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The Ones That Got Away, Part III

July 18, 2011 by Matt

1969 Plymouth Sport Fury Ad

I don’t really regret walking away from this one. But the idea of it sticks in my mind, mainly the contrast between the car I owned at the time, and the car offered in trade.

The would-be trader had to have known it was a long shot. I honestly don’t remember how he found me. I was barely into my second year of ownership of my ’88 Toyota Supra Turbo, and no performance bits had yet been installed. I was active on a few boards, and during one of my periodic fits of dissatisfaction with my current ride, I must’ve posted a “for sale or trade” ad, which the would-be trader then saw.

Thing is, what could possess the owner of a rusty, 50K mile, non-running 1969 Plymouth Sport Fury to peruse the Supra boards in search of a thoroughly modern ’80s Japanese GT car to trade for? The cars are so…dissimilar.

If nothing else, it piqued my interest. I immediately set about figuring out just what the heck a 1969 Plymouth Sport Fury was, and discovered, pleasingly, that it was a somewhat handsome (for the era) cruiser. Being more a fan of the performance side of the automotive spectrum, I had trouble visualizing myself behind the wheel of the old coupe, but with some doing, I managed to shoehorn some variant of my self-image into the scenario. If I traded, I would outfit the car with a killer sound system and some mild appearance and power mods and cruise around, one hand cocked atop the wheel, arm hanging out the window. I guess there was some merit to that avenue of car modification, I told myself. I could get into it.

I contacted the would-be trader and informed him that it was a long shot, and that his car would have to be in really good shape for me to contemplate a trade, but that I would come take a look. It took me a while to find his house, buried in a forest of rural Orange County. Pulling up next to the Sport Fury, it was as he had described it: Non-running, but with a decent (if rusty in places) exterior and very good interior. Not too bad.

Then he popped the hood. Rust everywhere, a minuscule two-barrel carb perched atop a hefty cast iron manifold, and that ubiquitous ’60s Detroit brake master cylinder reservoir with the wire latch for the lid. Ugh. No thanks.

So I passed. The would-be trader was a little disappointed, but again, I don’t think he ever really expected me to go for it. If nothing else, it was educational. I’ll leave it at that.

Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series relating stories of cars I almost acquired, whether though purchase or trade. Read the other installments here:

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