"I'm sorry, it doesn't have the crystal ashtray." The words I didn't want to hear from the seller back in May when I first inquired about the Clenet. Nonetheless, Mario and I continued with the purchase of the Clenet.
Before the car was delivered to us in early June, we had begun the search for the correct crystal ashtray that Alain specified for the car. Mario and I worked independently of each other using certain Internet search engines with the intent of finding a suitable replacement. We also have been in contact with several Series I owners and Tom at the Clenet registry. Everyone we contacted told us that the ashtray has been out of production for many years and finding it would be next to impossible. Tom at the Clenet registry told us that we could use a substitute ashtray, dish or bowl that fits into the leather receptacle and that other owners installed exquisite substitutes made of hand-carved wood.
Mario and I never shy away from a challenge! We want an original Waterford crystal ashtray and darn it...we'll make it happen!
Twelve weeks of daily Ebay and Google searches turned up very few glass and crystal pieces that could work, however we were reluctant to purchase anything to fill the void. I went as far as finding the printed book of Elite Cars that shows a rather decent shot of the original ashtray. We scoured the Internet for all available Clenet Series I interior photographs showing the ashtray. We now had our library of ashtray photographs that would help provide some detail of the glass design. We noted that the ashtray is tapered with the top edge being wider than the leather cradle where it would reside. I took measurements of the cradle and assumed that the top edge would be approximately 5-1/4" to 5-1/2" square and protrudes about an inch higher than the cradle. With these dimensions and the many photographs, we now had good information to find the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Last week while on my daily search for that ashtray, one particular eBay auction leaped out at me. The seller merely stated that she was selling a pressed glass ashtray that measures 5-1/3" square. The minute I opened the picture and saw the details, I knew this was either an original Waterford ashtray or something that is very similar. Without hesitation, I entered my highest bid that I was willing to pay in order to win the auction. Five Hundred dollars seemed a bit extreme for a piece of glass, however I wouldn't let it go.
Thirty hours had passed and at the few remaining minutes of the auction the price started to climb past my opening bid of seven dollars and eventually stopped at the whopping sum of $24.98 plus shipping and insurance. After the auction ended, I sent a picture of the ashtray to Tom at the Clenet registry who replied that the ashtray does indeed seem to be the correct Waterford piece.
Yesterday afternoon, the ashtray safely arrived in Chicago. I drove it out to Michigan this morning and to our excitement...fits like a glove! Mario looked at me with a grin and said, how did you know this would work? I merely held up my right hand for a high-five!