Wrecked Bentleys, wedged Maserati, 150 in a Countach, private jet travel...
1:38 story about the important clients that went to Vegas for a Bentley VIP event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway... Continentals or Flying Spurs...while in The Club Room at Dell Frescoes Double Eagle Steakhouse to host a welcome dinner for all of our clients. It was a beautiful room...while the drivers were putting away the cars from today's event, they wrecked all four cars!
5:34 they had a Yokohama truck...could only get through 2 hot laps, before new tires.
5:56 with Derek Bell...going around this road course in a 5500 pound sports car, squealing and humming and he's talking to you, like he's having afternoon tea, "...watch as I go into this corner, we're gonna hit the apex..." It's nothing to him... I'm white knuckled with my hand on the roof.
.10:44 Bentley offered to reimburse flight and lodging due to wrecked cars...I don't think they realized how some of these folks traveled.... a trip for a family was north of $70,000.
16:51 when I was a kid, I was an AJ Foyt fan. You know, I watched a little bit of NASCAR. For me, it was the open wheel racers, and AJ Floyd was the guy. I almost got to meet him. I was in line to get him to sign my poster. I was at Pebble Beach at the time... I remember I had to get to SFO to to get out of town. I didn't get my autograph.
17:50 I did a an event one time at Daytona International Speedway, was on their Rolex 24 course
20:41 very first car personally owned... Opel GT.
20:44 I'll share a story with you about a guy that I know. He's a bi-coastal gentlemen got divorced and bought a piece of land, because he wanted to, you know, kind of like, get off the grid a little bit. And he built a I want to think it's like 25 30,000 square foot building. beautifully. Well done. Wood, stone gorgeous. It's got a 20 by 20. Room in it. That's bedroom, kitchen, living room, closet and storage. And the rest of it is garage buyer for cars. He's probably got $40 million of cars....
23:24 I was a car washer at a lot. We had a line that was called the big line. A line of Fleetwood Broughms that are like 40 feet long.
25:40 "...he looked like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas... his arms hanging out the window...there's no paint on the driver's door where his arms hanging out. Overalls, no shirt..."
27:13 ...the same pickup truck shows up the same father and son with no shirt, wearing overalls walk in. The conversation then turns to how you're going to pay. He says
Jr. Go out and get the money". So he goes out into the car gets a grocery bag, and he comes in and it's full of money. And we're now we spend the afternoon counting dollar bills and $5 bills and $10 bills and $20 bills until we come up to his total...
30:39 Jeff: My dad lived in a penthouse in a high rise outside of Detroit. And he was a car dealer. In the underground parking garage, he had three spots...always had some Corvettes, always had a new Lincoln Mark lll and lV. And the '48 Bentley... the apartment number was on the parking spot...he'd just get a knock on his door... it would be a girl wanting to know who lived there and whose cars those were. That was his Tinder at a time.
31:35 Jeff: he let me drive alone at 9 years old, in a 1969 454 automatic Corvette, and all I did was pull myself up by the steering wheel... I never touched the gas, I would just ride the brake.
32:39 he turned 14 I let him start driving to school alone. Jackson Don't tell anyone.
33:02 Chris sold new Lamborghini Maserati... Lamborghini Countach... 140 miles an hour, and I'm just freaking out
38:03 (Maserati Biturbo) He's lays on the gas in the rain, rear wheel drive twin turbo car, the car breaks loose. He breaks into multiple 360s and spins right into the mouth of this carwash.
41:28 This dealership was top customers satisfaction for all Ford and Lincoln mercury stores, which was I think, more than 5000 stores for something like 15 years in a row and had the highest loyalty factor... I just want to let the world know that Chris worked in this.
44:46 Don Naja. He 90ish. He still sells around 20 cars a month.
50:12 Let me defend the car business to the civilian public. The reason we don't like to give a quote, at a time that you're not going to buy, is we don't know where we're going to be in quota, in cash flow in inventory level, in how old or how aged in stock, the one that you're looking at is, the day you're ready, if the salesperson you're dealing with is one unit away from hitting some bonus that we want to help his family pay bills, there's all these things that we look at.
50:42 why dealers can be afraid to throw a number out: if it's too high, and "safe", meaning safety margin, you probably won't come back, but it's safe and doable in the unlikely event that you would return. Yet if it's too low, meaning we could do it now because (eg.) we're one unit away from a factory bonus, and we're gonna do it. But we don't know if we'll be in that position in three day and then we can't do it anymore. Then you think we made up a number and we were lying. So we don't know which number to hit you. Easily honored and too high for you to return or to the bone at the moment and most likely not possible later!
51:35 if your excuse to leave is that your wife's in the hospital, what are you stopping test driving and asking for an appraisal on your appraisal and your trading and whatever? MY WIFE HAS CANCER! I don't understand you people! (What would that do to my payment?!?)
56:08 I'm holding a cup of coffee and I come through the other side and I spill hit them right here. A cup of coffee on Jay Leno.
