SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK: PART 1
Imagine it: A truck so nice, I had to own it twice. I've had a lot of old cars come and go over the years, a lot of them Model A's. Just about every one I've ever had, I've wanted to keep. And if I could, I'd hold onto all of them. Some stick around longer than others, but most make their way down the road at some point. Every once in a while though, they come back.
It started out with a text from a friend of mine. "Hey Jake-a customer of mine has this truck. He wants "X" for it, not sure if that's anything you'd be interested in or not." The photo was shitty, but I could tell at a glance that it was a super nice Model A pickup. And the best part was, the "X" amount he mentioned was an absolute no-brainer. "I'll take it," I'm punching this out on my phone and just about to hit "send" when a second picture comes through, this one of an equally beautiful looking fully-restored Model A chassis. "That price is for both," my buddy said. Holy shit...Yeah, I'll take *them* then.
These photos, apparently taken with a potato, were my first glimpse.
My friend gives me the guy's number and I went outside to call him right away. Now, I could tell from the background in some of the photos that I'd received that this guy probably had some coin. And I was told by my buddy in my pre-cold-call-briefing that he was the type of guy that could play with whatever toys he wanted, and that he had bought the truck on a whim, but had never really used it. Now it was time to move it down the road. "Perfect," I thought to myself. I dialed the number and hit the button.
First time seeing it in person.
"Hello?" a gentleman on the other end picks up and I explain that I'm the guy that our mutual friend told him would be calling about the Model A. "Oh," he says.
Now this guy, let's call him "Seth" for the sake of the story, comes off as a nice enough guy, but right away I can tell, he wants to make sure I know his time is valuable, and that he's a busy guy. "No problem" I think to myself, "he's got shit to do, I'll make it quick and easy for him then." So, with this in mind, I'm about to blurt out "When would you like me to come pick them up," when the guy says, "First off, I don't know what he told you, but there's no way I'm taking "X" for this stuff." HUH?
Spoiler alert, I end up with it....
He goes on to explain to me that our friend must have misunderstood him. That he hadn't said "I would take "X" for them," and had surely actually said that he "Wouldn't take like "X" for them or anything." Ok....
I'm listening to him tell me this and to the back and forth conversation he's having with whoever is over there with him on the other end and I realize right away what actually happened:
Seth had talked to our mutual friend about selling the pickup and in the moment, spouted off that he would take "X" for it. (and the chassis) The friend tells me, I say "no problem." But in the meantime, Seth talks to someone *else* about it. And that someone else informs him that the price is far too low, and there's no way he should sell it that cheaply. So now Seth is back peddling. Ok I've been here before, it's always fun.
If you've never been to Central Oregon, you've made it this far in life without it, just stay where you are..
Here's the kicker though: The new price is only 25% higher than the original price, and the original price was a gift. Still, I didn't like the way it had played out up to this point, and honestly, it was a matter of principle now. As he's talking, I'm weighing the pros and cons in my head of just agreeing to his new/higher, but still no-brainer price. He is about three hours away from me and I'm debating my options:
-Agree to the new price and set a time for pick up.
-Say I'd like to see it in person, go look and offer the original price in person.
-Hang up the phone.
As Seth is talking, all of this is going through my head. I was leaning toward going to look at it in person, and making an offer from there. But just then, the guy hits me with this: "Listen, I'm kind of a well-to-do guy. That ("X" amount) just doesn't mean much to a guy like me."
Ok...... well, there's the answer.
Now, I know "well-to-do" people. The entire time I worked a regular 9-5 job, which was about 20 years, I worked for a series of well-to-do people. Sometimes, I'd be working for people that owned multiple car dealerships-a half a dozen or more franchise dealerships at a time sometimes, each of them producing millions and millions of dollars a year.
These were the kind of people that flew their private jets from store to store to hold meetings. I worked closely with dozens of people like that, for two decades. I sat through hundreds of hours of meetings with them, attended countless functions with them, visited their homes, travelled with them, sold their antique car collections for them, whatever the case may be. In all that time, in no circumstance ever did I *ever* hear any of these people refer to themselves as "well-to-do." Not amongst each other, not to me, any of my peers, or even anyone that worked under me. Like, ever. In fact, I think if I looked any of those people up now, called them out of the blue and asked, "Do you consider yourself well-to-do?" They would undoubtedly be insulted. Chuckle worthy? Yes. But I digress...
Fighting back my urge to taunt and boo this guy until my throat was sore, I instead politely explained that I'd have to think about this new price-point, and we ended the call. I thought about the whole thing for several hours. It was all just funny, nothing to be upset about. I knew I should just bite the bullet, agree to his new price and head over to pick the stuff up. I just couldn't do it though... I thought about it all day and as the sun went down, I sent him this text:
Your move, bud.
