Thursday, March 29, 2012

Phil’s Collection

Last Thursday I drove down to Phil’s house and met his brother, Bryan. Not surprisingly, he’s a very friendly guy with great stories to share just like his brother. After I extended my condolences, we began chatting about cars and planes as avid motorheads are prone to do. Before I knew it nearly two hours had passed. We had walked around the yard and into the garage with me inspecting and photographing each of the cars in Phil’s collection.

As we walked, we talked, and Bryan agreed that most likely only the ’62 wagon in the garage was restorable, while rust had eaten away too much of the rest of the cars. The 4-speed Monza wagon sitting in the garage seemed to be in quite solid shape other than the floors. The front valance was holey, but a new replacement panel was sitting on the floor in front of the car. The drivetrain had been removed, but there were a couple engines in the garage, so rebuilding candidates are available.Sadly, the most valuable of the Corvairs, a ’66 Corsa convertible (one of only 3,142 made that year), is in very rusty condition. The rocker panels – the backbone of these cars – are swiss cheese. The car may be savable, but would take someone with lots of welding experience and lots of time. I didn’t check the serial number of the 140 engine residing under the engine lid, but the four-barrel intake setup topped by a large-looking Holley indicated this one had been modified. The other convertible in the collection may (and it’s still a big may) end up being Mikhaila’s project car. While it has some rust-through in the passenger door jamb (never an easy fix), the rest seemed solid. The rest of the ‘vairs will more than likely go to the Corvair Ranch donating their good parts to other people’s projects.

At the end of our walk, I confessed to Bryan that I was the typical Corvair owner - perpetually on a tight budget. Therefore, while I couldn’t offer them any money for the Corvairs, I would make sure each was put to its best use. I’d haul the part cars to the Corvair Ranch and I’d find good homes for the restorable one(s). This way I felt I was keeping the promise I made to Phil to help him get rid of his “Corvair stuff.” Bryan said that he would pass my offer on to Phil’s widow and get back to me. Additionally, I offered to post the photos of the ’38 Nash and ’41 Buick on the web and pass on to him any reasonable offers that come from that. I’m not in any hurry to take on the task of moving the cars since I’m still trying to finish up Ringo, but I told Bryan that once we had a deal, I’d make sure the Corvairs were moved as quickly as possible. I can only imagine how the sight of them sitting in the backyard is painful to Phil’s widow.

Currently, I’m patiently waiting for a response from Bryan. It’s fine with me that I haven’t yet heard from him since I must finish Ringo before I can afford the time required to move Phil’s collection.

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