So as I sit at my computer (not working), I am trying to think of my most interesting car story. What I keep coming back to is my current 1978 Fiat Spider. Later on, we can explore the ins and outs of Fiat ownership and the car itself, but what I think is most interesting is how I came to possess this particular car. You see, I got this car for free – from a complete stranger.
One night, back in August of 2013, I was perusing Craigslist as I often do. I hadn't actually searched for anything, I simply opened up Craigslist and there at the top among the usual dealer spam was an ad for a 1978 Fiat – free to a good home. The ad had no pictures and very little information other than the revealing fact that the car had no engine because it had rusted while sitting on the engine stand - not encouraging.
I figured what the hell. It had to be a scam, right. I am sure it is a rust bucket that is beyond repair. Nonetheless, I responded immediately with:
Hi – I will take the Fiat if it is still available. My number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.
And then, I waited, but nothing. Finally, the next evening with the ad was still up, I responded again. This time it worked. I got back the following:
So sorry to be late getting back to you. The Fiat is available and I'd love to pass along the nearly new engine hoist, engine stand and parts washer as well. Again, the engine is long gone due to rust buildup in the block while on the stand but the car itself is certainly ready for a good father/son rebuild and in fact is in very decent condition. I'd been driving it regularly before beginning the ill-fated rebuild! I've attached a few pictures for you to see if this is something you're interested in. I'm a little bit out of pocket tomorrow but I won't do anything until we connect as you are the first to respond.
Thanks again for your interest and I look forward to speaking!
Here are a couple of the pics:
A series of emails and phone calls followed and I arranged to take a day off from work to meet a tow truck and to pick the car up on a Friday morning. Turns out, the guy was moving to California and since the car couldn't move under its own power, he didn't want to pay to ship it and he didn't want to scrap it.
As for the car, it actually has very little rust. What he failed to mention and I only discovered when I got there is that the car also had no transmission either. Still, it seems it was loved and garaged pretty much all its life. It was last on the road in 2002. He was the third owner with the first owner only keeping the car about a year. The car was originally sold new in California meaning it would have had one of the most anemic power plants ever put in a 124 (83 hp). The second owner was an airline pilot who brought the car east when he relocated to Atlanta. Not only did the car come with extensive maintenance records and logs, it also came with the original window sticker and sales paperwork and a clear Georgia title. Now all I needed was powertrain……………..
So, have you ever gotten a car from a stranger for free? What did you do with it?