1:01:57 (Pilot Frank) And I opened up the door and here's this man on top of the covers in his tighty whities face down snow snoring
1:03:40 it's a Challenger jet. Invited us to Bahamas to gamble one night and invited my father. We're at Atlantis playing blackjack. The casino accommodated us and gave us a $10 to $10,000 limit special table so we can all sit together. I remember being at that card table and saying to him, you know, I got to be at work in the morning. It's like 11 o'clock at night. And you know, here you are in Bahamas, you got to be working in the morning like eight o'clock, right? And it's 11 is it Okay, then let's go. And he calls the pilot. So the pilot knew we were coming. We took a taxi or a hotel limo or something to the plane from saying I need to leave at 11 to being in my bed. IN CLEARWATER, FLORIDA from the Bahamas, was about an hour and 15 minute I said I am playing cards at 11. At 12:15 I'm in bed.
1:12:39 The Ferrari 599 bumper: A Honda Accord, pulls in. The building's under construction. We had this 599 that was backed into a parking spot across from the garage Bay. This little Honda comes in and is, you know, doing a U turn. But he doesn't have enough room to make the turn. So he throws the car in reverse. And he actually backs into this brand new 599 which nobody's seen yet.
1:18:05 "Let's go take a ride" and they drive me into this warehouse and we're in the back of like a Lincoln Town Car. I'm in the back and we're driving further and further into this dark warehouse and I'm actually thinking "they're gonna' get rid of me! I was selling too many Ferrari's into their territory!!"
1:19:21 founder of Wikipedia: he's got a Ferrari that he wants us to service that he says hasn't run in a long time. Can you come get it? Next to his house, is this Ferrari not parked in a garage, that someone's been mowing the grass around it for, I don't know 10 years and there's a tree growing underneath the car through the motor cover that is now creating shade.
1:24:16 lo and behold, you turn left at Fort Myers on I don't even know what the road number is the route number. Going over to Lake Okeechobee. And on the side of the road, with the key in it is this Spyker. He had jumped something with the car and the suspension was like pushed up into the nose of the car.
1:34:21 Chris explains how leasing works and why the wealthy who are very capable of paying cash, choose it.
1:42:37 so you're in a normal parking lot in Miami at a Dunkin Donuts and a brown Pagani pulls in next to me. I'm on my phone doing something else and I'm like, but it's nonsensical.
1:44:44 you drop the hammer on this motor. Well, this seat rips from the floor. And I almost fly out the complete back of the boat and crack my head on the transom of the boat. You didn't even blink an eye. "Don't sue me. I have no insurance!"
1:45:26 we're trudging through Charlotte Harbor, which is a very large body of water. And in this in your 19 foot boat. Next thing, you know, one of these Popeye's offshore racers goes flying across our bow. And then we look to our port side or starboard side, and there's a bunch of them coming in.
chris warren Main Episode - v3 (1)
Sun, 2/14 9:05PM • 1:48:23
car, selling, dealership, ferrari, buy, great, day, store, clients, driving, customer, bentley, story, remember, event, fly, tampa, worked, florida, chris
I get a phone call from Bentley's marketing director. They wrecked all four cars. They had a Yokohama truck and they could only get through like two hot laps before they had to throw new tires on the car, but I don't think they realize how some of these folks travel and we got an invoice just for the jet was north of $70,000 you know the manufacturers like well no father and son with no shirt Jr. Go out and get the money. I didn't let my son start driving to school alone until he was almost 14. Don't tell anyone you drove to school. My first ride in a in a Lamborghini Khun Tosh 140 miles an hour. So Miami Vice would borrow multiple 360s What is wrong with you people? My wife has cancer. And I spill hit them right here. A cup of coffee on Jay Leno. And she reaches into his shirt. And Pat's what turns out to be a nitroglycerin patch. Oh, gosh. Jeff Sterns connected through Guys, if they're big wigs, we'll have him on the show. And yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else.
Here he is now. Jeff Sterns.
