The Unexpected Jewel

I’ve owned a lot of cars. And trucks, too, for that matter. Most of these were acquired intentionally; I went looking for whatever I had in mind. Sometimes this search took years, and sometimes it took a week. But, some of these vehicles “just happened”. The unexpected jewel just appeared before me in a serendipitous way, and I bought the vehicle in question.

A lot of times I’d be looking for something else entirely, and there would be another car or truck in the garage or the barn or out back or on the lot that was just too good a deal to pass up, and I would pivot to buying that car. Sometimes I would be driving or biking or walking around, and I would see the vehicle, in a yard or on the street or in a parking lot with a handwritten sign on it.

Low miles, high miles, whatever. The thing that would make it the unexpected jewel I took home that day would be the irresistible combination of condition and price that called out to the primal part of my automotive brain, you know?

I know what things cost to fix or replace on a car, and if the math is adding up, I’m in.

Were these cars I was lusting for? Hardly ever.

Here’s an example. Last week, I was walking (for exercise, like I do every day), and came across a 1992 Saturn SL2 parked in front of someone’s house with a sign on it that stated that it had 37,000 original one-owner miles on it. And the price was $3500.

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1992 Saturn SL2

Now, this is a 26 year-old car, right? And it was never a desirable car, even when it was new – it was a basic grocery-getter. But, they were good cars, and ran forever, albeit pretty bland to drive and to look at.

It looked great, inside and out. You know, like it had 37,000 miles on it. I walked up to the house, inquired about it, and the older gentleman there flipped me the keys and told me to take it out for a drive. It drove out perfectly – at least it was perfect if it had still been 1992. But, you know, still a great little grocery-getter, or a daily driver for someone. Not a lot of options on it, but, it was fine.

The guy’s aunt has passed away, and he inherited the house, and the car, and he was there to clean out the house and get it ready for sale, and he was selling the car, too. It had always been parked in the garage, so that’s why it looked so good. Always serviced at the dealer.

He obviously didn’t care much about the car – it was just another thing that he needed to get rid of, and he needed to make it go away, along with all the other stuff in the house.

So, I bought it.

The unexpected jewel is now with me. I’m going to figure out what to do with it soon.

Next week, an example of the unexpected jewel I happened upon that I very much wanted….

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