Found in San Diego
The call we are always waiting for....
I'm sitting in my office cruising through ads and internet listings when I get a call from what seems to be a 12 yr old boy, he talking about Cord's, I thought he said Ford's at first. Anyhow as the conversation goes he is pretty much into gathering information and has some good questions about originality and restoration. At about the 10 minute mark I'm thinking he must be writing a book report or something, as a nice guy I continue to give him my opinion on the cars and market etc... I eventually dig into the call a little deeper and ask him why all the questions "Well"d, he says with a pause "we have a 1937 Cord Phaeton in the garage, my great uncle has half restored it and cannot finish it." It wasn't much longer than 10 seconds before I was in my car and heading over to the house.
As I expected when we lifted the garage the car looked to be neglected and used a storage pile. Being a true car guy I was able to see through the mess and had vision. This is where the story gets good, I meet the son and his mother and talked about cars a bit, who I am, what I do, plans for the car etc... and I make an offer. Not to my surprise as many family member situations are, people do not know anything about restoration cost, the value before and after, many only have to go by what someone said years ago and that someone said the car was worth $180,000!!!! Needless to say I was kicked out of the house called a hustler and was told I'm just trying to steal her Uncle's car and it's not going to happen. Well that was interesting!!!
About 3 weeks later I get a call back and of course notice the name on the caller ID. It was the women who kicked me out of her house for insulting her with an offer. She tells me first off, thanks for all the info I gave her and thanked me for my time. She expressed to me that they have had several people come out since I did to look at the cars and all of which are telling her virtually the same thing I did. She said many of them were rude and pushy and she didn't feel comfortable in dealing with any of them. She told me at least I was nice and knowledgeable and gave her better options with some insight on what to do even if I didn't buy it. Not one other person showed her that courtesy and she wanted me to come back and see the cars one more time. Upon arrival she met me at the door walked me into the garage, some items had actually been removed from around the cars I could see them a little better. I knew it as missing a lot and would be a challenge but I did raise my offer and she was satisfied so I bought the cars.
A few days later we assembled our crew and went back uncovered the vehicles and prepared them to be transported. She was having an estate sale in the morning and I asked if I could just walk through and see what she has. At 1st glance on the wall was the front transmission cover to the Cord it was mounted to a plaque on the wall and used as decoration, that's 1. Walking through the kitchen I see in the window, hanging from string, the door handles and many of the knobs he painted, he hung them to dry!!! that's 2. The front and rear bumpers were found wrapped up in a blanket under the bed in the back room, that's 3. The wheels and tires were out behind the tree in the backyard that's 4, the best part was in the living room where I found Leather Seats to the Cord fully done. They had no idea they went to the car. My offer was made and accepted on the pretense this was all missing but lo and behold it was all there. Spare engine and original supercharger were found on the work bench. What a find the car was going to be reborn.
The Hudson was another story sitting for over 30 years the car was going to need the moon, the stars and galaxies above to finish properly. It was quickly eBayed away and went to an enthusiast in Shreveport, LA. Still Sad about that, my focus was on the Cord, my funds were appropriated for the Cord, but it was the Hudson that turned out to be the rarest of the rare Hollywood Hard Top with Twin H Power. It got away, and I was the guy who didn't know what he had umm... my only Rookie mistake.
The Cord was a fun project it took several months to re-restore many of the items he did, we re-assemble the car, all fenders came back off and re-done, interior wasn't easy, mechanically it was sound actually shifted good. I drove the car and showed it for a couple years. I sold it at RM auctions in Hershey, PA. I don't recall exactly what it brought but we flew the family out to Pennsylvania to watch it sell. The women's son was 15 now and was in car heaven for the weekend. Ultimately I think we lost about $20,000 on the deal but we did the car justice and gave the family a memory of a lifetime. I also got a good story out of it, all was well.
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