BACK IN THE GOOD, OLD DAYS (pre-internet), we actually used to go down to the nearest convenience store and buy a weekly Auto Trader or Bargain Finder (or, the monthly Auto Trader Old Car Book). We would PAY to run a picture ad of our vehicles for sale, or take advantage of the free parts ads in the center pages of the local Auto Trader- and then wait for the phone (Land-line) to ring. You could either mail in your parts ads or drop them off at the local office once a week.
The cool thing was finding parts and vehicles that you would only find by chasing a lead some friend or contact might have- usually based on something they might have passed by while working in a remote area. Of course there were the ‘rural’ legends about the Deuce coupe stashed in a barn someplace. Depending upon the source, that ‘deuce’ most often turned out to be a late ’20s Essex sedan, or worse, if that source turned out to be a non-automotive relative.
I made good use of these paper publications to find parts cars and the odd needed part. I also made enough money to supplement my UIC earnings and have a good home-based income. (My ex-wife thought that I was just a lazy bum. She may have been right.) Come to think of it, sometimes it was work to flog some of the junk that I sold. The Irish have a saying that “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” Works for me.
What I remember as hands above what we have today is the fact that your ads had a maximum of words allowed in your description which meant that you had to be concise and factual. This also meant that you had to know what you were talking about. Looking out the window this morning at the ’75 Monza 2+2, I was thinking about a cool, aftermarket wheel that would have been a close match to the OEM wheels on the front of this car. The wheel that came to mind was the Cragar Mach 8. There was a ’69 Dodge Charger that had a set that I admired. I was able to lay my hands on a pair and hoped to find another pair at a later date. One of the reasons that I found where Cragar didn’t set the world on fire with these wheels was the mounting system which used a flimsy looking cast aluminum ring that set into a recess on the mounting flange of the wheel that centered the lug nuts to whatever bolt pattern you needed. This also required a fairly good sized washer on the outside of the wheel. As you can tell, I’ve already said too much about this particular wheel.
The point here is that I did sell my pair of Cragar Mach 8 wheels to a buyer up in Edmonton- who knew exactly what he was buying based upon a well worded print ad followed up by a short telephone call. It pains me when I see social media postings where the poster can’t even spell Cragar correctly. This in spite of the fact that Cragar appears prominently on the center cap of the wheel. Sure, you don’t have to know the minutia of the product line up, but it helps to have a basic knowledge of the heritage products that hot rodding is based upon.
Then, there is the “I’m interested, is this item still for sale?” What says I am stupid and lazy any more than this? Don’t just look at the pictures- READ THE DAMNED AD. It has information in it that may help you decide whether you want the vehicle or part. If you need more information afterwards, make a PHONE CALL. It will show me that you have made an investment in the transaction by putting yourself out there for a personal interaction. You can add to your own personal knowledge by getting more information about the vehicle or part. This beats any ‘information’ you will get by googling.
And no, I am not looking for any Mach 8 wheels. The guy who buys the Monza is likely not to share my vision of the perfect wheel for the car. I do have an idea for another page to add to this website. Stuff that I might be interested in trading for. Over the years I have had more than enough offers for sleds, quads, motorcycles, and beat to shit trucks. Still not looking for any, thanks. Got a ’61 or ’62 T-bird? Later.