Thursday, October 24, 2013

An Update On JaCG Readers And Their Cars, Part 1

One of the things I really like about writing this blog is the number of people I meet who share my passion for old, often off-beat and maligned, cars.

When I'm with my friends and I start talking about some of my favorite cars, I get either a blank stare or a serious eye roll. Here, I'll post an obscure car and within minutes I have an email from someone who owns 6 of them.

Remember Todd? I first discovered him when I was doing some research for a Mitsubishi Debonair post. He was one of the car's previous owners and I sent him an email. He responded with some info about the Mitsubishi but then, somewhat casually, as if it was a usual thing in the US, wrote this:

"I took my driving test in a 67 R-10, I've had a bunch of R-16s including a Canadian built Euro spec R-16TS, Had a couple Le Cars, a Medallion, that one was hideous.
I did have a Opel Manta which was kinda cool, an Audi 100LS and a BMW 1600 with a 2002 engine and dual DCOE webers that was so fast is was scary. Oh one other French oddball I had was a Citroen GS Wagon.
I've imported several cars from England, a 78 Austin Allegro Estate, 80 Austin Princess, 79 Ford Granada Coleman Milne Cardinal Hearse, 82 MG Metro, 83 Austin Maestro Vanden plas, and Yeah I've had a few Peugeots, a 504 Diesel Wagon, 505 Gas Wagon and my favorite of them all a 604 Turbo Diesel, I even found a set of Euro headlights for it.

Say what?

Todd instantly became a hero to me and many, many other JaCG readers.

Over the years, Todd would send me links to unusual cars and shared some of his own cars. I even featured a Lada Signet he bought and brought to the US.

During my "vacation" from JaCG, I ignored its email box. It got full. Full to the point that my email provider was no longer delivering emails to me. A week or so ago I cleared the email box and new emails started coming in. One of the first was from Todd.

It turns out - not too surprisingly - that over the last year Todd has been busy adding to his collection. His latest acquisitions? A 1986 Lada 2107, a 1982 Austin Allegro and a 1989 Nissan S-Cargo.

Todd writes: The story on the Lada is that I found it via the Lada USA Forum. I've already owned several Ladas, a few Samaras and a Canadian spec Signet Automatic.

I sold the Signet because it was just too slow and I kept being hounded by Russians to sell it to them. I finally gave in and let it go. Eventually a guy from Germany posted on the forum this Red Lada 2107. I mentioned how much I loved it and asked if it might be for sale. Even though I didn't know this guy at all, I felt fairly certain the car was as nice as it looked. We agreed on a price and he was even willing to load the car on a trailer and take it to the Bremerhaven dock and fill out all the paperwork for me. The total cost, since I'm sure you're wondering, for the car and shipping was about $7,000 which seems like a lot, but this was my dream Lada. When the car arrived in Tacoma Washington I went to pick it up and it ended up being just as expected, if not better. I couldn't believe how nice it was.

The Allegro was sort of the 10 year anniversary tribute to the very first car I ever had shipped over, which was a 78 Allegro Estate. I had always wanted a Series 3 Allegro which was the final upgrade before they quit making them and went on the produce the Austin Maestro.(I also owned one of those!) My Internet friend Chris in the UK, who has shipped several cars to me in the past, found this particular car on E-Bay UK. It was at a dealer and he convinced me that I had to have it. A few bids later, it was mine for 800 pounds. Chris went to get it and told me it wasn't quite as good as in the pics, but it was a one owner car and only had about 35,000 miles on it. He liked it so much that he ended up driving it around for about six months before letting go of it and sending it to me. It needed paint and exhaust first thing, so my Local Maaco was nice enough to match the original paint color exactly and the local exhaust shop put a sport exhaust on it, so now it sounds like an angry Mini, which since it has a Mini Engine and transmission is pretty much what it is.

The S-Cargo has been the thorn in my my side car. I've wanted one for the last 10 years!! The oldest ones were built in 1989 which is when this one was built. With our stupid 25 year old rule I've had to wait and wait, regularly checking Vancouver Craigslist as they change hands on a fairly regular basis. They're rarely ever cheap although I have seen a couple of them go for the $2,500 to $3,500 range, usually they're priced more around $6,000. The one I bought was even more than that, $7,300, but I figured it was worth the extra cost since it only has 64,000km on it, has the sunroof and the port hole side windows. It's hard to find one that has all that. The story on the S- Cargo is that they were made along with the Pao and the Figaro back in the late 80s early 90s as retro themed cars at the Pike Factory in Japan. Mechanically the S-Cargo is all Nissan Sentra so parts shouldn't be tough to get. They were made in limited numbers and when new you had to be in a lottery to buy one. Like most of these retro cars in Japan, they went out of fashion as quick as they were in fashion so most of them either got scrapped or sold on to countries like Canada that didn't have as strict import laws. So, yes I own a S-Cargo, but, yes, it's still in Canada. Luckily the dealer I bought it from agreed to hold it for 3 months until January 5th which is the day I plan to go up and bring it home. I'm Super Excited! I plan on getting it painted some crazy color so it stands out even more, although I won't do anything to it that can't be easily put back to stock. When I'm done with it my plan is to donate it to the local Harold LeMay Car museum, so we'll see how that goes

Next up... Sandee's LeCar.


Anonymous said...

Welcome back!

What struck me about this post wasn't the Lada (which is nice) or the collection (which I aspire to) but the Chrysler minivan pulling the two-axle car trailer! Everything must be lighter in Europe because here in America we require a dually to pull two jet skiis.
Anyway, keep up the good work. I look forward to your posts.
Berkeley, CA

Sandee said...

I always wanted a Lada Cossack!