By on November 25, 2015

P90133146_highRes_rolls-royce-wraith

“Rolls-Royce sold 4,000 cars last year.”

Carlos, a handsome, Cuban gentleman sitting across from me wanted to make sure that I understood this fact. He said it so intensely that I never even thought to question his number (which was accurate). “Four thousand. That’s it. Do you know how many of them were sold to people on my street?”

I shook my head.

“Six.” He leaned back in his chair for dramatic effect, puffing on a cigar that had been handcrafted by one of Castro’s own private cigar maker’s proteges. “Six. That’s why I have to have the latest one. That’s why I have my friend, Manuel, looking for a very specific car for me.”

I was having this conversation with this distinguished, impressive caballero on the patio of Zumaperhaps the finest Japanese steakhouse in all of America, overlooking Biscayne Bay. It’s nestled snugly into the first floor of Epicwhich is, in addition to being the crown jewel of the Kimpton hotel chain, the place to see and be seen when it comes to exotic cars in Miami. The valet circle is an ever-rotating display of the latest and greatest from Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, McLaren and even Bugatti.

If you want to get premium placement at Epic, don’t bother showing up in something so pedestrian as a Nissan GT-R. Don’t roll up in that old Gallardo to EpicDon’t you realize that’s Mark Cuban’s yacht sitting right there at the dock, bro? That thing can actually store another yacht inside itself. Don’t bring your busted up ride in here.

On any given night, Zumaor the neighboring jazz club, Lilt Loungeplays host to members of the Miami Heat, Dolphins and Marlins, as well as businessmen from all over the globe. If you aren’t somebody, or if you at least don’t know somebody, you’re going to have a tough time getting a table. I’m definitely not somebody, but I have spent enough nights resting my head in Kimptons around the world that they are kind enough to treat me like I am.

And that’s how I ended up sitting next to my new friend, who was kind enough to inquire what I did for a living as we sat next to each other at the bar, drinking matching jalapeño martinis. When I mentioned that I write for a few car blogs, he immediately became fascinated.

“What’s hot? What’s new? Tell me about something that’s coming out,” he said.

Turned out that he definitely knew more than I did about the exotic car market. He gave me a name to call when I was in town: “Call Manuel. He’s my ‘car guy.’ He’d love to talk to you.”

Well, he was partially right. He was happy to talk to me, but Manuel didn’t want me using his name. You see, everybody in Miami has got “a guy.” They have their secret ways of getting the hot cars, and they aren’t particularly keen to tell them to people.

I called Manuel in the early morning the next day. He’s an exotic car dealer who ships cars to every state — even internationally.

“Yeah, I get cars for him.” He seemed a bit closed off, at first.

“Where do you get them?” I asked.

“Well, speaking modestly as possible, I’m one of the very few guys in the country, let alone Florida, who has the cash to buy these cars in any sort of quantity. Dealers get these cars in on trade, and they call me up immediately. The customer thinks that he’s selling his car to the Mercedes dealer, but the Mercedes guy is strapped for cash. So he calls me up, and I agree in principle on a number. They write the customer a check for the car, I write them a check for that same number, and they bring it to me. Only if I’m interested in it, of course, or if I have a buyer lined up.”

“Tell me about some of the more interesting cars you’ve gotten lately.”

“I’ve got a lime green McLaren 650S right now that’s pretty cool. There’s an Audi RS7 in my garage that has a ten thousand dollar custom factory matte gray paint job and an additional two hundred horses under the hood. Guy kept it for less than two thousand miles before he was bored with it. There’s a black BMW i8 that gets more attention than anything I’ve ever had on the lot — until you start it up. Damn thing sounds like a lawnmower.” I could clearly hear the disgust in his voice.

“What percentage of your customers are paying cash for the car?” I asked. I figured that it was a fairly high number.

“Virtually nobody. We do a lot of financing. I’ve got lenders that will go up to 144 months on exotics, as long as you’ve got a 700+ credit score with no late payments in the last five years. You’ve got to make sure that you’re not trying to finance more than you make annually.”

“Do people try to do that?” I wondered aloud.

“Absolutely. I get guys who make less than a hundred grand a year trying to finance stuff that costs almost twice that. Well, let me clarify that. They report less than a hundred grand a year.”

Ah. That makes sense. “So the money is real, they just can’t prove it.”

“Correct. They get mad at me, but there’s not much that I can do about it. The bank is going to ask for tax forms showing good income for at least the last two years. If you haven’t got that, you’ll need to have a lot more money down. Normally they want about 20 percent, but I’ve seen them ask for 50 percent if the customer can’t prove his income.”

This all seemed really difficult to navigate for both the customer and the dealer. “How often do deals go bad?”

