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I really need to be less cautious

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Old 03 Nov 2014, 12:51 pm
Cool Cruiser
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Northridge, California Baby
Posts: 237
Default I really need to be less cautious

Long story about this past weekend where I my inhibitions and overly cautious nature cost me a PT cruiser that I really should have bought. Man, did I blow it.

I had a chance to pick up a decked out 2004 PT turbo for a song, the exact car I needed, but I hemmed and hawed about it so much I missed it, literally by 2 minutes.

So I need a second PT for my wife as we are driving just one right now and I'm losing a full days worth of work time every week ferrying her back and forth to her job. She really wants a PT Cruiser. In fact, she wants the one we have for herself, but I would rather pick up another one for her commute and keep this one as the family car. I work freelance and the money tends to ebb and flow around here on a less than consistent basis. Right now I have a couple of gigs, but only enough cash on hand to pay the rent on time. Still I was scanning the ads for a used cruisers out of habit and saw one that was very near to my house so I called on it.

I met the seller at a post office a few minutes later because he was running errands. Turns out he and his wife were moving back to Russia in 2 days and he wanted to get rid of the car before he goes. His asking price was pretty good for the car, but it had a few problems, chiefly an overheating one. I was convinced the fans weren't working, but he also said water was coming out of somewhere. That worried me because it looked like he was just throwing water into it and driving around. The block could have been cracked based on his description.

There were paint issues, the interior wasn't too clean, the a/c hose had a leak, a broken tail light, rear bumper damage, and he had apparently been putting fuses in with no regard to whether or not they were the right ones. But the car had chrome trim, leather seats, turbo engine, faux wood panels, new tires and brakes, and only 104,000 miles. But a big concern for me was that they were clearly pretty heavy smokers. There was a loose cigarette under the passenger seat and they had been using the cup holders for ashtrays, which the car smelled very much like. We're not smokers over here and generally find the smell overpowering and nauseating.

I suppose I might have been able to get the smell out, fix the overheating/water leak, and assorted other issues, but at their asking price I probably could have paid someone else a little more and gotten another car in better condition.

He didn't want to talk money unless I was serious and being honest with myself, I still only really had enough on hand for rent and groceries this week, so I half decided to let it go.

But I couldn't shake it. It was so close to me, he needed to get rid of it, and the work it needed mostly seemed like stuff I could fix. Unless the block was cracked, that I can't deal with. So I texted him later that night and asked if he sold it. He hadn't and still wanted to talk if I was serious.

Here's my first I screw up.

Instead of going back and taking a closer look at it the next day, instead of realizing that a wax job would go a long way to making the paint job look better, instead of verifying that the leak was fixable or not, instead of thinking "a good detailer can probably get the smell out", I did not follow up on it. I didn't even ask about it again that whole day.

Now you must understand that I am not that great at reading people nor am I a wheeler dealer. In retrospect I realize now what a golden opportunity had been handed to me, but at the time I didn't piece it all together in my head because I'm just not that kind of person. On an instinctual level I think I realized that there was a deal to be made, but not completely on a conscious one. It's one of my failings unfortunately: missing the obvious. Nevertheless I found myself getting out of bed the next morning and driving back to the area where we had met. I can't explain it other than a feeling that I should.

Sure enough, I saw the guy on the street along the way to the post office. This was the day they were supposed to be leaving and he was in front of an apartment building pouring water into the car. I looped around and came back, said "Hi", and asked if he had sold the car.

"No," he said, "I gave it away for free".

My heart sank. He had donated the car to charity because he was unable to unload it. He kind of warned me that he might ('"If I don't sell it, I'll crash it or something" he had said 2 days earlier), but like I said, taking advantage of is situation is not one of my strong suits (my father on the other hand is a master at it and I should have called him for advice after I saw the car the first time, which was mistake #2).

The tow truck was pulling up to take it away right at that moment and in a desperate move I quickly offered the owner the $300 cash I had in my wallet because I junked our old van that week. Too little, too late. He passed and , mistake #3, I didn't up the offer. I could have gone to $1000 and I bet he would have taken it. But I cheesed out and drove away.

Not that I could have afforded the $1000 right then, but I did have the cash if I wanted it. I just would have had problems with my landlord that I really didn't want to have. But it might have been worth the trouble in the long run.

If only I had asked about the car again the day before. If only I had gotten up and made that morning drive 5 minutes earlier and beaten the tow truck. If only...

I see all the places where I messed up here and hopefully will be able to use that knowledge the next time something like this happens (not that I expect it to). I know that financially speaking not spending the money was the right thing, the grown up thing to do, but part of me also knows I probably could have paid less than half his price for the car and that will always kind of gnaw at me.

If you made it this far through this story, thanks. I tend to dwell on missed opportunities like this and am hoping that my sharing this with you will help me put it behind me that much sooner as this is a pretty open wound right now.

Last edited by Renegade; 03 Nov 2014 at 12:56 pm.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 03 Nov 2014, 01:24 pm
soonercruiser's Avatar
Obsessed Cruiser
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 10,291
Cool Re: I really need to be less cautious

"That" is the story of many of our lives.
But, it obviously wasn't meant to be!

Wish you had better finances, and the wiffie wanted a convertible.

Restored 2006 Dream Cruiser Convertible....maybe

2003 PT Cruiser GT Panel Van Conversion as new day driver.

Have now owned 6 PT Cruisers = Me PT Crazy!
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Old 03 Nov 2014, 01:35 pm
Cool Cruiser
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 268
Default Re: I really need to be less cautious

Been on the same boat several times but my way to console myself is to think that "It wasn't just meant to be mine for some reasons, God's will or whatever.."
Busted_PT likes this.
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Old 03 Nov 2014, 01:44 pm
Busted_PT's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Beckley, W.V.
Posts: 13,902
Default Re: I really need to be less cautious

Money is why my project isn't finished. So sometimes we make the decision our wallets demand. Sometimes it's the right one sometimes we lose out. I might have been best as you need to keep the landlord happy. Sad that we are becoming a third World country. With only pointing fingers saying he did it rather than this is how we fixed it. Good luck on the work front. Hope things find you better down the road.

03 Dream stock___________________________ 04 Touring turbo lite stock_________ 02 Touring stock_____________________ The "Three Amigos"
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This is a great read from one of our own! Badglas
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 03 Nov 2014, 02:01 pm
Handy_Cruiser's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 10,666
Default Re: I really need to be less cautious

There are over a million more PT Cruisers out there and they are getting to the age where the non-mechanically minded folks no longer want them. Many additional opportunities will come if and when you are prepared.
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