QotW: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to fetch a car?

Wangan Midnight Devil Z junkyard

Most of us car guys can’t even be bothered to assemble a respectable outfit for the social rituals that humans have to endure, such as weddings, dinner with the in-laws, or going to stores that are not Autozone. But then your friend sends you a Craigslist link to a $900 heap of metal and cracking vinyl in some far-flung corner of the country, posted by someone who a.) does not realize digital photos are free and b.) shoots the subject as if it was Bigfoot disappearing into the woods, and suddenly you’re looking up one-way flights on Kayak. Or you remind your best bud about the time you helped him with his engine swap to guilt him into driving across three states with you and a mostly-complete bag of sockets. Hey, it said “ran when parked!”

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to fetch a car?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What made the NSX so special?” 

Honda Acura NSX

Though there were many paeans to user-friendliness, simple reliability, Senna, and VTEC, the best comment came from Stuart Kayrooz, who reminded us that the answer was actually on a little “H” (or “A” depending on where you live) affixed to the hood:

At a time when Lamborghini and Ferrari were becoming “just a badge”, pumping out mediocre, but highly collectible supercars, Honda did the opposite – they taught people to ignore the badge.

With the NSX, the definition of supercar included the whole package – not just the peak hp, but how well behaved it was around town. Not just the shape of the body, but how well it was put together. Not just utilising “race” inspired or derived technology, but making it reliable enough for the driver to enjoy it. And not just fast enough to beat anything away from the lights, but to have the balance and poise to get through the next corner in one piece as well.

Ultimately though, it was that it could all be done by a manufacturer who built the grandfather’s Legend, the parent’s accord, and the 16 year old’s civic.

What made the NSX so special was that for the first time on a supercar, the badge didn’t matter.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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19 Responses to QotW: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to fetch a car?

  1. Mazdax605 said:

    I’ve had some crazy stories that include ferries, and such to get cars, but my latest is probably the most extreme. A few years ago I decided that once the Mitsubishi Delica Starwagon was 25 years old I would get one. Well, in the winter of 2013/14 I decided to check out the dealers in British Columbia, Canada to try to get my hands on one. My trying turned up a couple, but the logistics of the one I wanted being on the west coast of Canada, and me being very deep on the east coast wasn’t making things easy. On top of that the van was on an island on the west coast of Canada. I decided there had to be another way.

    I contacted an importer in Ontario Canada(still far away from me, but closer), and the search was on to find the newest 25 year old Delica. Long story short, he found a nice Deli at auction in Japan, which shortly there after made its way to Yokohama, and into a shipping container. From there it crossed the Pacific to make land fall in Vancouver. Across North America via rail to Toronto, and then London, Ontario where I picked it up a few months later. It took another fellow JNC member, and myself a few days to fly to Toronto, get paperwork squared away, and then drive back across a lot of Ontario, basically all of NY state, and all of Massachusetts.

    Was it all worth it? Heck yeah it was! Would I do it again? Heck yeah I would! Was it a long drive home? Heck yeah it was, we were in a Delica. These things are slugs!

  2. Mike McCarthy said:

    1988 Toyota MR2…. I didn’t really go to great lengths to actually acquire the car; it was right in my neighborhood. getting the title was a little tricky. drove to get it about 11pm with my friend(who’s aunt owned the car) in my 87′ scirocco. I ended up running from the police because this “friend” flashed a laser pointer at a dodge durango which ended up being a sheriffs deputy. it wasn’t really a spectacular chase. I only ran because this “friend” informed me he had drugs on him and to “haul ass”. within 30 seconds or so of the deputy hitting his blue lights we ducked down a dirt road and did some fwd super dorifto. lost him right away.
    this MR2 was only $300 but it had a blown motor. I then sold my scirocco(my only running car) to buy a fresh jdm 4age. this resulted in me bumming rides for about 2 months. luckily I had access to a lift because it would’ve been impossible without it. I loved that car to death. it made it all worth it. eventually I traded it for a extremely mint ford ranger only for the purpose of selling it. sold it for $3500 and bought an fc3s. this was 2005. flash forward to 2015; my friend Cody just started his second trip to prison and my old MR2 just curiously returned out of nowhere to a 240 kid’s yard in my neighborhood. it’s trashed but the motor is still like new. said he’s gonna swap it into an SR5 corolla…. cool story bro