Welcome to Jeff Sterns connected through cars. I'm here with my dear friend of what, proximately 30 years Chris proximately Chris Warren, a seasoned car professional, who is going to open us with a short story that you might find interesting about the important clients in cars that went to Vegas for a Bentley VIP event that I set that up, right? Yeah, we had a fella came out with a program some years back called Bentley driving, and it was a core setup at speedways around the country. This particular one was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where clients who were either depositors or owners could go and learn from the Bentley driving professionals on how to have the defensive driving capabilities of their Bentley portrayed to them. So this was wet slalom, highway lane change all kinds of different maneuvering that owners or potential owners would love to know that their Continentals or flying spurs could accommodate them with while they're driving. And so we were instructed to invite, you know, our very best clients, we went out with eight of our well heeled individuals, they brought who they wanted, they had a guest It was a plus one event flew out to Vegas, it was interesting that while we were on the way to Tampa International Airport to fly out, we realized we forgot our tickets. So we had to go back and make other arrangements because we missed our flight. And that was a story in and of itself. But anyway, we had rented the club room at Dell frescoes double Eagle Steakhouse to host a welcome dinner for all of our clients. It was a beautiful room. And while I'm taking my cab from the Bellagio Hotel and Casino over to del frescoes, I get a phone call from Bentley's, marketing director, informing me that while the drivers were putting away the cars from today's event, they wrecked all four cars, and that my event for tomorrow was going to be canceled. And it was up to me to break the news to our clients. The invited guests are people that currently own or had ordered any particular Bentley or just had various Bentley's Continentals was a this was a specific to continental and continental flying spur clients. And these are people that have bought many cars and do a lot of social with you and brand ambassadors send you a lot of customers correct. These are really good. These are clients that have bought multiple cars, clients that are exactly referring people, or clients that we felt might have been potentially good clients down the road. But for this particular event, we had all of our, you know, very best owners in tow for it. And we're very excited about it. Everybody was really charged up to go. And what was going to happen was some kind of vehicle test drive on track or through a city or what. So what they were doing was they had they had rented out Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which has its oval where they ran NASCAR events and they had a road course. So in the parking lot of the speedway they had set up a series of stations where you would get into a car with a driver and they would tell you what you're going to do. You're going to go 75 miles an hour, you're going to see it cone dead in front of you, you're going to change lanes without hitting the brakes. And then you're gonna immediately break or something such as that slalom on a wet road, all kinds of different defensive driving things. And then the fun part of it was, after you finish your defensive driving, you went over to the road course, where your good friend Derek Bell was taking people for hot laps in a Continental GT. So the crazy part about that, let me just share this part was they had a Yokohama truck, and they could only get through like two hot laps, before they had to throw new tires on the car, they would, you know, they would do a couple of laps with you, the car would rest while they put on two tires, and then the next person would go, yeah, it was it was amazing. It was amazing to drive with, with Derek Bell, I mean, you know, it'd be going around this road course and a 5500 pound sports car, squealing and humming and you know, and he's talking to you, like he's having afternoon tea. You know, watch as I go into this corner, we're gonna hit the apex. And you know, and it's nothing to him. And meanwhile, you know, I'm white knuckled with my hand on the roof.
Jeff Sterns 06:18
So I'm glad that you just laid all of this out. Because I'm excited thinking about it. If I was invited to this, or if I was hosting it. I couldn't imagine everyone talking about it and wanting to go and take their wife or take your buddy or take their kid or whoever is going this is a big deal to a beautiful venue and to be able to socialize with each other and be able to drive around and get these lessons and ride with this driver.
Now you get this phone call. Now, yeah, now I get the phone call. Oh, hey, by the way, the cars are wrecked in your events canceled. So Meanwhile, I have all these influential people in town that we've invited. We've made all these arrangements you know, we have this beautiful venue for this room at Dell frescoes people are arriving ordering cocktails, etc. Everybody's there and seated and I get up and welcome them and let them know that it's canceled. It's almost like a an episode of punk where they're like looking for a camera behind a wine bottle or something that you know haha, unfortunately it was reality and then it was just damage control for the dinner. Now how did these cars get wrecked drivers for Bentley that were that would do this station events, you know the slot, the wagon road course slalom, the lane change, etc. They had four different stations, they had four different cars. Well, apparently what I found out was these people were the you know, the the event had happened that day for another store. The people left and they were putting the cars away in the barn for the evening. Whatever happened, you know, they wrecked the four cars, whether they hit each other, whether they hit walls, whether they Something happened where all four of these cars were not usable. And what were the MSRP? What's the sticker price on these cars? So cars then were, you know, 175 202 and a quarter somewhere in there depending upon options. Okay, so we lost three quarters of a million bucks for the cars. Right? Fortunately Not, not the dealerships. So these were all Bentley demos that would eventually would have been sold at, you know, some dealer sponsored auction. Okay, so now you get the call. And the damage control begins. Right? So we have, we have a beautiful dinner with more wine than probably anybody who was planning on drinking. You know, we break for the evening, I get a call from a client who was supposed to be at the dinner, who is returning my call. He and I went on the offensive of trying to have Bentley get cars in from California from dealers. So we could have an event. The fortunate part was our event was pushed back I think an hour and a half the next morning, but they did eventually get cars to the venue. And we were able to get out with our clients and they were able to have some fun. They all loved it. They all loved riding with Derek and learning what these amazing automobiles could do.
I mean, you kind of water down the back of it. But when they called you and said we're gonna cancel this thing, you reacted with something like Yeah, no problem. We just send everybody home. I was literally on in the cab on the way to the dinner and was trying to get Bentley to show up to throw the hand grenade in the room. But of course they were like, Yeah, no, we're not doing it. And I was furious. I was nervous. You know, I had no idea what the reaction would have been by these by these folks. And and you know, thank god you know, these clients are normally very, very easy to please even though they just went through a great deal of travel, to go to the event, all of the the ramp up and excitement of what we were going to do the next day. Everybody was really understanding, you know, they were disappointed they were talking about what was the next one. And, you know, I talked, you know, we're gonna see what we can do to get some cars shipped in overnight. Fortunately, Bentley was able to get that part of it done. And they stepped up to the plate, they you know, Bentley offered to pay for everybody's expenses, which wasn't a part of the original package. It all worked out. In the end, it was really a great event. And you can keep your client list anonymous or namedrop. It's up to you, but their travel wasn't exactly the way I would have done it on my own dime, like 250 bucks spirit, Tampa Vegas. So Bentley offers to reimburse flight and lodging because of the hat. Right. Right. And then a couple of your clients are one of them presented you their itinerary expense, I think in the in the conversation in the cab on the right over, it turned to you know, expense reimbursement on my part, people were paying their own way out, I think without thought Bentley said it's the right thing to do, which it was. But I don't think they realized how some of these folks traveled so as as we were discussing, you know, one of my clients has a very large private plane had sent us an invoice for cross country travel, he stated the del cornado for a few days prior to going to Las Vegas. So we got an invoice from Tampa to San Diego, we get an invoice from San Diego to Las Vegas, we get an invoice from Las Vegas to Tampa, just for the jet. And then of course, he's not staying in a motel six either. So we have a suite of two actually two suites in San Diego and two suites at the Bellagio for nine days. And it was a sizable bill. I want to say it was north of $70,000 you know, and this is a long time. I don't even know exactly what year this was probably in 2006 maybe so. So it's still a tremendous amount of money. You know, they were, you know, the manufacturers like Well, no, we're not paying all that. So there was some negotiation back and forth based on the San Diego visit and so forth. They eventually did the right thing and paid for most of everybody's bills. So it was really really worked out thankfully, in that negotiation. Was the customer difficult to deal with.
