Jim Mitchell from Portland Oregon tells of his first muscle cars and the traded one that 'Got Away".
Shortly after High school In 1985 I was looking for a car in better shape than my 1965 Ford Galaxy 500 XL LTD that I paid $335 for (You truly do get what you pay for). I found a 69 AMC Javelin for $900 in the local Nickel Ads and had my girlfriend drive me over to see it (the Ford didn't want to start again). It turned out to be a in pretty good shape..and the old timer that owned it was willing to let me make payments of $150 a week!Once I got it home I started cleaning it up. A good wash and wax, removal of a half dozen bumper stickers, repaint the Magnum 500 style rims and clean out about 50 lbs of dog hair out of the interior...did I mention it was being used as a dog house? Anyway's, it cleaned up really nice! Now about this time my girlfriends sister, who was about 8 and a half months pregnant took one good look at the Javelin and offered to trade straight across for her car on the grounds that it was getting to hard to drive what with the manual steering, manual brakes and manual transmission.
I was now the proud owner of my first Mopar! A 1969 340 4-speed Formula S Barracuda...WITH A/C! My Barracuda! It wasn't pretty. No hub caps, a few rust holes, red paint faded to pink, but man was she fast! Eating shiny Mustangs, Camaros and the occasional GTO became my most enjoyable past time...almost ( I did have a girlfriend).
I blame it on being young and broke most of the time. There came a time to sell the car. It was not in better shape than when I got it. I went through several classic cars through the years. Fords and Chevys, but mostly MOPARS. They all had there fun factor but none had that same adrenaline rush as that little ugly fish.About 5 or 6 years ago I decided that the only car that can replace "the one that got away" will have to be another fish although this time I wanted a First Generation A-body Barracuda. Now comes the hard part, this being the only car I have ever sought out to buy. For several years I kept my eye on print and on-line adds and looked at a lot of over priced junk. Finally in 2007 I came across a red 64 V8 4-speed on Craigslist. It was an all original, 2 owner, rust free car and best of all, not going to break the bank! I rented a tow dolly, drove 300 miles checked out the car pretty well and gave him his asking price and am now the proud owner of a "64 FISH" and enjoy that adrenalin rush every time I pull it out of the garage!
Although it was in real good shape, 45 years does take its toll. I have replaced the fuel tank and sending unit, pulled the engine and sand blasted and repainted the compartment, added after market A/C, stereo, radiator, and electric fan. Fortunately the engine hid been overhauled a while back and just needed a detail and repaint. Although it is still pretty much original I do tend to take a few liberties to make it more appealing to my eyes. It has been a great deal of fun so far and I plan to continue a rolling restoration every winter!