I slammed the brakes on my LS400 so hard the tires slid on the marbled asphalt. I figured I was seeing things, by the time I could reverse the big Lexus 20 feet I could see it was all too real. Someone had removed the entire rear driver’s side door of the 2005 Acura RL I took in on trade for a Range Rover the week before. I threw the car in park and ran inside the showroom. Tom was actually at work that morning, his girlfriend probably ran him out of the house early after catching him getting high again.
“Dude, someone stole a door off the Acura!”
Tom was on the phone stalling payment to his friend in Jersey for the last shipment of unwanted trade-ins and put his hand over the phone.
“What? This is Tony bro.”
“The RL is missing a door.”
He hung up his phone and did a confused speed walk towards the back line of our lot. And there parked along the tall line of bushes was our now three-door Acura RL. Tom didn't know what to even do cause it was so absurd. I reluctantly called the cops while Tom disappeared into the bathroom, trying to hide the sounds of crushing and snorting with a running faucet. I called Gerald, who I'd assume was asleep and surprisingly received an answer.
“Why you call me so early? Is the store on fire?”
“No if the store was on fire I'd call your dad, somebody stole a door off that Acura.”
By the time he pulled up, I had the police inside showing them the camera footage. You could see three blurry humanoid shapes flying around the car and disappear through the bushes in a five minute period. One of them managed to take out the grill and disconnect the horn, an effort to keep the alarm from sounding. It was a disaster.
As Gerald pulled the Acura inside the showroom I didn't even want to think what our insurance was about to do to us. Mind you that year I had already had a car totalled on a dealer plate, and a S550 poached for a mirror. Those turned out to be wins in the end, the BMW totalled for five grand more than it was floored for, and the Benz mirror ended up paying for another repair on it too.
The Acura wasn't as lucky of an adventure. First, the insurance company didn’t actually believe someone would steal a single door off the car. It took coordination between me, the police who weren’t even pursuing the crime, and the insurance company for them to finally send out someone to do an estimate. You would think that would be simple enough, somebody comes and sees what’s missing or damaged on the car and calls it a day. Well the adjuster got all the part prices together and decided it was repairable.
That would be okay news any other time but after two months of sitting no OEM or aftermarket door frames appeared. The insurance left us with choices to make, either total the open-to-the-elements RL or accept a cash payment to source parts at our own pace because it wasn’t the insurance company’s concern anymore. I convinced my partners to keep the RL and take the cash payment, mostly because I still wanted to keep it for myself.
Four months later, I was looking at the inventory of a local Honda junkyard for some parts for a TL Type-S we took on trade, when I saw they had a complete 2005 Acura RL in the exact color combination as ours. I dialled fast, and ten minutes and 850 United States dollars later, there was a whole door assembly; wiring, glass, and all headed my way.
A week later, I was helping guide the pallet jack with our fresh looking parts through the showroom door. Gerald and I installed everything later that afternoon and I rolled the car outside for the first time in six months. Seeing it in the sun was wonderful, but immediately the same part of me that wanted to take the title out of the file cabinet for myself took pause. I realised that if it took me this long to find a door, the thought of somebody running into it and not finding what I needed to fix it would make me sick.
Apparently front and rear end panel replacements were easy to find for the car at the time, but for whatever poor stroke of luck at the time I just couldn't find a door. So instead of buying the car myself, I made a quick deal to a wholesaler I knew the next day. It was the right thing to do, besides it opened up space to buy some toys to stare at in the showroom.