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My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
I had one of those “It was meant to be” events last week.  Any of you that have been reading my column for some time know I’m a car junkie.  I have been since the age of about fourteen back when I used to bug Ned Ferguson and Tom O’brien every Saturday in the summer months at Ferguson (Ford) Motors back in the 70’s.  I have a few cars I consider unique examples of particular models.  I’m always on the hunt for the next car that might fit what I consider unique.  I built a garage in my backyard just to house these cars. It’s heated and air conditioned because I spend a lot of time in this garage watching TV and hanging out by myself with my cars.  Weird, maybe but I won’t change. 

Anyway, I’ve been trying to find a 2020-2022 Shelby GT500 for months.  Finding one isn’t so difficult but finding one reasonably priced is quite another thing.  Last week I did locate a 2021 at a dealership not far away and it only had 2000 one owner miles on it.  So the back and forth of trying to reach a price we could both be comfortable with started.  One quote was with a trade and the other an outright purchase.  This went on for five days.  Finally the salesman I was dealing with asked me if he could come down and look at the car I might be willing to let go. I agreed to meet him here on a Saturday morning a week ago hoping once he saw the car he would up his trade offer.  Our meeting went well.  So well he also tried to buy two of my other cars.

Before he left my house that morning I had made an offer the prior Thursday which he refused.  Of course I was just trying to get him down a little more.  I was satisfied with the offer they had made me last.  Anyway, before he left my house and after seeing the car I was willing to let go, he accepted my offer so you might think the deal was done right?  Nope.  Something else had happened that same Thursday.  Something absolutely incredible and I was going nuts thinking about it.  Out of the blue I had received a call from a good friend who knows my love for anything unique in the American muscle car world.  You might remember me talking about a 2014 Shelby GT500 I bought new from Tim Mooney.  I was in love with that car.  Never did I think I’d have an opportunity to buy one of those cars back in 2014.  Another crazy chain of events led to the purchase of that Shelby.  I had that car for five and half years.  I never took the window sticker out of the window and only drove it 315 miles in five and half years.  I never intended to sell it.  One night while laying in bed I received an email from a gentleman living in Paducah Kentucky.  He asked me if I still had the car and if I did would I sell it. I said I might but not for what he’d want to pay.  He asked for a price.  I priced it way too high thinking that would be the end of our conversation.  He immediately responded back saying he’d take it and would wire the money to my account.  Three weeks later he picked the car up.  I was hoping he would never show and simply ask me to wire the money back.  No such luck.  The car was gone and I’ve regretted it ever since.  Trying to find a really good car just like it is nearly impossible unless a person is willing to pay crazy money for one.  I gave up.

I knew of another one close but was certain it would never be for sale so I never asked the owner about selling it to me.  Well the friend of mine that called me last Thursday, the same day I had already decided on a trade deal in my own mind for the 2021, told me the car might be for sale and would I be interested.  “Absolutely of course I’m interested!; I responded.  I told my friend the dilemma I was in on the 2021 but I hadn’t committed but the salesman was coming to my house on Saturday.  If the salesman accepted my offer I made to them on the same Thursday as this call I would be in a jam!  However, I was ecstatic about the idea of being able to own the 2014 Shelby that I thought I nor anyone else would ever get a chance to buy.  I knew this car and also knew it had been taken care of and never abused.  Always parked inside, always clean, never driven hard, perfect for me.  I know the owners.  They are wonderful people and love automobiles as much as I do.

I didn’t want to push the owners of the 2014 but I did kinda have to know something quickly or lose the deal on the 2021.  I called the dealership holding the 2021 later that Saturday and told him I was on hold on a 2014 but if I didn’t hear something on Monday I’d do the deal on the 2021. That didn’t work out so well.  An hour after I talked to him he texted me and told me he just sold the 2021 Shelby!  Now what was I going to do?  He also told me he still wanted to buy the car outright I was thinking about trading.  The money was right but now I certainly wasn’t going to let it go.  I was only letting it go on trade because I needed the space.  As luck would have it, my friend called me Monday morning  and told me the owner of the 2014 would let their Shelby go.  He gave me a no haggle price which I thought was probably doable if after going to see the car was what I expected I would see.  Later that day I met my friend at the owner’s home to see the Shelby.  The instant I stepped in his immaculate garage and saw the Shelby sitting there I wasn’t leaving without committing to buy.  I was instantly in love with this car.  After that instant I remembered just how stupid I was to let my first one go at any price.  This one wasn’t getting away. 

I went home and contacted the salesman that wanted to buy my car and told him he could have it because I bought the 2014 and needed the space.  He came to Tuscola and picked up my car, I picked up the Shelby and everyone was happy.  So for the next 48 hours I spent much of my time in my garage staring in disbelief knowing I actually once again own one of these limited run Shelby GT500s.  It’s a beautiful car.  My plan is when I die this car will still be sitting in my garage and my sons will have to figure out where it goes next.  I have several unique cars in my garage but this one would be the last of any of them I would sell.  I won’t make that same mistake again.  I guess maybe if I get to a point I couldn’t physically drive it anymore ( it’s a manual transmission) I’d carefully select a new owner for the car but only if I trusted them to take care of it like I will and the first owners did. I don’t drive these cars but for just a few miles a summer and that’s just to burn old gas up so I can put fresh gas back in for the winter ahead.  No, mostly I just go out to the garage and sit and stare at them and wipe them down once in a while.  My cars in this garage are more like works of art to me than machines built to be used for their intended purpose.

Six days later now and I’m still just as thrilled and thankful I own this car as I was the moment I saw it.  I want to thank the owners of this car for giving me the opportunity to own the Shelby now myself.  You have no idea how pleased I am and how much I respect you for the care you have given this car since you bought it new yourselves.  Never did I think I would ever see another one this well taken care of and for sale.  For sale right in my own backyard owned by people I’ve known most of my life.  Thank you Kirk for thinking to call me and making this happen.  You were absolutely right when you kept saying to me, “It was meant to be.”  The timing couldn’t have been any better than it was.  I agree, it was meant to be.  Thank you again to everyone involved.  I was also asking for and getting the thoughts and advice from someone else very close to me that knows me well enough now to know how wrapped up I am in Shelby Mustangs, and all American muscle cars I grew up with.  I was torn between the two Shelbys and was looking for support.  Thank you for listening.  Fifty years later and my fever for these cars has never cooled. It was a good day!

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