Wanted to share the story of the car of my dreams.

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ntandy

New member
On my fifth birthday, my mother made me a deal. She said, “If you don’t smoke a cigarette until your 21 years old, I’ll buy you the car of your dreams. At two and a half years old I could name every car on a New York City block so, dangling a golden carrot the likes of the car of my dreams was quite the bargaining chip. And it worked.

On my 21st birthday, my parents handed me an envelope with a check made out for $3000.00. Now it was 1997 and a Lamborgini Countach was going to require a few more zeroes. Thankfully, I’d let go of that dream years before. I was well aware of my parents’ financial circumstances, so I hugged them gratefully, slid the check into my pocket, and went looking for my first car.

Over the course of the next several months, I searched tirelessly for anything remotely cool for $3000… with zero success. I was hoping I might find an old VW GTI, maybe an Alfa Romeo GTV, BMW 3 series, or a Land Cruiser, Toyota Pickup… No luck. Everything was either out of my price range or a rusted heap. Then while staying at a friend’s parents’ house at the Jersey shore I spotted an unidentifiable truck by the side of the road with a for sale sign. I stopped to get a closer look. As I walked closer my head began to spin. It wasn’t a Jeep. It wasn’t a Bronco. It wasn’t a Land Rover. What the hell was it? Then I spotted the IH logo on the steering wheel. “The tractor company?”, I said to myself. I vaguely recalled someone mentioning International Harvester had made SUVs, but I had never seen one. As I continued walking around the truck my jaw dropped more with every step. Minus the 31-inch tires she sat on, she was 100% stock inside and out… including a rear factory-mounted PTO Ramsey winch. I was awestruck. As I wrote down the phone number from the for sale sign I saw they were asking $4000.

The next day I returned with $3000 in an envelope and a rabbit up my sleeve. You see, the Lord works in mysterious ways, and it just so happened that my best friend’s dad (whose house I was staying at) was one the most successful auto dealership owners in the United States. As my buddy’s dad and I got out of the car he looked at me and said, “You take it for a drive, and if ya still want it let me do the talkin’.”

As I sat behind the wheel and slammed her metal door, the smell of gas, oil, vinyl, metal, and an unidentifiable powder from the roof lining, filled my lungs with an intoxicating power. An aroma only car addicts drink up like a fine wine. Looking around it only got better… slider windows, fold-down windshield with top-mounted pneumatic windshield wipers, three different sticks coming out of the floor, a completely metal dash with a couple of metal nobs, a big bright red warning sticker above the steering wheel saying something about axels, and a bench seat, with not a seatbelt in sight.

“Sold.”, a voice in my head whispered… And I hadn’t even started the engine.

The test drive around the block only added to the seduction. With no power assistance to the steering, nor to the four drum brakes, the once simple act of driving had suddenly become an adrenaline-fueled dance with death itself! Successfully navigating around the block felt like what I imagined piloting the lunar module during its final descent onto the moon. Bouncing and bucking through our last left turn I spotted our landing zone. As I applied the brakes for what I suddenly realized was the first time, a lightning bolt of terror shot from my rear end to my eyeballs. There brake pedal had pressure but where it was being applied was clearly not the wheels. Leaning on the trunk of his car, my buddy’s dad’s eyes widened as our collision course made itself known. Repositioning my foot on the brake pedal I exerted every ounce of strength my right quadricep could produce. With bulging veins in my head threatening to eject my eyeballs, I instinctually closed my eyes. Suddenly the truck dove to the right as the front right tire locked inspiring a blood-curdling scream from the now motionless wheel. With a heaving jolt, the truck came to a stop. The tire’s defining screeching was gratefully replaced by a suffocating cloud of its incinerated rubber.

From the passenger seat, I heard a voice. “I think the brakes need a little work, but you can get that done pretty cheap.” I looked over and nodded at the owner, who I had forgotten was next to me. He was 19, and surpassingly unfazed by our little outing. As we got out of the truck, I looked at my friend’s dad and nodded yes. He went right to work asking a myriad of questions standing by the front of the truck as I walked to the back and took a knee to look at the undercarriage.

A couple of minutes later I heard my friend’s dad’s amazing Jersey accent say, Nappa, I got him down from four thousand ta three! I think I can get him down ta two! I think he’s gonna cry!”

I said, “I think three is totally fair.”

He smiled and replied, “It’s your money, I’ll see ya back at the house.”

I handed the kid the envelope of cash and he handed me the keys to my dream car; a red with white half cab 1963 Scout 80.

I’d drive the Scout through college before selling it to the older brother of my friend, whose dad helped me negotiate the purchase.

In 2000 I bought my next Scout, a 1978 Scout II, for $2,250 off the means streets of New York City. I left the top at my parent’s house in New Jersey and spent the summer escaping New York in the topless green beast to every imaginable corner of the eastern seaboard.

That fall I packed all my worldly possessions into the bed and drove it across the country from Brooklyn to Venice California in four days! Once in LA, the Scout would serve as my daily driver for 6 years, which included a 40-minute commute to my first big job in advertising at Saatchi and Saatchi, where I was hired as a writer on the Toyota account.

