In the last instalment, I introduced a couple of customers and some special vehicles that were connected to a special birthday. Next up are two more, about the cars and the people and how they were special to me.
2007 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged
There were actually two of these on the truck, one in Santorini Black and one in Cairns Blue. The blue one has a more interesting story, so let's start there. Gus had a friend who he owed money to, like pretty much every other human being he's ever known. We’ll call him Tyson. This story begins after this lofty blue baby Range had sat around for a couple of months. It was an interesting piece, great colour, Borla exhaust, RSC supercharger pulley and ECU tune, but a smattering of undercarriage rust. Not too many folks liked what they saw in person, except apparently Tyson.
I remember a nervous Gus on the phone with Tyson before he shut the office door. When he emerged he went straight out to the wild blue Range and drove off. Me and Todd had no idea what was going on but resumed our normal activities. Gus returned 30 minutes later and the sporty Range had a nice spit shine. Gus retreated to his office and Todd and I immediately went to find out what was happening.
Now, Gus controlled the business previous to the partnership put on paper between us. The mistake we made was initially leaving him in charge of the dealership’s bank activity and floorplan. Gus gave us a roundabout answer about the Range, simply stating his friend Tyson was buying it. But after some pressing he told us he was “selling” it to him in exchange for a debt Gus owed. Before we could fully lay into him three not very well dressed black dudes from the Bronx hopped out of a rusted out mid-90’s Oldsmobile Cutlass. One of the men, dressed in an outfit 50-Cent would accessorise with a bulletproof vest, walks in. He introduces himself to Jason as Tyson. He walked into the office and introduced himself to Todd and I.
We managed to excuse ourselves while Gus finalised everything and slapped a 30 day plate on the car. Tyson left half excited, and Todd and I immediately hemmed up Gus in his office. He swore he would pay us back and he'd make sure it wouldn't affect the business. What he did instead was not take the car off our floorplan for 5 months. Which also means he never registered the car to Tyson. After Gus finally paid us our money and registered the car, Tyson decided he wanted a Quattroporte. Which means the Range came back from New York on trade.
Well that sparked another crazy story, this time not involving a customer, but me. In fact, it was my 23rd birthday. I decided the Range was the perfect car to drive on my birthday. It was fast, loud, brightly coloured and British. I left the dealership early that Saturday night to head to the ABC store blasting Migos on the stereo. I grabbed my favourite inebriant: a 750ml bottle of Hennessy. I cruised over to my friend John’s place blasting noise from the oversized pipes.
I pulled the berry blue Range into my friend’s front yard (literally right in front of his porch) and stepped into night. Tons of people rolled into the house, ones I knew, some I never met. An hour and a half into my birthday party, the bottle of Hennessy had already been emptied in my body. I was on a whole new level of drunk and the rest of the night I don't remember.
What I did remember was waking up the next morning. My head was pounding, my shirt was unbuttoned completely, I don't even know what drugs I did the night before. What I do know is the Range was staring at me on the couch from the wide open front door. On top of everything it was Father's Day. I didn't forget, I just got far more drunk than I could've imagined. I stumbled out of the empty house to the Range.
I opened the door to see the driver's seat reclined all the way back with the headrest touching the rear seat. I raised the seat back upright and hopped in. I called John trying to piece together the night and find out what the hell happened as I fled the neighbourhood. He answered my phone call in a daze, stating he was in the back of his car near a lake cuddling his fishing rod. The rest was a blur really. I remember hurtling down I-485 at a ludicrous pace, then handing my dad his Father's Day card, and waking up 12 hours later.
2008 Mercedes CLS550
I'm not even using a fake name for this one. In fact, this story is mildly incriminating but I can't resist telling it. The car itself was interesting a Capri Blue over grey leather car on 22” wheels. It was was tacky, but nothing can really ruin the classic lines of the first-gen CLS. It didn't sit very long before one of the area drug dealers appeared, putting his hands all over the freshly detailed car. He stood there, his full set of gold teeth shining staring at the car. It didn't take long for the normal drug-dealer-who-wants-a-Benz narrative to start.
“I got money down, and my girl got good credit and shit bruh. What them payments looking like?”
I made sure he liked the car and told him to bring his wife back with him later. Before he left we had some conversations about his life. One that stuck out was him recounting getting shot nine times. It's one of those things that was hilarious at the time because he was so amped to tell us about it. Also, he had only been out of prison for 9 months.
That was unimportant though. He had cash, and plenty of it and I wanted it. Later that evening him and his wife arrive and we get to work. He's got about $7000 to put towards a purchase. His wife turned out to have a credit score in the mid 600 range so we had multiple bank calls to work with. We ended up being able to put “her” in the Benz for $5000 down. Then the conversation came up about her wanting a car for herself also. She picked out an Infiniti FX35 we had just received with a shipment of S550s from Arizona. He put another $2000 down for her and soon they rolled away with their new cars.
The story should've ended there but I'm not that fucking lucky. One day soon after we noticed we had a dealer plate missing. This was a regular occurrence when you have 80 cars all around and only three people responsible for them. Usually the plate showed up in the back of a car or somewhere in the dealership. We weren't in such good luck this time.
It was the middle of a normal weekday when two detectives stormed into the dealership and approached Todd. They quickly backed him into his office and shut the door. I got as far out of the way as I could. While I was off in the distance, Todd was being interrogated about the CLS customer. They asked if his wife purchased the cars cash or actually financed them and asked for all the contracts. They asked if she provided the down payment money or if he did. Of course, Todd told them she put up the money. The detective replied in disbelief:
“Really? Cause she only had $0.64 in her bank account the day before.”
Todd could feel the heat and tried his best to escape but they kept him in that room and the door closed on him. Finally they revealed the real reason they came: our dealer plate was attached to a vehicle involved in a robbery the night before. After a lot of combing through paperwork to make sure our deal was legit, the detectives left with us still visibly shaken.
The next day as I was going over paperwork in my office, Jason yells for me to come see the TV. There it was a midday breaking news report and our customer in a standoff inside his home with CMPD. The two cars were in the front yard with the East Coast Motorsports promotion plates affixed to the front of them. The standoff ended peacefully and somehow him and his wife both were in and out of jail within a week awaiting trial.
I didn't see much of either of them after that, but it was hard to forget them.