  3. Terrance P said:

    I haven’t done what might be termed as crazy but i gone across the country and Japan to get a few, My buddy and i decided to drive from Austin Texas to Ft. Lauderdale Florida in his Honda S2000 to attend the “Carnival” event (its a week long party at different venues culminating with a grand costumed parade at a stadium), The plan was Take the Honda to Florida, sell it and drive his Nissan Sentra SE-R back to Austin….well…we got to Florida and after checking out the sentra found he misplaced the title…so we could not get a temp tag to drive it. We made some call and got in touch with a “guy” that could help with the title situation, we get there and this guy buys auction cars repairs them and resells, well cool deal! Turns out he’s got a 510, 1gen rx7 and KE 30 corolla for sale. We end up making a package deal for the trio, we resell the corolla and the rx a few days later, partied like it was our last days on earth and came back home in the S2000. We took another trip to pick up the 510 about 5 months after and got another deal on a few Nissan S chassis engines and parts as well…btw the sentra is still in Florida, and vacation time is here again…a trip to pick it up perhaps?!!!

  4. Ken S. said:

    Funny on that pic of wangan midnight above, it’s not so much what I did but the previous owner(s) that I bought my blue s30 from. There’s a long version, but the short version is that two owners ago my 240z was built by/belonged to a mechanic who got into a drug habit, ended up getting killed in a gun fight locally. Car went to the auction, which then somehow ended up in the hands of my acquaintance that eventually sold me the car.

    Often time working on the car, I wonder if some of the mods were done by the immediate previous owner, or the guy who ultimately lost his life while in possession of the car.

  5. Jeremy Collins said:

    Just last year September I drove 27 hours straight from Cincinnati Ohio to Great Falls Montana to pick up my dream car a 1974 fairladyz, Me and my buddy had to switch driving every six hours or so and it rained the whole way there. When we left it was 80 degrees and sunny, when we got there it was 30 degrees and snowing I looked pretty dumb in shorts and a t shirt. The whole trip was done in three days and it was worth it, not only is it a one owner car its a rare model with options like a passing button on the turn signal switch, its a rare marron color, plus factory triple carbs and divided turn signals, rally clock, Nissan compition lsd. Plus every receipt for every thing bought on the car.

  6. mason said:

    First off I’m 16 (typical dumb teenager who thinks he can do whatever he wants)
    I was looking for a first project car last fall, I searched Craigslist daily looking for old Nissans and Datsuns to fix up and make a nice looking shakotan sled. I used the website Searchtempest, which allowed me to search all Craigslist in the country. One day I happened to find a car that has became one of my dream cars, the car was exactly the kind of project I wanted. The car actually had a turbo motor and four doors although I wanted a carbureted coupe but this car was something special, and as my mom said “the steering wheel is on the wrong side”…… the car was a 1983 Nissan Skyline RS-turbo sedan. This car became my obsession pushing away school and friends and figuring out how to make some money to buy it and ship it….. no it wasn’t in the motherland but rather New Jersey which is a good ways away from west Ohio. For around a month i begged an pleaded to get this car but my parents kept saying no. Having just turned sixteen a couple months earlier I thought to myself, “How cool would that be, an R30 sedan, that’d be sick slammed!” I also thought “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I let this car go….” and that’s when it all started, haha. It became my mission to get this car. I told my parents I had moved on from that car, but that’s only what I told them. I worked it out with the owner and he was gonna ship the car and I would wire him the money. the plan was to ship it to my friends house and when my parents went for a weekend out in a couple months it would just show up in the driveway when they came back. About a week before the car was supposed to be loaded up and before I wired the money my mom asked for my phone, which was odd for her to ask that at 1:00 in the afternoon. She saw that i was still texting that guy and her and my dad had a LONG talk with me the day after. they grounded me and took my phone away for a month and called the guy and told him not to ship it….. i walked out of the room heartbroken