Interestingly, my student advertising portfolio had three Scout ads in it for Super Scout Specialists, which is an IH parts shop out of Springfield Ohio, one of International’s homes. The creative directors at Saatchi loved the spec ads so much that they put me on the famed Toyota Tacoma account and the launch of the famed FJ Cruiser.

Over the last twenty-plus years of Scout ownership, I’ve never met a Scout owner I didn’t like. Scouts attract a community of folks who just want to help you, trade stories and parts with you, and even give you parts for free. People come up to you smiling with endless heartfelt tales about Scouts in their lives. I’ve owned a bunch of fun cool cars, but nothing brings me a bigger smile or the people around me more than my Scout.

My 1978 Scout II has been partially restored twice. Once by an ad agency I worked for in place of a raise. The second time after getting tossed around in a devastating debris slide in Montecito CA in 2016. I narrowly got to my 3-year-old son before the mudslide tore my house in two, taking his second-story bedroom with it. When the dust settled, and the sun came out I held my son out the door to what used to be his room and asked if he saw the Scout? He said, “Yes Daddy, I think I see the Scout in a tree.” My heart sank a bit, but I was so grateful for us all to be alive that I just smiled.

When we finally determined it safe to leave the demolished house and brave the mud field below, I was surprised and pleased to find the Scout still in the driveway. She’d spun 180 degrees and sat a top four feet of mud and rocks looking worse for the wear. But she’d survived with some bumps and bruises.

The insurance company said she was totaled and was going to haul her away to the scrap yard. I graciously said I’d like to keep her. So, they wrote me a check for $25,000, minus $1500, which is what they said she was worth in salvage parts. A month after the mudslide I went to the yard where she’d been towed after being freed from the mud, I attached a jumper battery, slowly put the key in the ignition, patted her on the dash then whispered, “Come on baby.” A few pumps on the old go pedal, and she fired right up.

My Scout has over 230,000 miles on the original 304 International V8, and Torqueflight tranny. For over twenty years she’s just run and run with the occasional tune-up every couple of years. I have more memories than I know what to do with involving friends, family, and perfect strangers. Truly an incredible machine, and clearly the car of my dreams.

_napper tandy
 
On my fifth birthday, my mother made me a deal. She said, “If you don’t smoke a cigarette until your 21 years old, I’ll buy you the car of your dreams. At two and a half years old I could name every car on a New York City block so, dangling a golden carrot the likes of the car of my dreams was quite the bargaining chip. And it worked.

On my 21st birthday, my parents handed me an envelope with a check made out for $3000.00. Now it was 1997 and a Lamborgini Countach was going to require a few more zeroes. Thankfully, I’d let go of that dream years before. I was well aware of my parents’ financial circumstances, so I hugged them gratefully, slid the check into my pocket, and went looking for my first car.

Over the course of the next several months, I searched tirelessly for anything remotely cool for $3000… with zero success. I was hoping I might find an old VW GTI, maybe an Alfa Romeo GTV, BMW 3 series, or a Land Cruiser, Toyota Pickup… No luck. Everything was either out of my price range or a rusted heap. Then while staying at a friend’s parents’ house at the Jersey shore I spotted an unidentifiable truck by the side of the road with a for sale sign. I stopped to get a closer look. As I walked closer my head began to spin. It wasn’t a Jeep. It wasn’t a Bronco. It wasn’t a Land Rover. What the hell was it? Then I spotted the IH logo on the steering wheel. “The tractor company?”, I said to myself. I vaguely recalled someone mentioning International Harvester had made SUVs, but I had never seen one. As I continued walking around the truck my jaw dropped more with every step. Minus the 31-inch tires she sat on, she was 100% stock inside and out… including a rear factory-mounted PTO Ramsey winch. I was awestruck. As I wrote down the phone number from the for sale sign I saw they were asking $4000.

The next day I returned with $3000 in an envelope and a rabbit up my sleeve. You see, the Lord works in mysterious ways, and it just so happened that my best friend’s dad (whose house I was staying at) was one the most successful auto dealership owners in the United States. As my buddy’s dad and I got out of the car he looked at me and said, “You take it for a drive, and if ya still want it let me do the talkin’.”

As I sat behind the wheel and slammed her metal door, the smell of gas, oil, vinyl, metal, and an unidentifiable powder from the roof lining, filled my lungs with an intoxicating power. An aroma only car addicts drink up like a fine wine. Looking around it only got better… slider windows, fold-down windshield with top-mounted pneumatic windshield wipers, three different sticks coming out of the floor, a completely metal dash with a couple of metal nobs, a big bright red warning sticker above the steering wheel saying something about axels, and a bench seat, with not a seatbelt in sight.

“Sold.”, a voice in my head whispered… And I hadn’t even started the engine.

