© 2002 No Ink Media

1978-79: Hey! Where's my car?

I recall being excited about buying the Chevy on the morning my now-for-sale VW Fastback was to appear in The Bargain Mart (the regional auto trader publication) complete with photo. I ate breakfast and walked out to get in my car to begin my drive to school.

My car was gone!

I walked out to the street, thinking some friends were pulling a prank. Surely some friends had popped it out of gear and pushed it around the corner, right?? I usually parked the VW on the street in front of our house (my dad left before I did in the mornings and I couldn't block him in). I was in shock -- not only was my car missing, but I had a bigger mystery. Who the hell would steal a Volkswagen Type III??

The car was stolen about 6 a.m., just about 10 minutes before I got up. It was taken to a logging road near Boston, Ky., where the rims and tires were removed. The thieves then pelted the car with large rocks, breaking all the car's glass save for one wing vent. They also beat the crap out of the car with tire tools, rocks, and anything handy, denting it all over. They pulled all my stuff out of the car and scattered it over a hillside. They took my hand tools and socket set, but left my wallet, checkbook, calculator and other valuables.

I was devastated. A tow truck brought what was left of the VW home and it looked pathetic. Thankfully I still had four stock rims and tires so it could roll. Paying to have the car repaired was out of the question since the cost of the glass alone would easily exceed the original cost of the car.

After the shock wore off, I assumed this cloud had a silver lining. I really needed to buy a car now, and since I had already committed to buy the Chevy from Paul, that sale would move forward, right?

Well … umm, er, no, my dad informed me. In his view, I needed a sensible, dependable car, and that did not include buying that 55 Chevy, he said.

My heart sank. Our discussion escalated into World War III. I wanted that Chevy and was willing to pay for it -- how unfair of him to force me to do what he thought best! After all, I was 18 and knew everything. Heck, I was a high school graduate and was already an expert on most things..

The war didn't last long. My dad's trump card was the fact that he would have to co-sign for a loan, and he would NOT co-sign a loan to buy Chevy.

Period. End of story.

I was broken-hearted, angry, and disgruntled. Paul, the Chevy's owner, and I had earlier agreed that the deposit I gave him was nonrefundable. I told my story (he apparently had heard similar tales of woe and was unmoved). He was sympathetic, but he reminded me of our agreement. I was disappointed with Paul, but finally realized it was me who broke the sale, not him.

I went car shopping with my dad at the local Dodge dealer. My dad pushed me toward a new stripped-down gunmetal grey 1978 2-door Aspen with a Slant-Six and three on the floor. The bare-bones Dodge hardly had carpet. Anyway, my dad wanted to haggle on price, but the dealer said it was such a stripper there was no room to give a break on options - the car had none.

I discussed the situation with a friend of mine as we cruised town one Saturday. He suggested we look at some of the car lots, so we did a little window shopping. I found a bright red 1976 Plymouth Duster. I fell in love with the Duster. It wasn't the 55 I wanted, but the car was sporty and in excellent shape. My dad co-signed for it.

I let my dream of buying the '55 go for now. I turned my attention to my school studies and working on my Duster.

Up Next: 1979-81: Delayed Gratification