Oh yes. Oh, yes.
Yeah, they wanted every said You know, it was very nervous because you know, this particular person extremely well known in the air in our area of operation very high profile, you know, it could have gotten very ugly very quickly and and i think that that was part of the catalysts for the manufacturer to realize we have to find a way to to pay for the pay for all this because it could be could have been very damaging. That had to be a real nail biter. All this all this social, all this, everything in the cars are right now. Even though you got all the reimbursement the cars did show up, and you had the track day. We had the track day, everybody had a great time. Fortunately, nobody, none of my clients wrecked anything. It really thankfully worked out worked out. Okay, well, thanks for that opener, and I'm really excited about the stuff that we talked about earlier. I mean, I'm like afraid to even mention what we have coming up but so Chris, you're on here. I mean, a couple of reasons. I mean, the the Jeff Sterns connected through cars podcast is about people that I know and we know each other kind of a little bit. And you but you're really a car guy. I mean, you deserve to be on the show, regardless of who you know. I mean, it started with a go kart for you if I recall. Yeah, no, and I'm honored to be here. It's it's a fun to be here with you. But be I appreciate the divine to share story. So it's a lot of fun. So what about this newspaper route, and the go kart? So you know, I think everybody has a cars story that starts them off in in whatever their interest is in them, whether it's selling them, collecting them, fixing them, what have you. You know, for me, I was a young man, I grew up in suburban Boston, little bedroom community and, you know, not a not a big town, not a small town. I had a Boston Globe paper route because I wanted to earn some money for something I had no idea, you know, how old I was, you know, 910 years old, delivered papers and collected money, you know, every week and saved a few dollars and ended up buying a go kart which back in the mid 70s was not the carding that we see it k one or n These other venues around town this was a some garage welded frame together two different kinds of pedals to stop and to accelerate the tires on this go kart were not filled with air they were pneumatic tires so they had a nice bevel on the them from being worn this wasn't a new go kart and it had a whatever horsepower Briggs and Stratton motor hanging off the back that you pulled like you were cutting the grass. And I lived in a neighborhood that had a pretty big oval was just a big oval with two roads in so you know, you knew when cars were coming or you could see him from far away and and so is fun to just rip around this this oval I don't I don't even know how much it was probably a half a mile. If I had to think about it. It was great. We did it through the winter. I remember being in full ski clothes, gloves hat scarf covering my face and ripping around in the in the in the ice and snow. And a guy that we knew that was a local mechanic that people used to get their car fixed at he bought this Texaco station, that was his next face. So a few of my soccer buddies, we all started pumping gas, they're 1314 years old. This was before self serve gas. Right? So you know, you're having to go out there and in you know, of course, Boston weather anytime of any time a year. And, you know, for me, it was all about the hidden gas tanks back then, you know, behind the license plate, you know, behind the tail lamp on what side of the car I got interested in, in racing Indy was much more popular back then. And you know, and then it's it's kind of had its Renaissance. Formula One has never, you know, really been a huge event in the United States. But you know, for me when I was a kid, I was an AJ Foyt fan. You know, I watched a little bit of NASCAR. For me, it was the open wheel racers, and AJ Floyd was the guy. I mean, he was, he was my God, I almost got to meet him. You know, I was in line to get him to sign my poster. I realized I had to get to Santa. I think I was gonna I would think I was at Pebble Beach at the time. Because I remember I had to get to SFO San Francisco to to get out of town. So I didn't get my autograph. I think I still think I have the post or something
like that kind of stuff is great. When you're growing up and you're you're learning and you might have an opportunity at some point to meet a hero, you know. So for instance, when I got to ride with Derrick Bell, you know, here's a guy's incredibly storied racecar driver, and to sit jump seat next to him and ride was was great. You know, I've had the good fortune of being at a few events. I did a an event one time at Daytona International Speedway, was on their Rolex 24 course, which was a lot of fun. A lot of people there they were different series. And again, this was a, you know, they had dealers that were there taking customers out, but it was, you know, different series. They had people in racing their own cars, they had people racing race cars, a lot of fun to be going down the first the main street at daytona at 175 180 miles an hour. And dropping into that first turn on on the Rolex course, it's just you know, it's memories like that, that if you love cars, you know, you love them forever. You're you're wearing that mili miglia jacket. I'd love to do that someday. Look at the back. Can you see it? Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's awesome. So anytime you want to do that. I'll go with you. I recall you had some buddy with some early 60s olds. So I grew up in suburban Boston. When I was in high school. I moved to Florida. So in between my junior and senior high school, I moved to Florida. So I meet my very first friend has a 62 or 63 year old f 85 Cutlass, which is an aluminum block, motor, three speed on on the floor, convertible and I just you know I was enthralled with that car that was just like you know, here I am in Florida and driving down Gulf Boulevard and in this beautiful old car, even old for them. You know, this is 1982 Madeira beach driving in this car going to mad beach surf shop and you know I was on top of the world back then. It was a it was a it was a great car I've never forget that car. I had an opportunity to buy it for 15 $100 after high school and probably should have so you know those those cars you know, you look back at cars like that. The aluminum block cars and Oldsmobile was producing those are sold to rover of England. So they only ran those that series for three Yours and then, you know, I rover of England, I think random for a couple decades beyond that. So, you know, it's that those types of history things that are that are interesting when you look back at some of these cars that you've, you've touched or seen. It's just great. It's all part of it. From a nostalgia standpoint. I mean, there's cars I've chased because my dad had one or buddy had one I grew up in. Right, is a 63, Cutlass convertible, a car that you stumbled across it and could afford it and everything was right. And,
yeah, you know, I
think there's a lot of cars like that where you, you know, my very first car that I personally owned was an Opel GT.