“It happens. I’ve done deals that I had to personally sign on for people — including your friend,” he said.

“Meaning?”

“I mean that I’ve personally guaranteed loans before. Let’s say I write paperwork on a car on a Saturday, and the deal looks good to me. Well, the bank isn’t open, so I do the deal based on my history with the lender that the deal will likely be approved. Every once in a while, the banks come back and say no. Typically it’s something we can overcome — proof of income, residency issues — but there have been a few times where the bank has asked me to personally guarantee the loan.”

Fascinating. “So you’ll sign for a car for your friend?”

“Listen. He’s bought a dozen cars from me in the past six years. He knows a lot of people. He sends them all my way, and they’re all buyers. It’s worth the risk.”

“So you live off of referrals?” I couldn’t imagine his cars doing particularly well on classified sites.

“I advertise, but I definitely need my repeat customers. If I treat just one person wrong, just one person … I’m screwed.”

“Are exotic customers tough to deal with?” I wasn’t sure what the exotic market customer expected from a dealer. “Do they want to negotiate?”

“Not typically,” he replied. “These guys are educated. They know what their cars are worth. They know what my car is worth. They don’t want to spend a lot of time haggling. If the price is fair, they buy.”

“So what’s our buddy got you looking for now? He mentioned something specific.”

Manuel laughed. “He loves Rolls-Royces. Did he tell you that there are six on his street?”

“He did.”

“I’m not surprised. Well, he wants a Wraith with that special headliner. The Starlight headliner. There aren’t many of them, you know. But I found one.” I could sense the pride coming through my iPhone.

“Nice. Congrats on that. I’m sure he’ll love it.”

“I think he will.” He paused. “This business … we don’t sell Corollas. I don’t sell a hundred and fifty cars a month. I have trusted relationships with my customers. If they want it, I go get it.”

We talked for about an hour, and I think he would have talked more, except that he had an appointment with a customer to sell a ’15 Mercedes SL65 AMG. He graciously apologized, invited me to visit his store the next time I was in town, and hung up so he could make yet another loyal customer happy.

That night, I coincidentally ran into Carlos again — this time in the Brickell District, where he was shopping for more of his favorite hand-rolled cigars.

“So … a Wraith, eh?” I laughed as I shouted to him across the plaza. He merely laughed, winked and gave me the thumbs up. “I want a ride when you get it!”

“You got it, muchacho.” He then returned his attention to the stunning young Paz Vega-lookalike at his side, who laughed a little too heartily along with him. She didn’t know that his credit score was damn near the Mendoza line. She didn’t know that his income wasn’t even enough to make him a fabled “one-percenters.” All she knew was that when Carlos gave his ticket to the valet, he came back with a Ghost.

Welcome to Miami. Bienvenido a Miami. 

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101 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: Miami’s Secret For Ridiculous Rides? Better Know ‘A Guy’...”


  • avatar
    Mike N.

    Since you’re talking about pre-owned cars I wonder how they hold their value compared to new.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Depends on the car, but many pre-owned examples in this category can routinely trade above original sticker depending on demand/rarity. The Ford GT is a good example, they regularly sell today for more than what they stickered for 10 years ago when new.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Subbed .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    mrcool1122

    I don’t know why I’m surprised that these cars are overwhelmingly financed rather than paid for with sweaty cash. I suppose it makes sense, since the car scene described seems to be about status consumption rather than any appreciation for cars qua cars.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    This was a fascinating read, thanks Bark.

    There’s something profoundly depressing about it though. A six-figure earner financing an exotic car for 144 months is the same fundamental stupidity as a minimum wage earner financing a Dart for 84 months. It’s not clear whether Carlos is out of his income league by going for this Wraith, or if most of his income is simply “not reported”, but the fact that he feels the need to be seen at the unattainable club and express his elite status to a stranger at the bar is not enviable. Children with money are still children.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The difference between financing a Dart and a Rolls for 8+ years is that the Rolls buyer doesn’t expect to keep it that long. It’s like a self-managed open-ended lease.
      I imagine a lot of buyers know better than to make big cash purchases. Much better to tell the IRS that “the bank owns it, they just let me drive it.”

    • 0 avatar
      graddy

      Not entirely.

      1.If you lease a Continental under a LLC or INC, you can deduct the full payment.

      If you purchase, but make payments, you can deduct depreciation plus interest.

      If you buy cash, you can only deduct depreciation.

      2. Most high end car buyers will lease cars, 27 or 30 months. The benefit is a low interest factor and you don’t have to worry about selling it when your done, but most importantly ACCIDENTS WHILE YOU HAVE IT. Imagine trying to sell a V12 Vantage with moderate damage showing on your Carfax. If you fight the insurance, they’ll write you a depreciation check, but it’s still hard.

