My Car Quest

August 22, 2017

The Driveway Porsche 911

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.

Porsche 911 Targa

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?

Porsche 911 Targa

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.

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

 
 
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 litamakati2@gmail.com.

 
 

 

 

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Summary
The Driveway Porsche 911
Article Name
The Driveway Porsche 911
Description
Can a car finder make a little money by sharing information where a car is located like this Porsche 911?
Author

Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this little story Wallace. This is all about ethics. I’ve been in this position before and realized that at the end of the day I had no right to the vehicle I found by accident – or to some reward from a qualified and motivated buyer I may have connected it to. Would it have been nice to receive a ‘Finder’s Fee.?’ Of course! But in my case I didn’t get one – and life rolled on.

    At first I felt a bit cheated but the truth was that I had no right to the car before I discovered it, and no right to a reward after it was sold. What I did have was the knowledge to know the find was special. I still have that knowledge so I really didn’t lose anything.

    Your story also reminds me of a news report I saw not that long ago about a kid who found a bag full of money – a lot of money. The kid must have been raised right because he brought the bag home and with the help of his parents they found the rightful owner and returned all of the money. I forget if he got a reward for his honesty and integrity, but the news report must have reached a rather large audience. If others who saw it felt as I did – inspired and encouraged about the good behavior of others – then we were all rewarded, in a profound way.

    Thanks again to you and Mike for all the great car stories!

    Jim

  2. wallace wyss says:

    Hey Jimbo:
    Gots to differ with you. I have time invested in this car, going by the house maybe 20 times in two years, taking pictures of car with cover on; cover off, talking to the lady of the house (gave her my e-mail; then figured later she knew e-mail from nuthin’). And I know there’s wheeler-dealers that will buy it and flip it to another owner in a nanosecond, making a thou or two in the process so shouldn’t I profit from my knowledge in recognizing a collectable car? But I have a feeling most people will say “you didn’t go much out of your way” so why not give your info to me? Been there, done that…stories about those cars later.
    Wally

    • Pete Lyttle says:

      Having the knowledge but not the money to take advantage of it would be a frustrating place to be, but on the plus side Wally, look at the fun that you are having finding interesting cars and keeping tabs on them. You could be a broker but then that may effect how you are perceived as an artist and what you get to see. Keep the posts coming.
      All the best
      Pete

  3. Hi Wally.

    I do get that you put a lot of effort into research on this car. And that effort should be rewarded if in fact you were “looking for a car for a client, a friend, or yourself.” But it appears that with all the effort you put out you weren’t in a position to buy the car yourself (and then maybe flip it or restore it), or buy it on behalf of a client.

    The fuzzy part for me is (and correct me if I’m reading this wrong) if you didn’t make a “finder’s fee arrangement” beforehand, an expectation of a payment to you for discovering it is just an expectation, not an obligation. I guess the good news is that you sold some of your artwork to an appreciative buyer! (I know how hard that is to do!)

    Here’s a “Misery Loves Company” story that might make you feel better: I have a good friend (named Wally, oddly enough) who I’ve flipped a few cars with over the years. I had called him to let him know I had found (after much effort) a pair of classic Mustangs – a ’66 Coupe and a ’67 Fastback. I wanted the Fastback and he said he was interested in the Coupe. In the week that it would take him to come up to Santa Barbara where I was living then I negotiated a price for the Fastback with the owner (a son who had inherited the cars from his father), and had also taken the ’67 to a restoration shop to see what costs I’d be facing to restore the car. It wasn’t going to be cheap but I knew I had a diamond in the rough. The plan was that when Wally shows up he’ll probably buy thew ’66 and I’ll definitely buy the ’67.

    Well, Wally did show up but with a “friend”. While I was inspecting the ’66 with Wally his friend pulled out a fat wad of cash and bought the ’67 on the spot. He had cash-in-hand and offered $500 more than I had offered. Neither the friend of the son had any sense of doing anything wrong by screwing me out of the deal.

    It took two years for me and Wally to renew our friendship – less than a minute to learn that there is no honor among thieves – or (some) car flippers.

    ~Jim

    • Wallace Wyss says:

      That is the message I will give in a future article, about who you bring along to see cars. I have two
      stories like that with megabuck cars. stay tuned

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