Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pickin' Up a Pickup, Part III

OK, so I've said before that the last thing I need is ANOTHER Crosley project car.  So, then what am I doing driving 700 miles to buy a partially-disassembled rusty heap of a Crosley that hasn't run in decades?

The month before I'd seen the ad for the pickup I'd been thinking about what car I was going to bring to the upcoming Crosley meet in Buellton.  My first thought was to volunteer to haul Frank Bell's wagon again, but the more I thought about my trailer, the more I thought better of it.  The trailer just holds the weight of Frank's station wagon, but if anything went wrong on the road it could get ugly fast - something I'd never want to risk.  I'd love to bring Frank's car again - when I have a better trailer.
I thought about bringing my H-Mod again, but it's still in the 'rough project' stage - and it's still in parts spread all over the garage. I'd like to bring it when It's gotten a little farther along.  I also thought about bringing my '49 convertible, but since it's non-opped and needs work I thought it was better to leave it home.  I'd half-heartedly settled on bringing my station wagon.
The wagon ain't pretty- I call it 'The Heap.'  It was stored in a shed in 1961- I bought it almost a decade ago.  It hasn't run in nearly 50 years, but I did get it to turn over with the key.  I started thinking that it'd be kinda cool to actually start it up AT the meet. There would certainly be a Crosley brain trust on hand to help.  I'd more-or-less settled on that plan, half-heartedly.

Then, when I saw the ad for the pickup, my brain got to turning - how cool would it be to bring a 'surprise' car - something nobody would be expecting?  I figured I probably already had most of the parts it was missing in the garage, so I could spend the few days between Utah and Buellton cleaning it up and replacing the missing stuff. With a little luck I could sell it at the meet for enough to cover the purchase price and the value of the parts I put in.  If not, well, that'd be the price of adventure.
I can hear you thinking now.  "That's nuts."

A little story:  A few years ago I saw a Craigslist ad for a Hotshot body in Vallejo, California.  I spoke with the owner and it turned out that it had been his Dad's car. The seller had inherited his Dad's estate, which had included several Crosleys, the rest of which were already sold.   What was left was a rusty, disassembled Hotshot body.  The body was off the frame, and the frame had no wheels, no axles, no motor - no nothing.  And, the whole mess was buried in blackberry bushes.  He was clearing the house out to sell and he needed this gone.  He wanted $250.

I didn't want the car - in fact, I really didn't want the car - but I left him my number and told him I'd buy it if no one else wanted it.  I was in the middle of a series of 80 hour weeks at work, didn't really have an extra $250, and didn't own a trailer yet, so I had no way to go get it.  But, I didn't want it to go to the crusher, either.  A few weeks went by and work calmed down so I called the guy to see what had happened.  He'd gotten sick of dealing with the estate - he'd scrapped the body and the frame...  and the original license plates and pink slip which had turned up when he cleaned the house.  I took a lesson: if it's at risk, grab it if you can.
I don't know if Steve would have scrapped this car... but I do know that they'd already lost the title,  a bunch of parts, and that it sure looked like a car that was ready for the scrap heap.  If it didn't go to the junkyard it was very likely to have gone to a customizer who might - or might not  - have made sure the good parts went to someone who could use them.   This way I knew I'd find it a good home - with a trip to Buellton thrown in for good measure.

To be continued...

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