My Full Custom – Be Careful What You Wish For

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My '54 Chevy I have always wanted a hot rod. I had one once, when I was 19, living out in California. But it met a horrible and untimely end. It was a cancer-free ’54 Chevy which, in a tragic miscarriage of justice, I never even got to drive before it left this earth.

Ever since then I swore up and down that I would build another car. Finally, about a decade later, I decided it was time. So I "saved up some money" (or "cashed in my 401k") and started looking around.

I was like a sailor on payday: I had fifteen hundred bucks, and I was ready for some action! For better or for worse, I was going to buy me a hot rod. In my zeal, I almost jumped into a couple of real stinkers. Fortunately my wife and my friends are much smarter than I am, and talked me off the ledge again and again.

The HeapThen one day, while obsessing on eBay, I discovered a ’50 Fleetline up for auction. I fell in love right then and there… because I fall in love with everything I see on eBay.

These are the pictures from the previous owner that got me all revved up to bid on the car. They were taken by the yard he bought it from three years prior. They were shot from just the right angles to hide most of the dents. Oh yeah, and it was in Kansas (about 14 hours from my house in Detroit). And, because I’m stupid, I decided that I must buy it.

I watched as the price of the car rose. Like a man possessed, I studied the auction with hawk-like attention, biding my time. But I did not worry. No, I did not worry, for I had… a plan!

50chevy1 What I would do was wait until the last seconds of the auction to bid. I would slap down the big money at the last minute and surprise the hell out of everybody! That way I wouldn’t drive up the price. Genius, I know. But apparently I’m not the only genius who has discovered eBay, and when I threw down my crushing fifteen hundred dollar bid, the other guy just upped it. Man! That really burned me up! So just to stick it to him, I threw an extra fifty dollar bid in. "You want it? Fine! Ha ha sucker!" Then he countered, so I upped it another hundred. He won.

I’ll tell you in a minute why that was stupid, too.

50chevy3Suffice it to say that fate is a cruel mistress. All to often we are tempted to scoff at the decisions Lady Luck has made for us. This is called Pride. Lady Luck rewards these insurrections with a condition I like to call "Tripping over your own dick." You know what I’m talking about if you have ever proudly exclaimed "Hah! Pay someone to (insert any home improvement here)!? Why, I’ll do it myself!" For you see, I received a call about a week later from the owner who informed me that the winning bidder had flaked out, and that the car was mine if I was still interested, for the price of the last bid I had made, which was 150 dollars more than I really had.

Of course, I said yes, and I began formulating a plan to get my new car from Kansas City back to Detroit. Now, who did I know that had a truck? Dad! Following a long standing record of bailing me out of one sort of jam or another, he agreed to help me out. Plus it was a good way for me to help him realize his dream of stopping to see each and every Cracker Barrel in the northern hemisphere. So we piled in to the Jimmy and headed out to Kansas City, Kansas.

Next Week: Kansas City, Here I come