(This is a car shopping post from before I bought the wagon)
I love living in new england for many reasons. The changing seasons, the ability to visit multiple states win a relatively short drive, the incredible amounts of history. But there is definitely a masochistic streak to being a car lover here. Anything you drive does its level best to rot out from under you. And classic cars shopping doesn’t involve the question “does it have rust?” but rather “How much rust does it have?
The honest answer on this car would have been “Way too much.” However as with far too many cars I’ve looked at, the sellers either lie to you in hopes you won’t catch them, or are apparently looking at a completely different car when they answer my questions than the one they show me when I get there. When I talked to the seller of this 1959 Pontiac Star Chief he made a big point to tell me that the car had been repainted two owners back, and his answer to the eternal rust question was that the driver’s floor could use some work and there was a spot behind the rear window.
With that answer I made plans for the three hour each-way trip to see it, visions of double fins dancing in my head. Upon arrival I was greeted with a very faded and cracked paint job that was starting to peel. Not a big deal I thought, I’d want to change the color anyway. So I peeled back the trunk mat to look at the trunk floor, and saw a big line of rot. Other side of the mat, more rot. Peeled up the front of the mat to find the trunk floor and the passenger wheel well were separated by a jagged gulf big enough to lob a ferret through. From there it only got worse. The rear floorboards were rotted out, the front floorboard were so bad the passenger floor brace had rusted off and was laying loose on top of the muffler. It became a sick sort of game.
Radiator support? Rotted.
Fenders? Rotted, then bondoed.
Rear decklid? Rotted.
Roof pillars? Rotted.
He wanted $3000 for what was an engine powering a decent set of seats, and some good glass and trim loosely connected by some very bad metal. I didn’t even bother to have him start it. I just snapped the pictures here and headed back home. It makes me sad to see a car in such poor shape, but it makes me intensely frustrated to have someone tell me a car is one thing, and then show up to discover it is something completely different. The same question always pops into my head, the question I have, thus far, been too polite to ask. “Did you honestly think I would be more likely to buy the car because you bullshitted me? Do you think finding out I’ve been lied to was going to make me more likely to give you my money?” One of these days the lies will be a little too egregious and I will not be able to resist, I promise to report back whatever response I get.