Long term love affair; long term ownership; nice salesman

Many of the postings here occasionally mention long term ownership. When I see those it reminds me of my own long term love affair and ownership that began in 1973. My buddy Scott and I spent our spare time checking out all the dealerships searching for the right car for me. I was in college and looking for THE car that had everything I wanted. I wasn’t sure what car had all that I wanted, but was sure I’d know it when I saw it. It was in June 1973 when I happened upon this 1970 Cougar XR7. It was jet black with a black vinyl roof, red leather interior, high-rise bucket seats, hideaway headlights, sequencing turn signals, 351 Cleveland, A/C, AM/FM stereo…wow…I fell in love instantly. It was marketed as a sporty luxury car as I remember. Though the 'Cuda’s, Camero’s and Mustang’s were nice, the Cougar seemed swankier. The gas embargo had just hit and the previous owner decided it didn’t get good enough milage, so traded it for a new Pinto. Not many dealerships or salesman wanted to let a couple young guys out with a nice car just for a test drive, but Joe (at the Ford dealership) was aways willing to let me take whatever appealed to me and this time was no exception. It would be my first real purchase (the 1966 Chevy Impala 4-door hardtop for $350.00 didn’t count). Well, I bought that beauty and kept it for 25 years selling it just a few years ago at a car show. “Beauty” had 125K on her and everything was still origina,l except that I did have her painted. As she and I went through the years together, it went from just another car on the road to a real head turner. I thanked Joe for letting me try all those cars with such ease the day of the purchase and he said he knew I’d return if he was nice to me and maybe even sell me a car. Through the years Joe also sold me a 1975 Buick LeSabre (in 1977) and a 1984 Corvette (new…he switched to the Chevy dealership). What was your long term love affair; long term ownership?

Ah, black and red, That’s the long term love here.

78 Cordoba ( bought new, owned till 84 )
92 Explorer (special ordered new, owned till 09 )
and my wifes baby, 1979 Chevy short stepside pickup, was re-painted black with red interior custom upholstery and I added a/c, red hand painted dual pinstipe that she designed the checkmark slash on each door…we still own the 79 with a grand whopping total of 71,000 miles.

I just sold a car that I owned for 33 years two weeks ago. I purchased a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon 4-4-2 in October of 1978. It was the first new car I had ever owned. By 1978, the 4-4-2 was just a trim and handling package. The engine in my car was the 260 cubic inch V-8 and the transmission was automatic. The car had covered 240,000 miles when I sold it. My wife and I dated in that car. My wife drove the car to every county in our state when doing research for her doctoral dissertation. My son took the car to college for his freshmen year. In his sophomore year, he went on an Appalachian semester where he studied and worked with people in Clay county, Kentucky. The Oldsmobile was old at that time, so I put him in a better car and took the Oldsmobile back. In December of 1995, I found a nice 1993 Oldsmobile 88 with 14,000 miles at a dealership. I was going to trade the 4-4-2 on the later model. The price on the 1993 Oldsmobile was $14,900. The dealer would trade with me for $14,500, but agreed to sell the 1993 straight out for $14,200. It would have cost me $300 to trade the car, so I bought the newer car outright.
For the last 15 years, the 4-4-2 was used only around town. The floorboard was rusted out in places, but the body looks reasonably good and has never been repainted. The car is unique–there weren’t very many produced–but it is not a classic. I have seen restored models like mine for $10,000-12,000, but it would take $15,000 to restore the car. I decided to sell it since I have two other vehicles–a 2003 Toyota 4Runner and a 2011 Toyota Sienna. The salesman that sold me the car had been on the faculty at the institution where I taught for 44 years (retired last May) and had been forced out by his department chair. He took the job selling cars and was doing well, but did find a position more in line with his education.

Cars and motorcycles have come and gone for me over the years although with cars I’ve kept a number of them for 10 to 15 years and a godawful lot of miles.

While other motorcycles have been sold or traded, etc. there are 2 that I acquired a long time ago and will have them until the day that I die; at which point each of my 2 sons will inherit one.

A 1950 Harley FL panhead ex-cop bike with speedometer lock and foot operated siren that I traded for in June of 1976 and was only into it for about 900 bucks.

A 1944 Harley big cubic inch U model flathead that I bought in July of 1974 out of an automotive garage from a guy who thought the transmission was wiped out. He did not want to spend money on it and I bought it “AS IS” because the transmission was not that big a deal to me; and for the whopping sum of 400 dollars.
After getting it home I discovered the transmission was fine. Someone had adjusted the screw too tight on the throwout bearing rod and the rod had welded itself to the adjuster from friction generated heat. Snapped them apart, filed the ends smooth, put a new battery in it, and VOILA! Good to go.

The flathead has been my all time favorite motorcycle of the dozen or so I’ve owned in the past. It’s pretty cool to sit on the seat, lean over, and “kick start” the engine with the palm of the right hand. Five or so to 1 compression ratio allows this and luckily it’s never kicked back on me and broke an arm yet.

We keep our cars a very long time as well; some examples:

  1. 1965 Dodge Dart GT, scrapped in 1978

  2. 1976 Ford Granada 351V8 coupe; sold in 1988

  3. 1984 Chevy Impala, sold in 2004

  4. 1988 Chevy Caprice, sold in 2007

  5. 1977 Dodge Colt, scrapped in 1997

In general, if you like the car, maintain it well and just keep enjoying it!