by Wallace Wyss –
I see it every time I go to my favorite bookstore.
It’s a Porsche. Says “911 Carrera” on it but hey, I know badges can be bought and it could be a lowly 912 dolled up to look like the then top-of-the-line model.
It also has a DP nose which, if you know Porsches, you know that’s a slope nose added in Germany. One guy tried to tell me “it’s a custom” and I had in front of me a book on Porsche showing cars with DP slope noses being delivered at the Porsche factory. So it was an approved custom Porsche 911.
It also has a whale’s tail, but that could have been added. And non factory mag wheels and aftermarket rear valance panel. Hey, it’s tarted up. What can I say? The plate is from another state, maybe one where Porsches were not revered as creations not to be messed with.
It is definitely is a Porsche 911 Targa.
It sits in a driveway in Southern California with various junk contraptions in front and back of it. And has four flat tires.
About the second year I passed by I began to think, hey someone wants to know about this car. In case you haven’t noticed, old Porsches are going up at a rate higher than the Dow Jones average on its best day. Even battered Speedsters from the Fifties are over $100,000.
And I know there’s outfits like Singer that take an old Porsche 911 like this and doll it up.
And they need donor cars.
But here’s the rub. I got money tied up, (did I mention I work for a thoroughbred breeding operation?) so can’t invest in something so silly as a car. But I figured I would run an ad saying I will lead someone (by the nose) to where the car is, once they pay a fee in advance, and they can make their offer.
Now when I ran that ad, I caught a lot of flack. On Pelican Porsche 911 Forum some reader actually suggested something to the effect of: “Oh, we are a community here. You shouldn’t charge us to tell us where it is.” That’s like saying, I tell you where there’s a pot of gold and you fetch it and you owe me nothing. What am I, chopped liver?
Car dealers uniformly said they do not pay for tips. Or only pay once they buy the car. So, let me get this straight, let’s say I reveal the location, it takes a couple years of dickering to get it, am I supposed to call weekly or monthly to find out if the car has been bought yet?
Finally, after Pelican Porsche 911 Forum cancelled my postings about the car (dare I say censored it?) I figured I’d have to take a flyer on telling somebody about it and hoping for a finder’s fee if they buy it.
It so happens a few weeks ago, I am at a Porsche event and I meet a guy going into the exotic car biz. He’s looking at my prints of my fine art paintings. He takes out his wallet and buys my art. That puts me in a favorable mood. I mention that if he’s looking for cars, I got a tip. I give him the info.
But, in doing so, I realize that now the cat’s out of the bag. Some Porsche guy knows where it is. Will he call me if the buys the car? Will he call me if he decides to pass? Will he tell somebody else? I dunno.
I know it’s possible to get money for a tip—having previously vended information gained in research for my barn find books on a 50-car museum and a 35 car collection—but that was collections. The buyers figured they’d get something even if some of the cars are gone.
The trouble with the modern day world (hey I go back to typewriters…remember those?) people think all they have to do is have the name of the town a car is in and the description of the car and they don’t need me. (Well, come to think of it I think you can see this car sitting in the driveway from Google Satellite).
My advice to the buyer of the information on the Driveway Porsche was: “Bid only what a stripped shell is worth. If it turns out to be a real DP car so much the better. If it turns out to have a working engine and trans, again you make out. If it’s a real Carrera you are money ahead.” But the customers for tips don’t follow my advice.
I really don’t want to know the details if they screw up the potential buy. Like that saying “There’s a thousand ways to screw it up and only one way to do it right” and I don’t want to know how they dropped the ball. My own method, when I was a barn finder, was to show up with the money. Sometimes I would even bully them with a tow truck in the driveway.
So it sits. Maybe I’ll check the Satellite view and see if Google refreshed their shot. I’ll see if there’s a blank spot in that driveway where a Porsche used to be. Then, I’ll knock on the door and find out if it’s my guy that bought it. If so, he owes me a commission…(but hey, I look kindly toward him…after all, he’s a patron of the arts…).
Let us know what you think in the Comments.
THE AUTHOR/ARTIST: Wallace Wyss sometimes wears the beret of a fine artist. A list of available prints from his paintings can be obtained by writing email@example.com.