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For sale: Curb appeal

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

That car is me, ain’t it?

“You need to pimp that thing up and start cruising Greenville Avenue again,” my friend Eli insisted.

“We could really pick up babes in that car,” our buddy Mordecai chimed in.

“Um, fellas, I’m married,” I shot back, stating what I thought to be the obvious.

“You could be our wingman,” Eli said. “Come on! That car is gold!”

As I’ve been finding out the past few days of driving it around.

It’s an ’84 Pontiac Grand Prix, with 47,000 miles on it. It was my dad’s, and before that his sister’s – yes, it’s my aunt’s car, loaded up as it is.

A V-8 engine, custom wheels, tires that had 100 miles on them when I drove it for the first time a couple of days ago.

And everybody wants it.

“Seriously, if you’re looking to get rid of it, I’ll take it off your hands,” the guy at the shop said after doing the inspection to get it back to legal.

My wife took it a little later to show her mom, and every male within shouting distance of her office ran out to the parking lot to take a gawk.

“Pop open the hood!” “Is it eight-cylinder?” “They don’t make ’em like this anymore.”

My dad, the car aficianado that he was, was probably smiling from up above at the sight.

Just one problem – it’s way, way, way too much car for me. Turn the key in the ignition, and it sounds like an airplane getting ready to take off.

And as much as I love its curb appeal – “Seriously, dude, you need to keep this car. You’re due to have a midlife crisis any day now,” Eli keeps telling me – I just don’t know if it makes sense for me to keep it.

It’d be like if somebody left me a vintage guitar. I don’t play guitar. I’d appreciate it, sure, for what it was, but it would just end up sitting there collecting dust.

It would be a shame to have the ultimate toy that is this Grand Prix just sitting around doing nothing when so many others could get so much joy out of it.

Which is why it’s on the market, hard as it is for me to do it.

And actually, Dad would understand, totally. My mom and dad were married for 13 years, and Mom counted up 84 different cars that he owned during that period. He’d get something, fix it up, tell me that it was going to be my first car when I turned 16, get bored, sell it, and start the process over again.

We can consider this one his last flip, to use the real-estate term.

I’m not going to just give it away, of course. I mean, until I get rid of it, it still has that curb appeal.


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