      3. Assuming i am buying a loaded Wraith for $300,000. Why would i pay 300,000 in cash if i can finance it at 1.9% and invest the 300,000 at a 4-5%?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        So say I have big cash for a 911 Carrera purchase/lease but I work for a corporation and not myself. How does using an LLC benefit me in this case as you describe?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          It needs to be a legitimate business expense. I hope graddy is not offering tax advice for money.

        • 0 avatar
          graddy

          If your position is as member/partner in an existing, established, high income company and requires driving, it is totally legal. EX: a dentist lets say, would not be ideal candidate for it.

          I am by no means offering any tax advise. just consult your CPA and he will be able to offer info in your specific case.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Member (owner?) and partner are not available to most industries. IIRC partnerships are typically more common in law practices or other professional services (doctors, dentists etc.). I suppose anyone can own a corporation but then of course you have to run the corporation or pay someone else to do it with money from revenues. These paths aren’t available to maybe 95-98% of ordinary people hence the special tax rules. Gotta steal keep stealing from the proles, ISIS needs more Nikes drop shipped and Israel needs more missiles for Iron Dome.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Still not quite right. You’d have to show not only that you needed to drive for your business but also that there was a legitimate business reason for driving something so high-end. There are businesses where you can make that case. They are the exception, not the rule.

            The IRS is conducting about 75% as many audits as it did a few years ago, because Congress keeps shrinking its budget. So people are getting away with more and more crazy things. That doesn’t mean they are “totally legal.”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ok so say in your case as an attorney, you can roll a Bentley since image is everything?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Haha – I think if I showed up in a Bentley most of my clients would leave me.

            But, yes, that’s the idea — where you will lose business unless you show up in that kind of ride. Might work for an exotic car dealer or a shark lawyer to the rich and famous.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        graddy,
        Interesting points, but does Carlos fit the new exotic car buyer/lessee you describe? Manuel deals in trade-ins sourced from dealers, so Carlos appears to be buying a used car and Bark’s last paragraph suggests it is probably valued somewhere around his annual not-quite-one-percenter income. If that is the case, long financing terms would be pursued for reasons unrelated to financial prudence. Your point 3 is very valid at any MSRP, Corolla or Rolls Royce, but if the above is true for Carlos, he ain’t putting that $300,000 in an interest earning fund because he doesn’t have it.

        I could be entirely wrong and misreading Bark’s article, though.

        • 0 avatar
          graddy

          @dal20402

          Any company can lease any kind of vehicles they deem necessary to run their business. You are perfectly right that a barber shop, that pays $1,000 in sales tax per month, leasing a S550 would raise a BIG red flag. On top of that, no CPA would put his signature on it.

          A large law firm, with 100k a month in taxes, leasing 5 MB S550s for their partners, to my semi-knowledgeable opinion is not a violation. Buying 5 yachts would be. A lease payment, is bookable as a fixed operating expense.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            The business would certainly get to treat the lease as a business expense, but the partner is very likely to have any and all non-business-related use treated as payment-in-kind and would be liable for the income tax on the value thereof. When a Fortune 100 CEO uses the company Gulfstream for a ski vacation, he is either expected to pay the actual cost of that use or the taxes on the value of that use since it’s considered compensation.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            I used to work for a small family ownd business. The couple’s cars were bought and owned by the business, as was their house. When they went to sell the business, they got a new car (I think the company bought it) because there was some financial benefit in doing so then.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            The easiest thing to do is set up a company that owns the car. Manny Moroun uses a front company CT rental car to operate his fleet of high end vehicles. Google the phone number and find out what they are renting.

      • 0 avatar
        RayTo

        Good. Let’s all quit our jobs and create an LLC so we can create tax deductible expenses, which don’t happen to include driving to work, in a luxury car. Then let’s quit our jobs and create an LLC so we can deduct depreciation for business qualified use. And oh, by the way, again “luxury” cars, as defined by the IRS, get zero deductibility.

        When you grow up and start paying taxes, you’ll replace wishful thinking with practical advice.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      You completely missed the subtext, the between the lines…in Miami, many people who are not the sports stars are involved in business endeavors that do not stand up to close government scrutiny, which a large reportable income would reveal. So many of them are nowhere near as poor as you assume that they are, basing your analysis on their reported incomes.

      And the financing makes sense too, even if they have a true net worth in the eight figures, because in many such “lines of business”, there is a high risk premium, a high rate of return, and a high turnover of whatever their inventory is.

      So even if they could put up two or three mill for, say a Veyron, they could use that same money to make even more money, rather than leaving it tied up in their auto.

      Yes, I am sure that some of his customers are ballers who are living above their means, because they do not understand that the income they enjoy today might be gone tomorrow, due to an injury, for example.

