For the longest time, I’ve been throwing around the idea of owning an old school car. It was usually always just something nice to think about, but never transpired into much more than a brief peruse on Craigslist. A Datsun 510 or 240Z were pretty much the staples, but they weren’t quite “special” enough. About a month ago, when I was about to go to sleep, I decided to quickly search for an Austin Mini on Craigslist for amusement. That’s when I found a clean looking Red one with dual fuel tanks and a sunroof for sale near Sacramento. I knew just from looking at the minimally detailed ad, that car was the one. It was still only an idea at this point, timing and many other factors had to fall into place.
Well, the timing was right because I was just selling my BMW and needed something new, something different… I was able to convince my Dad (not an easy feat) to go with me 2 and a half hours North to look at the car. When we made it up there to the seller’s house, another party interested in the car happened to show up at exactly the same time. This was partly poor planning by the seller and also bad luck. The competition showed up in a fancy Mercedes CLS, so I judged a book by its cover and basically gave up. After awkwardly looking over the car with the other people, I left and let them have the test drive and first offer. This was debilitating driving all the way up to Sacramento for a seemingly lost cause.
Thinking it was already over, the seller called me the following day to inform me that the other party did indeed make an offer – but wanted to put down a deposit first and bring it to a mechanic to inspect. That was too much hassle and risk for the seller, so I was given a chance to match the offer and buy the car. Although my card was back on the table, I couldn’t reasonably go back up to Sacramento again after what happened last time. Plus, the car had been sitting for months prior, so driving it back home was out of the question. I had to somehow convince the seller to tow it to me. Luckily he was working a job down in Mountain View that week and also had a trailer. It was set for the next day… until I find out that the seller tried to clean off the engine with degreaser and water, and the car wouldn’t start anymore. Later on in the week, the distributor was left to dry out and the car could start again. It took quite a bit of convincing since the seller was busier later in the week, but eventually he came through and delivered the car on that Friday, and I now own a 1962 Mini Cooper.
Buying a car like this certainly requires the will to own it. The reason why I wanted it in the first place, aside from having something different, is because a classic car actually stands to increase in value. Cars are one of the worst depreciating assets you could have. My intentions were not simply to pursue financial rewards, but also because a Mini Cooper is a great choice for my first foray into oldschools. It’s rare in the States and is overall a very simple car. Plus, how can you choose wrong with a Mini Cooper.