yeah. Poor Man's Corvette. It was a horribly faded red car. So it was kind of like a burnt orange. It was horrible. But it was mine. And I loved it. And if you know if today I had an opportunity or you know, a matter Matter of fact, that was last night, I was looking at the the lots at the meachum auction in Kissimmee. There was one in there, you know, so those are the things that you look at, you know, I, you know, the those f 85 cutlasses that, you know, that would be a car if I was a collector, and I had a barn and I'd find one and put it in there. Those are part of your story. Really cool. When my dad built his house, he built 1400 square feet with a five car garage. That was extra deep. And I didn't, I mean, I appreciated it because he lived a half a mile away. And I could park a car to I used to put the hot rod in there. And one of my Corvettes in there and whatever. But now I understand it. I mean, now I mean, I really wish I had 10 car garage, right? Absolutely. Absolutely. I'll share a story with you about a guy that I know. He's a by Coastal gentlemen got divorced and bought a piece of land, because he wanted to, you know, kind of like, get off the grid a little bit. And he built a I want to think it's like 25 30,000 square foot building. beautifully. Well done. You know, woodstone gorgeous. It's got a 20 by 20. Room in it. That's bedroom, kitchen, living room, closet and storage. And the rest of it is garage buyer for cars. He's probably got $40 million of cars. And well, thank goodness, he
recovered a little bit after
their divorce. He's not worried about tomorrow. You know, my divorce settlement was a little less than that. Yeah. little less than 40 million cars. So you absolutely. But you're a car guy. You've been in the car business Really? Your whole life? I mean, outside of the paper route. You started out as a lot boy a lot Porter at a dealership? Yeah, so 17 years old washing cars on a used car lot. And, you know, it was it was a lot of fun. You know, I think back it was a Cadillac dealership. And
I used to hate
having to wash some of the cars we had, we had a line. So this is early 80s. So you're still selling, you know, mid 70s cars, you know, on a used car lot. So you've we had a line that was called the big line. So this is a line of Fleetwood Brahms that are 40 feet long. And I remember, you know, it's, you know, it's a July afternoon, and you gotta watch the big line. And you know, there's three black cars and you can't, you can't move fast enough. I mean, I couldn't have been the flash and drive that car quick enough to not have it spot. You can't dry it fast enough. You can't dry fast enough. You know, and of course, they didn't have ceramic coating in those times. So it was but it was it was a great introduction to cars and to, you know, into the dealership world. And then 1984 I started selling cars. You know, I worked at a BMW store, my first store, very first car I ever sold was to a roofer who I want to say was old, but for me, I was you know, 19 years old, and he was a roofer in Florida. So he was weathered and worn and you know, he's probably 40 he was a little younger
than I thought
he was 100 Right, exactly right. This whole so I sold him a Cadillac Eldorado, barrettes white, you know, red leather interior, and you never forget that first car you saw what was the first car you sold? first car knew that I sold was at a franchise dealer was an 86 Mustang convertible, red gray leather, so you never forget those and, you know, so that was that was my my first time In a car dealership and there's a great story from that from that store and and you know growing up in car stores you know when you're new you know the new guy always gets the the horrible customers or what have you and I remember one day, because when they walk up all the season guys take us right? Yeah, there. Oh, I've got someone coming in or what have you and those sorts of things. Yeah, they step back and but I remember this gentleman pulls into the dealership, and if you if anybody remembers the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, this gentleman pulls in, in a like an Zuzu pickup truck
enough metal and crap in the back to look like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Just to give you paint this picture a little bit in his arms hanging out the window. There's no paint on the driver's door where his arms hanging out. So that's how long he's been hanging his arm out the window. overalls, no shirt. him and his son get out of the car. So the conversation in the showroom was a rookie. Here's your here's your up for today.