      But those who earn their money elsewhere, and perhaps clandestinely, do not finance out of necessity, but out of a desire to keep their money earning.

      Also, if their ride gets popped as an assets seizure, they would rather lose their twenty, or even fifty, per cent down, than to take a hit for the full ticket price of their ride.

      And please, for the moralists in the crowd, I neither condemn nor condone this…I am merely reporting what I know life can be like, for those whose fate, for better or worse, is to sit at or near the top of an empire that must operate beneath the radar.

      And they aren’t all dealers, either. When I went to South America after I graduated college, as a summer vacation, the largest real estate holder on the north coast of Columbia, near where Hillary and her Secret Service entourage partied decades later, was an anglo/gringo, widely reputed to be either CIA, DEA or both. And the odds were that he had money in the Escobar range. All hearsay, but there was smoke, even if no fire could be seen…

      But to assume that financing a top of the line ride implies a certain financial weakness, is just to ignore realities.

      See also HeavyHandle’s comment below, which is another good reason.

      • 0 avatar
        S197GT

        “When I went to South America after I graduated college, as a summer vacation,….”

        Sure it was…

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          If it was what you are implying it was, I would be writing about my Veyron instead of my Panther when I write about my car.

          Sorry to disappoint you, but my ex-wife and I had to take a small honeymoon when we married, as I was still in school. Once I got out we had a chance to go somewhere where our dollars would stretch, and where there was an interesting cultural history. Plus a good uncrowded beach.

          Colombia met all of those, and was more interesting than a second trip to Mexico.

          Though I have to admit that the local gendarmerie had their doubts as well.

          A few months before, an NYC judge had impounded an Avianca plane that had been found in NYC with 2 kilos of cocaine in the lavatory, and he had said that he wouldn’t release it until Colombia took substantial steps to stop the influx.

          Hence, when we departed Baranquilla with bag after bag of cheap imitation pre-Colombian pottery and textiles, all of which my ex- got in the divorce, at first they made us unwrap everything so that they could inspect it.

          Then one of the local customs agents was looking through her purse. At the time, she was an NYC probation officer, who carried a badge. As soon as he found it, he stopped, and went right over to the “jefe” for guidance.

          El jefe came over to us, and asked what she did. His English was so-so and my Spanish was a bit better, so in Spanish I explained to him who we were, what we were doing, and that we were “de vacaciones” and in no way on any official mission to see if they were doing their job.

          He was very cordial, in part probably because I tried to answer him in Spanish.

          After my explanation, he told his crew to finish with the bags they were looking at and to let us pass without examining all of them.

          (We had so much cheap imitation pottery that we looked like a couple of native merchant-traders when we left there.)

          Things were fairly “fluid” within the country, but the borders were so tight at that time that only a fool or someone with large, impeccable connections would have tried to “mule” anything back to the US.

          I was also wary of new friends in Colombia, as I had had an ex-GF who had gotten popped in Jamaica because she was too accepting of supposed Rasta hospitality…cost her a few weeks in Kingston, and a lot of money.

          So I wasn’t trying to get to chummy down there even inside the country.

          Why risk a long stretch down there to do what was all over NYC at that time? Nope, it was just an adventure in Latin America, travelling, lodging and eating more or less as locals, minus the tour guide regimentation and overhead associated with travel agency trips.

          Though you are far from the first who has imagined William Burroughs-like adventures in South America, when all it really was was being unguided tourists before Lonely Planet became a “thing”.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “You completely missed the subtext, the between the lines…in Miami, many people who are not the sports stars are involved in business endeavors that do not stand up to close government scrutiny, which a large reportable income would reveal.”

        No, I’m pretty sure I acknowledged the possibility of this in my comment:

        “It’s not clear whether Carlos is out of his income league by going for this Wraith, or if most of his income is simply ‘not reported…”

        Careful reading could have saved yourself an essay.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Great article Bark. You always have to know a “guy”, its how the world works. I have a guy for my cars, a body-work guy, a real estate guy, an insurance guy, a guy for custom framing, and a cement guy. When I don’t have a guy for something I call a close friend and say “whose your guy for X?”.

    • 0 avatar
      bortlicenseplate

      To your point I always chuckle at Vince Vaughn’s throwaway line from Old School, “I know a really good sand guy.”

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      One of my staff members taught me this lesson very well. We had to figure out how to do a process that required filing stuff with the governments of 46 states. I tried to figure it out by reading all of the states’ documentation. She called up “her people,” who “knew people” in all of the states, and had better answers in a tiny fraction of the time it would have taken me to read it all.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I use to buy Lotus parts at a Ferrari dealer. The guy told me that most buyers show up with suitcases of cash. Now that dealer was busted for shady dealings so maybe it was just him. It was also 30 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      I was at an event and met the local Rolls/Bentley dealer and asked him how they are usually paid for. He said all the new ones are bought with wire transfers.

      These days you can’t pay cash as the dealer is responsible for reporting any cash transactions over $10k via IRS Form 8300.

      https://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Report-of-Cash-Payments-Over-10000-Received-in-a-Trade-or-Business-Motor-Vehicle-Dealership-QAs

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It’s not that dealers won’t accept $10,000+ cash, but it’s a security risk. The $10K IRS rule has been around since you could buy multiple new cars for that much money. Or one Lamborghini. Now it’s another way the Feds are up everyone’s butt.

        • 0 avatar
          Fred

          If you are buying cars with suitcases of cash, then the Feds should be up your butt.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Yes $10K in cash used to mean something. In the Johnson Administration.

            But $10,000 is hardly a suitcase. In any case, it won’t even buy you half of a decent new car. Point is, the $10K rule has never been adjusted for inflation.

            Every banking transaction or purchase for $10K plus in cash has the same rule.

            Soon you won’t be able to pay cash for a set of tires without federal anal probe.

  • avatar
    graddy

    Let me know if you ever run into a Mercedes dealer that will run out of money.

    The only reason they choose to sell to wholesalers, is because it’s inventory they do not want to mess with. Some do it because they see no profit in them, some do it because it is logistically easier than send it at the auction.

    The Cuban guy thinks a bit too much of himself. Any well established dealer can get a multi million dollar line, for less than 4% a year.

    • 0 avatar

      I know PLENTY of cash-strapped luxury dealers. A $5M floorplan doesn’t go very far at an MB dealer. They would much rather not keep a car that will take 90-120 days to sell. The holding costs would eat them alive.

      • 0 avatar
        JR42

        “They write the customer a check for the car, I write them a check for that same number, and they bring it to me.”

        This dude buys screamingly high-end cars, from dealers, at cost… I’m in the wrong business!

        JR

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          He is full of himself, if he thinks he is getting them at cost. The dealer still marks up the car. If a dealer I worked for got a car in that they knew a wholesaler would want, they would call him up and see how much he was willing to pay. Usually the profit was good, and it wasn’t worthwhile to try and hold it on the lot.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Of course, everyone needs to be greased. It’s probably not a disgusting amount, though.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            In those circles, they may have made a deal that the dealer doesn’t mark it up in return for which the buyer takes it without a lot of hassle. And the buyer may well know a lot of the sellers, hence can check to see if the dealer is playing according to their rules.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I agree with MBella. Dealers exist by treating their customers’ trades like nuclear waste during the appraisal. They have a dozen reasons why your car is worth 55% of average wholesale for the model. It is no joke when they say money is made buying cars rather than selling them.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The reason to sell this type of car to a wholesaler is because they provide cash right away. Better to get cash right now and turn a small profit than to take a chance on something that may not move for months.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Since the cars will only be owedn for a year at most and with interest rates the way they are there is no reason to pay cash. Also keep in mind he said “report able income” a lot of “business owners” have a great deal more income than that which is reported.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Bark is clearly living the fantasy life (probably as a secret Odin/Isis agent – Archer reference, not Islamic State) that Jack used to live.

    The best hotels, the finest drink & cigars, greets where the elite meet to beat, celebrity swinging, hot scenes & exotic underworld type figures with 10 digit checking accounts, arms & exotic auto dealers, jalapeno martinis, inside information, and all, that kewl stuff…

    …on a Ford Fiesta ST budget.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I’d rather hang out at Cutter’s with DeadWeight.

      Maybe we can get liquored up and go moon the RenCen. That’s what Uber is for.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I live that life now, on occasion.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I just don’t get it. 90% of the people you meet in that life are obnoxious. Sure, I have to look respectable for business purposes (thus not driving my 1995 Legend to off-site meetings) but more than that is just making your own life more complicated and annoying for no benefit.

      If I stayed in Kimptons as often as Bark… I’d drink gin and tonics in an awful lot of Kimpton bars.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I stay at Hilton’s a lot. There is one walking distance from my office in St Pete and Memphis. I can confirm that I drink many Manhattans in Hilton bars.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I beg to differ, a clean Legend with the right wheels screams tasteful to these eyes.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          When I am in Memphis and St Pete, clean trucks and SUVs are tasteful, no matter the age. My boss drives a 4Runner. A guy I work with, who is a senior manager in Memphis, drives a clean K5 Blazer.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I happen to be in Nashville right now and the number of trucks is amazing. It’s almost like being in Houston.

            Incidentally, I’ll have to apologize to Jack at some point. I made fun of him for praising the Camry SE based on a number of LE/XLE rentals. This time around my rental happens to be a Camry SE and it’s amazingly good for a FWD volume-mobile. Steering isn’t quite as nice as that of an Accord Sport but the suspension is actually better. It’s a really satisfying car to drive quickly. The interior is utter crap; it’s had all the life cost-cut out of it. But the car is legitimately fun to drive.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            If I were to move right now, and yes, the opportunity is there, it’d either be to Nashville, TN, or Asheville (NC).

            I have eliminated the PNW as a possibility.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            TN has no state income tax, it wins.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Unfortunately for me, I am in Memphis every third week and never in Nashville. I haven’t been to Nashville since 2008 or 2009.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Memphis seems positively ghetto to me after experiencing Nashville.

            And for those who’ve not been there recently, Nashville is far removed from some backwaters, hick town, but has a refined, tolerant, and dare I say diverse, vibe, with a broad array of good eats, music and cultural “happenings.”

            Asheville is more starchy, with a surprising amount of high tech, R&D and corporatist opportunities, and is strategically near Duke (I swear that there are a minimum of 3 Fortune 500 names on every exit sign on the highways there).

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Oh, I agree, and it would have been exactly the right car for an attorney to drive to a meeting any time until, oh, say, about 2005 or 2006. But it’s just a bit too old in a place where everyone is expecting a Lexus or BMW from the last decade or so.

          Wheels are the stock 16-spoke 15s. I expect when the tires wear out (which won’t be for awhile) I’ll get a set of factory “GS” 16s, which look better and have many more tire choices at this point.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You do of course have both, I’d simply alternate. Anyone who hasn’t seen the LS can scoff but then do a WTF the next time they see you in it. I’m of course not normal, but I’d be much more impressed by the mint (and rare) Legend from two decades ago than whatever the Joneses were rolling.

        • 0 avatar

          Hey, a ’93 Legend is good enough for Ludacris, and he’s got hoes in different area codes.

          http://blog.caranddriver.com/acura-repairing-ludacris-damaged-93-legend-because-he-drives-a-93-legend/

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I tried Bastone on your recommendation & it was a solid good. Thanks.

      I had free tickets to the Wings game against the Capitals the other night and picked up an in-law who decided to stay at Aloft in Detroit (former David Whitney Building). How they will ever make a profit on that 100 million dollar restoration is beyond me (I ran the numbers many ways, hotel & apartments included).

      I told him to stay with me in the Hills but he’s 22 and wanted to check out the nouveaux Detroit hipster scene (including Two James, etc.) before heading to the Joe.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I’m glad you liked Bastone. It’s a go to in Royal Oak when my wife and I can’t decide where to go on date night. They have good beer as well. Nothing earth shattering, but solid brews.

        I was at the Wings-Caps game with my boss. It was the first time he’s been to a Wings game in Detroit. He is a Tampa Bay Lightning season ticket holder though.

        I’m with you on the Whitney Building. There is no way they can make that money back. They’ll be better off than the Kale’s building, which is across Adams, because they have the hotel. Even though the Kale’s is 90%+ occupied, the lack of a consistent ground floor tenant has hurt them (it was originally supposed to be a Shield Pizza). That group bought that property for only $135K back in 2003. The renovation costs were about $17 million.

      • 0 avatar

        That aLoft is probably the most expensive one in America. I tried to book it for next week—it was $346 a night. No, thanks.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          It depends on location b/c it’s a “soft-brand” boutique hotel, where each franchise is far more free to design, run and set rates in accordance with their own desires than the cookie cutter Holiday Inn Express type chain hotels.

          Where you stayed in Miami is much more of an expensive hotel locale than probably 97% of the U.S., as it’s a scene to be seen, and a true destination area.

          I’m tangentially involved in a deal whereby a franchise Four Seasons operator is developing a 400 million USD hotel/condo property in an older area of Miami (Surfside) right now.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Bark lives a lot more splendidly than I ever did.

      I’ve seen him drop $35k in travel expenses during a single month.

      I live in Ohio with my son and collect guitars.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Does Bark also moonlight as a Sheikh from Dubai?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          It sounds like he just travels for work every week and has a heck of a per diem.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I know people like that — whose salary is just a small part of their total expense line in the budget. It’s a stressful life and I wouldn’t want to be one of them. Nice hotels and restaurants are cool, but don’t make up for it.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            As a single middle-age dude, I still very much enjoy the travel my job entails – I would travel MORE if I could. Nothing better than spending someone else’s money, and collecting points for those future vacations. I spent a month in Europe this year picking up my car and it cost me ~$1000 out of pocket. Gas, food, and parking. The travel experience itself is MUCH nicer if you do it enough to achieve top tier airline and hotel status. I’m not in sales so I don’t get to take clients out (that is where the big expenses happen), but not unusual for me to have $10K+ in expenses a busy month.

