JULY 28, 2015: REALITY CHECK–DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO SELL THE DEAD GUY’S CAR?

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I watched a couple of car-curber TV show episodes that involved the sale of estate cars.

 

The sales were facilitated by the little guy with the big mustache and he was the middle man in the removal of a family legacy.

 

The cars in question were rare because the little dude only deals in high-end rides when he gets involved and he is good at his job–just not as good as the big mechanic who actually gets the cars in tip top shape.

 

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Plus the mechanic has a reasonable sense of humor while the curber is all business.

 

The decision to sell the beloved vehicle of a departed loved one must weigh heavily on the survivors. The people in the episodes were not car guys by any sense of the definition, but they were aware of the personal attachment between the late relative and the car.

 

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The reasons for an estate sale vary from family to family. The most understandable reason is a financial one where the vintage car’s sale can relieve the family of a financial burden because they have limited resources.

 

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This is a situation where financial reality trumps sentimentality and the family should sell the car.

 

Another situation that comes to mind is a hoarder who had a car addiction and kept a fleet of cars with no particular favorite among them. This scenario has estate auction written all over it.

 

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The episodes I viewed involved survivors who were unlikely car guys because they were older women with limited interest in the car hobby. However, they did acknowledge the departed relative’s strong connection to the car in question and how many memories they had of the person with the car, but they still wanted to sell it.

 

This was the exact moment when the TV show lost me because the survivors talked at length about the memories of the person through his relationship with the car and yet they still viewed it as a commodity instead of a keepsake.

 

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Several years ago, I was a bartender  and had a conversation with a guy who claimed his father had bought my late father’s miled-out Plymouth Belvedere and swore the car had been literally retired to pasture on the family farm.

 

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The guy had a mild to not-so-mild drinking problem, complete with flights of pure fantasy, but the thought of any opportunity to retrieve a car from my childhood memories made me want to believe the guy and his story.

 

He had the assurance of a boozehound with a great story that was more likely to be based in fiction rather than fact, but I pushed him on the car story every time I talked to him. I had narrowed down the choices between my father’s 1963 and 1966 Plymouths Belvederes-and both were significant cars in my life.

 

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The 1966 was the only brand new car my father bought, while the ’63 was part of a time in my life when I became an elementary school car guy/passenger in my dad’s car.

 

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The story did not have a happy ending because the barfly’s story fell apart after I pushed him for an opportunity to see the old car on the farm. Suddenly it became a Plymouth Fury with no connection to my family and I had no interest is somebody else’s memories of his father’s car.

 

I would have bought the car, no matter how I found it after all those decades since my father sold it to this family, had it been the car from my memories.

 

And there would have been zero chance that I would have been sitting beside the little dude with the big mustache at an auction while he removed this memory from my life.

 

Jim Sutherland

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