QOTD: Roadside Savior?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd roadside savior

If you’re into older cars, especially older cars most people might overlook — frankly, cars regular folks might not walk across a room for if someone offered it for free — this scenario won’t be unfamiliar.

You’re driving down a seldom-travelled street, perhaps in a seldom-travelled town, and spot something in your peripheral vision. A lightning bolt courses through your nervous system. Suddenly awake, instantly aware and ready for action, you slam on the brakes and jerk the wheel to the right, coming to rest by the roadside in a cloud of dust.

There’s an old, potentially garbage car over there, and it might be for sale.

Just such an occurrence took place this past weekend as your author struggled to find an out-of-the-way campsite out in the sticks. Things were running behind schedule, but your author’s mind wasn’t so focused on reading signs for Shady Acres or Moonlight Cove to not notice something desirable off to his right. And the object that brought 2,800 lbs of Ohio-made metal to a halt was NOT the C3 Corvette languishing on cracked pavement outside an abandoned-looking (but perhaps not totally abandoned) roadside garage/cafe.

Sorry, but I’m rarely in the mood to gaze upon a ’79 Vette, as I am no longer 12. I am, however, very apt to go apeshit over something akin to motoring Cialis: a pillarless hardtop coupe. Mmmm. Who doesn’t want to slide behind the wheel of one of those? Making this B-pillar-discarding vehicle all the more arresting was the fact it was from the 1980s…and Japanese.

What was it, you ask? Why, none other than a post-refresh second-generation Mazda 626 — a four-cylinder, rear-drive coupe of tidy proportions hailing from 1981 or ’82. Even the color was seductive.

The Mazda, looking fetching but bearing no “for sale” sign, looked like it had an owner. I hadn’t the time to stick around and find out (even if I did, concern about the owner’s stance on Castle Doctrine made loitering in a place free of witnesses an unsavory proposition); plus, your author’s funds — as well as limited parking space — made a new addition to the family just another pipe dream. Alas. One day I’ll become an adult.

While vintage Mazda enjoyment is off the table for yours truly, this scenario may have had a different outcome had any one of you been driving by.

Today, we’d like to know: Have you ever purchased a vintage/collector/just plain interesting car after seeing it on the side of the road?

[Image: ©2019 Murilee Martin/TTAC, Mazda]

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3 of 37 comments
  • -Nate -Nate on Sep 06, 2019

    ? Have I ever ? . Oh, _God_ yes ~ too many to recount them all . Most made it back to the street with current tags & title plus everything working as it should before I sold them on . -Nate

  • Moparmann Moparmann on Sep 09, 2019

    Yes! An immaculate 1966 Plymouth Sport Fury..I walked over from the shop next door to admire it, and discovered that it was for sale. The owner apparently was in need of immediate cash, because I got it for far less than his asking price (which left me with $5!) as I had rounded up all the cash I could beg/borrow on short notice! :-)

    • -Nate -Nate on Sep 10, 2019

      FWIW, I know a guy in Lebec, Ca. who has a 1966 Plymouth two door Fury for sale, it's complete and original, runs O.K., driver quality, I have no idea what he wants for it . Contact me off list for the particulars, the powers that be here have my contact info . -Nate

  • Jim Bonham Thanks.
  • Luke42 I just bought a 3-row Tesla Model Y.If Toyota made a similar vehicle, I would have bought that instead. I'm former Prius owner, and would have bought a Prius-like EV if it were available.Toyota hasn't tried to compete with the Model Y. GM made the Bolt EUV, and Ford made the Mach-E. Tesla beat them all fair and square, but Toyota didn't even try.[Shrug]
  • RHD Toyota is trying to hedge their bets, and have something for everyone. They also may be farther behind in developing electric vehicles than they care to admit. Japanese corporations sometimes come up with cutting-edge products, such as the Sony Walkman. Large corporations (and not just Japanese corporations) tend to be like GM, though - too many voices just don't get heard, to the long-term detriment of the entity.
  • Randy in rocklin The Japanese can be so smart and yet so dumb. I'm America-Japanese and they really can be dumb sometimes like their masking paranoia.
  • Bunkie The Flying Flea has a fascinating story and served, inadvertently, to broaden the understanding of aircraft design. The crash described in the article is only part of the tale.