Monday, August 13, 2007

Old Days Automotive

My First Car - Caprice 9C1Yesterday we got to talking about car buying with Ignat and Alena, and I recalled the story of my first car purchase. I remembered that I had it published on one of my sites, but then then site itself was not live since 2002.

I started digging through my old back up disks and actually found a version of it. I have uploaded it back at its original address of speed.4adrive.com. The site is very outdated by now, but it’s a nice piece of history. The story itself is there too, but I’ll quote it on the blog as well.

It has been written somewhere in the year 2000 and the picture above has been taken during the spring of 2001. Below, for your reading pleasure, is my Caprice buying saga. Written by a much younger version of me. O.o
I don’t exactly remember when the Caprice craze hit my best bud LM13, and me [DR2000], but when it hit, it hit hard. With time not only it got better, but it also spread on many of our friends.

All these events were taking place somewhere in November of ’99. Our friend, EliGC, was looking to buy a car, and since I was driving 1987 Ford Crown Vic (Police Interceptor) at the time, I suggested to get some ex-cop car. Since the Crown Vics of the 90′s looked damn ugly, and had a lame 4.6 engine in them, the only choice was Caprice. And what a choice! At that time we didn’t know much about it, but when someone noticed that some of the Caprices looked much better then others and have interesting things on them such spoilers, we started doing some research on the car. Turns out the car with a spoiler is an Impala SS, as you probably guessed. So after looking through the prices for Impalas we naturally decided that it is not the way we want to go. The Caprice was our choice, and we were thinking if it would be possible to modify it, to resemble Impala SS.

After that we descovered the whole Carpice community on the internet. Wow! I couldn’t find a single site about the Crown Vic, and look at this. Tons, and tons of resources about Impalas and Caprices.

So basically with the help of the internet we found out more about the Police Package model of the Caprice, since the Police Package was the car that we wanted. As it turned out, 9C1, Chevy’s name for the police package, had the same great engine, suspencions, and many other parts as Impala SS.

Soon after this we found a Police Car dealer, and found out that 95 model was going for about $5,500. 94 was $4,500, and 93 was $3,500. After a bit more research it was decided that we don’t want a 93, because Chevy put a new engine in the car in 94. Also the interior was redesigned. Our favorite one was 95, because of the small body modifications, but we’d go with 94 too. Basically $5K was a bit out of the price range that EliGC was looking for, and at this point I started thinking, why not a get this amazing car for myself? Basically I didn’t have to persuade myself for too long, so I decided, that I must have that car. Soon after that, we test drove a Caprice owned by a guy named Mark, somewhere in Brooklyn, and that’s when I first felt the power of LT1. But Mark decided to keep the car, since he wanted more then I wanted to pay.

So I though that if the dealers sell them for $5,500, I’ve got to find a police auction myself, and save myself some money. I remember looking for the police auctions before, but with no luck. But aparently Caprice craze helped me here, since I spent a lot of time, but I did find the auctions in NJ. The next auction was scheduled on the middle of November, and we decided to go see, what they got there. Me, my dad, and two of my friends [LM13 and BigMike] drove to Trenton, NJ. They had several 94′s and 95′s for sale.

The auction has started, and after I heard the final price for which the first 95 was sold, my eyes have almost left their orbits… $3,500!!! The whole car buying thing has just gotten much more real then it was before.

At about that time I subscribed to the 9C1 list at OneList, and was learning about the car more and more everyday. With every passing day I loved the car more and more.

At that point my bank account had a balance of about $0, because of my spending manner. I earn ‘em, I spend ‘em. What’s the point of money on the bank account? ) So I started saving money. In about a month, I had more then enough, but there were some other matters to which I had to allocate my financial resources, and then there were no auctions for 2 months.

In the middle of March they posted a new auction, coming on April 8th. There was about 6 ’95 cars posted. [At that point I really wanted a 95.] So the day before the auction, me, LM13, and BigMike went to check out the cars, take a good look at them. Out of 6 cars, the engines of only 3 sounded good to us. One of those cars has 120K miles on it, and had transmission problems. Another one with 84K miles had a phrase “PARKING NOT WORKING. APPLY HAND BRAKE” written on the windshield, but the inrerior was very clean, especially for a cop car. And the third one with 94K miles has the problem with the hood opening. Well, the hood didn’t open at all. So it’s kind of a bad idea to buy a car without looking under the hood. Also it had really screwed up interior.

None of the cars had posi installed [G80], which was a bit upsetting. Also they had the glue from the police decals all over them.

The same day I went to visit my mechanic, who is a great guy, and knows cars like the back of his own hand. I told him about my car buying idea, and he said that he was happy that I finally decided to get rid of my piece of junk. ) Basically he said that I could look under the car [the one with hood problem], and if the engine from the bottom didn’t have a lot of oil on it, I could buy it. The one with the parking thing not working, he said, that it could be a simple spring somewhere, or it could be a bad transmission. And I kind of figured out myself that the one with a bad transmission, had a bad transmission. But I was thinking if everything else is good there, I’ll put another $1K – $1.5K for the transmission fix, and have myself a good car.

Finally the day when I was hoping to get my car. We got there early in the morning, to take one final look at the cars. The one with a bad transmission had oil leaking all over the place, so that kind of left us with only 2 choices. The one with the hood not opening had a pretty dry engine on the bottom, but it decided to die. Basically it worked for some time the morning, and went dead. No signs of life whatsoever. The guys at the auction couldn’t really get it started. Why? Coz the hood wasn’t opening. ) And that left us with only one choice. At this point I started getting really sad, since the chances of me getting that car were really low now.

I decided that I wouldn’t bid more then $4,500. I thought if I don’t get that car, I’m going to go to the dealer, and at least that way I can test drive a car, and have my mechanic look at it. So the auction started. There were a lot more people there that day, then back in November. The first car for sale was 93 Crown Vic. It went for $4,600. I started going mad, and angry. I was pissed at everyone, and everything. Damn auctions!

The car of my choice was one of the first Caprices to go through the procedure. I got right in front of it, and the bidding started. At one point 2 guys were bidding for it, and at about $3,500 one of them dropped out. So I raised my hand. In a couple of steps the other guy was at $4,300. The auction dude asked me if’d want to give $4,500. I said no. How about $4,350? I agreed. So he looks at the other guy. I don’t see him, since he’s somewhere in the middle of the whole bunch of people. And to my happiness I don’t hear him either. So the auction guy starts counting. “One, two, three, SOLD!” Holy shit! I could not belive it! I actually have got my own Caprice, with only 84K miles, for only $4,350! Wow! I was really really happy.

I paid for the car in full that day, but still couldn’t drive it home, since it didn’t have no plates, and stuff, and I’m no dealer. So we got the key from it, and went to check out what we have bought. ) A test drive on the parking lot was in order. So I step on the gas, and DAMN! Well, if you drove LT1 Caprice you know what I mean. )

We went home, and now had to wait a whole day to actually get the car home. The longest day ever. On Monday we went to the DMV, and registered the car. [I got the insurance the same day I bought the car.] There is no better feeling then the feeling when you get new plates for your car. ) Basically these were very exciting days of my life.

We went back to Trenton, put the plates on the car, and drove home. That’s when I found out for the first time how fast you can get over the 100mph. 95 Caprice ain’t no 87 Crown Vic. ) The car was amazing.

The first thing that we did after we got back, we went to see the car doctor. Basically I was very happy to find out that PARKING problem was no problem at all. Some small part got misaligned. The whole fix cost less then a dollar. Also it needed a new ball joint, and everything else was in a great shape.

Here the buying saga ends, and the modding one begins.
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