Quest for clunkers

Ken Simmons
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Time was, you could pick up this very paper on any given Saturday, crack open the classified ads and dream the car-buying dream for page after page.
Was I alone in this? I turned to the used-car ads like some kids turn to the comics. (That was my second stop.) Yes, there was some attention paid to the flashy new steel, but that was so far outside my financial means we dared not even dream that big.

Ah, but in the tiny word ads that filled those black-inked pages might rest the find of our lives. There were no expectations, just the hope of uncovering a lost treasure.

Few of us did, of course. One friend did come up with a '57 Volkswagen Beetle, for which he paid the princely sum of $800. It's almost sad how much we thought that was during our last years of high school, while struggling with the paradox of what a great deal he had scored.

That project didn't work out the best for him, but the lessons it taught us all serve us even now. The one lesson we might have done better without, though, was that we, too, might come across just such a deal. Oh, the time we have burned searching for just that.

These days, those searches are just as likely to come at the keyboard - or the tablet or phone - the digital age having overtaken print nowhere as completely as it has in database organization.

Want to find a '57 Beetle? Plug it into a search window. Don't hold your breath or anything, but if you're willing to spread out into the worldwide part of the web, you can find the model you seek - heck, maybe even the colour. Just don't expect to get it for $800.

And don't expect the same kind of thrill we got from turning the pages of a thick newspaper. The very fact you know you'll find one somewhere when you click "find" dulls a little the excitement of actually coming across some coveted classic. What's more, if it was in the paper, chances are it was close enough to haul home.

Not California.

There are a few bargains still out there, mind you. Just last week I spoke with the owner of a very nice 1970 Ranchero he picked up for pretty close to my friend's VW price. A touch of repair here, a lick of paint there and he had a car worth 20 times his bill of sale.

It's enough to drive you to the search window.

Ken Simmons, The Telegram's new media editor, breathes exhaust and exhales clean, fresh air. Twitter @Ken_Simmons_NL/Tumblr


Organizations: Volkswagen Beetle, The Telegram

Geographic location: Ah

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