These Are The Cars You Shouldn’t Have Passed On

Posted April 21, 2020

Last week, I shared the story of my most bone-headed move ever — passing on a 1988 BMW E28 M5 sedan for a cool $4,500 some years ago. The car needed work, but was as rare as could be and ran well enough. It would have been a fun project car, and could have netted me a profit down the line, but I got caught up in its flaws and the impending expenses.

In an effort to ease my own regret and share in collective misery, I asked you to tell me about the cars you regret passing on. These are your stories. — Dean

1280Px Jaguar E Type Series 1 Coupé 1964

Back in 1965 I was in the market for a car. The local foreign car dealer had a 1960 Maserati, four-seat, two-door hardtop on his lot. It was a badly faded silver paint with a red leather interior and four-speed. I looked it over and saw it needed a complete exhaust system (and new paint). At that time I couldn't imagine where to get something as simple as an exhaust system for a Maserati, so I passed. They were asking $3,000. Today they could be worth 250k.

My second "almost" was a ’60s Mercedes SL with a bad engine. I could have it for $400, the amount the service department charged to diagnose the engine. The owner didn't have the money and offered it to me if I paid the service department.

The third was an XKE Jag coupe. Sweet car, but at the time I had too many cars and no place to put any more. I passed on that one too.

After missing the Maserati I moved on and bought an original ’63 Avanti. I still have that one. — Ron T.

Ford Gt

My biggest mistake was passing on the new Ford GT sitting in the showroom of my local Ford dealer back in 2004. The price would've been a bit of a stretch, but mainly I balked at the $10,000 "market value adjustment" added to the sticker price. I have a fundamental problem with dealers doing that, but even so, I could've doubled my money on it in just a few years. — Cobranut

Our local Ford Dealer had a Ford GT in red with white stripes sitting in his showroom for months until finally his market adjustment went the other way — $10,000 discount. I didn't buy it, because, well, I just didn't have the money. In hindsight I should've sold my house and bought the car. — Jeff B.

65 Gto Convert

Back in 1964, I had a chance to buy a 1960 Corvette roadster, white with red interior. The car was spotless with low mileage, and the only thing I could see that wasn't perfect, was a crack in the top of the dash padding above the radio. My father was concerned because it was a convertible and wouldn't co-sign for the loan. The price was $1,000 but it was negotiable.

The next one was a 1968 Chevrolet Nova parked in front of a Chevy dealership in 1968, brand new. It was black with dog dish hubcaps, no chrome to speak of, and a taxicab interior. But it had a 427 with a four-speed. I was pretty sure later that it was a Baldwin or Nickey COPO.

The next one was in the 1980s. There was a Mustang on a used car dealer's lot with $5,000 written on the windshield. The kicker was that it was a real Shelby Mustang, 1966. White with blue trim, no rust, looked perfect except that it sat high in the front because the engine was missing. It had the proper CSX numbers. I drove around the block for lunch, and when I got back it was gone.

The final one was a Pontiac. One of my elderly friends called me one night and said their neighbor's son had restored a Pontiac in tech school, but he had been killed in a car accident riding with someone else. The car has been sitting in their garage for a year and it was too much of a reminder for them, seeing it there every day. My friend knew that I liked Pontiacs because I had a Trans Am. They were asking $1,000 for the Pontiac. I was thinking it was a Sunbird or such, so I was not interested. When I saw my friend later that week, he told me someone bought the car. It was a 1967 GTO convertible, all restored. The buyer drove it home. — jimbo124816

Ferrari 275 Gtb

This probably is the dumbest one you’ll hear. In 1982, I had an opportunity to buy a VERY nice fly yellow Ferrari 275 GTB/2 short nose. Asking price was $60K. Probably could have had it for $55K. Current price range: $1.6 to $2.4M. Reason I didn’t buy it was because I had a lightweight boat hanging in my garage that I knew would damage the car if it fell. Solution: move the boat, I cannot give you a valid reason why I didn’t. — Russ F.

Ferrari Dino

Cars I missed out on... There are two and they were very close together: a '67 Shelby GT350 convertible and a '65 Mustang with a 289. Oh, yeah, there’s a third as well — a Dino.

Late '70s. I was a student at a university in the Midwest. Someone near the school was selling the Shelby for $1,500. It needed a new interior and a new roof. Of course, I didn't have the money…

The second was not long after the Shelby. I needed a car to get to the school. Still didn't have the money. Dad's favorite new car dealer had the '65 Mustang in the used car lot. It was too old, it was the wrong make etc. I still didn't have the money...

Fast-forward a few years and a relocation to the West Coast... The Dino belonged to the owner of a local pizza place/chain. I was married and my wife was mildly interested in older cars. (Her grandfather had been part-owner in a dirt circle track in the 1950s.) We saw the $10K price on the screaming-yellow Dino, thought it was pretty, but didn't know much about it. We wanted to buy a house... and I still didn't have the money...

Some time later, I did buy a bugeye Sprite. I still mightily regret selling that one (and my '75 Opel Manta) to move back to the Midwest. — Diego H.

Photos:

By Sean Rozekrans - Flickr: 1965 Ferrari 275, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...

By DeFacto - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...

By Brian Snelson from Hockley, Essex, England - Goodwood Breakfast Club - Ford GT, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...

By Greg Gjerdingen – Flickr: 1967 Pontiac GTO, CC BY 2.0, https://www.flickr.com/photos/greggjerdingen/6136133633

By Brian Snelson – Flickr: Ferrari Dino, CC BY 2.0, https://www.flickr.com/photos/exfordy/3418903269

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