By Craig Hastings
Have you ever let something go, sold it, passed it on to someone else? Nearly five years ago I let something go as part of a financial exchange, this for that. I can remember right up until the moment I was delivering my property to the new owner nearly backing out and keeping my own. I never planned on duping the seller of the property I was going to buy, I just wanted to keep mine too. As a matter of fact I had waited for an opportunity like this since I was sixteen years old to buy something this unique so I was buying even if I wasn’t selling.
So what in the world am I talking about? Any of you that know me already know what I’m talking about. For those of you that not so much know me; I’m talking about a car deal. I think it was in November of 2013 when I was working a 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. patrol that I discovered a new arrival at the then Tim Mooney Ford Store. I had spoken to Tim about this particular car earlier in April of 2013. He had told me the car was already sold, and he would only be getting one of these due to the limited production run of this model. For reasons beyond control, the car was delivered to Tuscola. The car was inside the showroom and you can only imagine, if you know me, my reaction when I discovered the car was here, in Tuscola, and it was for sale.
If I remember right Tim was out of the state at the time and his store manager was himself on vacation in some warm and beautiful climate unlike here in November. I couldn’t wait until morning to talk to one of them about this car so I texted John. He told me he wasn’t sure of the status of this car, and I would need to call Tim in the morning. Well, calling isn’t texting so I didn’t call Tim, because it was now about 1 a.m. here so it would have been 3 a.m. where he was. I got off duty at 2 a.m. but stayed out until 3 a.m., because I wasn’t going to be able to sleep anyway.
At 8 a.m. the same morning I was inside the dealership to look this car over. Not to see if it was just what I wanted and maybe I wouldn’t be interested. No, I was there to make sure everyone working there knew I had spoken to Tim already, and he and I were working on a deal even though Tim was 700 miles away! What I wanted was to drive the car home and hide it from any other potential buyers. I don’t remember exactly how Tim got me a key to the building, but he did and that night I was back taking a hundred pictures of the car that I didn’t need. Why take pictures if I planned to buy it anyway and also, why take pictures of the car if someone else was going to own it?
To the average buyer this car means nothing more than paying too much and getting so little in return. For sure most any other model would be a more practical purchase. This car was a limited production run not because it was intended to sell well. No, it was a limited production run because Ford America knew there would be a limited number of car crazies like myself who would spend their hard-earned money for a car that makes no sense to drive everyday to do the everyday tasks all of us do with our cars and trucks. I just happen to be one of those 4,000 people nutty enough to think they had to own one.
I think Tim returned home on the following Monday, and I selfishly wanted to be his first order of business. He did tell me I could take the car home even though we hadn’t talked numbers in order to close a deal on the car. This wasn’t anything new though. Tim had often over the years sent a car home with me or just dropped it off at my house because he knew once it was at home with me he had this fish hooked and cooked. He knew which ones I just had to have over his and my years of doing business together. There was only one really special car and it was only one of about 1500 limited run cars that year that Tim didn’t send home with me. That car was a 2004 Ford GT, and the window sticker was about $143,000–way too much for a car to just sit in a garage to look at.
However, if I could have that same opportunity today I would have mortgaged my house to buy that car. As it has turned out, today those cars with less than 5,000 miles on the odometer are selling for as much as $400,000!! Buying that car, at that time, would have forced my family to eat Rice Krispies for breakfast, lunch, and supper for years to come. Me, I would have done it, but my family would have surely hated me for it. Oh well, I missed an opportunity of a lifetime but who would have known. I don’t think that car was at the dealership for even two hours before it was sold and trailed out to the new owner.
Enough about the Ford GT. Back to the 2013 deal. This car was a limited edition run of a 2014 Ford Mustang. I was out of climate controlled garage space and buying this car would have forced me to spend money on a place to put it or trade one of my cars I loved most. On top of the space problem was a financial decision to invest in this 2014 and keep my car or just trade my car reducing my payout in half to Tim. I was stalled, not wanting to give up my car but absolutely wanting to own the Mustang. As any good salesperson would do, Tim came to my house and stood in my garage with me looking at my trade. After a brief conversation, Tim threw a new trade number at me and the deal was done.
I traded and I hated myself everyday after that it crossed my mind; and that was often. Fortunately for me I don’t remember seeing the car more than twice since I traded it. The new owners were local, but they also drove it seldom and took extremely good care of the car. My oldest son Payton, who rode home with me after I bought the car from K.C. Summers in Mattoon has continued to “Dad, why did you sell blah, blah, blah.” I had tried to convince him and myself it made the most financial sense at the time to trade. So it happened one evening last week Payton came flying home to tell me he was sure he had just seen this car sitting in a yard for sale here in town. I told him he was mistaken that it couldn’t be. He told me where he saw it, and I knew that was where the owner currently lived.
We drove to the house and no car in the yard. Determined to make sure he wasn’t seeing things I drove to the house the next morning and stopped a talked to the owner who I’ve known well for years. I know how well he takes care of his cars and everything else he owns so I knew my old car had been in good hands. The car was for sure for sale, and it didn’t take any time at all for us to agree on price. Tonight the car is presently sitting back in my garage in the exact same place it had set five years ago. I had solved my garage space issues with a new build three years ago so space was no longer an issue. I thank John for taking such wonderful care of a car I should have never let go. The car is, five years later, in the near perfect condition it was when I traded it. Even though this is one of the most enjoyable cars to drive that I own, the car will sit and be looked at for what it is much more than ever driven.
This car has filled a void I’ve suffered with for many years. I’ve looked high and low for one just like it, same color, same condition, and same mileage for years and never could. And how could it be the car I was trying to find the twin to would instead be the very car I let go? I don’t know and care less. I care only that it happened and my search is over.