For most of her life Ellen had never ridden in a convertible. She had no idea what the experience was like. Then one day she had an opportunity to ride in a friend’s convertible and that opened a whole new automotive window for her. She loved the car. That was all Tom needed to hear. He began looking for a really nice convertible that they would both like. The 2000 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 that he discovered was owned by a young couple who had a growing family and the Camaro was not a good fit for small children. They were asking a very reasonable price that Tom was more than willing to pay. Of course Tom had to ask them what their bottom line was. No true car guy would overlook the opportunity to leave a little more cash in the family bank account. The couple consulted privately and to Tom’s surprise they came back with a price that was about $1,000 lower, a significant discount. The deal was done.
The Camaro has the automatic transmission, an option for 2000. If Tom had ordered the car new for himself he would have gone with the 6-speed manual. But this car was meant for Ellen and an automatic is just what she needed. The paint looks very good with just minor dings (hail damage) and a bit of age. Tom will be getting a repaint soon. If you are considering a paint job you might want to check with Tom first because the painter he deals with gives a great deal.
Tom enjoyed driving the Caprice for several years until he decided to sell it. One morning a local man knocked on his door and announced that he wanted to buy the car. He said he would return at 5:00 PM with the full price. He returned at the appointed time with the cash. Tom insisted that the buyer take back $500 since Tom expected some haggling. The nice elderly gent refused to take the discount. Tom refused to sell the car to him unless he accepted the $500. The deal was done. The buyer never once drove the car or even opened the doors to look inside. He also passed up the opportunity to drive it home while Tom would drive the buyer’s car. So, Tom drove the Caprice the mile or so to its final home. That’s when things got really interesting. The nice old man offered to show Tom around the place. The first stop was the garage which featured an original Shelby Cobra Mustang sitting up on a lift. It had about 8 miles on the odometer! The gentleman had originally bought the car new for his oldest son who unfortunately was killed in Vietnam and thus never took possession of the car. The Shelby is now destined to go to the younger son when dad passes.
And the story is not quite over. The elderly man insisted on showing Tom what he had in his basement. Down they went to the train room. Thousands of train sets, all in good working order, were on display. Racks of engines and cars lined the room. 10 complete train sets are in motion at all times. Every so many months the 10 sets are taken down, given preventative maintenance, and then returned to ‘display status’ while 10 more different sets are then put in motion. Tom was absolutely amazed by the collection.
I am sure Tom has many more stories to tell and I hope we hear more of them in the not too distant future. He plans to spend more time with club activities as he gets a little closer to retirement age. Did you know he is on the lookout for a 1970-1971 Barracuda? But that’s another story. Ask Tom about it when you see him.
(Click on the photos for an enlarged view)