Filed under: 1966 Chevrolet Corvair ("Ashley")

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It's happened to most of us: For one reason or another, we lose a car we are attached to before we're ready to let go. Well, that happened to me today.

Our financial situation has been going steadily downhill over the past year or so due to cutbacks at work. Our household budget was built around the 8-16 hours of overtime that I could depend on coming in every 2-week pay period. We bought my wife a new car in late 2004, and I got my Cobalt SS in September 2005. Everything was going smoothly... until Rose's work hours were cut in half due to on-the-job injury. The company doctor said she can only work 4 hours a day. Worker's Comp doesn't cover the entire difference, but my O/T was still there so we were still staying above water by just trimming some fat from the budget here and there. Then the other shoe dropped and my O/T went away about a year ago. Things started slipping, like maintenance around the house. Then, about a week ago, the water heater blew and we didn't have the money to replace it.

Something had to give, and that turned out to be my Corvair. I had a standing offer on the car from a friend for several years, and last Monday I contacted him and told him that I'd finally take his offer. Today, we took Ashley on her final drive as my car. We took her from our home in suburban Philly up to the Pocono Mountains (a very pleasant drive, by the way - the weather was perfect), and I signed the title over at about one o'clock this afternoon.

We owned her for over 6 years and had a lot of fun with her. We found her on eBay and flew out to Denver to drive her home. We love a good cross-country road trip. Rose learned to drive stick shift on that trip! The car took us safely to two Corvair Club national conventions. One of them included single-day drives of over 750 miles each way without a hiccup. The local 5.0 Mustangs learned to respect her - we had a record of 13-0 against 5.0's at traffic lights. I especially enjoyed dusting a BMW Z-3 on a twisty back road last fall, ironically in the Poconos, within miles of where she now 'lives'.

Her new owner has serious plans for a complete cosmetic restoration. The car is already nearly 100% mechanically, so some minor bodywork, a complete stripping down to the metal and a repaint in the original Lemonwood Yellow, and a new reproduction interior are in her immediate future. Anyone in the area of the Poconos can visit her at "Callie's Candy Kitchen" in Mountainhome, PA. Most nice days, at least until she goes in for her makeover, she should be on display in front of the shop. Her new owner, Harry Callie, is a collector with over a dozen interesting old cars on an informal rotating display schedule at that location, with several Model A's at his other store, "Callie's Pretzel Factory", about 1 1/2 miles south.

I'm going to miss my car. I had a lot of fun with her. She was the best Corvair by far of the 14 I've owned. At least I know where she is and can visit any time I have a day to drive the 100 or so miles. I know she is in good hands and will get the restoration she deserves.

Goodbye, my friend. We had some good times.