OCTOBER 25, 2010: THE OLD CAR SICKNESS-HOW ONE MAN OVERCAME THE IMPOSSIBLE

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I remember watching a documentary years ago about the battle on the African plains between the lions and the hyenas-it was a bloodbath that would never end.

 

That’s why it was called ‘Eternal Enemies’.

 

The old car versus spouse relationship is not unlike that battle in Africa because it will never end and it can get bloody.

 

I’m going to defuse the inevitable feedback by stating emphatically that yes, I have actually met women who have had to defend an old car purchase to a skeptical husband. But it’s rare.

 

It’s like a total solar eclipse because it happens every year for about a minute on the planet…somewhere.

 

I want to talk about a personal hero of mine-a guy named Angus Sutherland.

 

He managed to convince not one, but two significant women in his life that buying a “needs a little work” 1963 Plymouth 4-door sedan was a great idea.

 

Bear in mind that these weren’t pretty cars when new and they’re far from being Friday night Barrett-Jackson Auction showcase material-unless you can document that JFK used it to grab groceries at Safeway every Saturday.

 

 

Convincing two females that this makes sense is a lot like selling Daylight Saving Time to blind guys–they might get the concept but the inherent value is completely mystifying.

 

Angus’s new bride Krista is a rookie in the game-her only condition was that the car comes nowhere near their home in its present condition. She came armed with valid documentation about the slide in property values with the “abandoned car motif”. That seemed pretty fair to Angus-no old cars within 100 miles. After he negotiated the hours he’d spend on the car, Krista was out of the way.

 

Then came Anna, Angus’s mom-she holds the keys to the castle where he wanted to store it plus she’d been married to his late father Bruce for 36 years. She was far from a rookie in the old car game and the best way to explain this experience is to use Angus’s words from his TR6 blog about the sickness..

 

“To really understand this blog you have to first understand the disease that lived inside my dad and still lives inside me. And no it’s not the cancer.

 

Yes it’s cars, but not because of cars but for the love of putting something together. It really is a hyper-developed imagination combined with love of solving problems. Some of our ventures were in unison and some in tandem but all were shared and what brought us together… It’s really not my fault I get it from my father”.

 

(Text courtesy of) http://www.thetr6project.com/

 

 

In short, the sickness is the old car addiction and Anna had lived with it for almost 4 decades.Her “eternal struggle” with Bruce about old cars gave her experience that would have left other old car project brides in therapy for years. But Anna is tougher than that, so Angus faced off with his Ma over the ’63 Plymouth.

 

His strategy was impeccable-he would get rid of 4 more cars and other junk in exchange for safe passage on the ’63 Plymouth. The cars were irrelevant-Bruce had a Plymouth Acclaim fetish.

 

Acclaims are far from classics, so Angus had no pangs about dumping them. The only other condition was that Anna didn’t ever want to see the new arrival, so the “out of site-out of mind, hidden in a shop clause” was invoked.

 

In actual fact, Angus has few allies on the car but on one of them would have been his dad because several years ago, a youthful Angus wrote off a mint ’64 Dodge.

 

Bruce and Angus both agreed the car was ‘unfinished business’. That’s a term that only those with the sickness could understand because, like Angus said, “when you tell somebody what you just bought, they look at you like you’re hiding bodies, not cars, on the property”.

 


 

In a really nice turn of karma versus logic, Angus just found out his grandfather had owned a ’63 Plymouth Belvedere. He’s seriously considering the maroon with white top paint job as a tribute to the grandfather that he never met.

 

Because of the smooth, almost effortless ease with which Angus got over two obvious old car ownership hurdles, he has to get serious consideration for Old Car Hero of the Year. My vote is there.

 

 

Next stop for Angus? Clearly, he’s good at mediating eternal struggles – the Middle East Peace Talks could use a guy like him.

 

Jerry Sutherland @mystarcollectorcar.com

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