The Porsche Guy
After over 35 plus years selling cars, I have moved to a different area still within the Motor Trade but I have been asked by several people in an “if you’re so good why are you not still doing it ?” kind of way, It wasn’t the recession I have lived and survived through several in the past, the answer is that several events occurred each one worse than the last, I considered them to be warnings and they convinced me that I was on borrowed time and I had to get out, I refer you to the following Joke
A city is experiencing a terrible flood. A man is sitting on his front porch watching the water rise and a jeep drives up. “Get in! Everything’s going to be underwater!” “No thanks. God will save me. An hour passes and the water Has risen in the house. A boat comes by. “Get in! You’re going to drown!” “No thanks. God will save me.” The water rises over the house. The man is now on the roof. A helicopter flies overhead. “We’ll lower a line. Grab it or you’ll die!” “No thanks. God will save me.”
The man drowns. When he gets to Heaven and meets God he says, “God! Why didn’t you save me?!”“I sent a jeep, a boat, and a helicopter. What more did you want?”
It was Business as usual at Barrie Crampton Car Sales 8.30 am in the morning and I had been there since 7.00am I was halfway through watching my 2nd Top Gear episode of the morning when a guy who looked a lot like Hank Marvin approached my Office stopping to look at the Porsche Boxster 3.2 s that I had in stock.
The car was a really nice example with virtually every Porsche option fitted, FSH, a new clutch, all new tyres even a Hard Top at £12995 it was a bargain.
After using my webcam to zoom in and see what kind of car he had arrived in I had already committed the Salesman’s cardinal sin and stereotyped him as a tyre kicker, I have to say that even though it’s something you are taught not to do, after 35 years in the motor trade I’ve developed a sixth sense which has very rarely been wrong, he walked around the car saluting the windows (putting his hand up to stop the glare so he could see inside) then he ambled into my office and said “That’s just what I’ve been looking for” how much deposit do you need to hold it for a week till I get my money through?” this was too easy, something wasn’t quite right.
I asked for £1000 as I had my personalised registration number on the car and it would need transferring to another vehicle incurring a cost of £80.00 and a further £80.00 to transfer it back if he should “Cock” on the deal, I would have the car checked over and serviced prior to delivery even though according to the History it didn’t need doing.
I had already taken a dislike to this man during the short time we were talking and had a very uneasy feeling about the deal, I explained the cost implications of preparing the car for him and asked if he was sure he could definitely get the rest of the money ( in all honesty he didn’t look like he had it (stereotyping again)) , I drummed into him that once I had submitted the paperwork for the registration transfer to the DVLA his deposit would become non-returnable and that he needed to be in a position to complete the deal as soon as the transfer came back which was taking about 10 days.
He only had £300 on him but promised to return with the rest of the money by the close of business that day, I wasn’t surprised when he didn’t come back, and he was a No Show on the 2nd and 3rd day, however on the 4th day just as I was locking up to go home he rolled up.
I expected him to say that he’d had second thoughts and wanted his money back, I was so sure that there would be an unsatisfactory outcome that I hadn’t even banked it, I had told my colleagues that “I would show my arse in Burton’s window” if the deal went through to completion, you could almost hear the sigh of relief from the staff at Burton’s as hank removed a pile of cash from his pocket and he counted out the balance of his deposit, still not convinced I stressed to him that I would take the transfer the following morning, so was he 100% sure that he could complete the deal, the answer was an emphatic “Yes”.
He told me that he had given notice to the Building Society, and he wanted the car ASAP, to say I was dubious was an understatement, but he had just ponied up a non-returnable deposit of £1000 so who was I to argue.
The next day I went to the DVLA and queued for an hour when I got back to the garage things started to go pear-shaped “Hank” turned up, he seemed very nervy and ill at ease as he asked me if he “could take the Porsche for a test drive”, not an unusual request, but normally carried out before agreeing on a deal and paying a non-refundable deposit.
I was a little surprised as I had previously offered to take him out for a drive in the car but he said he didn’t need one, The car drove like a new one so I had no problem taking him out, but why on Earth was he asking now? Then he uttered the words “What time do you want me to bring it back?”, erm excuse me how do you mean? “Well I’m going to the gym for a few hours now,” he said. I was a little exasperated as this was an idiotic request and sarcastically I replied ” that’s not exactly a test drive is it? it’s more of a test park it outside the gym
I added that I didn’t even go to the gym in it as the parking spaces are way too narrow and I didn’t want to get dents on it, I told him that my insurance company insisted that all test drives were accompanied, so I would have to be in the car otherwise he wouldn’t be insured to drive it and I didn’t fancy waiting outside for him, he was clearly put out my refusal, he remonstrated that he had paid me £1000 and he wanted to take it out on his own, “That’s not going to happen” I said firmly.
I just thought it was because he would have to delay his chance to pose at the gym until he’d paid for it in full, but he walked off to the other end of the forecourt out of earshot and I could see him having quite an animated conversation with someone on his mobile, when he came back he said he still wanted a test drive but he would need to call at his house on the way.
