Saturday, August 6, 2011

New Ad coming soon.

I'm excited to report that we'll be posting our first user generated ad soon. Just waiting on photos.

Hopefully this will encourage some of our other readers to start submitting as well. I have high hopes for this service, but ultimately it's only going to be as successful as you, the reader, want it to be.

Please, share this blog with your friends and family. It only takes one view for someone to say "Hey, I know where that car is!" and then you're on the fast track to being reunited!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Slight Progress Today

So after two weeks of battling with a mechanic. Big Bird, my 1981 C10 pickup is running quite nicely. I ended up taking it to a mechanic because the carburetor is a 1978 Q-jet core that is just barely hanging on, and I'm not all that confident with carburetors to begin with. So I decided it was safer to let someone with experience try to work out the kinks.

He replaced the thermostat and adjusted the A/F and found that the vacuum advance has all but crapped out, so he road timed it rather than hit it with a light. He was supposed to convert it to electric choke, but I can understand why he didn't. When I start my new job I'll probably pick up a new carburetor and replace the distributor.

As far as the El Camino goes, I'm waiting to hear back from the current owner. I'm content to be patient, and I'm just happy to know where it is, and that it's still on the road. Apparently it hasn't been altered all that much from when I owned it, which is fine. It ran really well when I sold it. All it really needed was body work and an interior. It was missing a headliner and the rugs were pretty rough. The rugs were replaced, but I don't know if a headliner was put in it or not.

He said he did a roll-on bedliner and put a tonneau on it, which is awesome. When I sold it, it had a garish white fiberglass camper cap that was missing all of its hardware and didn't even have a handle or latch. I had it held on by some rope and a few well tied scout knots. It looked terrible, but it kept my camping gear dry, and that was all I wanted at the time.

He did mention a warped flexplate which I found a bit odd considering everything was newly rebuilt and perfectly straight when I bought it. He said he planned on fixing it, so I'm not too concerned.

I am happy to report that I used all of the resources I posted here in my search for the El Camino, and that my search was a complete success. All in all it took about 2 weeks to find it. Keep in mind that I'm unemployed until the 15th of this month, so I spent nearly all of my free time searching. Your mileage may vary and I don't believe my quick success is at all typical for this process.

At this point, my game plan is to get back to work and situate myself financially. If the current owner is willing to sell, I plan to buy the El Camino and quickly try and sell my 81 C10 as I don't have space for two vehicles. If he isn't willing to sell right now, I'll invest a bit further with the C10 and then try and sell it to get something a bit more economical with 4WD. I figure then I'll start a savings account and set aside funds for when he is willing to sell. That way I'll have money ready to buy, as well as start work on the Elco to restore it as I had once intended to do.

FCR has lots of new followers on Twitter, although the facebook page is still a bit slow to grow and we have 8 members. The blog is also getting a fair amount of traffic. I'm hopeful people will start coming forward with cars they want to find so I can populate the blog with ads for those vehicles and aid in the search. This blog is meant to be one more tool in your arsenal to find your old car, please use it.

You can either comment here directly, or you can send me an email at to get started.

Best of luck to all of those searching. I'll continue to update here with information and resources as they become available.

Monday, August 1, 2011

News and Developments

It's only been a week, and already big things are happening here at FCR. I do a great deal of posting and research in the automotive industry, but had no idea what good would come of it.

Hot Rod Magazine had posted a quick photo on behalf of a former cover car owner, he was trying to find out what became of that car after he sold it in 1979. I posted a comment to let HRM know what I was working on, and that I'd be happy to aid in the search.

Turn out they sent the owner my email, and hopefully I'll have an ad up here for him shortly to help him find his lost ride. Generally I would just post an ad, but due to a 3rd party involvement I'm waiting to here back with permission from the former owner, as well as try to get some background on the vehicle.

I also located the owner of my old '81 El Camino, the car that started it all. Spoke with him briefly by email, and hopefully we can iron out the details about my purchasing it back from him. It was definitely a positive experience, and I'll update as negotiations proceed.

I feel the need to reiterate that this blog is going to thrive on user generated content. That means I need you to comment or email me if you're looking for one of your old cars. I'm here to help you look and network within the automotive community in the hopes of reuniting you with your car.

I was able to make my search a success with a little time, effort, and creative investigating, and I'd like to do the same for you.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

First cars, and why they're special.

I think everyone can remember their first car. Whether it was just a few years ago, or more than 50. I'm able to recall painfully specific details about my first car, though I have trouble recalling what I ate for breakfast this morning. So what exactly sears our first car in our memories?

For many, I think it's the first few sweet tastes of freedom. Those exhilarating moments of not having to ask  mom and dad for a ride, or for the keys. The realization you can just get in your car and go to where you want to be. I know I spent a fair share of my time going no place in particular. Just cruising aimlessly and enjoying the summer breeze caressing my face. Trying to capture the fleeting moments of my youth before they were lost to time and responsibility.

There's also the memories made in our cars. From the time we get our license to the time we often part with our first cars live those peak years of milestones. Your first date, and the stages of love and lust that follow. Concerts and loud music that seem to capture exactly who you are at the time it's on the radio. Then there's the trials and tribulations of those budding years of adulthood. The lasting bonds of friendship, and the crushing blows of heartache.

I've noticed a growing trend of people from all walks of life looking for their first car in the hopes of buying it back. The question I get asked most, is why? That question also tends to be the hardest to answer. The answers are as varied and unique as people are. I've honestly never heard the same answer twice.

For some it's trying to recapture a part of their youth or history. For others it's just the pure personality of the car, its quirks and flaws included. I've also spoken to people who are searching for the car on behalf of someone else. I recently spoke with a gentleman who wanted to reunite his father with his first car. It was his father's 60th birthday, and 40th wedding anniversary. It was the very car they had met in, and set out in life together with.

I've been told my dream of finding my old car is silly or foolish, but I disagree. I think it's perfectly natural to get attached to your car. Statistics show that we spend nearly 1/3 of our lives on the road, meaning we spend about 1/3 of our lives in our cars. Who wouldn't get attached to something that is part of such large amount of their life? There's no reason too great or small to want your old car back. Don't feel guilty about it as there's certainly no harm in looking, and you certainly aren't the only one.

My main motivation for finding my old El Camino is mostly the personality of the car. I loved the way it handled and drove, and I can still hear the roar of that old 350 in my ears. I put a lot of work, time and money into it to get it road legal. I learned a lot from that old truck, both mechanically and the lessons of life. I especially learned why AAA is important and well worth the money, it broke down and I had to have it towed 3 times in the first 6 months I drove it. There was also that loose connector on the windshield wiper motor. Many times I would have to pop the hood in the pouring rain and wiggle it to get my wipers to work.

The memories are equally fond, I suppose. I learned how to drive in that car, and it served me well; if you can control a 14 foot long, 1 ton tank down the narrow back roads of Massachusetts you can drive anything, anywhere. There were the long nights at car shows where my truck looked like a wreck compared to the others; but owners always stopped and shared in my joy and wished me luck with my restoration. There was also a 2 week camping trip spent with the first woman I ever gave my entire heart and soul to. My fondest memories were working on it with my Dad. Whenever I got hung up on how to fix something he was always there with a hand, a wrench and a smile. We'd work and reminisce about his own automotive history.

In all of the experiences I've had in my life, good or bad; I've come to notice one thing. The strongest sense of satisfaction and joy I've ever had was behind the wheel of that old truck. I've actually never owner a vehicle built after 1981 and I'm thankful for that.

Classic cars have enriched my life in many ways over the years. Allowing me to make friendships with people I might never have met otherwise. Teaching many lessons about life and cars and how to deal with the unexpected. They've also challenged me to push my boundaries. I've learned that there is no problem too difficult to solve with information and patience. That lesson has carried into every aspect of my life, and I'm a much better person because of it.

