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The Classics Perspective - Good Trade

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by Brian Medford  More from Author

I once traded a girlfriend for a car. True story!

(The Classics Perspective is a column exclusive to AutoTrader Classics and written by our own Online Editor Brian Medford. We hope you enjoy it.)

I should have known it wasn't going to last. She was nice and we had fun together but, when it came time for me to wrench on my cars she just didn't get it. I had been friends with this woman for quite some time so we decided to give dating a try. This is usually when you find out all the little things that didn't matter before are actually important. She knew I was a car guy but didn't really understand what that meant. Her first clue should have been when she came over for dinner one night and opened my coat closet door. Most people keeps coats in their coat closet but I was using it to store a Ford 8.8" rear axle.  She asked, "What is this and why is it in the closet?" My response of, "It's the rear axle from my Lincoln and it didn't fit anywhere else," didn't help explain things. Her shock actually surprised me. Her journey into dating a car guy had just begun.

The car in question was my '69 Olds Delta 88 convertible. As I mentioned in a previous column my father's first brand new car was a '69 Olds Cutlass S. I always wanted that car and this was my chance to get something at least close to it. The Delta 88 had been wrecked and abandoned at a friend's frame shop. It was in need of a lot of work but overall the car was in good shape. I had known about this car for some time and when I was finally given the option to buy it, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.

I called up my girlfriend to share with her my good news. Funny how my idea of good news didn't seem to coincide with her idea of good news. I could hear the scowl through the phone as I was telling her I was arranging to have the car brought home and that I would be busy the next few weekend mornings working on the car.

What followed was a long interrogation as to why on earth I needed another car much less one that was old and needed work. I tried to explain to her the emotional attachment to the car as well as the excellent opportunity placed before me. The silence on the other end of the phone should have been my first clue. I tried again to explain just why I wanted this car and how great it will be. Her response was yet another barrage as to the validity of my purchase.

Finally she gave me an ultimatum: if I bought the car she was going to leave me.

You don't have to guess which one I chose.

I am who I am. Asking me to give up my cars is like asking me to change my eye color, it can't be done. I am fairly sure my blood type is actually 10w30. The smell of a rich tuned carburetor is a sweet perfume to me. The lure of the automobile is far too great for me. I can't deny who I am.

Things work out though. I used to tell myself that I would marry the first woman I met who had her own rolling toolbox. Not so. I married a woman who "gets" what it means to be a car guy. I told her up front that I am a car guy and will never be anything else. I will always have cars scattered everywhere and dream of owning more. I told her about my previous "trade" and she sided with me! My wife is not a "car girl" but she supports me and my habit, even to the point of finding project cars for me. Yes she has a sister and no you can't have her phone number.

My point here isn't to bash my ex-girlfriend. What I'm getting at is our hobby is more than just something fun we do to take up time. Being a "car person" isn't a lifestyle, it is a life. If you have ever seen an elderly man's eyes light up when talking about a car you know what I mean. Cars get under your skin and deep into your bones. If you don't think the connection is that strong I know one woman who would disagree.

(Brian is an avid automotive enthusiast who grew up in his father's shop and has had grease under his fingernails from an early age. He has been involved in the classic automotive industry for well over a decade. He has owned several classic cars and is currently focused on the Oldsmobile brand.)

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