My last two blogs talked about the MG TD and ’57 Olds convertible that I drove when National Rental Car was renting classic cars in California. A few years after that a new company tried to start a new auction in Scottsdale in January. I had heard the boss talking about how he would like a red convertible to drive in parades and let’s just say I got “caught up” in the auction frenzy. So I raised my hand and bought a ’70 Cadillac ragtop. When ringman John Soneff asked me if I knew what I was doing, I should have known that I was in trouble. The car turned out to be one of those that National had been renting in LA. Though it was cosmetically restored, it had over 200,000 miles on it, a leaky transmission and other problems. Luckily, i had Pontiac friends in Scottsdale and they agreed to fix the transmission. Then I sent Ken Buttolph to fetch the car. He left Scottsdale towing it with a Suburban, but then the Suburban overheated in the mountains, so he switched the vehicles around and towed the Suburban with the Cadillac. Ultimately, the Cadillac started acting up, but by then Ken was out of the mountains. He swapped the vehicles around again and towed the Caddy the rest of the way home with the Suburban. Back in Iola, the Caddy joined the company fleet, but it was always kind of a rattletrap. One weekend a company photographer borrowed it for a photo shoot. The Cadillac went on fire and burned. It was then repaired by the insurance company and a lot of problems got fixed when the new parts were installed. We then sold the car for exactly what I had paid for it. It was a happy day when it left and I haven’t bought another car at auction since then. That’s not to say I won’t ever, but at least I will be more caerful next time.
Gunner’s Garage with John Gunnell
"Gunner" is one of of the most prolific authors and most visible characters in the old car hobby. He has written dozens of books about old cars for Krause Publications and is the former editor and publisher of Old Cars Weekly. His collecting pursuits range from old Pontiacs, to MGs, to retired police cruisers, to Indian motorcycles. He remains a frequent contributor to Old Cars Weekly and owns and operates Gunner’s Great Garage, a classic car restoration and gift shop in Manawa, Wis.
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