In a development that seems timely in light of the federal government shutdown, you can now own a car that belonged to a politician who was never a fan of the federal government: the 1979 Chevrolet Chevette owned by former Texas Congressman and ex-presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Paul, the physician and famously libertarian firebrand who represented Southeast Texas in Congress off and on for decades and launched failed presidential bids in 2008 and 2012, is selling off the Chevette in order to "aid the cause of peace and prosperity," in his words.
The Ron Paul Institute For Peace and Prosperity (blame them for these terrible low-res photos), Paul's pro-free market, pro-civil liberties nonprofit project, is giving the '79 Chevette to the person who pledges the highest tax-deductible donation by Oct. 15. The winner gets Paul's lime green hatchback with just 69,000 miles on it.
Paul says he bought the car during his first term in Congress during gasoline rationing because he needed a cheap, fuel-efficient car to get around in, and also so he could piss off Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill:
In 1979, when I was headed to DC for my first full term in Congress, I bought a car to keep there. It was a 1979 Chevrolet Chevette. But this compact 4-door soon proved to be controversial. Tip O’Neill, the powerful House speaker, was advocating gasoline rationing for the rest of us, while he was chauffeured around in a Lincoln, all at taxpayer expense. And no waiting in gasoline lines for him, nor paying for it: he had his own pump in the House garage.
So my little car—which I paid for myself, of course—was parked next to the Tip behemoth for a cheeky photo. Well, you would have thought I was Ed Snowden. There was a huge blow-up. Tip even levied the ultimate punishment: he blocked pork-barrel funds for me, which I was not seeking anyway.
Kind of hilarious. The winning donor gets to take part in an official turnover ceremony in Clute, Texas, where they get a photograph and a Congressional license plate.
It's not exactly an American classic, but it has some history attached to it. The only kicker is you have to give money to Ron Paul to own it, which is either awesome or terrible depending on your political views. Any takers?
Hat tip to Steven!