GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dino 206

Back in the day, I acquired a Dino 206 racing car from a bank in Reno, Nevada. It had been repossessed from the previous owner, the bank wanted it off their books and I know an entrance cue as well as the next fellow when I see one. I called the banker, told him I was getting on a plane within the hour and told him to wait for me even if it was after hours. Amazingly, he did.

I was greeted and escorted to the lower level of the underground parking facility where the car had been abandoned from the look of it. Next to the car were crates of spare parts--pieces that couldn't be had for love or money in the normal course of events. I stared at the car with what I hoped looked like profound sorrow and disbelief. I shook my head in a disappointed manner as often as I dared. Then, without comment, I led the banker back upstairs as though leaving behind a particularly distasteful crime scene.

Negotiating the purchase price was a riot of cross-purposes. The bank had long since closed and all the banker wanted to do was be rid of me so he could go home to dinner whereas I made myself comfortable in his office enumerating at length all the reasons why I shouldn't buy the car, which included the following statements:

Too many spare parts--what in the world would I do with them?
It doesn't seem to have air conditioning.
Do you suppose I could install power windows?
If only it weren't red.
Do you think it's safe to drive?
It's kind of old, don't you think?
Could you allow for some bodywork repair?
I just know it's going to be too noisy.
How am I going to get this mess back to Los Angeles?
I suppose you expect me to take those crates, too.
Is there a warranty?

I went on and on like this until I figured I had reached his breaking point. Then I said, "I'm going to make you an offer and I can only hope that you'll say no because I really shouldn't be buying this car."

His face fell because he was now fully--if incorrectly--aware that he had absolutely no leverage in this transaction. And he wanted to go home. "So," to quote from Fargo, "there's that and there's that on top of that."

I called out an amount that would have gotten me shot in any other circumstances and he just looked at me as though his career with the bank was coming to a bad end. "I'll have to let you know tomorrow because someone else is flying up to see the car in the morning."

I countered with, "But I'm flying back tonight, so good luck with the other guy." Ten minutes later, I'd arranged for funds to be transferred to the bank and was in a taxi headed back to the airport. I doubt that anyone ever paid less for a competition Dino than I did that day. For a short time at least, Dino 002/0852 was mine.

I do hope the banker got through to the other fellow before he got on a plane to Reno.


Unknown said...

So what happened to the 206 after you bought it?

Stephen Mitchell said...

The Dino had a number of owners after I acquired it, including my friend and Ferrari collector Ed Niles, and the lastest listing says that it is owned by Giorgio Perfetti as of 1995.