Monday, July 14, 2003

Working for a living

When I first got to Charlotte I spent a few weeks
working for my Step Father at a car dealership he
worked at in Charlotte, NC. The dealership was
owned by a prominent NASCAR team owner and my
dad was proud to be associated with such a successful

I spent about a month detailing and washing cars
on the lot. It was nice mindless work which is what
I was looking for after getting out of the service.
I spent enough time on that lot to know that it was
a place I did not want to be a year later. Most of
the salesmen were cool but the managers were red-faced

This was around the time that "Days of Thunder" had
been filmed at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Somehow
the dealership got its hands on a couple of cars used in
the movie. I don't remember what all cars they had
from the movie but the showpiece was the Jeep by the
character played by Tom Cruise. They also got ahold
of some cars used in the Paul Newman movie, Havana.
Havana was set in 1958 so these cars were from the 40's and 50's.
They decide to take these cars and have an auction.

Since this auction was considered to be a big deal the
district manager was on the lot to oversea the procedings.
Mainly he just walked around stressing everyone out. He spent
most of the afternoon explaining how much had been paid
for these cars and how importantit was that the auction
went well. More than likely, it was probably important for his
standing within the company that the auction be a success.

Since the auction featured mostly the cars from the Havana
film most of the people at thisauction were serious car
collectors and restorers. I could tell by looking at this collection
of men in their 40's and 50's that they spent an awful lot of
time around cars, either atauctions or under them or inside
them or simply gazing upon them. Management was
hoping for movie buffs that would pay more than the cars
were worth. What they mostly got were collectors looking
for a good buy.

Admittedly the cars from the movie Havana were buckets
that barely ran. They were not restored and would require
work to even be street legal. The collectors bidded
accordingly. Mr. Regional Manager was apoplectic.
At one point I remember himwalking around in the summer sun
with his alligator shirt and expensive trousers
muttering and almost shouting, "these are movie cars,
gentleman!! Movie cars!!" After his outburst these collectors
exchanged looks with each other that said, "these are POS's that
are tank of gas from the junkyard."

The only sucker of the day was a young lady there with her rich
boyfriend that reallywanted that jeep driven by the character
played by Tom Cruise. I mean, she really wanted that thing.
He bought it, too. I think he paid around ten thousand dollars
for it which was almost three thousand more than it was worth.
Man, she wanted that jeep. After they were announced the winners
of the Jeep she sqealed and practically rubbed herself on him
like a hungry cat. I am willing to wager the shifter did not
make it through the day unmolested.

What was my job durng the auction? I got to drive cars
up in front of the collectors and when the bidding was over
I would drive it back to the garage. That's right,I drove movie
cars. I didn't get to drive the jeep driven by the character played
by Tom Cruise. No one drove that fucking holy grail. It sat apart
from all the other worthless cars. Its novelty displayed by its

No comments: