About a month before a trip to attend a relative's wedding in Sacramento, California, a message was left on my answering machine from a person who needed DeLorean parts and left the name "Claire" and a phone number. Since she didn't leave an area code, I dialed the number without one, but it didn't work. I tried the other local area codes, but none went through. Trying "503" for Oregon got a working number, but no one answered. With another 136+ combinations possible I gave up, assuming she would call back, but I didn't hear from her again.
On October 21 we left Washington heading south, pulling a large trailer to pick up a load of DeLorean parts in Oregon on the way back from the wedding. While I usually would have taken I-205 around Portland, I needed to stop at a camera store downtown, so braved the I-5 traffic, trailer and all. Back on the freeway heading south, we resumed our usually futile "who will spot the first DeLorean" game. We had only gone a few miles when one of us noticed, coming up fast on the left, one of Belfast's best. Imagine my shock when it flew by and revealed its personalized Oregon license plate which read simply "CLAIRE". As soon as I got home I again tried "503" and the mysterious phone number, this time reaching Claire Cobb who said "why did you take so long to return my call?" I'm not sure she believed my explanation. What do you suppose the odds were that on a trip of 1500 miles, one of two DeLoreans you saw would be driven by the person you were trying to contact, at the same place and time in an area you normally avoided, and have a personalized plate with her name on it? I started buying lottery tickets, but even though the odds were better, I never won. (My now-ex-wife did win, but that’s another story . . .)
This was just one of several coincidences involving DeLoreans that happened on that one trip to California. Never being one to plan a trip for a single purpose when you can just as easily combine several unrelated goals, I had coordinated the upcoming trip to the wedding in Sacramento with the buyout of a parts inventory in Eugene, Oregon. About 2 weeks before leaving, an anonymous Xerox of a Car and Driver ad appeared on my desk at work. The ad stated "Parting out DeLorean" and a phone number. Upon calling the owner I was told it had belonged to the woman's husband. He had run off several years before with his secretary (true story), and she had faithfully taken the car out once a month ever since to keep it in running shape. But on the last such drive she was hit in the right front, ruining the fender and fascia. When I asked why then she was listing it as "parting out" she simply said that was what a friend had advised her to do. Then I thought to ask her location, only to find it was less than 15 miles from where we were going to attend the wedding! Since we were already pulling our car trailer to pick up the load of parts in Oregon, I pleaded with her not to sell any parts off the car, and made plans to pull the trailer all the way to Sacramento instead of dropping it off in Eugene. What made purchasing the car attractive was that I had recently been given a good right front fender (although it was one with an antenna hole). Also, I knew that the parts inventory in Eugene included a front fascia, but I hated to use it on this car as it was one of the most valuable pieces in the package, and using it on this car would keep me from being able to sell it and partially recoup my investment. But it did help knowing the parts were at hand.
Upon arriving in Sacramento I went to look at the car, drove it, but could not agree on a price. (I also noted that it was one of the few with an antenna on the fender.) I left to attend the wedding, and when I called the seller once again, I was told the car had been sold (at least she thought so, "but call again before you leave for home.") The day we were to leave I did call, only to find that the buyer had not come through. With some reservations I made a deal, picked the car up, and headed north.
Of course when we got to Eugene we already had a load, so I proceeded to fill the truck, the DeLorean, and any space on the trailer with parts. I loaded all but 5 large boxes, which I arranged to have shipped home. It wasn't until those boxes arrived at our home a week later that I discovered that the largest held not one, but TWO front fascias, in effect supplying for free the remaining major part this car needed to be back in good condition.
It didn't end there, either. Since I already had a DeLorean and never intended to keep this car, it was thoroughly repaired and put in the local newspaper for sale. The only call received was from the editor of the free "Little Nickel" ads, who wanted to also run the ad. Although I figured it was a waste of time, I let him do it. At the same time, I entered the car in an upcoming Silver Auctions sale in Seattle. I got one call from that ad, and on a snowy day in February, 3 days before the auction, a 75 year old buyer appeared. He asked me to deliver the car, where I was rather astonished to see $16,000 in 20 dollar bills stacked on his dining room table.
I'd also gotten a call from an owner in Wenatchee, WA, who desperately wanted to sell his car, so I sold him my spot in the auction for 1/2 price. Since the cars were identical, I now had the unique opportunity to see what would have happened had I held out for the auction. Once again my luck held, as the auctioned car went for about $4500 less than I got.