Making money seems to have a negative air around it to most people. Most people think that making money can only mean selling their time, and that it can’t be fun. Now, from personal experience, that just isn’t true! I made $500 in a day, and did it driving a Pro-Street Mustang (just like the one in the pic, but not that exact car. Mine had street tires on the front, not skinnies. I don’t own this picture, all credit to the original owner). The hardest part of making that money was the heavy clutch!
Step 1: Taking A Free Vacation
A bit of an introduction to our story here, I had wanted to go to a large swap meet for a while now. One of the largest in the country was at Iola, Wisconsin. I had been saving up to go, using some of the profits from my other deals in order to fund the trip. I had plenty enough money to pay for all expenses for myself and my father to go for two days. Now, with this all being profits from other deals, this trip was already essentially free. Other people’s money had paid for my vacation, how cool is that!?
I brought with about $5000 in case something caught my eye that I wanted to buy. I was looking mostly at cars, but there were some interesting tractors and other items there. At one point, I almost ended up buying a Monte Carlo on the first day. It ended up having tons of body filler in it. That is one thing that kills value, but can usually be easily seen. If you see that body lines in the car don’t look straight, or are rolled in weird directions, the odds are that there’s body filler (Bondo is the slang for it).
Nevertheless, I avoided the Frankenstein Monte Carlo, and kept looking. I got a couple trinkets as souvenirs, like a key chain for my motorcycle key, but nothing expensive. Until, that is, I laid eyes on that black Foxbody with the chromed-out 5.0 under the bonnet.
Step 2: Driving A Pro-Street Car
Now, I’ll be honest with you here: I’m not usually one for american muscle. I’ve always preferred lower-displacement, high-strung engines, hence my S2000 and multiple 240SXs. This, though.. This car was an exception. The paint was in fairly good condition, just a little fading on the roof. The interior was in really good condition as well, with no cracks on the dash, one seam letting loose in the driver’s seat, and no fade on the leather. One of the only issues was that the thermometer wasn’t hooked to the cooling system, so the fans had to manually be turned on and off (or so we thought…).
The price in the window was $4500, which was low enough to get my attention. I asked a group of guys sitting near the car whose it was, and they called someone out of their camper. This guy, I kid you not, looked like Hank Hill. He had the beer, he had the white shirt and jeans, even had the body and glasses to match. Talking to him, he seemed respectful enough at first. He answered a few questions of mine, that he had title in his name, that the engine was not stock, and that there was no power steering, heat, or A/C. He also agreed to a test drive, which was difficult to accomplish in a fairground.
We took the car out of the fair, and on to some country roads nearby. Naturally, he drove first, and couldn’t drive stick to save his life. I kept watch on the instrument cluster, and how the engine was revving. Seemed OK from my perspective, so we switched drivers. The clutch was super heavy, the steering was boat-ish, and the brakes weren’t that good. The engine though… *wow* that car growled. She’d break traction first through third with quick shifts at low end. Top end was still good to me, but only because I hadn’t driven the 240 yet (400whp with turbo lag spoiled me!). Either way, this would’ve been a ton of fun to drive as a daily, if not for the lack of AC/Heat.
Step 3: Negotiating A Purchase Price
Once we got back to the fairgrounds, driving turned into a *nightmare*. Very large crowds covered the roads, and the low steering radius with steering dampeners made it nearly impossible to make a turn without a 3-point. On the way back though, we had plenty of time to talk about price. I offered him 3000, on account of the car being difficult to drive as a daily (what I wanted to use the car for). He countered at 3900, and with a little more negotiation, I left him stewing on a $3500 final offer. I left him my phone number, and sure enough, I got a call 20 minutes later saying I could come get the car.
I walked back, the $3500 in hand, and negotiated one final term for the deal. The term was that I had to be able to leave the car on his lot (with the for sale sign on it) until I could find a place to put it for the day, and that if anyone were to ask about the car, that he gave them my phone number. He agreed, I handed over the money, and took the title from him (making sure not to sign it). We immediately started trying to find another place to put the car. How were we gonna get it out of the festival even?
Step 4: Taking Turns Selling The Foxbody
With the car keys in hand, we started walking around, asking where I could put my new car. One of the gate attendants of the festival recommended that we take the car and put it in the public parking lot, and gave us directions to get there. That sounded like it’d be out best option, so we began heading back to pick up the car. On the way back, my phone rang with a number I didn’t recognize. It was someone interested in buying the car, the guy had made good on our deal. I agreed to meet him in a central part of the festival, on my way to the car. One thing on my mind was that I didn’t want to be talking about selling this car in front of the guy I just got it from!
