. That GTX was crazy fast - and all engine. A beast. And very dangerous in the hands of an idiot teenager. Stu was killed in it before the year (1987) ended.

    "Hey I forgot to mention there was a friend of my family back in the mid 1980s (he lived in Annandale) whose son had a Hemi Super Bee (I forgot what year it was). His son had it parked in his (father's) carport while he was overseas in the army. This guy would mention that his doorbell would ring at least once a week with someone offering to buy the car. The door bell rings got so frequent that he finally put it under a car cover. We lost touch with him a few years later, and I don't know what ever happened to the car. If the car is still around it is probably worth a mint. "

    No doubt!

    I remember a Buccaneer Red (and thoroughly trashed) '74 SD-455 Trans-Am I used to see in the Vienna area, early '80s. It had rusty non-stock Keystone mags on it, and primered doors.

    I have no idea what became of it...

  13. #13
    mrblanche
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    Re: One that got away....

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    I haven't seen or heard from/of Hank in probably 12 years now, at least. I wonder what became of him? That trip up to NY, and running through the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel at 100 -plus - was something I'll awalys remember, though!
    Haven't you heard of Google?

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    Re: One that got away....

    Eric,

    Never saw that Vienna '74 SD you mentioned. I had a part time job around 1990 in downtown Vienna (maple avenue and east street), a guy I worked with had a Buchaneer Red '74 Trans Am (L75 D-port 455). He parked it in the back parking lot that faced Church street. At the time I drove my Trans Am there from time to time and parked it in the lot a few spaces down from his car.

    There's a '74 SD Formula (gold), I have seen twice in the Reston area. Last time I saw it two years ago, it was going on Hunter Mill Road the opposite direction. I don't know if its the real deal or a clone.

    I got word a few weeks ago from a fellow 2nd generation Trans Am owner that there's an Admiralty Blue '74 SD T/A in Rockville, Maryland which is complete but in need of a restoration. The owner does not want ot part with the car but is unable to restore it.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: One that got away....

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    I haven't seen or heard from/of Hank in probably 12 years now, at least. I wonder what became of him? That trip up to NY, and running through the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel at 100 -plus - was something I'll awalys remember, though!
    Haven't you heard of Google?
    I checked; no sign of him anywhere.. a cipher!

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    Re: One that got away....

    Eric,

    Maybe the famous line from the movie "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas",applies to Hank:

    "There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die."

  17. #17
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: One that got away....

    Quote Originally Posted by Disco Man
    Eric,

    Maybe the famous line from the movie "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas",applies to Hank:

    "There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die."
    Could be.. except I have this image of Hank sleeping off a binge in the dried-up puke on his mattress - which he was too lazy to clean... .

  18. #18
    mrblanche
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    Re: One that got away....

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    I checked; no sign of him anywhere.. a cipher!
    Have you checked some of the people finder sites? Not the pay one, just ones that check phone books, etc. You'd be amazed at what I've found that way.

    On google, by the way, I found an old friend who is apparently homeless and living under a bridge in Denver.

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