Friday, April 25, 2008

Wishes, Beggars, and Horsepower


For a guy who cannot drive, I seem to think much about classic cars. Perhaps that's because my wife has turned into a car nut, purchasing over the last two years a 1963 Ford Thunderbird and a 1959 Ford Ranchero. The T'bird is a beautiful, all-original car. It will be maintainted and driven little. The Ranchero will be turned into a rat rod.

All of this is said to explain why a man who cannot drive and a woman who can afford no more cars ended up at an auto auction in the resort town of Branson, Missouri.

Prices were generally down, perhaps even way down in comparison to what I've learned in reading and trailing along in the wake of my wife's adventures. Classic early model Mustangs were bargain cheap. A silver anniversary Corvette, all original and well maintained, went hammer-down for a price that made me cringe.

We didn't stay to see this red split window 1963 Corvette sell. I imagine it was tagged with a reserve. This model is too rare to sell cheap.

This 1948 Desoto was the only woodie we ran across while there. We didn't see it sell either, but it reminded me of the 1951 Ford woodie wagon my father once owned. He used it as a second car while stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso back in the 50s and later traded it for a gold anniversary 1953 Ford convertible, either of which might today be sold for enough to put a kid through at least two years of college.


This was my favorite on the block: a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria. I didn't like the continental kit. While apropos for the era, the kit makes the car look awkwardly long. I like this model because long ago and far away I was inordinately jealous of one owned by the starting fullback of the Stephen F. Austin High School in El Paso. The kid's name was "Froggy" Barnes. I don't think I ever knew his true first name. The nickname? I suppose because he had an upper body like a beer keg and spindly bow legs. His parents were local television celebrities, which perhaps generated enough income to allow their child to drive a relatively new car. His Crown Victoria was hot pink and white, but Froggy was big enough and tough enough that no one teased him about driving a car that color.


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