Meeting the guy that called me, he wasn’t who I expected at all! This was a kid, like me, about 18 or 19. He said he and his father owned an auto repair shop, and were looking to get into the drag scene. I was gonna use the car for drifting, but I sure didn’t tell them that! They seemed really nice, and were also super interested in the car! Not to mention they knew tons more about the car than I did! I offered to go for a test drive with the kid, and we’d just end the drive at the parking lot. My father and the kid’s father would be able to talk for a bit and meet us at the parking lot. So I drove us out of the festival, and out to the same country road I was on before.
Step 5: It’s Getting Hot In Here (please leave your clothes on, though)
When I pulled over so we could switch drivers, he spent a solid half hour looking the car over! Now, I had no cell service where we stopped, so I couldn’t even contact my dad and let him know everything was OK. This kid was incredibly thorough about his inspection, but he was nice enough to tell me what he was looking at the whole time. I learned a lot about Foxbodys that day! Regardless, he proved he could drive stick just as well as me on the way back. Even the clutch wasn’t an issue for him. I gave him directions to get to the festival lot, and had him park next to where my dad was sitting, where both of our dads were waiting. Neither looked too pleased.
Now, keep in mind, it was a summer day. In a field. With no wind, and full sun. And it was like 90 degrees out. So both of our dads had waters, and were waiting for us to get back (in the Mustang with no A/C, we were just as miserable). We got out, and talked to our respective parents. I could hear that the kid and his dad were talking about the car seriously. They even mentioned the window price being cheap!
My dad and I, on the other hand, were just making jokes about how hot it was. We both heard the window price comment, and knew we could relax about the deal. In fact, the most we talked about the car was that the kid’s dad had talked to the previous owner of the car. Now.. We had to get this car out of the festival ASAP, and park it legally somewhere. To that parking lot we go!
Step 6: Quite The Toasty Pony
While we were getting this car running and ready to leave, I took note of the temperature gauge on the column. Good to have, just in case we’re running a little warm (it’s hot outside!). I got the car ready to go, and picked up my father, and we were driving out of the show. This car seemed to be running okay, it was a loud little shit too. That temperature gauge was rising, though.. We were at about 180 now, just a little above what I expected. We were idling in traffic trying to exit the festival, so not much air was going by the engine to cool it that way.
That gauge kept on creeping, though.. It was at 200 by the time we exited the festival, and kept going when when we started driving. It was roughly 240 when we got to the parking area, and we still had a ways to go. I was short-shifting every gear, trying to run it rich to get the temperature a little lower, and keeping the RPMs as far down as possible. That helped some, but not much, as the gauge was pinned when we parked it. The gauge went to 300 degrees. This couldn’t have been good for the engine..
Luckily enough, we got it parked, and it seemed to be running okay, minor oil burn, that was about it. We called the kid and his dad and let them know where we were. We also told them that the car was running very hot, and told him what had happened.Thank god, the kid said he was still interested. They came over to the lot in about 15 minutes, and we began the dance of price negotiations.
Step 7: Negotiating A Price… Again!
When we started talking price, they started off using the point that they knew I got the car for $3500. *damn*! The guy I bought it from must’ve told them how much I paid. Regardless, they were kind about it. Despite knowing what I had paid, they still recognized that I would want some money out of the deal, not just get back what I had in the car. They saw the $4500 asking price, and my $3500 purchase price, and offered me right in the middle.
If you’ve read any of my other articles, you guys know I’m pretty cutthroat as far as negotiations go. However, these guys had a clear advantage on me, knowing how much I paid. On top of that, they were genuinely nice people, and were *knowingly* offering me $500 profit. I was in no position to negotiate, nor did I really want to extort these nice people. I agreed to that price, and then got the bad news; They needed to go to a bank to get money. The nearest bank to Iola was roughly 45 minutes away, meaning the deal realistically wouldn’t be done for at least another couple hours. Well, another thing about me is that I’m *really* prone to anxiety when it comes to waiting.
Lucky enough for us, they made it to the bank, called us to let us know they got funding, and made it back in about an hour and 45 minutes. Sure enough, they came back, had the money we agreed on, and the deal was done. They took the title, signed it, and that’s how I made $500 by driving a pro-street Mustang for two hours!