Central Oklahoma Classic Chevy Club

The Dashboard A publication of the
Central Oklahoma Classic Chevy Club.
A not-for-profit corporation.
A chapter of Bow Tie Chevys
and Classic Chevy International.
December 2003

by Bill Washam

Bills 57

The letter that came with my car…
My father purchased this car in 1967,after deciding that our family needed a second car so that my mother could drive back and forth to work at Southern Memorial Hospital in Ardmore,Oklahoma. After many failed attempts at searching for the “perfect car ”,one day my father decided to stop at Norwood Chevy,which at the time was located in Ardmore,and have a look around.

While on the lot,a school teacher from Sulphur, OK drove up to sell a car that belonged to her son,
who had been killed in the Viet Nam war. My father was immediately taken by the condition of the car. After finding out that this car had been up on blocks in storage for the past several years,he
decided that this was exactly the car he had been looking for.Much to the horror of my mother,he
didn ’t seem to mind that he paid more for it used, than was paid for it when it was new. The car had 2,300 miles on it when he purchased it. My dad proudly drove his 1957 Chevy home to show my mother his “new ” car and to let her know that he decided she ought to drive their other car to work and he would be driving the 57,because he only had to drive to Ratliff City for work,which was a lot closer than Ardmore. Therefore reducing the wear and tear on the car and increasing the car's value for resale some day.

In 1972 my father once again put the 57 up on blocks and in storage,while he and my mother were in Saudi Arabia working for ARAMCO. There it sat,well protected for five years.After their return
in 1977,the 57 has been either in storage or at car shows. It's safe to say, lately it's been more
storage than shows, since my father's new loves are his mint condition Model T and Model A cars,
which he also fully restored.

My father is now 76,his health is failing and my mother has suggested to him it's time to reduce
the car inventory around our house. Reluctantly, he knows she is right and has decided to sell.

This is the story of how I bought my 57 Chevy and some of the problems I encountered in getting legal title.

Three years had passed, since I sold my 61 Corvair and I was getting anxious to by another old car. I decided to look for a 55, 56 or 57 Chevy.I never had one of these classics, but had wanted one since I saw my first 55 Chevy. After about two years of looking,a friend told me of a 57 Bel Air
at Fantasia Classic Motors,Inc. in Edmond.

At first I did not like the car. The paint on the passenger side was all cracked up. It had small tires on it and it did not run. After reading the attached letter and visiting the car several more times I began to see some potential in this car. It had only had two owners and 90,204 actual miles on
it. Everything was there and very little rust. Fantasia was going to Las Vegas for a week and said I could keep the car while he was gone. During this time I had several mechanics and friends look over the car. They said it was all original and in good condition.

Fantasia returned after two weeks and by that time I was ready to buy the 57. A deal was struck at $8,500 for the car and $300 for his commission. I gave him a check for $8,800 and thought the car was mine.

The next week I had the oil changed at a Goodyear Store on Northwest 50th. They recognized the car from working on it before and gave the lady ’s name who had the work done. She was selling the car for her father who lived near Ardmore. I was tickled pink. Now I could get all kinds of
records, pictures, and history about the car.

He had owned the car from 1957 to 2000. Boy,could I make a great scrap book!

After a short delay the daughter brought the title to Fantasia Classic Motors and was to exchange the title for her money. Fantasia did not show up for their 1:30 appointment nor did he show up all afternoon. The daughter tried to meet with Fantasia for the next two weeks, but Fantasia was not to be found. At this point I still believed Fantasia would pay them for their car.

About three weeks after I bought the 57 there was a fire at Fantasia Classic Motors. The building and several cars were burned up. I was still trying to help the daughter get her money, when I received a letter from their attorney wanting me to return the car to their family. I immediately locked the car in the garage and called my attorney.

I will skip the war between the attorneys. After two years and $5,000 in attorney fees on my part, the judge said the car belonged to me. They were to sign over the title and reimburse us $3,500 for attorney fees.

Then came the appeal which cost us another $2,000 and no reimbursement this time. The Oklahoma Supreme Court heard the case and upheld the lower court and said the car was mine,
and to turn over the title.

They had the original title from 1967. Needless to say, I got no history, paper work or pictures of the 1957 Chevy. The $4,500 we spent on attorneys ’fees could have been spent on renovation and two years passed before I could do much to the car. Also, I had developed a bad taste about the car and it lasted for another year. I now enjoy driving and having the 57.

Things I learned:
1. Never sell a car on consignment.The dealer may pay you – or not.You don ’t have much recourse
against them.

2. If you buy a car on consignment make a check out to the owners and one the the automobile dealer for his commission.

3. When two honest people deal with a crooked third party, the courts have to determine which honest person will lose their money.

4. Attorneys are expensive.We spent $7,000 less the $3,500 reimbursement. They spent $10,000 on attorney ’s fees, paid us $3,500 in reimbursement, and lost an $8,500 car –for a grand total of $22,000.


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