I owe me one moment, Chris. Yeah, we don't know that the podcast listener is someone from the car industry. So I'll just clarify when they say this is you're up. When a customer comes into the lodge, you're not asking for anybody that comes from the term who's up? Whose turn is it to go wait on somebody? Right? Yeah, okay, absolutely. Go help this customer is the is the is the cry. So I go out and say hi, you know, who knows there could have been looking for directions, what have you? Well, this gentleman says we're interested in some cars. So long story short, he settles on a. So this is 1985. Probably, he settled on a five series and a three series. So back then that's 50 grand worth of cars, 60 grand worth of cars, something such as that he signs a bill of sale doesn't have a dime on him. So he leaves coming back tomorrow. You know, they're all making fun of me for being excited for two car deal, etc.
lo and behold, the same pickup truck shows up the same father and son with no shirt, wearing overalls walk in the conversation then comes to how you're going to pay. And he says Jr. Go out and get the money. So he goes out into the car gets a grocery bag, and he comes in and it's full of money. And we're now we spend the afternoon counting dollar bills and $5 bills and $10 bills and $20 bills until we come up to his total. And he goes there you go. And come to find out the guy on most every mobile home park in the area. You know, that was his work car. And that was junk from the mobile home parks and he could do whatever you want, whenever you want. Just a great story. So for those of you new to sales, or been in sales for a while and you just need a reminder, do not judge a book by its cover. Amen. Speaking of bags of money, what about this nickels, dimes and pennies story we were talking about? Oh my gosh, we I worked at a at a Lincoln mercury dealer. And we had a client his name was Joe, God rest your soul who was a world war two that crazy as the day is long, who didn't believe in government didn't believe in banks didn't believe in anything. And he bought a lot of cars. And he paid for his cars in change. So I don't know where he got the change. I don't know where it came from if he always always had it. But there was many a time where I was counting out 18,000 20,030 $5,000 in change for an automobile. And it wasn't just once it was more than once. I think it actually got to the point where they said, you know, we can't sell him cars anymore. Like, you know, amazing to have a guy bringing bags of coins and setting them on your desk and you're like, Okay, okay. I actually remember Joe, you and I work together at that dealership. And I don't know if people if he would take turns using different salespeople, or if I sold him for he may he may or vice versa. But what he might have gotten promoted and he might have inherited him. He may have switched to change later. But he used to deal in $5 bills with me. Oh and see, but they know how to talk to him. The thing that he liked to talk about was how nice they were he used to press them. So he he kept them inside of a grandfather clock. And he'd say Look how nice these are. I pressed them. I got them from the bank and I put I don't know a brick or an iron or you know, whatever on top of it. Oh my gosh, God bless the guy. He
Jeff Sterns 29:52
talked about two things every time I dealt with him. He talked about Evo Jima and the bodies floating all over the place. Like if he went off on that rabbit hole, he had to pull them back. I mean, he would get lost in that. Yeah. And the other thing he talked about was selling radial tires after the car sale in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Absolutely. The radio car, the radial tire store. Yeah, absolutely. And they would the salespeople would give him the customer after the customer bought my tires, right. And he'd now give them a sales pitch. Why they needed radials as an upgrade later, and he loved talking about that, too. Now, also, and forgive me, I just didn't want to forget, you'd mentioned driving to the convenience store when you were 12.
Jeff Sterns 30:39
Yes. So I wasn't in quite as rural or as Mayberry as a scenario in a suburb of Detroit. My dad lived in a high rise living in a penthouse of a high rise outside of Detroit. And it was a car dealer course. And in the underground parking garage, he had three spots, which really made them a big shot. And they always had some Corvettes, and always had a new Lincoln, Mark. Starting, I remember 69, Mark three, and then I, and then the 48, you can't really see in this painting, but the 48 Bentley was always parked under there. And of course, he would tell him in the apartment number was on the parking spot. So it used to tell me about he just get a knock on his door is at a park at his apartment once in a while. And it would be a girl wanting to know who lived there and whose cars those were. That was his Tinder at a time. But Chris, he taught me to he let me drive alone at nine years old, in a and I have pictures of it in 1969 454 automatic Corvette, and all I did was pull myself up by the steering wheel, I wouldn't even all the way down seat and I never touched the gas, I would just ride the brake, let the brake go. And he would be playing frisbee with my little brother on the upper deck of the parking garage. And I go down the ramp parking garage around the front of the apartment bill mile walk and then back up the parking garage and he'd be playing frisbee my brother and wave Are you okay? Yeah, you want to do another one? Go ahead. And the security guard would also see me coming around the front of the building and let my dad know how I was doing later. I'm thinking about it now. Not my father's gonna drive for a 29 year old, let alone a nine year old car was burgundy with an airbrush spider on the hood, a spider web on the hood. And and this was of quiet, you know, early 70s when I was nine, right?
