The treasure hidden in your second-hand car

The treasure hidden in your second-hand car

"They" say we never truly own a car, just that we're caretakers in that car's history. So we often find ourselves wondering what history a particular car that enters the MCM garage has had before it has rocked into the Land of Flurpys and Space Wizard Adventures. 

In case you missed it, a little while back MOOG stumbled across a new car (EPISODE HERE) and... well we all know his history when the cheapest example of a used car pops up on the Internet. If you've watched the episode you'll know there is a fair slice of mystery surrounding this vehicle, and things only got more mysterious once he and Marty started digging in at MCM HQ (which you can watch HERE).


Going on a carcheology adventure digging through "stuff" in your new 2nd-hand car is an awesome part of the experience of being a car enthusiast. You always wonder who has owned the car, where they drove it, how they modified it, what adventures it went on, and anything that can fill in a car's history is a special treat. 

Finding paperwork telling you who the previous owner is, where they're from and what they did with the car is nothing short of carcheological gold. And that's what MOOG discovered. 

The owner's manual and handbook can be a treasure trove for learning who owned the car first, and where. But there were other invoices in that handbook made out to a previous owner, which filled in much of the mystery car's history.

They found receipts from Queensland, giving them a location the car was from and some of the car's history as there were receipts for modifications like an exhaust and other bolt-on parts.

On some of the receipts was also a name: Jesse. That led them to doing some social media sleuthing to see if they could find any pics of the car from back in its pre-write-off days. 

One invoice in particular provided the breakthrough as it gave the lads a phone number for Jesse they could use to reach out to. After speaking with Jesse the history of the Mystery Box BRZ was laid bare as MOOG found out how the BRZ wound up on the Written-Off Vehicle Register (WOVR). Not only that, Jesse even provided them footage of said incident, involving some large, hopping Aussie wildlife. 

Jesse filled the lads in on what happened after insurance wrote BRZ off, and how the chap who purchased the wrecked Subaru from the auctions offered to sell the repaired car back to him.  

While attempts to reach that owner fell short the other included receipts showed some of the history of how they repaired the car back to stock standard condition. How it ended up in a car yard at Kograh is still a puzzle but that might be solved in time to come. 

When I bought my 1964 Pontiac Bonneville one of the most precious accessories included in the sale was a plastic pouch from the dealer who sold the car back in the middle of 1964. Inside were books, registration paperwork, and a treasure trove of history about the car's first owner, the salesman and the buying process.

The car was 50 years old when I bought it and what really tripped me out over this paperwork is that most things half a century's worth of age don't have any kind of link to their origin. However I know, for a fact, that Henry Giambruno went down to DiGiulio Pontiac-GMC in April of 1964 to get a quote on a new, top-of-the-line Bonneville sport coupe from Bob Leal, and get pricing on a bunch of different options available at the time.

Henry returned in late May of that year to slap his hard-earned dubloons down on Mr Leal's desk. I did try looking up Henry Giambruno, Bob Leal and anyone who worked for Di Giulio Pontiac back in those days, but unfortunately I fear most have passed away in the ensuing 50 years - I had wanted to let them know this car that Henry owned until into the 1980s was now in Australia, but maybe they'll see this story?

Henry drove his 389 cubic-inch-powered aquamarine Bonneville sport coupe off the lot on the 18th of June, 1964, and the registration tickets included in the stack of paperwork show he was the owner for around 20 years (at least). 

So, next time you get a new car hang onto that paperwork. You'll never know when someone half the world and half a century away is able to piece a car's history together!

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