Marolt: Wanted back: ‘68 Chevy Concours 4-door coupe, in any condition
You know how things get to be really valuable? When people don’t recognize the rarity or unique beauty of things in their possession. They don’t take care of them or they discard them and then eventually there aren’t anymore of the things left except for a rare few. Then, everyone suddenly realizes how valuable it is.
I should have known. My sophomore year in college, my great uncle gave me a car. He bought it for my great aunt but she had driven Jeeps her entire life and she couldn’t get used to the breakthrough automatic transmission on her new 1968 Chevy Concours. The last straw came when she was accelerating on Main Street and instinctively pressed the clutch to shift. Since there was no clutch, what she actually stomped on was the brake and nearly catapulted herself through the windshield.
My great uncle believed you couldn’t sell a dangerous car like that in a small town where you knew everyone, so he gave it to me instead. I had never seen anything like it, literally. And, as I drove it back and forth to California and all around San Diego for the next few years, I never saw another one on the road. Neither had anyone else who ever looked at it.
“What is it?” was a common exclamation. The name wasn’t familiar and neither were the frameless windows on its four doors that, when rolled down, gave the car a unique, airy openness from the windshield all the way past the rear seats. The owner’s manual called it a “hardtop convertible.” In a few ways it slightly resembled the popular Nova with which it shared the same chassis and 327 cubic inch V8 engine with the four-barrel “Turbo Fire” carburetor. It was a fast car and we often joked the speed odometer and fuel gage were synchronized moving in opposite directions when you stomped on the gas pedal.
A perceived problem with the car was that it didn’t look like any other car on the road. From day one I saw the oddball automobile as weird-looking, as did most others. After I got my first job out of college, I couldn’t sell that car fast enough and move on to something that everyone would consider cool. I can barely remember what that replacement car was and refuse to tell you now out of embarrassment for what I considered hip then.
I advertised the four-door Concours in the newspaper and got one single offer, which I jumped on. We met at the Hickory House. I signed over the paperwork and got my minuscule check. I offered to drive the car around back but the buyer would have none of that. As he drove my old car to the back parking lot, a beautiful truck pulling a fancy trailer awaited. The buyer carefully drove the Concours up the ramp into the covered transport where he meticulously strapped it down and covered it with protective blankets.
I will never forget my father’s words as we watched the buyer pull his rig and load out onto Main Street and away forever. “I wonder what kind of treasure we just gave away.”
Recently, I described that car to a collector at a cocktail party and asked his opinion what it might be worth. He got out his phone and did a little typing. After a few minutes he looked very surprised. He exclaimed, “I can’t even find it on Google. Are you sure about the description?” I showed him a picture of it I have transposed onto my phone. “I’ll be damned,” he said. “If you can’t find that car on the internet, I’d say it’s about as rare as swimming with the Loch Ness Monster. There’s no telling what it’s worth. I’d say a quarter of a million, minimum. Was it in good condition?”
“Perfect,” I sullenly replied. “Not a scratch. About 28,000 miles. All original equipment.”
He raised his eyebrows to the straining point and shook his head in disbelief. “Wow …”
Where am I going with this? Let’s not do pot in Snowmass Village.
We are unique. Weed-free, family-friendly destinations in Colorado are few and far between and getting rarer. Holding out this long makes it worth holding on a little longer, maybe forever. Once we go to pot, we can never turn back. Our guests can get dope in Aspen if they want it. In the meantime, we can be different from all the rest. I think lots of people will pay a premium for that.
Roger Marolt has heard that only 400 of the unpopular four-door Chevy Concours coupes were produced in 1968 before the model was discontinued. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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