Bob admitted to me at that point, "When they told me what it was worth, I decided it was best to leave it alone and not even try to drive it."
So the young man soon sold his father's car for a good price. He explained, "I got quite a bit more than I thought it was worth."
"How much?" I asked, not expecting a response.
"I got $320,000. I was expecting quite a bit less, but he said it was well worth it."
With this answer, I suddenly became a bit suspicious. While these cars are certainly upper echelon, Bob appeared to be fantasizing. I could understand his reluctance to reveal the buyer's name, but I found it hard to believe a buyer would set off with an offer of 320 grand right off the bat. The story continued.
"He collects cars here and he is a friend of Carroll Shelby, I guess he said," was the next statement. "He has a museum here in one of the casinos. I think it's called the Algiers, or something. They had, like, a classic car collection out there."
As they say, the proof is in the pudding, and Bob promised to mail me a set of pictures. While I waited, I checked out the story over the next few days to get some more quotes and info. First, I called the Dodge dealer's parts department. They knew of no such person as Bob had named. I called Bob back. He stuck to his story of Jim as the parts manager. I asked for Jim's phone number. Bob explained the number was in his black book, which was in his car. He was in bed for the night and did not want to go outside. It was 8:30 in the evening; a 27-year-old in bed so early in Las Vegas, Nevada?
"I'm not jerking your chain. Why would I? I'll call back in the morning early, early with Jim's number."
I told Bob there were more discrepancies. The Algiers Hotel & Casino had no car collection.
"No, no, the Imperial Palace bought the car."
I hung up the phone and called the Imperial Palace car collection. They knew nothing of any such Hemi Dart. Bob did not call back the next morning. So, I called him. He answered and explained Bob was not in. He said he was Dave, Bob's brother.
"No, I don't believe you. This is the same voice. You're Bob."
He promptly hung up the phone. The story had completely unwound. I called the assistant manager of the apartment complex where Bob lives. I told him the story of the car.
The man laughed. "If this guy got $320,000 for a car, why had the dealer recently repossessed his Dodge Avenger? Why was he constantly late on his rent?"
He could give no more details because the legal department of the apartment complex was in litigation with Bob.
So, apparently, this 33-mile SS Hemi Dart is bogus. I never received the pictures Bob said he mailed, and unless there is proof (like seeing the car), we'll chalk this one up with the pristine Cobras and Corvettes on blocks behind homes of never-returning Vietnam warriors. If you've had a similar experience, let me know. Sometimes, wild goose chases are part of the territory hunting Rare Finds. See you next month with a real car...
Please forward your leads for Rare Finds to Jerry Heasley at Mopar2549@aol.com. Or, send regular mail to Mopar Muscle, 3816 Industry Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33807.