Story by Dave Hord
Tonight I find myself sitting on the couch, trying to come to terms with a decision I made this morning. A decision that means a 1975 Opel Manta Rallye will not be joining the rest of my collection. “Cars come and go”, you might be thinking, but this was no ordinary car…
On Saturday, Warwick emailed me a link to the latest car featured on BringaTrailer.com. I was out mountain biking, and checked the email while riding the Whistler chairlift. Staring back at me from my blackberry was a fire-orange beauty with black hood, stripe kit and gorgeous steel wheels. True, Warwick had originally intended the car for Connor, sitting beside me, but it was too late. I was hooked.
The ad mentioned it was all original, the photos made it look like the day it rolled out of the showroom, and the asking price was a mere $1500. As the day progressed we joked about running down to go and snag the car…and contemplated where I might possibly hide yet another vehicle. By Monday I had spoken to the owner, viewed an additional 25 detail photos he sent me, arranged a meeting time, and found myself fighting long-weekend traffic on the way to the car.
As we pulled into the driveway the anticipation was intense. My mind was racing with all the questions and options I would need to sort out before buying. I can technically afford the car, but it’s not exactly the responsible choice at the moment. Another car means another parking spot, and I seriously don’t have another parking spot. Stepping out of the car, I thought about Warwick’s final advice “just trust your instinct”. The garage opened, the orange screamed back at me from around those quad taillights…and a brief instant, it was…
Well, I’m not sure what it was. It wasn’t love, but it sure wasn’t a lack of interest. I began to check over the car towards the steps of buying it. Overall, the car was perfect. The trunk appears to have been unused since Hans or Jurgen or whoever the factory worker was finished installing the spare tire over 35 years ago. The interior, just as pristine. Even the pedal pads didn’t show their 97,000 miles. True, the engine isn’t running and the current owner thinks the timing chain is off by a tooth…but just look at that car.
And I suppose, that’s when it hits me. The driver’s side has three chips poorly repaired. On any other car I’ve looked at, not a problem…on this one, it’s like a searing rust stain. Then there are the holes left by removing the american bumpers, a whole row of them across each valance.
The investment side of me – if there is one – started talking. These problems are easily solved…they don’t detract from the car that badly, and hey…we’re talking about $1500 here, not $15,000. Seriously, I shouldn’t be bothered by this. But I am. It just doesn’t feel right, and my gut once again tells me the price I’d be comfortable paying. I tried to negotiate, but as always there is another person wanting to look at the car. There is _always_ another person waiting to look! A few tries later, and I knew it was time to walk.
As the day, and evening, have progressed I keep rethinking the car and my decisions in my head. Without a doubt I made a mistake, that fire-orange car would be perfect for cruising to Whistler for work in the summer. Hailed as a handling king in it’s day, its probably the perfect car for the Spring Thaw 2010. But then, at the same time…it’s just not right. I put 40,000 miles on the beetle this year, how could I even do half that to such a pristine car? I load muddy gear, helmets and camera gear in my trunk all the time…would I even dare load a clean bag into the Manta trunk? Hmph, probably not.
And there it is, its just not the car for me. Yes, it was a phenominal deal. But while this one has ‘got away’…there is always another one.