The One That Got Away


I saw this tweet the other day and it got me thinking about the one that got away.


Two years ago to the week, I had the opportunity to purchase a 1970 Chevrolet C-10. Not just any old C-10, one that had the right amount of patina and that had been semi-restored. I first noticed the truck on Portland’s Craigslist with a high selling price. At the same time, the truck was on eBay with a high reserve and didn’t sell. The second time it was listed on eBay, the reserve price came down a few thousand and although I didn’t bid to his reserve price, the owner messaged me and we started talking. After a couple of telephone calls about the truck and trying to line up our schedules, I hopped in my car and made the 3.5 hour drive down to Salem, OR to take a closer look at the truck.

According to the owner, Jerry, he purchased the truck from a seller in Vancouver, WA who brought it down to the Portland Swap Meet. The previous owner had performed a lot of work on the truck including swapping the ’67 front-end, replacing some of the body panels, cleaning up some of the rust, getting the motor running, putting the 20″ wheels on it, installing a Dakota Digital dash, among other improvements. After going over the entire truck and taking it for a 30 minute test drive, everything checked out. I was going to buy this truck. Jerry and I agreed on a price. I explained that I was going to pay him half in cash and the other half would come from a cashiers check from my credit union (at the time, my credit union had a special on used auto loans that made it too good of a deal to pass up). He was fine with this. We shook hands and then I drove back home.

The following day I went to my credit union to begin the process of obtaining the loan. I completed my end of the paperwork at the credit union and then had to send copies of the completed forms to Jerry for him to complete. When Jerry returned the paperwork, I sent it to the credit union, and within minutes after sending it to the credit union, I received a call from the Loan Officer who was working with me. There was a problem.

The truck was not registered to Jerry. It was still registered to the person Jerry purchased it from who lived in Vancouver. The credit union was not going to issue me a loan and cut Jerry a check for a vehicle that wasn’t registered in his name. I had a couple of options: ask Jerry to go register the truck in his name so we could complete the purchase or take out a personal loan to purchase the truck. The latter option came with an interest rate nearly four times the special used auto loan rate. Hard nope. It was going to have to be the first option.

Asking Jerry to register the truck seemed like a reasonable request. He wanted to get rid of the truck, I was an able and willing buyer, and I thought he would understand, and he did, but he didn’t want to go through the process of registering the truck in his name. I offered to pay for the registration fees and he refused. I even offered to pay for the registration fees and throw in an additional $100 for his time. He still refused. An extra $250 and yet he still refused. All he wanted was the money for the truck.

I couldn’t tell if Jerry was being stubborn or if there was something shady going on. If this was an all cash deal, he would have just signed the title over to my name and it would be done. But wanting to pay him with cash and a cashier’s check via an auto loan, this wasn’t going to work. With him unwilling to register the vehicle and my unwillingness to use a personal loan, the deal was dead.

A couple of months later, the truck reappeared on eBay but body work had been done and the truck was sprayed in flat black primer. All of the patina and character from the truck was gone. This truck was no longer for me. But to another buyer, they were just a paint job away from a show-ready truck. The truck ended up selling near what he was originally asking.

In the last two years of keeping an eye out for C-10’s, nothing has come close to this truck that I could have had. I still give myself a hard time for not dipping into savings or cashing out some investments to purchase the truck. To most people, it probably makes no sense to go to these lengths in order to purchase an old, clapped-out truck. But these trucks, in decent condition, are increasingly harder to find. The nice ones have become collector vehicles and they don’t get driven on the roads except to shows or for fair-weather cruising. To me, these trucks look better than newer trucks on the road today. They drive perfectly fine for daily driving. I still think about the test drive I took and how well it handled for being a 47-year old truck and how responsive the throttle was. You can’t replicate the sensation and experience of driving these classic trucks.

Next time…

Buy the truck. Buy it and then go get fucking avocado toast. Drive and enjoy the truck like there’s no tomorrow. You age quickly, the old people are lying to you and blaming you because they feel bad they stole your future and shit all over what they didn’t steal.



The Launch — The California Sunday Magazine →

There is a lot of hype and high expectations riding on the Cosmic Crisp. I’ve been reading about the development of this apple for a couple of years now. The promise of an apple sweeter and crispier than a Honeycrisp has got to deliver.

Killed by Google – The Google Graveyard & Cemetery →

A graveyard/memorial of all of the products introduced and then killed by Google.

My favorite Google product that was killed too soon was Reader. It was THE BEST RSS aggregrator and reader. I’ve been using Feedly since Reader was pulled (2013) and while it’s good, it’s not Reader.

Another favorite was Google Listen. It was the first podcast app I downloaded in 2011 and it was so simple and great.

The Boeing 737 Rudder Defect – Analysis →

I’ve never really paid attention to the manufacturer of the flights I’ve taken, but this Reddit thread and the Imgur thread will probably make me reconsider taking a Boeing aircraft. There’s a documented history of Boeing trying to re-assign the blame for the failure of its aircraft.

The crashes also highlighted the vulnerability of the NTSB to corporate meddling. In 1996, According to the Seattle Times, the safety board had only 90 employees and relied on manufacturers to provide technical expertise in cases like the United 585 and USAir 427 crashes, which made it much harder to investigate cases where the manufacturer knew that it was responsible. Boeing’s obfuscation at every turn was pure corporate expediency: fixing the problem would require a massive recall costing hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention millions more in compensation that would have to be paid out if Boeing admitted responsibility. Even when the flaw began to result in deadly crashes, Boeing stuck by this policy. Had the failure been easier to detect and prove, they might not have been able to get away with it, but—thanks in part to Boeing’s muddying of the waters—they never faced the massive backlash that they should have received.

The New 30-Something – The New York Times →

I often take my parents, my sister, and my in-laws for granted, who have all at some point provided free child care and babysitting for me and my wife. My mother-in-law, God bless her, has helped raise all three of our boys. For the last ten years, she has watched our boys two to three days each week. Some Friday’s, she takes the boys home with her and brings them back the following Monday, giving my wife and I a weekend alone to go on a date night, sleep-in, and catch-up on errands or chores around the house without a child nagging for a snack or complaining that their brother has ‘the’ toy they want to play with right at that moment.

Without my mother-in-law, I don’t know if we would have had three boys. Our lives might be totally different without her.

What Is a Vegetable? Do They Even Exist? →

Last night at dinner, we were talking about our favorite vegetables1 and when my daughter said tomatoes might be her pick, my 11-year-old son, who is at that annoying know-it-all stage of his life and loves to shut down his sister on any minor quibble, said “tomatoes are a fruit”. I argued back that while a tomato might technically be a fruit, it is culturally considered a vegetable and that he was just being a pedantic dick in order to dunk on his sister (but not in those exact words).

Pedantic Dick. That’s me!