    I realize now that my plan had many flaws but like O said Im a dumb teenager. Ive learned my lesson i guess, but i will own an r30 sedan someday and i will recreate the vision i had. although i may not have gotten a skyline i bought myself a pretty rad Datsun (build thread coming soon to forum near you)

  7. Metatron said:

    About 2 years ago I found a 1974 Toyota Mark 2 for sale in Seattle. Unfortunately for me I live on the eastern tip of Tennessee. After a few phone calls, selling some of my guns and borrowing money I got all the funds together. The plan was to drive the car to my brothers house in Boise, ID and store it there. The car ran well but it was a automatic and the trans was very sketchy. Every now and then after you started it wouldn’t be able to find a forward gear for a bit and it leaked fluid fairly badly. Well after a visit to Boise I decided to keep going and make a road trip out of it. I hit up places like Bruneau Dunes, Shoshone falls, drove onto the Bonneville salt flats then had a coolant hose blow off in Salt lake. I thought I had killed the car. Coolant and trans fluid were everywhere. I stayed at a hotel for a night and pulled into a mastermuffler in Murray, Utah. They replaced the hose and I drove on down to Salina, Utah and spent the night. Next day I drove around capitol reef (24/72 loop) and around Arches national park (191/128 loop) and on to Denver. The car barely made it up the hill to the Eisenhower tunnel which is located at over 11,000 feet. After Denver it was most boring drive on the face of the Earth. I tried to sleep in the car but the wind was ridiculous. Eventually I said to hell with it and drove the car on home. So after 3000+ miles and 48 or so hours of driving (which over half i did in one go without sleep) I made it home. The last 3 hours were a special kind of hell. I felt like I was on drugs and half drunk. Anyways that’s how stupid I can be for a car. And to beat it all I drove it for about 2 months and ended up having other hoses blow out and blew the head gasket hah. I can post pics if any validity is needed.

  8. Dutch 1960 said:

    I used to buy Mazda RX3s by seeing one that had not moved for a while, in front of an apartment building, and then going to the building manager to find the owner. The building manager was always glad to move things along, because he wanted the car gone. I bought three of them that way.

    My roommate found a cherry ’73 coupe, in orange, all original, but a dead engine. This was about 1986. Made the deal for $200. Went over two days later with the money and a trailer, and the car was gone. The city had towed and impounded it because it had been sitting in one place too long. The impound fee was $100, so I told the owner I would give him $100 and pay the impound. He said no, $200 was the deal, and I would need to deal with the impound myself. We had ourselves a standoff. The car would be crushed soon, if it was not retrieved and the bill paid. The impound fee also went up over time. I badly wanted the car, but they were not expensive or rare like they are now. Finally the impound fee had reached $200. I told the owner, last call, I would pay the impound and give him an additional $50, or I walk. He caved, as there was no way he would see a penny out of the thing any other way, at that point.

    The car was perfect, once I dropped in a new engine, and it served me and my future wife well for years. She graduated to RX7s, and we got married. Finally sold it in ’92, right during the Rodney King riots, for $100. The car was absolutely perfect condition, with 80k mikes on it. But pre-Internet, how do you find a buyer? Sold it to a friend of a friend. Heard some months later that the front had been caved in. So it goes.

