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I just won a car.

Have you ever won anything big in your life?  I’m talking like the lottery or some sweepstakes grand-prize… not a free cheeseburger at McDonalds for getting 3 monopoly pieces.  I sure as hell have never had a grand-prize event happen to me…though I’ve also not been one to buy lottery tickets every day either… I’ve been to Vegas a few too many times – there is where I truly learned my odds for “winning” over the past 15 years.  In fact, I’ve fit perfectly into the statistics of the House and paid my fair share of electric bills (for Vegas)… until now.

We have a car that’s been in the family since 1971 (when it was bought new).  Yep, that’s before I was even in the picture.  My Old Man bought it as an Air Force pilot training graduation present to himself (if I’m not mistaken).

The family 240Z

Growing up for me, that was the car… like the Ferrari in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  Then, in 2002 when I neared pilot training graduation, the family jewel was passed down unto me.  And honestly, it became my primary means of transportation for the first few years I owned her (you can ask my brother-in-law, who drove through the smoke-screen on a 12-hr drive to Ohio).

My 240Z

You see, when I inherited that car, I had no other option.  So it was almost like giving a 16-year-old something to drive: you can guarantee he will keep it running.  And then I moved “up” in the world and bought other cars.  This 240Z quickly moved from something-I-must-maintain-to-be-a-daily-driver to something-that-I’ll-get-around-to-because-it’s-a-Sunday-driver type of car.

And then 10 years later, enough was enough.  The car has had a rich Snakeye-family history.  I could potentially afford it, albeit with making some sacrifices… but I could still nonetheless I afford it.  So I started searching… and I found a place online that specialized in Datsuns… and it was near where my Dad lived.

He went to go check out the shop and gave it his stamp of approval. Per my direction, AwesomeZ has been methodically bringing my mighty 240Z up to daily driving condition over the past year.

When I checked in with them recently, I found out that the owner of the shop (who is also an avid Z-car racer) had gotten into a racing accident semi-recently and found out he needed hip surgery.  Since they’re a small business in charge of their own small shop, they don’t have the health insurance to cover the hip replacement.  The answer?  Raffle off your life’s prized possession to pay for the needed surgical replacement…

I came across the plea for hip replacement help with three ^two opportunities: do nothing, make a donation to the surgery, or buy a raffle ticket to make a donation to the surgery.  Of course, why not buy a raffle ticket (or four) as long as it still goes to the cause?  Well… it turns out the raffle happened about a week ago and my name was drawn… and I am now the proud owner of this storied Z:

280ZX

I’m thrilled… I truly am.  But truth be told, I really wanted to give my winnings back to them as a gesture of goodwill.  I bought the raffle tickets and, knowing that I don’t ever win anything, just chalked it up to a donation to help out someone in need.   I also know how much this car means to them. It’s their baby.  They’ve won shows with it.  They’ve won races with it.

AwesomeZ Raffle car in a drag raceAwesomeZ Raffle car in agilityAwesomeZ Raffle car for speed

The legal rules of the raffle won’t allow it though.  It either stays in my hands or goes to someone else (via a second raffle drawing from them, or an ebay sale from me).  With that kind of history, and tender love & care this car has received, I think I’ll hang onto it for a while.  Once the 240Z is finished, it will be kinda neat pulling into a Z festival with two immaculate Z cars.

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