The atmosphere was strained as we set off, he was driving too fast but I didn’t want to antagonise him further so I bit my tongue, he pulled up outside his house in the middle of the road, then got out leaving the car running, the door open and me in the passenger seat as he stormed up the drive, that was the last I saw of him for at least half an hour, when he came back I had turned the car around, parked up properly and turned the engine off.
Just as he was about to get in the car an acquaintance of his turned up. I immediately stereotyped him as “an undesirable” and again Hank launched into an animated conversation at the side of the road, when he eventually got back in the car he was clearly flustered and said that he was taking me to see his other car at “The Lock-Up” in case I could sell it for him. “I’m sorry I haven’t got time,” I said, but ignoring me he set off in the opposite direction to our garage, we turned on to a country lane and he floored the accelerator.
I am not the world’s best passenger, and we were approaching a bend which I could see from the Sat Nav screen was a 90 degree left, I told him in no uncertain terms to SLOW DOWN but he ignored me and we understeered around bend exiting on the wrong side of the road if there had been anything coming we would have hit it head-on, “Right pull over now” I said, what’s the matter? “I’m not going to buy the car till I know how it performs” he replied. “You’ve already agreed to buy it, and as far as I am concerned you can do what you want when you’ve paid me for it and I’m not in the passenger seat but until then you stick to the speed limit or get out!” I said in my best Clint Eastwood voice, OK I’m sorry anyway were here now, it will only take a minute “he said, Hank was working on my last nerve “which bit of I don’t have time did you not understand?” I snapped, again he ignored me,
I was in unfamiliar surroundings and alarm bells were ringing in my head, he turned into a car park and got out, he’d left the keys in the ignition but as he sheltered his cigarette from the breeze to light it I leaned over removed the keys and against my better judgment I got out to follow him, we went through a padlocked gate which he proceeded to padlock again behind us, by now I was convinced that this was a setup, I imagined if I had allowed him to take my Porsche to the Gym it would have mysteriously disappeared while “Hank” enjoyed his workout, conveniently giving Hanks “mate” or the perpetrator a few hours head start to dispose of my Porsche before the theft was reported to me and the Police, I then wouldn’t be able to fulfill our agreement, so Hank would be entitled to have his £1000 deposit returned, Win, Win For Hank!
I clicked the remote behind my back to lock the Boxster, I hoped that the glovebox wasn’t open or anything else that would cause the horn to sound when the doors locked and the alarm set there by alerting Hank that I was on to him, I looked round for somewhere to throw the keys where I could retrieve them later but we were now in a massive gravelled field full of caravans and motorhome’s , I was pretty confident that they wouldn’t try to take the keys off me by force as this would mean Hank would lose his plausible deniability, if there was anyone lying in wait I would be able to see them coming for me I knew I could throw the keys into the adjoining field should I feel the need, my reasoning being that a new key although expensive would be a lot less than the excess and subsequent increased premiums on my insurance policy, this would only be a last resort as it would be a lot faster getting away in a Porsche than it would be on foot, if this was a Car Jacking i wasn’t going to make it easy.
Hank beckoned me to look at his car, but doing so would mean I would lose sight of my Porsche, within 30 seconds of me stepping forward Hanks phone rang I could hear a muffled statement to which Hank answered “They Were” that was enough to confirm my suspicions, I stepped back to look at the Boxster but there was no one in sight, “Right I’ve had enough now I’m going back to the garage, I said” Hank followed and I jumped into the driver’s seat and drove back to the garage in silence, on the way I showed Hank how fast I could drive, he didn’t like being in the passenger seat either.
I think I was more annoyed that Hank thought he could get one over on me and when we arrived back I told him that I wanted the balance of the funds within the next 7 days or the car would be put back on sale, to my surprise he followed me to my office as if there was nothing wrong, he sat down picking up my TV remote and changing the channels, I turned the TV off and politely asked him to leave but just then one of the garage mechanics knocked on the door to give me a set of car keys, as I turned back around in the reflection on the TV screen I saw Hank pick up my Ray-Bans and quickly put them in his pocket, I turned around and confronted him “Hank you’ve accidentally put my Ray Bans in your pocket, put them back on my desk, then get out, and I don’t want to see you again unless you have the rest of the money you owe me.
The next day I was washing a car when Hank turned up to ask for another test drive, “Look I don’t know how I can put this without causing offense, but do not set foot on this forecourt again unless you have the money to pay for the car, No More test drives, No more watching TV, No more helping yourself to my sunglasses, no more nothing you now have 6 days or the car goes back on sale.
To this day I cant be 100% sure if Hank was trying to deprive me of the car or he was just a complete nutter, but Undeterred Hank returned several times repeatedly asking me for another test drive, he kept insisting that he would have the money soon but he never did and eventually, I sold the car to someone else.
The next time I saw Hank was on my CCTV when his car drove past the forecourt, he pulled up further down the road, the passenger door opened and out got ………
………but that’s a story for another day.
Incidentally, those who followed me on Twitter at the time got to hear about it real-time, and this account has been substantially shortened and I think that they will all agree that I showed remarkable restraint.