Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fish Stories

We all hear the stories of the big fish that got away. "It was a 75 pound Bluegill, I swear!" Yea, right, and I caught a Sword fish with 12 pound test. The same holds true in the automotive world. Much like the fishing world, there are tons of stories about the "one that got away". In my case it was a 1970 GTO Judge. Even though I only looked at this car twice, I will never forget it.

If I remember correctly, I was around 18 years old. Me and my friend Ken were headed over to a buddy's house and I had made a wrong turn going there. We both saw it at the same time and I pulled over quicker then you can say "Bobs your Uncle". Sitting in over grown grass next to a driveway was a '70 Judge, white with blue side stripes. Dusty and neglected, it was apparent that it had been there for a long time. I got close enough to see it had a hood tach and then immediately made a B-line for the front door of the house. It didn't even matter to me if it had an engine, it was a Judge! I had to find out if the owner wanted to sell it. To my extreme disappointment, I discovered that she didn't want to sell, but she did agreed to let us check it out.

The Judge was all original. Talking to the owner revealed that she had bought the car new and drove it everyday to work. She had to park it many years ago because of a water leak, and just never got it repaired. The Judge was equipped with the Ram Air 400 engine and a 3-speed manual trans. I remember lifting the hood and the first thing I saw was the foam seal on the Ram Air lid. Below the air cleaner I spotted dusty, chrome valve covers and what looked like a factory aluminum intake manifold. The car was still wearing it's original Pontiac Rally wheels shod with cracked, flattened tires. The reason the owner did not want to sell was because her son had shown some interest in it. I had already made up my mind to check back with her on a monthly basis, just in case things changed.

I drove back by about a month later and talked to her again. Still the same answer but I did get to look over the car again. This time I wrote down the block numbers, head casting numbers, and trim tag info. I couldn't catch the owner at home again after that, but I would drive by and see the car still sitting there, month after month. There was a period of time where I didn't go by for quite a while. When I finally was able to drive over there, the car was gone! I figured it had been moved into the garage or brought to a repair shop, but I really didn't find out what happened for quite a while. Several months had passed and I was in the area so I decided to drive by what had become known as the "Judge house". The owner was outside watering so I decided to stop and ask her what happened to the car. I thought for sure she was going to tell me that her son was getting it fixed up, or it was buried in the garage, or something like that. To my utter suprise, she informed me that her son had changed his mind and wanted a newer car. She was unable to find the number that I had left her so she called the local wrecking yard, who ended up giving her $800 dollars for the car! I felt sick to my stomach...

This was one that definitely got away. It was all my fault though. I should have stayed in better contact. Just like in fishing, if the lure is still out there, your going to get another bite. My other bite was in the form of a 1968 GTO, which I managed to reel in, but that's another story.

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