            150 days a year of travel would be tough with a family though.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            It can be a good life in early to mid career, but can become tiring and/or boring after years of the same thing.

            When I was single, or married but without children, I loved having a fat per diem…there was a time I could have a written the definitive book on Japanese restaurants in DC, just from my per diem adventures one year…but when I finally truly fell in love, and we had our son, I was only to happy to take a cut, to get off the road, and to spend most nights in my own bed, next to my love, and down the hall from our son.

            Every once in a while, I miss that old life. But then I think about what I gave it up for, and I realize I would make the same choice over and over.

            Thanksgiving is an especially good time for remembering to appreciate what I have. When I thought I would never have what I have now, the “road show” seemed to be the best game in town. Now I love being a homebody, with the two people I love the most in this world, almost 365 days a year.

            But I am still glad I got to go down that other path for several years earlier in my career.

            I’m sure Bark is enjoying it, and when it stops being fun and remunerative, he is bright enough to figure out how to engineer a workable transition. But until that time comes, I am sure he is enjoying most, if not all, of his time on the road, as well as really appreciating his home life when he gets to enjoy it.

            In the early years of my “real” marriage, being on the road may have even helped, as it helped us to appreciate having each other in our lives, even though neither of us had planned on having to adjust to another person as much or more than we expected them to have to adjust to us.

            Two people like that need to be reminded what the alternative, without each other, is like, on a regular basis, in order to become at peace with someone you can’t wrap around your finger.

            We were both somewhat accustomed to doing that before we met, and neither of us could do that to the other after we met, making for many interesting months in the early years. But ultimately it led to my wanting to get off the road, and to spend as much time as possible with her, and with our only child. But that was the ONLY good reason I could find to give up the per diem on the road lifestyle.

            It can border on being addictive. It is certainly a thrill unlike almost everything else.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I am trying to antagonize your younger brother, if you don’t mind, and your interruption/interference of/with my efforts with things such as facts isn’t helping.

        Thanks.

        (I used to party like a rock star just before the last RE bubble burst in ’07, especially out in Vegas, mostly on other peoples’ monies, and to be honest – ((Archer borrowed sound tone here)) “meh,” I don’t miss it very much.)

      • 0 avatar

        That was an exceptional month. I’m normally closer to $12-15k. :)

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’m usually between $6000-$8000. You get to eat at better restaurants I think. :)

        • 0 avatar
          tjh8402

          $12k-15k a month in tavel expenses? Hope you’ve got a nice top line Amex, Chase, or Citi card you can put that on. That’s some serious points! Doing any mileage runs to top off those airline EQMs for the year? :-P

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I did a weekend in Seattle for EQP’s last month. Taking a month off hurt me this year, I would have ended up just shy of the magic 100K. The freefall from Exec Platinum to Platinum on American these days is no joking matter. Worth every cent to keep my 98%+ upgrade rate. Them seats in cattle class suuuuck.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The value of the points can be pretty crazy. I figure that the first/business class airline tickets and hotels (2 rooms a night for a month) for my trip to Europe last summer were worth an easy $30K. It was about three years of points for me.

    • 0 avatar

      Troll level: fail.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I’ve already planted brain mines in you.

        They haven’t detonated yet, but you’ll find yourself hating me and pushing for my censorship in due time.

        Carry on with the “50 Shades of Intrigue, Mystery & Insider’s Secrets,” by pseudonym Agent Bark X series…

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          p.s. – I actually enjoy reading your highly embellished, 23% true/77% fiction stories (straight up non-fiction is boring), so I beg you to not stop (but also try to not exceed the 77% fiction ratio; 62% is ideal, IMO, FWIW, by the way).

          Happy Thanksgiving!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Well, Bark DOES have that fancy school bus yellow ‘Stang too – pretty ballin’.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      That FiST is just a stepping stone to a flat crankshaft Mustang, DeadWeight…read between the lines. He is laying the groundwork for convincing his whole family that buying that new Mustang will be the most rational move he could make.

      And more power to him…it is a brilliantly crafted strategy that deserves to work.

      But watch this space…that Mustang is coming. It’s just a matter of time, probably coupled with his desire to see the first run bugs shaken out.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    I live in the Phoenix metro area. A Rolls Wraith pulled up next to me on an off ramp while waiting for the light. It was a sight to behold! Simply the most beautiful car on the road.

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    Great story. Nicely told. One of the best I’ve read on this site in a while.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Agreed. It was colorful and intesting. Better yet, no mention of Cadillac at all!

