In 1952, Patti Page sang a novelty song called "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?" It captured the idea of really wanting something, but that something was not a real necessity. For Patti Page, it was a doggie with a waggly tail.
For Orinda resident Mark Robinson, it was a fire engine red 1970 Buick GS convertible in the window. It was 1991 when Robinson was single and living in San Francisco.
"Every day I would drive to work down Bush Street and at the corner of Bush and Gough there was a consignment dealership. This Buick GS was in the window and every day I would see it, I would just go crazy," Robinson said.
Several months went by, and the car never moved. One Saturday Robinson visited the dealership.
"The dealer was anxious to show me the car and how well it ran. It was a cool and foggy day yet the engine overheated. The dealer tried to minimize that situation." But Robinson was hooked and a week later agreed to pay $10,000 for the Buick but insisted the contract covered correction of the heating problem.
It turned out the problem was the heads were cracked, a $3,000 repair. Although the dealer wanted to distance himself from that problem, Robinson met with him and the dealer picked up the tab.
The 1970 Buick GS or Gran Sport was Buick's answer to the muscle cars by Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler and sold for about $3,500. Prior to 1970, General Motors had a policy prohibiting use of an engine larger than 400
Robinson's Buick is all original with matching numbers for the engine, transmission, exhaust manifold and body which increases the value of this car. Only 1,040 were built. Since 1991, Robinson has invested an additional $10,000 in the Buick and estimates its current value between $25,000 and $30,000. However the website, ehow.com, states that a 1970 Buick GS "commands a price tag of more than $75,000." The Buick GS is a mid-size car, sitting on 112-inch wheelbase and is 202 inches long. It's pretty heavy at 3,874 pounds and comes with a 20-gallon fuel tank which requires filling frequently. According to Robinson, "it gets about 10 MPG going downhill."
One of the cool features of the car is that the air scoops in the hood are actually functional. It has power steering, power disc brakes, automatic transmission, electric windows, an AM radio and a mechanically adjustable left side outside mirror.
But it does not have what I consider the greatest feature since the self-starter, a cup holder.
Robinson took me for a ride. The top was down, the weather beautiful and the white leather seats were soft and comfortable. The horses were anxious to run and run they did down the onramp to Highway 24, pressing my back into the soft cushions of the seat. The sound of the throaty V8 engine was music to my ears.
During the ride, Robinson old me of the 8th Annual Orinda Classic Car Show that will be held on Sept, 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., The free show will lbe at Orinda Way and the 16th fairway of the Orinda Country Club parallel to Orinda Way.
Robinson is an event official and will show his Buick along with about 175 other classic vehicles.
"The event was started by Chip Herman," Robinson stated, "who wanted to combine his passion for cars with a way to support local charity. We are now the sole funding source for Seniors Around Town, a local bus service which helps the elderly get to their shopping and appointments."
The group supports other charities and gives money and support to the Campolindo High School auto shop program.
"Every year they bring one of their project cars to the car show," he said.
Owners of the classic vehicles pay a $60 entry fee and 100 percent of the revenue goes to the charities.
Robinson told me a feature event this year will be "Dancing with the Cars." I hope to dance with a 1935 Packard.
To enter a classic vehicle, visit www.OrindaCarShow.com for details.
Have an interesting vehicle? Contact David Krumboltz at MOBopoly@yahoo.com