'It's not for sale!'
The man peering from behind the slightly opened door through the metal screen said it as though he expected every person who rang his doorbell wanted his 1970 Plymouth Road Runner.
I don't want to buy it, I replied. 'Huh?' I don't want to buy it, I said a bit louder. The yipping dog behind the cracked door wouldn't allow a coherent conversation to take place. Several 'Huh's' and 'What's' passed between us. The door never opened more than 3 inches. The stranger who's yard I was in didn't want anything to do with me. The bright, early morning sunshine and eagerness in my voice had little effect on the Road Runner’s owner.
I made it clear to the man I only wanted a photo of his car. He nodded 'OK', and shut the door. I could hear him scolding his little house dog as I turned toward the car.
This was not the first house I have approached to inquire about a vehicle. I've bought seven of the 30+ automobiles I've owned during similar encounters. Sometimes, I have put myself in vulnerable situations, today was no different.
DOG NUMBER 2
The dog in the house was small. The dog in the yard, a medium-size wolfish-looking creature. He was tied near the door with 8-gauge electrical wire. The wire-haired beast was nice enough to let me near the door to knock. But the dog did not want me taking pictures of the Road Runner which sat on the left side of the house. A heavily-traveled dirt path reached the Plymouth which provided a shady spot within reach of his wire-collared restraint. I crept toward the front of the orange muscle car. His barking grew fierce after several hoarse yelps. I was encroaching on his territory. Luckily, his travel radius was limited to about 20-feet from his tie-down near the front door. The car sat 22-feet away. I only had the nerve to shoot 2 photos. Barking dogs, no matter how strong the electrical wire holding them back, intimidate me.
The Road Runner’s rusty roof and window channels, betrayed by a vinyl top, gave way to the elements. Despite its weathered condition, this car still gets your attention. Rare Vitamin C orange paint looks original. A vintage Beep-Beep Road Runner tag mounted on the front bumper no less than 30 years. A winged-spoiler, stripes and menacing grill make me want to ask, 'are you sure you wouldn't sell it?' The stranger, behind the barking door has made it clear he is keeping this car no matter how far it deteriorates. His memories of the car or his future plans for the car are worth more to him than money.
TWIN SEPARATED YEARS AGO
This orange 1970 Road Runner once had a Sublime green 1970 twin sitting behind it. The green one left the yard about 10 years ago. Someday, all these steel-bodied, chrome-bumpered cars will disappear. Only memories and family legends of America’s ‘real’ muscle cars rusting away in the weeds.
Do your part to document these old cars before they disappear. Send your photos of old cars to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post them.