As the crew from Car Additions loaded up Betty onto their trailer to haul her to the shop for body work and paint, I paused to think back on all of the work JoAnna and I have done to get here. It's been a slower path than I had planned, but life, as we all know, happens.
We bought a 1976 BMW 2002 from a couple in Seattle after seeing an ad in Craigslist. I flew over from Spokane, took an Uber to their address and inspected the car. I was parked on the street and looked pretty good. The owners took me into their home and in their living room they had a large 3 ring binder filled with pictures, receipts and other things documenting the life the car had since new. After a brief conversation I went out to look over the car. It was obviously a Seattle car that had been parked under a pine tree and in the weather. It had the signs of having been covered by needles and moisture and moss in some places. But I only found a couple spots of rust. But nothing as bad as I was expecting.
All of the glass was good, windows all operated including the rear quarter pop outs. I love those things! The paint was rough but no oxidized or worn through. The chrome was okay but had some corrosion in places. The huge diving board bumpers were in good shape and I hated them instantly.
They handed me the keys and said to take it for a spin. It fired up after a couple cranks and blew a little smoke. I put it into drive and slowly drove it down their street and around the corner. The turn signals didn't work. The brakes were spongy and the seats were too springy. So, once around the corner I stabbed the gas pedal and sped off down the block. For an old automatic, it moved pretty quick but sputtered a little when off throttle. The big steering wheel felt good in the hands and the view outside of it's large windows was great. That old car smell filled my nose and I fell in love with the car right away!
After several more minutes of driving on a few different streets I concluded my test drive and went in to negotiate the price. A few minutes later and a check written out to the previous owners of the car, I took the title and keys and proceeded to drive her the 300 miles back to Spokane in the dark. With no turn signals and as I would learn, very dim head lights.
Here is a picture of her the next day with JoAnna at the wheel. Very happy girl!