Now, I'd like to ask you a few questions. What was your first car, and what did you love about it? If you had the chance to own it again, would you? What is your favorite memory from the time you owned it?

Vehicle History is Important.

Whether new or old, keeping track of your vehicle's history is important but can also be fun. There's a niche of collectors for anything and everything with wheels. Everything from Hot Rods and Classic Cars to old 50's airport fuelers and other work specific vehicles.

It's good practice to keep track of all the maintenance and work you've done to a car. Keep the receipts and warranty slips for parts and accessories. Take photos as you restore or modify your ride. Start a folder and keep all of your car related paperwork in it. It doesn't take up much space and will not only add value to your car, but it'll give it a colorful history that will follow it for years to come.

If you bought your car new, Keep the dealer sticker and option paperwork. Keep records of your oil changes, filter changes and other regular maintenance.

Pick up a journal and start writing. Did you go for an awesome road trip, or stop in at a car show? Write it down! Keep track of those wonderful memories on paper. Then when it comes time to sell your car and move on, include the car's journal and file along with it. I guarantee the new owner will appreciate it and will hopefully continue the tradition. Grab a digital camera and burn a CD of all your photos for the new owner to take with them.

If you do decide to part with your car, please remember to make copies of important information from your car's file and journal. The purpose is to provide a history that will follow the car, but it's equally important to keep those memories of the past alive and well in your own life.

It's especially important to keep a record of things like the VIN number. Should you decide later in life you want that old ride back, every piece of information you keep will improve the chances of finding that car exponentially. Be sure to write down the contact information and name of the person you sell it to. They will be your first call when you decide to find that car. They'll be able to point you to the next owner and point you in the right direction.

The digital age we live in is all about information. We thrive on it. It's so easy to create and keep records and share information there just isn't an excuse not to anymore. Take the little bit of extra time to keep track of your car's life with you, and the next owner just might go the extra mile to keep that car maintained and cared for in an effort to replicate your accomplishment.

If you ever get the chance to watch a Barrett Jackson auction, take a few minutes to do so. Some of the best offerings of restored and collector cars pass over that stage. Keep an eye on the final bid price and compare the final prices between cars with no discernible history and those who have lots of information and records that go along with them. The average difference in price is often $5,000-$10,000 over the appraised value of the car. People appreciate a car with history, and they show it by being willing to pay extra for it.

That new car you just bought will be a collector's dream in 20 or so years. Make sure and keep records to help your car stand out from the rest when it comes time to resell!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

An important note to the readers.

The intention of this blog is to be a user forum for people searching for their first or favorite car.

If you're searching for a car, send me an email with your story and all the details you can recall about the vehicle you're searching for along with photos and I'll post it here.

Alternately if you have a success story about finding an old car, I'd like to hear it.

The Car I'm Searching For.

I created this blog as a resource for others, but I too am searching for a piece of my past.

Feel free to use this as a template for posting your own ads here.

Year: 1981
Make: Chevrolet
Model: El Camino Conquista
Engine Information: 350v8, Edelbrock intake, Flowmaster Headers, and a Carter AFB Carburetor with electric Choke
Identifying characteristics:
-Bright cobalt blue, Hood and roof were faded.
-Grey bench interior. Rugs were blue when I sold it. I was told they were changed.
-350 Motor with edelbrock intake and Carter AFB carb, I believe it was a 750cfm.
-TH350 3 speed auto trans
-It had Trac bars
-Posi rearend
-Beat up harley sticker on the rear glass
-It had the low profile fiberglass cap on it, in white, when I sold it.
- AR Outlaw II rims 15x7 on the front. Had 245's on the front and 295's on the rear.
-Had no headliner or stereo when I owned it.
-Had a rusted hole where the antenna used to be.
- 13' Grant 2 spoke steering wheel in black.
- Had a pretty nasty dent in the hood with a crease and some rust beginning to form. The paint was split at the crease.
I was told it was sold to the Husband of one of the daughters of the owner of the old Granite State Potato Chip Company his name is William "Buddy" "Bude" "Chip" Croft. It was last seen in the Salem, NH area.

