Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A little trip down to California to get my new classic car!

This week I am taking a brief intermission from Devil at Dusk for a two part blog post (2 in one night) about my trip down to California to buy and bring home my new cute little classic car! Another installment of Devil at Dusk will be posted next week.

Nash Metropolitan 1961 Convertible
Here I am in San Rafael California with my new 1961 Metropolitan Nash Convertible.
A few months ago I got the idea that I wanted to get a car, my own car. Last time I owned a car was in 2008 and I lived in the city where everything was close and handy. Now that I am living in a small town 24 miles west of Portland (where there is only one bus or rely on Tim to drive me everywhere) it just made sense to get a car, one just for me. As most of you know I am a vintage clothing lover, it is my passion and classic cars are also a passion, almost an obsession even, which is pretty much at the same level as vintage clothes. I knew after seeing American Graffiti for the first time when I was a wee child that I wanted to own a classic car.

But which car, there were so many to choose from? I happened to encounter my first Nash Metropolitan over a year ago and fell in love with it right away. It was so small and so cute! When it came down to choosing a classic car what I really wanted was a small classic car, a compact classic even. After some further research I found out that the Nash Metropolitan was the first American compact car. They were produced from 1959 to 1961. When I first started seriously looking for the Metropolitan I found one for sale not to far from Portland at a car show/cruise in I went to. It was yellow and white with a hard top. I tried calling the owner a few times, left messages but he never called back. So I went looking online on craigslist and found a few in the area for sale, they were all hard top. Then Tim had mentioned to me about how this car would not have AC in it and that I may want to look in to convertibles instead. So I switched gears and started looking for a convertible. The convertibles I had realized are a little more rare so I had to expand my search to all over the US.

The closest one I found was the one above and it was in San Rafael California. So Tim contacted the owner and then we hopped on a plane just this past Thursday and flew into San Francisco and arrived little bit after 10:00 am. Then we took a shuttle to San Rafael however somewhere along the way there was some miscommunication (Tim dealt with the owner, I let him take over in that department). We ended up with the wrong address and a phone number that was not getting through to the owner. We ended up walking for miles and miles, taking buses, cabs and more walking. By the time the day ended we had done many hours of walking. Don't even ask what the mix up ended being, it will take way to long to go into it! We were almost going to give up and take a plane back home because we were basically floating around with no place to go in a strange city (our plan was to get the car Thursday morning and start driving home after that). We had decided to not give up and to stay the night in San Rafael. We had planned to be in Historic Jacksonville Oregon before nightfall on Thursday night which was about a little over 400 miles away but I had to call at the last minute to cancel our reservation. I told them it was an emergency that we were literally stuck in San Rafael California with no car. We were very fortunate they did not charge us for the room because it was an emergency.

That night we ended up checking into a room at a motel in San Rafael where we had a chance to sit a moment and not be running around in panic mode. Then we were finally able to figure out how to contact the owner and where he lived etc... like I said long story. The car had been stored at a friend of the owners house and we were able to arrange to see the car that night. We took a cab over there and checked out the car, unfortunately it was after the banks had closed so we had to come back the next day to buy it. However we got to see it and at the last moment the owner of the car pulls up in his Maserati (he had been at Burning Man for the past few days) to answer our questions. The interior had been fully restored and a new engine had been put in it. The exterior paint was in really pretty good condition too, there are several minor repairs that need to be done but other than that she was good to go. The owner ended up knocking off $1,000.00 off of the price of the car for all of the inconvenience!

The next morning which was Friday we came back and bought the car. Then we had to go to the mall to get a bunch of things before we took off on our road trip and also to eat. We ended up getting a very late start. We took the top down on the car and we were getting ready to head over to I-5. We were on a connecting highway and the traffic was starting to back up and was at a complete standstill! We were sitting there frying in almost 100 degree weather. I had mentioned to Tim we may want to take the next exit and head west toward highway 101 and drive through the redwoods and eventually the coast (where it would be much cooler) we knew it would add on many extra miles and hours even but it would be more fun so we did it.

One thing Tim had mentioned was that he wanted to go through a drive through tree once we got to the redwoods. We found one of the drive through trees and drove our car through it.

Redwoods Drive Through Tree
No trip to the redwoods would be complete unless you drive your classic car through a redwood tree! 
Soon it started getting dark and we had to get serious about getting some food and a place to stay for the night. We found the food, we ate at a place called the Peg House which basically was a window where you place your order and you sit at a picnic table outside and there was an awesome band playing blues that night. Next we had to find a place to stay which was no easy feat with it being Labor Day weekend and all. We finally ended up in a little town called Benbow and we stayed at the Historic Benbow Hotel, it was 10 pm when we finally checked in, we got the second to the last room left. This place was absolutely amazing so of course I had to add some pics!

Historic Benbow Hotel
Our room for the night in the Historic Benbow Hotel.

Antique desk in our room.
Our room had a balcony and this is the view from it.

We were so tired, we passed out as soon as our heads hit the pillows. The next morning Tim woke up and took some more pics of the place while I was getting ready.

At the Benbow Hotel we parked next to a 1935 Plymouth, the owners had sign in the window explaining it's history, the car had even been used as a prop in a movie at one time (I forgot the movie), the owners bought it in the 80's. 

Historic Benbow Hotel.

The beautiful veranda.

Staircase, look at all the beautiful dark wood.

Living room and fireplace.

Lush green grass and stone bridge.

This concludes part one of the California trip!

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