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“Chicken Coupe” flies again: How a rusty old treasure behind chicken wire reveals our real worth

1960 Ford Falcon
1960 Ford Falcon. By Rex Gray, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12263639

A rusty, old Ford Falcon left in a shed for over thirty years was auctioned last week for over $215,000. 

The 1973 coupe was “effectively Australia’s version of the Ford Mustang” and “one of just 120 high-performance models featuring a 330 hp 5.8-liter V8 that was good for a 160 mph top speed.”  

However, the last time it was registered for road use—or even started—was in 1988. The car had been sitting in an open shed behind a chicken wire fence, earning it the nickname “Chicken Coupe.”

How do you determine your worth?

Over the years, my family visited my in-laws’ mountain home in central New Mexico. Each time we made the winding drive up the mountain, we passed rusty old trucks, tractors, trailers, plows, and cars abandoned in the tall grass. Each time, I thought they were eyesores, although they added character to the rustic landscape. It felt like the Old West. 

Now, I am ready to go and have a second look at those old relics. 

What made the “Chicken Coupe” different from other 1973 Ford Falcons? 

It was the predecessor to the model used as the basis for the “Pursuit Special” featured in the classic Mad Max films. 

Gordon Stubbersfield, the owner of the “Chicken Coupe,” refused to sell it because it was the car he owned when he got married. Plus, he enjoyed talking to the people who stopped to ask about it. Its value to him lay more in personal enjoyment than in financial gain. The source of its value changed when its ownership changed hands after the original owner died. 

Society tries to determine our value, just as collectors tried to tell the coupe owner his car’s worth.  

Our Creator does not base our worth on outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7). Nor perfection. David defeated Goliath despite his small stature and was called “a man after [God’s] heart” (Acts 13:22), even though he was an adulterer and murderer (2 Samuel 11). His lineage was the one through which the Messiah was born (Matthew 1:1).  

Shepherds were chosen to be the first to hear about Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8–12). They were the lowest of the low, known as thieves and scoundrels who could not be trusted. Yet, they were trusted with the greatest news the world has ever known and became the first to share the gospel (Luke 2:20). 

Jesus called fishermen (Matthew 4:18–22) and a tax collector (Matthew 9:9–11) to be his closest followers. He dined with sinners (Matthew 9:10–11; Luke 19:1–10) and visited with society’s outcasts, such as the woman of Samaria (John 4:7–10). They, in turn, shared their newly found worth with others. 

When the Pharisees questioned the disciples about Jesus dining with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31–32). 

God called the most notorious persecutor of Christians to be the greatest evangelist the world has known (Acts 9:15) and the writer of a large portion of the New Testament.  

When you feel like you are rusting in a shed behind chicken wire, remember: your worth is determined by whose hands you are in (John 10:28).

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