You had matching bell bottoms. For example, for sure. No doubt. And I mean, I love my father. He certainly got me addicted to cars, but I'm thinking about it now as a father. I mean, there's no way I would be that irresponsible. I didn't let my son start driving to school alone until he was almost 14. How crazy. He was like almost he turned 14 I let him start driving to school alone. Yeah, absolutely don't Jackson Don't tell anyone. Right. Don't tell anyone you drove to school. I'm afraid of Jackson's cars now. lambos Mazda rotties
like like a lot of people who are choose a profession and in selling cars you're you're sometimes moving from spot to spot and until you find a home that you really like so from the BMW store. I actually got a job in St. Petersburg, Florida. Selling they were a new Lamborghini new Mazda rottie dealer, you know, selling used cars. And so that was really my first exposure to truly you know, unique automobiles and you know, I'll remember I can remember my first ride in a in a Lamborghini Khun Tosh was with the service manager of the dealership on 38th Avenue, which is at the time of two lanes of direction with a turn lane in the middle. And 140 miles an hour, and I'm just freaking out in this car and it sounds so good. That you know, white, red lather. Khun Josh is a car you're practically laying down in to ride you know, that was great. And, you know, this is when the LM double oh two was a car that Lamborghini was selling. This is also when Miami Vice was out. The dealer in Miami didn't have an lm w two so Miami Vice would borrow our we had a black one. And they would come and trailer it. You know just on a flatbed like kind of like a tractor trailer over to Miami for a couple of episodes of Miami Vice. So that was pretty cool that that was a car you know lm w two by the way it for those who don't know is a was a an early sport utility that had a Coon Tosh motor in it. So it was a V 12 Motor probably had 36 inch tires on it stock that you could drop the clutch in and and just be in a smoke show with all four wheels and four wheel drive. They just an incredible, incredible car. Okay, so
Jeff Sterns 35:14
that's on the list that that's one out of style geographically on the list. So you said something that I found entertaining, and I'm thinking is when I'm doing these podcasts, I'm thinking, Okay, I'm friends with the person that I'm having this conversation with, right? What do we keep? And what do we not keep for the person that doesn't personally know this guy and doesn't care about all of his life story, but you made a statement. And I'll never forget my first ride in a Lamborghini Khun Tosh.
I mean, so true to the listener, that would be the holy grail of what to take a ride and, and nowadays, you probably couldn't get near one without an armed guard stopping you. Right. I remember being at Pebble Beach a couple of years ago, and when Khun Tosh is running, in terms of that, when I say running, they were the values were really getting exorbitant on kutak. And I remember being at the the the RM auction, looking at akun. Josh, that was pretty much the car that I might have written in could have been the same one for all I know, that eventually sold for over a million dollars at night. You're right. Those are cars that you know, they wouldn't even let you sit in, in those events. So well, I'm definitely glad you wouldn't forget your first ride and akun time, especially in 140 miles an hour. What about karate mazarine back then was it might have actually called the Quattroporte a back then was a four door car Mazar it was an incredibly plush never forget how supple the leather was in there in those cars. It was so soft It was like being on a TempurPedic mattress. It was just gorgeous. The the the the way that Mazda Ronnie did their their coach work on the interior of the car, you know, I only had the opportunity to sell one of those cars and it was a an amazing story. Gentlemen from Tampa came over he bought a Maserati by Turbo, which was a twin turbo car to our car. And he comes and takes delivery the car. I'll never forget it a wet day in Florida, which anybody who's been to Florida in the rain in the summer, it's it's just a day loose just a storm. He leaves the store in this car now. turbos back then had a lot of kick, you know, in terms of when the turbos spooled up and then took track to the car to the engine. And these by turbos in particular, really had a kick so this gentleman takes delivery of the car. There's an access road to get onto the main road next to the dealership is a drive thru carwash. Now this is a carwash where you as a person didn't you know put your credit card in and then you ride in the car. This is where they they put it on a track and you you wait inside and and they go through. There's nobody getting their car washed because it's pouring out. He's lays on the gas in the rain, rear wheel drive twin turbo car, the car breaks loose. He breaks into multiple 360s and spins right into the mouth of this carwash. So here he is in his brand new multiple 360 multiple 360s he comes walking back to the dealership Some time later. I don't know how, you know, in overtime, I've forgotten the timeframe. My car is in there. And so we all walk over and the police are there and now they've got records and they're trying to pull it out. He destroyed the carwash destroyed the car. The car was totaled. For a guy he felt so bad for him. But it was the funniest story. I mean, we we laughed about that for years. I mean, it was just
just crazy. But those are the you know, those are cars that I see now at at events around the country where I'm just like, Yeah, I remember those. Is the by Turbo the car that has like the squeezed skinny front end on it. Yeah, kind of it's almost like an Aston Martin Lagonda in that kind of no shape. It was very Angular. But it was a two door car. And they were cool. They're they're really cool. garsh
Jeff Sterns 39:18
I don't believe they were very reliable, but not a lot of those European cars back then were no verbose or the younger set were a whole different deal than they are now. I mean, now we have turbos on very small displacement cars on many cars to give great fuel economy, the car drives normal. You wouldn't know it's a turbo. There was a time where you knew you were on a turbo because it was always very slow. The second that when you immediately hit the gas, right, you're going nowhere and then you're going everywhere. You had very very low torque and in off the line in the way that it works is exhaust gas would spin a turbine and then Force air back into the intake, well, it took a certain amount of pressure and in certain amount of RPM to get there. And once it happened, it was like hitting a triple nitrus switch. And it would just, they were crazy. Imagine that in the right now. And for the listener that's not in Florida. The problem in Florida is it's hot all the time, it doesn't rain very often. And cars grip oil as they're traveling down the road. Right. And when rain begins, the oil comes to the surface of the road. And it's like ice here. You don't know how to drive here when
