Since the 70s I’ve wanted to buy the classic Mercedes 230 SL. I was young, broke and newly married so it just didn’t happen until this year, 40 years later. For some reason I just liked the looks of the little sports car but I never really knew much about them so here’s what I’ve recently learned.
I think New Year’s resolutions are kind of silly but sometimes I make them anyway. As my more avid readers will remember, last year I resolved not to buy any more cars for the year. Well, I made it to September when I accidentally found and bought a real nice ‘49 Studebaker business coupe that I just couldn’t resist. I even drove it yesterday and it’s a pleasure to drive. I rationalized that purchase by saying I would sell one of my cars by the end of the year and thus have no net gain in cars for the year. That didn’t get done so my resolution for 2014 was a failure. I was close though, so I thought I would make the same resolution this year. The saying goes: “The definition of madness is when you do the same thing over again and expect different results.” Well I did the same thing over again and sure enough, this year I only lasted two weeks!
Alas, my record of never damaging any of my vintage vehicles is broken. I’ve had plenty of mechanical difficulties (including a blown engine) and made use of my AAA membership lots of times but up to now I’ve never actually incurred any body damage.
I’ve been thinking about insurance lately. Warren Buffett became a multi-billionaire by using people’s insurance payments for free until they actually made a claim. We pay life insurance and never see the money ourselves (since we have to be dead to collect.) The only way we collect on our home insurance is when our house burns down and even then our lender gets paid first. We pay title insurance on our homes and then have to sue the title insurance company to collect anything. And then there’s car insurance which actually protects us from liability claims and covers our cars even if we are at fault.
I’ve recently been talking to people about business coupes and discovered that none of them even knew what a business coupe was — not even the old timers — so now I feel it is my duty to have a history lesson for all my loyal readers. Before the advent of motorized vehicles, salespeople would travel from town to town with a horse and wagon filled with goods to sell, or even just samples and advertising materials. This would have been a very time-consuming and arduous task so once cost effective motorized vehicles came along and decent roads were built the successful salesman took to the road with cars and trucks. Cars were more comfortable, weatherproof and easier to drive than trucks so they became the vehicle of choice for these lonely businesspeople. By the 30’s the car industry recognized this sector of car buyers and developed the business coupe just for them. The business coupe is a standard two-door car with just a front seat (which would just fit two people since cars were much narrower then), a shelf in back of the front seat and a HUGE trunk which could be filled with product, samples, advertising materials and of course our lonely traveling salesman’s suitcase. I’ve even seen pictures of these cars with a truck box sticking out of the trunk! From a distance these cars are recognizable by their long trunks and short cabs, and of course upon closer inspection you will see only one seat.