Now if this were just a flash mob or pre internet “Zip to Zap” event it would have been merely a wasted weekend. But something like thousands of bidders spent or at least tried to spend real money on a few hundred abandoned old Chevies in a small twon in normally peaceful Pierce, Nebraska last weekend. Turned out there was no need for me to attend, as the available internet access and the auction site itself was swamped, with signals, shoes, and sanity disappearing into the muck.

For a start, no Chevy truck ever built was or is worth a six figure sum. While granted, Chevy’s latest full size car disguised as a 4 door “pickup” is overpriced at $40k, it’s an absolute bargain compared to a dinged half century plus old one that went for upwards of $100k! And IIRC, the “Cameo Carrier” pickup box surround that made this pickup so special was fiberglass, and you could knock off dozens of them for $100k… And saturate the market. So far every single car I’ve seen a sales price went for over and usually well over MSRP, even the 4 door sedans with “Powerslide” automatics that sat outdoors through 50 some Nebraska winters, searing summers, and the odd hailstorm. Heck, a ’77 “Vette, not exactly a vintage year, went for well over $100k. In almost every case a new equivalent model that is better in almost every way can be bought for far less without even haggling.

If these lemmings of the old car hobby were looking for survivors, they could have done far better… All over the world, vehicles are bought, maintained, and seldom used. I’ve seen it often in the fleets I’ve worked in… The bureaucracy buys hundreds and thousands of a new car or truck, then assigns them all over the country. Some get the wheels run off them, like the Chevy 1 ton pickup that was run 300k miles in less than 10 years helping maintain Postal Service facilities all over South Dakota, while a Ford 600 4×4 with plow and dump box hadn’t even covered 50k miles in nearly twice as long. And given that the Postal Service fleet of 200,000 vehicles includes everything from sedans to minivans to pickups up to buses and 18 wheelers, there’s quite a variety of “survivors” out there. Same with the GSA fleet, military fleets, and state and local fleets. Private industry harbors more than a few survivors too… Even amongst the worn out debris of Hostess’ fleet are a few well preserved gems.   So someday a collector will bid on a couple decade old Marmon truck in an almost unpublicized state surplus auction. And not just any rare Marmon, but an even rarer cabover Marmon. And unlike the abandoned Chevies of Nebraska, the South Dakota State Patrol Officer that’s in charge of that Marmon fires it once a month and drives it around a bit just to keep the fluids circulating and make sure everything works as intended… If not, the state’s mechanics will take care of it.

But to the Chevy lemmings that made absolute pigs of yourselves last weekend: You have set the old car hobby back at least a decade. Your lunacy made national and international news, and now every old fart with an old car, truck, or whatever in the garage or shed or grove will think it’s worth even more and let it rot there for another decade or three!

 

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