Most barn finds need considerable work to get road worthy again after decades of sitting, but not this find that reader James M sent in. James found this 1962 Dodge Polara 500 sitting in a little old ladies garage in a small Arizona town and all it needed was a good cleaning. Here is the tale in James’ own words:
I’m a Union Insulator, so I travel a lot for work. At one of the job sites, I have a friend that I’ve gotten to know over the years. He and I talk about cars quite a bit and a few years ago he told me about a Mopar owned by an older woman he did maintenance for. I asked if it was for sale and he said no, she won’t part with it, but he had taken some pictures to show me anyway. They weren’t very good. The car was tucked away in a dirty old shed with not much light. I sent the pictures to my wife, who said don’t you dare buy that ugly old thing! So I explained that even though I would like to have it, it wasn’t for sale. So I just forgot about it.
A few months ago, I was at this job again and my friend came to me saying that he thought she wanted to sell. So I went out to meet this feisty 83 year old woman. She was very friendly but hesitant. She told me that this was the first car that she and her husband bought brand new in 1962 in San Diego, California. It was purchased as their first car after they got married. Later it was brought to Arizona when they moved in 1984. She said her husband loved that car and he drove it everywhere. He was an avid fisherman and towed his boat with his car too. After her husband died in 1999, she couldn’t part with it and just tucked it away. The car had been sitting for 12 years.
I finally asked her how much she wanted and she kept saying she didn’t know how much it was worth and that she wasn’t sure if she really wanted to part with it. It held so much sentimental value, I didn’t think she was going to go through with it. She finally said give me an offer so I blurted out $1000. I had no clue what else to say. She looked at me and said no that’s not enough, so I told her that she had to give me a price. Then she said to me, is $2000 to much? I said I’ll take it!
I shook her hand and left with the friend. I got home that Friday and told my wife, who was really annoyed and kept telling me how dumb and crazy I was. After she decided not to kill me and calmed down, I told her I was going immediately to get it. The next morning I hooked up my trailer and took her with me to Dudleyville Arizona, a tiny little town close to where she grew up. (Turns out her younger brother knew who the woman was, but my wife didn’t). We met my friend at his house then drove over to her home. The lady was quiet at first but once my wife started to talk to her, she seemed to lighten up. While we started to load the car, she and my wife walked to her house and went inside to take care of the title and to give her the money.
Later my wife told me of their conversation. She told my wife she was selling it to me because she felt that I would take good care of it. She didn’t feel that her children would, that they would just sell it or destroy it. Once we were done loading it, we went inside and chatted with her for quite awhile. We said thank you and we left to drive the three hours back home. The car was dirty so we stopped and washed it off and wiped down the seats at a car wash in Catalina Arizona. I had to see what it really looked like. I was amazed at its condition and so was my wife. We got it home and I’ve had it for about 4 months now. I have only fixed the cooling issues and put different tires and wheels on, otherwise the car is original! I won’t change anything else to this survivor car. I’m definitely proud to own it!
We think James made a great discovery with this car. Good luck James and thanks for sharing your find with us.