If you have information as to the owner or whereabouts of this truck, please send me an email at cyric.riley  at

Car Search Resources.

As a foreword, let me say that this is not an easy process. Your success depends on several factors. How much information did you keep about the vehicle? Do you have any photos of the vehicle? Do you have the contact information of the person you sold it to? Does that person have the contact information for who they sold it to, and so forth?

I recommend starting with posting your information here, and at my twitter First Car Reunion at Twitter I'm doing all I can to help others with their search. If posting here, be as specific as you can, and provide a link to pictures. There are dozens or free web hosting services. Post your photos there for easy linking.

If posting at My Twitter give the Year, make and model, and prove a link to a site where you have a full write-up on the vehicle. Again, there are hundreds of free website creation sites. It doesn't need to be fancy, just needs a description and pictures.

The single most valuable piece of information you can have is the VIN number. That's really the only way to be certain it is in fact the same car you parted with. Second is pictures, this might help someone identify it if the overall appearance hasn't changed too much. Then there's where it was was last seen and who you sold it to.

If you don't have the VIN number, there are a couple of ways you might try to find it. This mostly depends on how long ago you owned it. If it was 20 or more years ago, chances aren't good you'll be able to get it, but I truly believe it's worth trying.

-Contact the DMV of the state in which you owned it. Give them your information and see if they have any registration or title records for the car. If they do, they'll be able to give you the VIN number.

-Contact the Agency that insured your car. I've heard stories of agencies keeping records well over 10 years if they've been around that long. They may have the VIN number on file with your policy information. If you didn't have insurance for the vehicle, this won't help you.

Now, if you have the VIN number, these resources can help you.

Or a similar VIN searching service. This may not work for vehicles with the older style short VIN numbers. If it does work, it will show you where it has been registered and where it's currently registered. It won't tell you who owns it, but it will give you an idea of where to look.

-Check My Ride
This has the same Caveat that carfax does. Old style VIN numbers may not work. I had good results with this service. It's free and was able to give me a lead on which town my vehicle was last seen.

-The Lost Car Registry
This is by far the most comprehensive free service available. You don't necessarily need the VIN number, but it helps. You create an account, then you can search vehicles that are already listed and create a listing for your car if you don't happen to find it. This site already has several success stories, and as it becomes more popular I'm sure those numbers will grow.

- Your State DMV
Because of Privacy laws, this is a long shot. If you happen to know someone that works for them, your chances may be better. If this resource does work for you, do not divulge how you found the car. This will create a world of hell for not only you, but the individual who helped you.

-The Police
Don't bother with this route unless you have a friend in the justice system. Law enforcement has access to a few databases which will allow them to search a VIN number. Again, if it does work for you, do NOT divulge how you got the information. This will create a lot of problems for you and the Law Enforcer who was kind enough to help you.

-Private Investigators
Personally, I don't have the money for this option. If you can afford, and have the VIN number for you car. You have an excellent chance of finding your car. PI's are able to bypass driver privacy laws and access the ownership records that you cannot. They should be able to provide you with the name and contact information of the current owner.

If you don't have the VIN number for the car, all is not lost. There are still a few things you can try. These resources are still helpful to you even if you do have the VIN number.

-Car Clubs
Look for clubs for your particular make or model of vehicle, or even the body style. I received several good leads in my search using The G-body forums as well as the National El Camino Owners Association (NECOA). There are almost certainly car clubs for enthusiasts of whatever you happen to be looking for.

-Car Shows
Talk with the locals and hand out flyers about the car you're looking for. Ask owners of similar cars if they know of car clubs or resources you may not have found yet. If you know the general location of the car, go to shows there if it's nearby or within your resources. I've gotten a couple of leads handing out flyers and it only cost a few dollars to have them printed.

-Car publications
Look through their websites and magazines. If you have a particularly compelling story you can even write a letter to the editor and see if they will publish a story to help you with your search. If they have shows or vehicle tours, you can contact them and see if any cars like yours were registered. Hot Rod Magazine informed me that they could send a letter to the owner on my behalf if they did find my car.

