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Car Corner
Cars, Cars, Cars.... What To Do?

March 2, 2016
By Scott Lewis

I was doing a photo shoot at a auto restoration shop the other day. I was quite the day. I was there to photograph a 56 Thunderbird (shop owner's wife's car) and a Ferrari 458 (shop owner's car).

As it happened there was a second Ferrari 458 there to be picked up by the Ferrari dealership (it had its nose repainted for some reason I don't remember). While we were photographing the 56 T-Bird another of his clients (and a previous client of mine) showed up with his award winning Ferrari 575M. He wanted some photographs of the trophies (for the shop that helped with winning it) and some photos of the detailer and the shop owner with the car and the trophy.

Sounds like a perfect day. But it gets better. The shop owner thought it would be great to try and photograph all three cars together... and we only had a couple of hours before one was being picked up. So off we went to scout a location nearby. We found a "no outlet" residential area not far from the shop. We drove and found the road ended with two gated sub-divisions, one on the left and one on the right. There was plenty of room in front of either entrance. We went with the one on the right as it got better sun.

Back to the shop to get the three cars ready to go... and while I was sitting in the 575M (yes... I got to drive it to and from the photo shoot), another client shows up with a.... wait for it... Lamborghini Countach. He wanted to come see the photo shoot. Once we got there... I suggested we put him in it. So there we were with 4 amazing red cars. Sweet!

I was on vacation from my day job while my brother was in town. I was doing the part time photography thing. Technically at least 3 people at the photo shoot were working (the shop owner, the detailer and myself). I quoted Adam Carolla, "This is why the terrorists hate us."

Back at the shop I was closing up business with the shop owner. I was asking about some of the cars he had there. Someone told me he had a Mustang coupe that might have been abandoned by the owner and the shop might be selling it, or fixing it up and selling it. I was curious.

The shop owner asked what kind of car I wanted. He said don't think about all the details, just what would I like if I had the money. Hmmm... that's a huge can of worms your opening, I told him. Then he told me how you can get a loan with really long payoff times to buy classic cars. He told me (though this I already knew) classic cars are cheap to insure. He told me his was paying $250 a year to insure his Mustang (a Shelby Clone valued at $50,000), and he bought is Cobra for $5,000 down and paid just $280 a month for it.

Sweet!

He said, "you're a car guy, you need a cool car." I told him that my tastes are all over the place... and I mentioned I could see taking the extra money I have now and trading in my Focus for a Cadillac CTS Coupe. He responded, "those are nice." That I got that level of reaction from him validated it with me. After all... if you have been reading between the lines... this guy owns a Shelby Mustang Clone, a Cobra (Replica), a Ferrari 458 and a 56 Thunderbird (to name a few). He can afford to buy and sell me many times over.

He wants me to give him a list of 5 classic cars I would like and he can keep an eye out for me. He runs into cars for sale all the time. He was concerned I wanted a $10K car that I would fix up slowly. He knows lots of people that start that way and then give up for various reasons. I assured him I was not one of those. I would stick with a project.

However... the idea of buying a nicer classic car to start with means I could have a car I would be proud of at Cars & Coffee and such. And then I could add the better brakes and suspension to make it handle like a modern car over time. This is sounding too good to be true.

What To Do?

Now that my head has been filled with the idea of getting a classic... really being able to get one... I can't get it out of my head.

Here's the plan for now. I have a few things to do to still get my debt under control. I have a little money coming in over the next couple of months... and I need to finalize the divorce with my (soon to be) ex-wife. (Yes... we actually filed... after being separated for almost 6 years.)

All of this should be done by the end of April. If it all pans out... and I have the money I need left over... I am going to seriously consider a classic. This would mean keeping my Focus as my daily driver, of course.

Hold On!!! I am still leaving the possibility of replacing the Focus with another car. But now I am going to be very selective. Meaning I am only interested in 2 cars to replace the Focus. The afore mentioned Cadillac CTS Coupe and the Mercedes C250 Coupe. Everything else is a compromise to these two cars.

If I do get the Caddy or the Benz... then I will get a classic in about 1-1/2 years when my debt consolidation loan is paid off.

Time to do a little research on classic car loans to see how much I could get. For me... I just need to have enough cash to cover about 15-20% of the cost of the car... and the cost to have it shipped to San Antonio (should I buy it from far away).

For a glimpse as what I will be looking at... see this month's Classic Car Watch column.

It is also official... I have created the Car Slush Fund. It is Currently at $4,500. Unfortunately, I will need to be paying off some debt before I consider taking on a car loan. So it is very likely that number will go down before it goes back up.

Stay tuned. The next few months are going to be interesting.

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