Sixty six. As a car builder, 66 is one of my favorite numbers. I was on my back from a car deal gone wrong in the middle of New Mexico, outside of a small town off, you guessed it, Route 66. The guy had grossly over represented a car for sale on the internet. Then, he wanted a fortune for that rust-bucket. I got turned around and lost my bearings down a side street. Great, I thought. I’m lost in the middle of nowhere with no signal for my GPS, after going on a wild-goose chase. Needless to say, I was not in a great mood.
Then I saw it. Back behind a sided house was a one-car garage with no door in front. In an instant, I caught a glimpse of some familiar taillights. It was as second gen. Chevy Nova. I just had to knock on the door. It was a silver-haired gent who answered. He was wearing an old Rock N’ Roll T-shirt and jeans, He appeared youthful in some way, in spite of the reading glasses perched on his head. I liked him immediately because he reminded me of, well, me!
“What can I do for ya Mister?” I related that I was a little lost, but forgot all about that when I saw his old Chevy. “Oh, that? She’s a good old ride. I haven’t driven her in years. Engine overheated and locked-up. I thought I could make it home, but it was too late. I always meant to get her running again but with work and family, I never had the time.”
“Mind if I take a look?” I ask. No car-guy can resist showing off a car he’s proud of. So we hike back through knee-high grass to the garage while I have visions of a 327/350 horse and a four speed. That was one of the fastest and most underrated cars of the muscle car era. A real numbers matching model fetches big money from collectors if it’s done right. We get closer and I find that it’s not a Super Sport like I had hoped, but it’s still a 66 Nova.
“She’s a 283 car with a power-glide” says my host. Not fast, but reliable, if you don’t drive with a leaky radiator hose,” he said with a wry grin. To my delight, it had bucket seats and a console with the shifter on the floor. “it was ordered that way, kind of like an SS. I’m the second owner and I really enjoyed driving her as a work car and weekend cruiser. Too bad I don’t have the time to restore the old girl. She’s just kind of wasting away here in this opened garage.”
“Well, do you think it’s time to let her go to someone who does have the time?” My question seemed to take him by surprise. Apparently he didn’t see the car trailer hooked to the back of my Silverado. “Well, I couldn’t give her away.” He shook his head. I knew that by the way he referred to the car as “She.” So the negotiation began, and at the end of the day, I got her at a fair price and my newfound friend treated me to some barbeque and a beer down the road. And I got directions out of town, which was what I was looking for in the first place.
To be continued…