I sent that text on a Friday evening and received a simple and polite reply, and that was that. It was over with. I had apparently walked away from a really nice Model A truck over a few measly dollars. Now, it wasn't the first dumb ass thing I'd ever done, so I was used to this. But I did start regretting it just as soon as it went down. "Oh well," I thought. "There's always the next one." I went to sleep thinking that I had made a big mistake.
On its way home.
The next day, I went over to my friend, Robbie's house to help him with a project he was working on. "You grabbing that Model A tomorrow?" he asked. "Nope, fell through." I explained what went down and his response was "you're a dumb ass for not just going to get the stupid thing anyway." He was right, it was dumb! I was just starting to feel even worse after my "pep talk" from Robbie, when my phone buzzed:
"Jake, I'll let you have it for (X) I want someone else to be able to enjoy it and not just let it sit here"
I read the text out loud to Robbie with a smirk. The "X" he mentioned was the original price that was told to me in the beginning. "What a dick," Robbie said, shaking his head. (referring to me) Maybe so, but this dick had to go hitch his trailer up.
The next morning, I set off for Central Oregon. For anyone that's never been to this part of the state, it's a gorgeous, vast dry desert landscape with unbelievable views in every direction. I grew up taking many trips there to ride dirt bikes, camp and explore. I've always loved it there and despite the fact that it was going to be an all-day adventure to get there and back, I didn't mind it a bit.
It really is pretty over there.
I'm following my GPS directions and end up on a narrow, paved road that leads away from a reservoir that I had camped at many times as a kid. It's a popular vacation spot with many high-dollar vacation houses surrounding it. I'm following this road up and it finally tells me "The destination is on your left" I turn and follow the long, paved driveway up to what looks like some kind of lodge. I'm almost thinking that this can't be the place, when off to the right, at the top of the driveway of this palatial house I spot the Model A parked in front of a barn that's nicer than my house. "Holy shit," I think to myself, "This guy is well-to-do."
I get out and am greeted in the driveway by a smiling, middle-aged guy. "Beautiful place," I tell him. It was the understatement of the century.
I'm looking the truck over and it is absolutely beautiful. It's an older restoration, but shows very well, with nice paint and perfect interior. "I fired it up this morning. It started right up, ran great." The pickup had sat unused for several years and I was expecting to winch it onto the trailer, so this was a bonus.
We look at the chassis and it's every bit as nice as the truck is. Everything is new: Powder coated frame, new brakes, bushings, steering, suspension, new tires. Literally everything on it was brand new/rebuilt and never ran. Best of all, it had a Model B motor in it with an FS Ignitions distributor. It too was new, with only assembly lube in it, it had never even had oil. Someone spent a LOT of time and money on the chassis alone. Likely about what I was paying for everything...
I had just a single car trailer with me, so I planned to take the chassis first, and run it up to my parents' place, which was about twenty minutes away. I would drop it off there, run back to grab the truck and head home. Then I'd come back at some point in the next week to retrieve the chassis from my folks. This way I could be out of his hair in one quick/easy afternoon. So, I load the chassis and strap it down. As soon as I get that done, Seth asks, "You want to see my game room?"
Now, I should have known better since this guy was basically dressed like he was going on safari... but I walked into his shop thinking I was going to find foosball tables and dart boards. This... wasn't the type of "game" he meant though. Instead, I go through two big double doors into what resembles a huge old church with vaulted ceilings and exposed beams. The space is enormous. On every square inch of wall is a dead animal. Every available inch of floor space around the perimeter and in rows down the center is the same thing. Every kind of animal you could imagine was there. Hundreds of them. This guy was not a hobby-hunter, he was serious about this stuff.
His stories are things like "See that crocodile over there? Yeah, they flew me into a small village in Zimbabwe to hunt him down because he killed three locals." FUCK. It was amazing and a little overwhelming to say the least. I spent a half hour or so in there, looking at all of these exotic animals and listening in awe to the stories of how these things had ended up mounted to this guy's wall. (I took a bunch of photos of the "game room" but out of respect for the guy's privacy, I don't feel comfortable posting them - you'll have to take my word on how awesome it was)
I'm definitely thinking, "I should keep this thing."
I shook the guy's hand, thanked him and set off to my parents' place to drop the chassis. About an hour and a half later, I returned for the truck, loaded up and started the three + hour journey back home. The whole way back I would glance in the mirror and think to myself, "Man, what a nice truck. I should keep it." I've said this a hundred times before of course..
So, I get home and unload the truck. It fires right off, doesn't complain a bit, just chugs to life and idles happily as I pull it off the trailer. I take it up the driveway. Then around the block. It runs really well, but has a little slop in the steering, likely from worn kingpins. All in all, a super truck that runs great and looks amazing. What a score. Again, I say to myself, "I should keep this thing." But, it wouldn't be in the cards. At least, not right away.........
Home, just as the sun was setting.
Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon!
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