The test drive around the block only added to the seduction. With no power assistance to the steering, nor to the four drum brakes, the once simple act of driving had suddenly become an adrenaline-fueled dance with death itself! Successfully navigating around the block felt like what I imagined piloting the lunar module during its final descent onto the moon. Bouncing and bucking through our last left turn I spotted our landing zone. As I applied the brakes for what I suddenly realized was the first time, a lightning bolt of terror shot from my rear end to my eyeballs. There brake pedal had pressure but where it was being applied was clearly not the wheels. Leaning on the trunk of his car, my buddy’s dad’s eyes widened as our collision course made itself known. Repositioning my foot on the brake pedal I exerted every ounce of strength my right quadricep could produce. With bulging veins in my head threatening to eject my eyeballs, I instinctually closed my eyes. Suddenly the truck dove to the right as the front right tire locked inspiring a blood-curdling scream from the now motionless wheel. With a heaving jolt, the truck came to a stop. The tire’s defining screeching was gratefully replaced by a suffocating cloud of its incinerated rubber.

From the passenger seat, I heard a voice. “I think the brakes need a little work, but you can get that done pretty cheap.” I looked over and nodded at the owner, who I had forgotten was next to me. He was 19, and surpassingly unfazed by our little outing. As we got out of the truck, I looked at my friend’s dad and nodded yes. He went right to work asking a myriad of questions standing by the front of the truck as I walked to the back and took a knee to look at the undercarriage.

A couple of minutes later I heard my friend’s dad’s amazing Jersey accent say, Nappa, I got him down from four thousand ta three! I think I can get him down ta two! I think he’s gonna cry!”

I said, “I think three is totally fair.”

He smiled and replied, “It’s your money, I’ll see ya back at the house.”

I handed the kid the envelope of cash and he handed me the keys to my dream car; a red with white half cab 1963 Scout 80.

I’d drive the Scout through college before selling it to the older brother of my friend, whose dad helped me negotiate the purchase.

In 2000 I bought my next Scout, a 1978 Scout II, for $2,250 off the means streets of New York City. I left the top at my parent’s house in New Jersey and spent the summer escaping New York in the topless green beast to every imaginable corner of the eastern seaboard.

That fall I packed all my worldly possessions into the bed and drove it across the country from Brooklyn to Venice California in four days! Once in LA, the Scout would serve as my daily driver for 6 years, which included a 40-minute commute to my first big job in advertising at Saatchi and Saatchi, where I was hired as a writer on the Toyota account.

Interestingly, my student advertising portfolio had three Scout ads in it for Super Scout Specialists, which is an IH parts shop out of Springfield Ohio, one of International’s homes. The creative directors at Saatchi loved the spec ads so much that they put me on the famed Toyota Tacoma account and the launch of the famed FJ Cruiser.

Over the last twenty-plus years of Scout ownership, I’ve never met a Scout owner I didn’t like. Scouts attract a community of folks who just want to help you, trade stories and parts with you, and even give you parts for free. People come up to you smiling with endless heartfelt tales about Scouts in their lives. I’ve owned a bunch of fun cool cars, but nothing brings me a bigger smile or the people around me more than my Scout.

My 1978 Scout II has been partially restored twice. Once by an ad agency I worked for in place of a raise. The second time after getting tossed around in a devastating debris slide in Montecito CA in 2016. I narrowly got to my 3-year-old son before the mudslide tore my house in two, taking his second-story bedroom with it. When the dust settled, and the sun came out I held my son out the door to what used to be his room and asked if he saw the Scout? He said, “Yes Daddy, I think I see the Scout in a tree.” My heart sank a bit, but I was so grateful for us all to be alive that I just smiled.

When we finally determined it safe to leave the demolished house and brave the mud field below, I was surprised and pleased to find the Scout still in the driveway. She’d spun 180 degrees and sat a top four feet of mud and rocks looking worse for the wear. But she’d survived with some bumps and bruises.

The insurance company said she was totaled and was going to haul her away to the scrap yard. I graciously said I’d like to keep her. So, they wrote me a check for $25,000, minus $1500, which is what they said she was worth in salvage parts. A month after the mudslide I went to the yard where she’d been towed after being freed from the mud, I attached a jumper battery, slowly put the key in the ignition, patted her on the dash then whispered, “Come on baby.” A few pumps on the old go pedal, and she fired right up.

My Scout has over 230,000 miles on the original 304 International V8, and Torqueflight tranny. For over twenty years she’s just run and run with the occasional tune-up every couple of years. I have more memories than I know what to do with involving friends, family, and perfect strangers. Truly an incredible machine, and clearly the car of my dreams.

_napper tandy
Amazing story. So well written. You are a blessed individual for many reasons. So happy to have read this. Thanks for sharing
 
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On my fifth birthday, my mother made me a deal…

_napper tandy
Hell of a story napper. I worked one week a month in Santa Barbara back then and remember watching the fires above Montecito from the bar at Brophy’s.

My boss’s house was a near miss in the mud slides, but was quarantined out of it for many months and knew several other who weren’t so lucky.

I remember seeing pictures of your Scout and while it looked it bit battered, well worth saving and glad that you did.

Scout on.
 
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