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Thursday, 16 February 2012

A Driving History Part Three- Torggil Gets a T-Bird

Looking back on it now, I am actually embarrassed I owned it.  Yeah it was a 1980 Ford Thunderbird.  It looked a lot like this...

Only it was in a pretty sorry state.  The biggest story with this car is the purchase itself.

I think it was the end of winter, late Feb or Early March, and I had given up on the Diplomat (radiator fluid in the oil pan.  NOT good).  And decided after much thought to scrap the car.  Still my budget to replace it was small, maybe $400.

Where was I going to find a car for $400?

It was then my finance drew my eyes to the local paper.  The Classified ad read Police Car Auction this weekend!  And I thought, cool.  I've never done that before.

The morning wasn't too bad, there were signs of thaw on the ground as I stepped in a slushy pothole getting out of the car.   I was looking forward to the wonders of the yard, and I had about 1/2 an hour to wander the 30 or forty vehicles on site for auction that day.

I admit, I was nervous, I was excited.  I had never been to an auction before.

And then I walked in through the gate after registering as a bidder.  Wreck after wreck lay in their isolated spots, and I started to worry a bit, then a couple of gems became visible as I walked down the rows.  There was an 86 monte carlo, top of the range on the lot.  It looked to be in excellent condition and I was interested in bidding but the car sold for well over $5000 as I remember.  I also remember speaking to the previous owner.  He'd flogged it out anyways.  Told me he got stacks of tickets in it.

There was  also a really cool motorbike, a crotch rocket.  And there were a few other vehicles.  As I said, some more recognizable than others.  There was also an old 1980 Tbird.

I didn't think much of it.  At least one of its tires was flat, and the headlight covers were half open, giving the car a sleepy look.  The seats had been torn to bits, and the abandoned vehicle sticker was still on the glass.

The auction started.  The auctioneer was on the back of a pickup that stopped at each lot for bidding.  So we started walking.  The auction started with a couple of wrecks that sold for the minimum bid ($140 I think) to a local wrecking yard.  The first decent car came up and it sold for more than $400.  I started to worry.  A couple of more vehicles went by and I was wondering if I'd get anything useful, and it was time to bid on the tbird.  I remember saying to my fiance that I didn't really want it.

She gave me one of her looks...  "But its a T-Bird..."

I thought, "For fuck's sake..."  The auctioneer said  $150 looking for 160..

I raised my card.  I didn't want to pay too much for it.  I thought that $160 may have already been too much...

They got a 170 and 180 bid.  Shelley nudged me.  I raised my card...$190.  Okay.  I bought it for $240 plus auction fees.

So what kind of car was it?

Well, it ran.  It ran in great billowing clouds of smoke and burning oil.  The engine leaked so bad when it was running I refused to take it out of town.  The interior was ratshit.  The seats had been cut open as if someone had been looking for something.  The interior roof lining was half off, and before I drove it off the police lot I ripped it out completely.  I had to get my mate Rob to tighten some shit up underneath the car before I could even take it anywhere.

I was shocked when this smoking, smelly thing passed the insurance inspection.

I also enjoyed driving it.  It didn't even smell that bad if you were moving fast enough to keep the air under the car.  It didn't have a huge engine, but I reckon  it would do 0-100kph in about 10 secs (the diplomat did the same in about 13.5) and it could out corner the diplomat as well.

I got two years and change out of the diplomat.  The Tbird got hit 9 months after I bought it.  As my employment situation changed shortly after that, I didn't bother to immediately replace it.  In fact, It would be many years before my name appeared on a pink slip.  I was, however, driving my fiance's car.

1 comment:

  1. I have a correction. The Monte Carlo I spoke about was actually Hurst Oldsmobile. I did a little snooping and saw a photo on the net. The colours on the Hurst are so distinct, once I saw the photo I knew immediately that it was the car at the auction. Whoever bought it for the $5000+ price tag stole it. Its a collectors car, and only 201 of the 3001 production were exported to Canada. Thanks Winnipeg Free Press, "An Oldsy but a Goody."

    It's a small detail, I know, but I prefer accuracy whenever possible.