  9. Josh Mead said:

    I’ve documented my last three crazy excursions but so far the most out on a limb i went was when my girlfriend looked at me with puppy dog eyes over a 75 Mitsubishi tucked away in the pacific northwest. We lived in michigan at the time but planned to be moving to arizona. So, I loaded my road warrior bag of tools from our previous two road trips (picked up a 73 Mitsubishi wagon in CA, drove it to michigan, a year later picked up an 87 Mitsubishi Montero in CA and drove it back to michigan) and booked flights to Washington, we had to spend the weekend getting the car running as it had been down for some upgrades and our friend decided to sell it to us, turned out the distributor had failed and we ended up having to lock the timing at 5* advanced, bore out the jets in the carb so it wouldnt run hot, load the wagon to the roof and embark down the pacific coast highway towards LA, a week on the road and amazing sights seen along the way, we ended up in phoenix where we found a storage place to tuck the car away for 6 months until we actually moved there. Quite a bit went down to secure that little red wagon.

    you can see photos from the trip here:
    http://japanesenostalgiccar.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=24420

  10. Michael said:

    2004 – Sydney.
    After a 6 month search for a 610 sss hardtop, I got an email from a guy in Melbourne (Approx 1300kms away). The car sounded really good but he couldn’t produce any pictures. In the end I caved and bought a plane ticket and organised a permit to drive it home. I walked out of my door at 4:15am on a Tuesday morning, caught a train to the airport and flew to Melbourne. 3:30am Wednesday morning I was driving my new 610 hardtop into my driveway. It had a couple of rust bubbles in the rear quarter but was really really good. It even still had plastic on the rear trim.

  11. Bryan said:

    Nothing special from me. Flew to Kansas City (from Columbus, Ohio) for an ’88 Celica Alltrac, which I then drove back to Ohio with his plates & the notarized title. It was not in bad condition (actually quite good) & I was reasonably sure of that from decent pictures. Of course, I had no clue if the guy meeting me at the airport was going to kill me or not, but he didn’t.

    Wish I hadn’t sold it. I’ve regretted that choice for nearly a decade now.

  12. Otso said:

    I have made several fun trips to get my wheels..

    On I remember was collecting 280 ZX engine and wheels for my 260Z.. I looked for sale ads near the town where those parts were located aout 300 km from my home. I had no way to transport those parts. I found a non registered (not used for years) Datsun Homer about 50 km from the town where engine and other parts were located. I bought a temporary license and insurance for Homer after the price was settled. I jumped into train and the owner of Homer picked me up. I gave him the money and put on sticker registration. Then I drove to collect my new engine and other parts..

    One story is about year ago when I picked up my c230. My spouse was going to a dog show about 450 km away from our home. i found a c230 fro sale about 50 km from that dog show. It had not been inspected for years. The seller told that it would be wise to collect it with trailer. i just asked if it runs and does not make too much noise. Seller told that it needs battery otherwise it should run fine. I took battery and some parts (strater, ignition coil, distributor, alternator etc,, ) and jumped in to “dog Show ” transport.. The last leg of 50 km I took a bus (with my battery and other parts.. 😀 Here you can see some videos about these trips.. https://youtu.be/Xx-RT5H9T2w
    Bringin home Hakosuka : https://youtu.be/AUqvQjRTpP0
    Collecting a150 PMC : https://youtu.be/KuJbbvTISK8

    • John M said:

      Enjoyed the videos. For me, it was very cool to see LHD Skylines. The PMC barn find was amazing – the car, the interior, and the barn, too! Kiitos!

      • Otso said:

        I am glad that you liked. I make those videos because that stuff is something I would like to see captured all over the world 😀

        I have owned over 50 cars. Most japanese. 1200-1300 Mazda Familias, Toyota BJ:s, HJ’s, Nissan Patrols, KingCaps, And many Datsuns… 😀

        You can see most of my collection at the moment on my blog sites..

  13. Dave Spinnett said:

    Towed a MkI supra home with a 79′ rabbit – the Supra was about twice as heavy… it was like getting pushed around by a bully as a kid!

  14. Dave Spinnett said:

    …. Or calling my wife at work new years eve and leaving that minute at 2am to drive 2400 miles pretty much non-stop in my old 4cyl Toyota truck pulling a 2000lb trailer to pick up a crashed TRD AE86 in 20 below weather… Burned through an entire set of brakes and it was so cold, we couldn’t shut off the truck, even to refuel.

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