In one of his many Mopar books, John had read about the poor sealing trunks and how they were prone to rust if left parked out in the rain. It had rained the night before and John's first concern when he got to the lot was to check the Charger's trunk.
John discovered Speedy's Charger originally was shipped to Meister Dodge in Fredonia, New York. They were having financial problems and didn't pay Chrysler in the allotted time. So, Chrysler repossessed the Charger and sold it to "Greco Sales & Service," owned by Speedy and his brother. Speedy was really big into racing, and Chrysler figured he would be interested in this Charger 500. He was real excited about it right off the bat.
Greco used it as an attraction for their dealership. They displayed the car in the showroom, took it on parades and special events. The following year, in 1971, the Greco brothers parted. Speedy's brother kept the dealership. Speedy left with a couple of new cars, one of them being this '69 Charger 500. However, the Charger 500 was never titled or fitted with license plates. Nor has it to this day.
He kept it until 1989, when he put it up for sale to raise capital for a state-of-the-art spray booth in his restoration shop. Apparently, he had made a deal to sell the Charger to the famous professional athlete and muscle car collector.
Finally, after two months, the collector's buyer flew in from down south into Rochester, New York. He met up with a guy named Jim Guck, who had a flatbed truck. They loaded the car and the deal looked done.
The buyer then arrived and had the cash in a money belt, and he started counting out the C-notes. He stopped $5,000 short of the agreed price. Perhaps he didn't realize the kind of person Speedy was. Speedy didn't need signatures on paper or deposits. He felt that a person's word should be good enough. When the man stopped $5,000 short, Speedy looked at the guy and said, "No, that's not the price we agreed on."
The man said, "Yeah, I know, but the car isn't really perfect, either. It's got a couple dings in the side. The headliner is chewed out. It doesn't have the original tires."
And Speedy shot back, "No, that's not the way I do business. Why don't you just take the car off the truck and get off my property."
The buyer wanted the car. He pleaded, "We can work this out."
Speedy figured the deal was off. "No, I tell you what. You could give me $5,000 more than the agreed price and I wouldn't take it 'cause I don't do business like that. So take the car off the truck and leave."
This was a Monday and guess who shows up twenty minutes later? It's John Lammers, ready to drink coffee, talk Mopars, and look at "his" black Charger 500.
Speedy, still wound up by the bum deal, hustled up to his good friend Lammers and said, "John, you really like that car, don't you?"
John replied, "Speedy, that car is incredible."
"Well, you'd love to own that car. Wouldn't you?"
John, who hadn't really thought about owning the car because all along he figured it was already sold, answered, "Oh, yeah, Speedy. Sure. You know I'd love to own that car."
Speedy said, "I'll tell you what. The car is yours."
In a state of shock, John said, dumbfounded, "Ohhhh?"
Speedy kept talking. "And I'll tell you something else. I know you appreciate the car so much, you can have it for what that guy offered me for it."
As they sat down to doses of caffeine, Speedy related the story about how the deal for the Charger 500 fell through.
When John left that evening, he drove home wondering how he would get the money to buy the low-mileage Dodge. He didn't come back for weeks, but when he did come back, he explained, "Speedy, I'm sorry, but it's going to take some time for me to come up with this money."
Speedy didn't care. "That doesn't matter. Whenever you have the money, the car will be sitting here."
"Well, I've got some money here, let me give you some money down just to let you know I'm serious about this."