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Stan's Street Rod Nationals Adventure
When I joined the KYANA car club in 2019, I was looking for a car and purchased a 1971 Camaro because that is what I drove in college. I think we all remember the days when we were young and had something that we wish we could have kept. Buying the Camaro was an adventure of its own, but this story is about the NSRA Street Rod Nationals experience of 2023.
I have said for many years that I miss the old cars because I could work on them. What I forgot was that I had to work on them. The Camaro has been a good reminder of this. Each year my drive from home in Shelbyville to the Fair and Exposition Center has been an adventure. The first year was overheating and rewiring cooling fans. The second year was more of the same, but the fans quit working and had to be replaced. 2023 was looking like the year that I could just drive back and forth without problems but that only lasted about 25 miles before the MSD ignition box overheated and quit firing. Luckily, I had some ice in my cooler, and I was back on the road. A sandwich sized ice bag each way and I made it through all four days of the event.
While sitting in the shade or walking around the NSRA event, I kept thinking about all of the nice quiet cruising cars that some people are driving. I listened to one guy talk about his 1963 Nova wagon that he drove to Gatlinburg and back and people talking about going on Power Tours. I started to think I needed more of a regular driving car that maybe even got better mileage. I also noticed that there were many cars for sale, but the prices were ridiculous on most of them.
While walking around the swap meet, I started looking at a 1962 Oldsmobile F85 Cutlass that a guy brought in on a trailer and had for sale at the swap meet asking $9,500. The car was unique in several ways. It was a convertible, seemed to be original and has a 215 cubic inch aluminum engine that was only used by GM for three years before they sold it to Rover. Probably the most unique characteristic of the car was that it didn’t run but would try to start on starting fluid. I looked at the car several different times but when I was ready to make an offer, the guy wasn’t around.
After I arrived home, I called the number from the windshield of the car and made a $7,000 offer to Bill which was quickly rejected with “thanks very much for the offer but I can’t sell it for less than $9,000”. I was surprised by the quick rejection and thought I just needed to let Bill know that although I offered $7,000, I wasn’t going over $8,000 and that he could think about it. Well, it wasn’t very long before Bill called me. He proposed some counter discussion but just like at an auction, when you set your maximum bid, you must stay with it. Fortunately (or not) we made a deal, and I picked up the car in Mt. Washington.
After buying the car, and having it for a couple of days, I started to wonder what I had done and more importantly, why I did it. I did not need something else to take my time. Reflecting on the experience, I think several things played into the decision.
I probably shouldn’t have let everyone in the club know what I paid for the car because you may start to question my intelligence, but I must own it now. I used to deal poorly with buyers’ remorse but now I realize the best that I can do is try to learn from the experience. The lessons that I take away are:
I was going to end the story here, but some people would wonder if I have done anything with the car that I don’t have time for since purchasing it. It has been two months since the NSRA was in Louisville but that only equates to a few hours to work on an old car. In that time, I have:
I am planning to drive the F85 to the 2024 KYANA picnic and hopefully will see you there. I want to close by wishing everyone the best on whatever your project is and encouraging you to write a little story to share with your car club.
Car: 1971 Camaro
Car: 1962 Oldsmobile F85 Cutlass
Owner: Stan Gaus
KYANA Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America
3821 Hunsinger Lane, Louisville, Kentucky 40220