There’s One Born Every Minute

There’s One Born Every Minute

If you remember from my earlier blogs I have an obsession for cars. Friends joked that the gestation period for a car was 9 months. I didn’t wreck the cars, I just got bored. I needed a new car to pique my interest.

I couldn’t really afford to change cars that often but I made a decent salary for a 19 year old—Oh yes, my father was the loan manager for a bank and never turned me down. I just moved from car to car and transferred the unpaid balance. My poor suffering father couldn’t believe my recklessness.

In 1959 I walked past a Plymouth dealer and saw a red Plymouth Fury. I was stunned, it swooped, it dipped, from the headlights peeking out from under their arched eyebrows to the rear fins and the trunk mounted continental tire. I was enticed into the dealership by the colors and the geometric forms.






As you would expect, the beautiful red Fury convertible was beyond my grasp. However there was a Fury sedan, painted Bittersweet, a beautiful cinnamon-orange color, had a  pushbutton transmission (what the heck was that) and a powerful V8 engine.

When the salesman saw that I had already sold myself, he told me that he could get me into the car for $150. I wrote a check for that amount and the salesman told me that the banks were closed for the day why didn’t I take the car and drive it over the weekend and we’d sign the papers Monday.

Perhaps I should have questioned this transaction. Who would turn over a new car to a 19 year old?

I didn’t care I drove out of there, before they could call me back, in a brand new car.

I had a great time over the weekend showing off my new acquisition to my friends. My father just shook his head; I figured he was jealous because I had a newer car than his.

I drove to the dealer’s after work Monday, eagerly rushed in looking for my salesman, he signaled that he was busy and to sit and wait. I waited for about an hour and he finally came over.

He was not smiling. He told me that the bank had refused to accept the deal and wanted more money down. I had no more money; I had used all of my available cash for the $150 down payment.

I said I was sorry and I guess I’d have to take my car back. His response was that it had already been promised. I would have to get another $300 somewhere by tomorrow or surrender the car. I didn’t know what to do. I drove home feeling like the biggest chump in the world.

It was time to call in the marines. I called my father and told him about the entire sordid deal.

I picked him up the next day and we drove to the dealer.

I had always thought of my father as being a pacifist who would do anything to avoid a fight. He lit into that salesman and informed him that I was a minor and had no authority to enter into this agreement. He further stated that his bank would no longer wish to do business with such a shady operation.

The Sales Manager came out and said that it had all been a misunderstanding

Somehow my black Mercury reappeared and we left as if I had never been in that place, nor would I ever enter it again.

Since I was determined to get a new car, my father took me to a Plymouth dealer that he knew and trusted. I was unable to get a Fury with a V8 but I did drive away in a new 1959 Plymouth Belvedere, it was red (the same red as the Sport Fury) and had a white vinyl top, no automatic transmission and a 6 cylinder engine.

But it was mine and how many 19 year olds owned a brand new 1959 car?

Was I happy? Oh yeah! Would I stay happy? Probably not.

Did you ever do something stupid and have to call in the marines?



6 thoughts on “There’s One Born Every Minute

  1. Great post. I can so relate.

    Oh, the tales I could tell about car deals. To this day, I hate to walk into a car dealership. In fact the last car we purchased in 2003 we bought through the internet and picked up at a dealer. We warned them that if we had to deal with a “Salesman” we’d walk away. Since we’ve purchase all our Hondas through that dealer. He believed us.

    We’re thinking of leaving our 2003 Pilot at our place in Colorado this summer. Only thing stopping us is thought of having to replace it!

  2. Buying a car is up there on my things-I-hate-to-do list, somewhere near taxes! I have 17 payments left on my current one and have vowed to drive it until the wheels fall off before making car payments again. (I get more like my mom every day)

  3. Loved this post. Reminded me of my early driving days. I just found a picture of the first car I drove… black Chevy coupe convertible, big, fat white wall tires, black top. The cat’s meow. Of course I just borrowed it from my brother, but so what. It was still cool.

  4. The 2nd car I purchased was the first car I purchased after i was married to my first wife. Two weeks after we purchased the car, the darn thing stopped running in the middle of the road, while my wife was driving. She had it towed to the dealer we purchased the car from, and he called us the next day with this longgggg list of problems we had to have repaired. Well, my wife broke down in tears. She could not bring herself to understand how a car we had just purchased even thought it was used, could have so much wrong in such a short period. That night she called her mom, and started telling her all about the problems. When her mom asked her where we purchased the car, she told her the name of the dealer. Her mom stopped her and said she would call her back.

    We did not hear from her until the next day. That was after the dealer called and informed us a car was waiting for us to pick up to replace the car we had purchased. Turned out my wife’s mom and dad knew the owner and had explained the facts of life. Sometimes in-laws can be helpful.

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