Places like Craigslist and Backpage are great places to post an ad for your car in the wanted section. So far this has produced the greatest number of leads for me. There are also publications such as Classic Car trader where you can pay a minimal fee to post an ad in their magazines. If you have the money, it's well worth a try.

Keep in mind, there is every chance that you may come to find your vehicle was crushed or totaled at some point in its life. If this is the case, I'm sorry for your loss, but the silver lining is having closure as to what happened to your car.

Why This Blog Exists.

When I was 8 years old, I went to my first car show. I remember how overwhelmed I was. Lost in a sea of colors, chrome, and tires. After walking around the show grounds I decided to make a second pass. It was on that second pass I realized I found the place I was meant to be.

I walked past an older gentleman who owned a really nice 32 Ford Victoria couple. It was Navy blue with a silver pinstripe down either side. I stopped to take a close look at his car. Nicely done, not gaudy and overstated. Clean lines and paint, not too much chrome, just enough.

He asked my name and shook my hand. We talked about cars for a bit, and then he offered to let me sit in the driver's seat. My eyes got wide, I was almost afraid to sit. He reassured me and I took a seat behind the wheel. I could barely see over it, but I'll never forget that moment. I'm certain that man will never know how much he impacted my life that day.

From then on, I was obsessed with Classic cars of all varieties. I built models, collected hot wheels, and had thousands of photos I'd taken at all the shows I'd gone to. I got my first job at 13, and started saving my pennies.

When I was 17, I bought my first car. It was a 1981 El Camino. She was bright blue and stole my heart the moment I saw her. She had a nicely built 350, with a TH350 transmission and Posi-traction. She was somewhat gutted, and not road legal. No headliner, no stereo, no heat or AC, but I didn't care; she was mine.

I provided the money, and my father and I set to work to get her back on the road. Didn't take too long before I was cruising town. I felt like a king on that raggedy old bench seat. She had faded paint, and a bit of rust here and there along with the scars of aging. I came to call her Delilah.

Fast forward to 2009. I was hot in the throes of passion with my Australian girlfriend. Delilah couldn't come with me, so I had to sell her. I sold her for half of what I paid, and cried like a child when they trailered her away. Not a day has gone by where I don't think about that old truck. I have dreams about it. Selling her was a regret that has plagued me for the last two years.

I also had a pristine 1972 International Harvester 1110D pickup. 37k original miles. Farm truck out of Leominster Mass. Completely custom built from the factory for the owner. I found it in Chinatown Boston, and become the 3rd owner soon thereafter. Unfortunately I had to part with that truck too. I sold it to someone I thought was a friend. He never paid me, and when I got back I tried to repossess the truck. Turned out he'd sold it to a Junk Yard and they'd crushed it just weeks earlier.

Things didn't work out with my girlfriend and I. I returned to the USA from Australia in January of 2011. She'd taken me for everything I had. I had $800 to my name and set out to find a vehicle to help with my job search. I came across a 1981 Chevy C10 pickup that was surprisingly the best of what craigslist had to offer in my price range.

It runs, but not well; and it certainly isn't Delilah.

This brings me to the purpose of this blog. I finally found a job, and with a steady income, I decided I wanted to find Delilah and try to buy her back.

I've spent many hours searching. There is no easy way to set out to find an old vehicle. The DMV's and Insurance Agencies won't help you, unless you have some personal connection I'm not privy to. I understand the purpose of Driver Privacy laws, and respect their mission; but frankly I don't have the slightest bit of ill intent with this mission. I just want to find that truck and see if the current owner is interested in selling it.

I've created this blog as a source of information for others setting about on the same grueling search. If you're looking for your first, or favorite car this is a good place to start.

I have a feeling if we work together we improve our chances of reuniting with our cars a great deal.

If you too are searching, or have an experience or resource to share, feel free to do so within the comments or send me a message.