Not long ago a young man came to our shop looking for something different to drive. He had recently gotten his license and this was going to be his first car. His eyes were quickly drawn to our 65 Corvair Corsa. The car is painted dark purple and the previous owner had attempted to turn it into a rally car. The front seats had been removed and replaced by some racing bucket seats. A front and rear spoiler had been added to the car but the fiberglass used to attach them was cracking and coming apart. This car has an air cooled engine with a unique fuel system of 4 one barrel carburetors which had been giving us problems since we got the car. We are by no means Corvair experts and quickly learned that the linkage systems on these is fairly complex. What we had was either missing some parts or parts had been “fabricated” to try and make the car run.
None of this mattered to our young customer and he had his heart set on the car. As I went over the car with him, trying to show him all the defects we were aware of, I learned that he had been saving money for quite some time to buy a car. The Corvair was well within his price range and I was really impressed that he had a passion for older cars. I guess this was why he was so annoyed when we said we wouldn’t sell him the car. The car was going to be a “daily driver’ for him and with an air cooled engine, unless they are working perfectly, the heat inside the car is very weak. In addition, with the rally wheels and spoilers, this car would be useless in the snow. This car was also going to need further investments to make it pass a safety inspection. Money which was definitely outside of the customer’s budget. Having been in this young mans position before I explained to him that while it was great to see he had a fondness for old cars I thought that is would be better for him to try and find something more mainstream and reliable for his first car. He left our lot very unhappy.
About a week later his father came in to visit us. The father was clearly mad that we had refused to sell his son the Corvair. I believe he had the impression that we simply refused to sell the car to him because he was “just a kid” I wanted his dad to understand that my primary concern was that I didn’t want to see his son become so financially burdened with the car that he would give up on it and lose interest in older cars all together. Our goal here is to support enthusiasts at all levels and to help people of all ages get out there and enjoy our older cars. Once he understood where we were coming from I think he was glad that we hadn’t accepted his son’s offer. I only hope that when the time is right he will come back and see us again when he’s in a better position to “adopt’ one of our vehicles.