      Here at TTAC we have our own version of Godwin’s Law: Deadweight’s Law only instead of Hitler, substitute Cadillac.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Quit singling me out & ripping on me, Bunkie.

        I’m sensitive as of late.

        Don’t be a jive Turkey like Johann de Nysschen, or a sour, bitter marketing type, euro-purse puppy (of things such as fountain pens) such as Use Ellinghaus, or turn-her-nose-up-at-sage-bread-stuffing or lumpy mashed potatoes Millennial type as urban chic hipster Melody CT-Lee.

        Happy Thanksgiving!

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I worked for a while as a line service tech at an FBO where we serviced primarily privately owned small planes and jets. I had to wonder at what point it no longer made sense to buy a Range Rover, Bentley Continental, or Mercedes S class because they truly were a dime a dozen. Hard to impress anybody when those sorts of vehicles are like Toyota Camrys and Honda Civics in the neighborhood, at Whole Foods and Publix, at the Private Jet Terminal, at the private school carpool, etc. We had one customer who cycled through Range Rovers, Bentleys, Rollers, Aston Martins, and Mercedes faster than I could keep track. The one car that he acquired that got the most attention at the airport? Some 60s Ford that had been all hot rodded out. That was actually unique. The same sort of thing could almost be said for airplanes. We used to see people jetting around Florida on Gulfstreams, Challengers, Falcons, and Citation Xs like they were ATR’s. We also had a beautiful restored all polished aluminum DC-3 that used to stay with us a few months most winters. If I was just flying around the state, I’d want that thing. When you’re on the ramp at FLL or PBI and there’s rows upon rows of Gulfstreams and Falcons, you know that DC-3 is the one that’s gonna get the attention. Not like an intrastate flight is really long enough to make the speed difference significant.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Was that DC-3 at KFPR? When I was training there a couple of years back, I often saw a really fine polished DC-3 and was even lucky enough to see it depart. What a sight and sound!

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        It may have gone to FPR at some point. The owners (and the plane) lived in the Pacific Northwest but had a business and homes in Florida and they would bring the plane down every winter. They flew it all over the state and Caribbean. FPR is a popular customs stop so it could’ve used them on return trips from the Bahamas or other Caribbean trips. Lovely sight and yes, a truly awesome sound. It took off one time on the runway parallel to our terminal and I could feel the rumble from the engines. It’s been a few years since it was here.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    I’m sorry but this story is a load of BS. I am in South Florida all the time, will be back there for a few months beginning January and most of the people buying Rolls Royces and so on can afford them easily and also pay cash. My buddy is one of those people, has a vacation house on Ocean in Palm Beach in the $20 million range and he had a Phantom before and now just got a Ghost. I know quite a few people with Rolls and Bentleys and their houses sit in the $6 million plus range so paying for these cars is not a problem. I also have a buddy that sells high-end real estate and he said usually people finance up to about $2 million and the homes above that price usually tend to be cash deals. A so-so house in Boca goes for $400,000 plus and there are tons of mansions and high dollar condos on the beach well in the millions, you really think those guys have a problem paying $200,000 to $400,000 for a car? Go out to Joe’s Stone Crab down in Miami Beach and you will see 10 new Rolls Royces in a row sitting on the side street, not even getting front row. Every dude with a $10 million a year or more sports contract or record deal or movie deal is down in South Florida at any given time, moving these cars is nothing. Go to Naples and the dealership out there has $400,000 cars sitting outside on the lot like they are KIAs.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Are you suggesting Bark M. fabricated or dramatically embellished some or much of his claims in this “story?”

      How dare you, Sir!

    • 0 avatar
      Mathias

      There’s a big difference between buying Bentleys new and buying them used. If you’re truly rich, it doesn’t matter.
      So who the heck buys a two-year-old Rolls Royce? And what’s the point of that, anyway?
      To my addled automotive mind, the story makes sense. Also fun to read.

      Now don’t forget to set your scales back 10 lbs. tonight.
      Happy Thanksgiving!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      This guy isn’t a new car dealer selling to new exotic buyers. He’s the buy here pay here of the exotic world, his niche is selling to those who appear to have more than they actually do.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Or those who want to appear to have less than they do, and to put less of what they have at risk. The interest on the payments is just a form of self-insurance for those who might be at risk for an asset seizure.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Man, that’s a lot of work to get laid…

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    There was a black Wraith on my block a few ago, a block of Philadelphia row houses where the general range of cars is from Prius to Subaru. I do not know what it was doing here, but I thought that it was appropriate that a black Wraith should appear on Halloween! I took a photo of it, but I decided it was best not to get close enough to check out whether it had the starlight headliner!

  • avatar
    robc123

    144 months finance term? that’s $1,111.00 a month base (no interest) for a $200k car w. 20% down.

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