The Deal Is Off, Let’s Make A Deal

Shortly before Thanksgiving my wonderful wife, her father and I made an offer to buy a very nice house in the area. The reason all three of us were involved is that the house easily had the nicest casita–guest house–my wife and I had seen among the many houses we’ve visited that are in our price range. We were not necessarily looking for a house with a casita.

The sale was contingent on having an accepted offer on at least one of the two houses from which we would have moved. The seller, under a tight time constraint, did not give us much time to make that happen, especially in this market and at this time of year. The deadline to have an accepted offer was yesterday so we are not buying that house.

My wonderful wife and I have a potential backup plan, though. We had seen a house before the “casita” house that literally gave me goose bumps the first time we walked through it. My wife liked the house, but the lack of a pool was a major negative for her. I kept reminding her that we could always add a pool, especially since the lot is almost an acre.

However, in speaking with the owners, one of whom is the listing agent for the house, we received the distinct impression that they would not consider an offer with a contingency. Given that the house has now been on the market for 6+ weeks maybe their view has changed. In any event, nothing ventured, nothing gained. This purchase would not include my wife’s father.

The “goose bumps” house, which does not have a casita, has an amazing courtyard, large bedrooms, parking for five cars (including a two-car bay that is larger than our current alleged three-car garage), and a rooftop observation deck with a view of this:



This is a picture of Four Peaks, my favorite landmark in the area, taken recently by my wonderful wife. The thought of being able to see that from our house is almost beyond comprehension.

I am not optimistic in the least that we will be able to buy this house either because the seller will not accept a purchase contingent on the sale of our house or that we will simply be unable to sell our house in a reasonable time frame. Once again, though: nothing ventured, nothing gained. Wish us luck, the good kind, because we will need it.


Today is Dick Van Dyke’s 97th birthday. Of course, he is still best remembered for the acclaimed program, The Dick Van Dyke Show, which was produced from 1961 to 1966 and that aired on CBS. Another comedy starring Van Dyke, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, was produced and aired in the early 1970s. That show was filmed very near here, in Carefree, Arizona. Supposedly, Van Dyke still lives somewhere in this area. No, we have never seen him here.


On this day in 1957, and very late in the automotive calendar, the last two-seat, first-generation Ford Thunderbird was produced. I have to admit that solely in terms of styling, I like the 1955 version the best of the three. However, the ’57 had some wonderful engine options not available in any other year.

The top performing engine was a 312 cubic-inch, supercharged V-8 rated at 300 HP/439 LB-FT of torque, quite impressive numbers for 1957. Supposedly, a “NASCAR” engine was available that produced even more HP, 340, but I doubt that was installed in many cars. Production for the ’57 T-Bird was 21,380 units, the most of the three years of the first generation.

As most of us know, the “Square Bird” four-seat Thunderbird was introduced for 1958 and was a sales success. However, it is still the “Baby Birds” that are most in demand among collectors.



Rumors “flare” up from time to time that FoMoCo will revive the Thunderbird name, which has not been used since the 2005 model year. One rumor even suggested that the T-Bird would be brought back as a mid-engine car, sort of as competition for the C8 Corvette. That would be ironic given it was the success of the first-generation Thunderbird that kept Chevrolet/General Motors in the Corvette game despite poor sales numbers in the beginning. Everything old is new again?







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Postscript: My condolences to the family of Mike Leach and to all Mississippi State football fans.


Mike Leach



7 thoughts on “The Deal Is Off, Let’s Make A Deal

  1. The real estate market has done a 180 in the last few months. Two people I know are directly involved, one as a builder and one whose wife is a realtor. Both say this a “soft” market, similar to 2008. Cash offers on existing properties are rare now, mortgage interest rates and down payment requirements are keeping many out of the market, and many folks are reluctant to buy because of the inflation fears and job insecurity according to both of the folks I know. Last spring my siblings and I sold our dad’s house and had a cash offer for the full price in less than 6 hours. From what I hear from one of my dad’s friends, it was a rental, with a couple of different tenants that ended up leaving after a short stay. It’s priced lower than what was invested in the house, the new owner did some upgrades and handled some deferred maintenance, but it has been on the market for about a month. As I mentioned a few posts back, I’m waiting on my planned/hoped for new build. I’ll still make the move, just not right now. The dirt I bought isn’t going to go anywhere.

    It does appear to be legit that Ford offered the NASCAR spec supercharged engine, at least according to literature that was on loan at the NASCAR museum that is in Dawsonville, GA. It seems to have been offered as a response to the Chevrolet “Black Widow” program. While the Black Widow program was well documented, the Ford program really wasn’t. Both programs were for the most part dropped mid NASCAR season, when the rules were changed to ban superchargers and fuel injection. Any of those cars, Ford or Chevy are rare as chicken teeth and mighty expensive to acquire.


    1. Many thanks for the info on Ford’s NASCAR involvement and on the real estate market.

      Our house is priced 20%+ lower than most comparable homes in the development. The higher-priced homes have been on the market a long time as the sellers refuse to face the realities of the new market. We’re not exactly getting a lot of traffic, though.


      1. If the homes that have been on the market for a while are recent purchases, say 12-18 months, there is a good chance they are underwater on the current value. With a soft market it’s unlikely they will get their price, or even close to it. Hopefully they are not in a “must sell”, or there is a good chance of foreclosure. THAT would throw everything into chaos if there are several in any development, according to my builder buddy. He told of a recent development of around 700 homes, middle class, prices in the 200K-250K range, that is still under construction and there are already houses being foreclosed on. Said it throws new sales into a tailspin, as folks ask why the “older” homes (5-8 months old) are still for sale. What they don’t know unless they look up the property themselves is that the properties are bank owned at this time.

        The economy is going to have to have a drastic upturn soon or it’s going to get REAL tough out there. Inflation is killing individuals AND businesses and the supply chain is still FUBAR. I just worked up a quote and the parts have a lead time of 24 MONTHS. Yes, 2 years. And our cost on the parts for a rebuild on this large gearbox on the machine have risen to $145K, where a comparable job 3 years ago, the cost for parts was $98K. If the customer was in a breakdown, they would be screwed. Their only option would be to find a used machine, and it won’t be a direct interchange as these are all built to specification, at a probable cost of 70K and then spend another 60-100K having it installed. And in the end, they still have an old, mostly worn out, piece of equipment. Why not buy a new one? As I said, they are built to spec and the lead time for a new one is minimum 18 months right now.

        It’s a vicious circle and right now, there doesn’t seem to be a crack in the circle.


      2. Thanks again, DDM. I could be wrong, but I think the sellers in our neighborhood who refuse to acknowledge the current realities of the real estate market are simply being stubborn and greedy.


  2. I have always been in love with the Baby Birds. If I could afford one now, it would reside in the garage next to my project truck. Back in my college days, before my entering the USAF, one afternoon, I stopped by an “indoor” used car dealer. Therein, were, not one, but two 1957 Thunderbirds, both priced at $395.00. I would have purchased one if I was not, at the time, a penniless college student. Ah, memories of missed opportunities.

    We will do our part about the sale and purchase of the right property for you and yours.

    It is sad to hear of the passing of Mike Leach. A true innovator in college football. He and his MSU Bulldogs did a good whoopin’ on my University of Arizona Wildcats this season. His innovation will be sorely missed in the college football world.


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