Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
January 1, 2007

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For AS long as I can remember, I've always been the one selling my hot rods at bargain-basement prices. I've either needed out of them, as was the case when I began college, or just wanted something different. My need/urge to part ways with my ride has usually led to selling the car cheaper than what I purchased it for.

As the years pass, I've watched my father make good deal after good deal simply because he had the money in hand and/or was willing to wait for his price. I sold my first Mustang and got out from under the payments, and I walked away with enough money to pay for my first semester of college, which I thought worked out perfectly. I can recall several other cars that I let go really cheap, though, and I've generally never had the money in hand to go looking for good deals.

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I have, however, been lucky enough to come across two bargains in my 18 years of automobile ownership, and both of them happened to find me with relatively full pockets-obviously, funding was a key ingredient in sealing the deal.

My first score was a '67 Mustang fastback that I still own. I had been on the hunt for one for some time. Then the Gone In 60 Seconds remake came out, and suddenly the $2,500 cars that I could not afford became $5,000 rolling hulks of rust.

I stopped looking only to have a truck driver who had dropped off a fiberglass hood for one of our project cars tell me that he was selling a '67 Mustang for $1,500-$2,000. I purchased the Pony for $1,800. It's a 289 GTA Mustang that belonged to the guy's mother, who had purchased it new.

Luckily for me, my previous job had just involuntarily cashed me out of my profit-sharing plan a month prior and sent me a sizeable check with which I made my first good deal. Chalk one up on my empty side of the scoreboard.

Fast forward four years and I still have the GTA, though it sits in anticipation of its restoration and now holds the record for the longest period of ownership of any car I have ever owned.

About six months ago, my friend George Xenos phoned me and asked if I would be interested in buying his '93 Cobra. The '93 Cobra is one of my all-time favorites, so I asked how much, and he responded with, "$5,000." I asked him to give me a few days to make some calls, and then asked why he needed to part with his pride and joy. It turned out he was wanting to make a down-payment on a house and needed the money quick.

I had joked with George for a long time about trading my '67 for his Cobra, but it never went further than that. After hanging up the phone, I sat dumbfounded and expected him to call back at any point to rescind his offer. I called my financial planner-i.e., my wife-and explained the situation.