About once a week, usually as I’m leaving my house in the morning in my white 2016 GMC pickup, I hear a little voice. It pipes up as I drop the shifter silently into gear, lamenting the fact that last year, I sold my noisy old orange-and-white 1972 Chevrolet K10. Sometimes that voice also brings up my rumbly old 2006 Charger SRT8 for additional impact. They were so cool. Why did you have to sell them?
My friends predicted this. Eventually I’d regret letting the truck go, and probably the Charger too, just to buy something new. They all tried to talk me out of it. By selling, they claim, I’ve earned this weekly affirmation of stupidity. As my wife likes to say, “You’ve made your bed, now sleep in it.”
But here’s the thing: I don’t really miss those two vehicles. And that little voice? It isn’t inside my head. It’s coming from my 5-year-old daughter Katie, and I can hear it loud and clear in our new, safe, whisper-quiet truck.
Remorse and restitution
This month’s ACC Readers’ Forum question is all about selling. How do you know when it’s time to move on from a car you’ve owned for a while? From market movements to just being bored, your responses start on p. 44.
I was reasonably sure I’d made the right decision in selling that old truck, as I didn’t think it was safe for hauling a kid around each day. I loved the truck, but I feared that some busily texting commuter was going to plow into me someday.
Buying a new, ultra-safe truck was a sound move.
But I didn’t count on being reminded of the sale all the time. I should have thought of that, as my daughter had spent almost as much time on that old bench seat as I had.
When she was about 2, Katie used to demand we drive the pickup whenever it was in her field of view. From there, she’d point out letters on road signs and talk up a storm about things that weren’t actually letters but looked like them — such as when power lines and power poles crossed to look like a T, E or F. From her vantage point, she could actually see out the windshield — rare for a little kid these days.
Maybe the character of the pickup — which is what I loved — was secondary to that windshield view for her at first, but it doesn’t really matter now because 1967–72 GM trucks are burned into her brain. She points out every single one she sees from the back seat of our new GMC, and in case you hadn’t noticed, they’re everywhere. Cue my seller’s remorse.
It’s funny, because through all this, I’m seeing myself in my daughter. I rode around in an old Chevy truck in the 1980s, loved it in the same way, and missed it when it was gone. So when I got older, I bought and restored one.
Make it better
My new GMC is actually in this issue. If you look hard enough, you’ll see it being used as a workbench in Jay Harden’s driveway while we cranked up his Chevelle’s turning abilities with an Original Parts Group-sourced quick-ratio steering box.
Jay’s 454-powered Chevelle was a high-school build. The car sat out most of the past few years due to kids, deadlines and other obligations. He mentioned that “the car’s been a part of my life for so long — a part of my identity — but some of my friends have never even seen it.”
Life can push even the coolest classic car to the back burner of priorities, regardless of how much you love it. That typically forces a choice: Let the car sit, force life to fit the car, modify the car to suit your needs, or sell it.
I sold my truck because it stopped fitting life comfortably. I don’t think Jay would ever consider selling his Chevelle, so he’s bending it to fit his needs. That includes making it turn and stop a lot more effectively, as well as finishing off a few rough edges that were fine for a young guy’s hot rod but aren’t exactly family-friendly. Purists may hate his changes, but they’re all bolt-on reversible. And his kids are going to love it — which for the hobby is more valuable than any sale price.
I’m starting to think this is what I should have done with that old pickup. Maybe.
Then again, we still have my ’66 Caprice, and there’s a certain balance that comes from having a quiet new rig and a raucous muscle car. Katie and I have been using the ’66 more now that it’s our sole fun car to drive. Now that I can focus on it, I’ve been busy fixing little issues that have bugged me for years.
But the more I think about it, the more another C10 sounds like a good idea.
Even if I never get around to it, I’m willing to bet Katie will.