it's like black ice where you grew up where I grew up, or where people are around the country that have you know, winter, the the oil slick rows in in the rain in Florida are extremely dangerous. So turn on that turbo switch. That for guy Oh my god, he wishes they had traction control back then that's for sure. You know, that was a great time a great introduction into into, you know, those kinds of cars. And and then it brought me to the Lincoln mercury store where I met you 1987 I think, you know, those were the times where I really learned what I was doing there. I mean, you know, I think everybody that was that that was employed there. In the in the front end of the business, the variable side, the selling side was really top of their game. So just to give Chris his street cred. This dealership was top customers satisfaction for all Ford and Lincoln mercury stores, which was I think, more than 5000 stores for something like 15 years in a row and had the highest loyalty factor meaning on the customer survey. Have you bought there before? Yes. than any other Ford or Lincoln mercury store in the United States and certainly high volume etc. So I'm not knocking anyone that's not work there or works in any other kind of dealership. I just want to let the world know that Chris worked in this. This was really in New York, it was the top of the food chain. It really was Yeah, I was I was blessed to have the time to spend there. It was. It was it was a great learning experience, great learning experience. So then that dealership became one of the first auto nation acquisitions. And we're in a heavy auto nation County. So we're in Pinellas County, Florida. And if I'm not mistaken, there's around 40 Auto nation dealerships in this county. But that store was the first one. Yeah, first in our county and you absolutely. Absolutely. A lot of people it was a it took 180 degree turn right then in there, unfortunately. Well, let's be clear. The first thing they did was knocked down the old dark paneling, low ceiling, patch together over a couple of blocks of property, buildings. Kind of like your old favorite pizza place. That's been there 62 years with the pictures of the Little League on the wall kind of play and put up a multi million dollar new facility with service parking on the roof and immediately cut volume in half if I'm not mistaken. Yeah, easily. It was it was trying times, you know, I think there was a lot of people who are who were working there on both sides, you know, in all facets of the dealership, sales service, Body Shop, etc, that really were heartbroken over, you know, that family that we'd all worked at. I mean, there were people there for, you know, correct me if I'm wrong. 30 plus years. Oh, there were people there near 50 years? Harvey Bickle. Yeah. So I mean, that was a it was a it was a great family culture. And, and it was just, you know, again, it was a turned into a corporate store, which is, which is fine. There's, you know, there's a lot of great corporate stores these days. But back then there was none. And it was a new environment for a lot of people and, and, you know, so a lot of us. You know, we migrated to a dealership in town. A lot of us moved on. And I just want to give a tribute to the owners because Steve Carlisle is still around if he listens to this. But the parallel family were just phenomenal people and you couldn't not love them. And they really were family members. I mean, if you had anything personal going on with your life, you could grab a Carlyle and sit down and they give you all the time and all the icons. Absolutely. After they sold and many people stayed and many people left. We had many, many reunions
with that family. Yeah.
There's still people there today that you and I worked with one of the greatest of all time, Don nasia. I mean, Mike, what is he 90 ish. He's got to be still sold or around 20 cars a month. Still, number one. Yeah, he's a machine. God bless him. He can't stop. That's always handy. That always stays alive. So when the, the factor was that, when they sold, a lot of people stayed and did fine. And a lot of people decide to leave and what made sense was going from the local Lincoln dealer to going to the local family owned Cadillac Dealer thinking, Okay, that might be the same kind of customer. Maybe I'll, our customers will follow us. So you ended up at the local Cadillac, Landrover nearest competitor? Yeah. So, you know, at that time, in my career, I had made a decision before leaving Carlisle to learn the service side of the business, I wanted my, at that point, I had desire to learn how to, you know, do the service side of it, because at some point, I wanted to, you know, be a general manager and run a store. And I thought that I needed to have knowledge on as many facets of the stores I could to do that. So I, I moved into the service side of the business at Carlisle, and then moved into the service side of the business at, at the at the Landrover store there with the Cadillac store in Clearwater, you know, so that's where that's where I started off with, with that part of my career. And it was, you know, again, another great family, you know, they still family owned and operated today, and they still do a phenomenal job. And it was another great experience learning a lot of different new things from a different operator. I mean, I don't know what's going to have the better story, a Cadillac, or Land Rover? Well, I tell you, I, you know, there's one Landrover story that that's, that's pretty good. And I didn't have any operation in the in the Cadillac side of things, but well at that store, and we worked there together. Also, I remember, the situation in the showroom, and this related, this involved Cadillac, as you know, I'm very much into the science of selling, and the art of selling, and I try to take it down to the molecule and I try to train and and I had a process a protocol that when you serve a customer figures, so this means that once a customer asks for a price on a car, price for their trade, a lease payment, something, one of two things have to happen, they got to buy it, or we've got to try to sweeten the deal up enough to make them want to buy it until they make an offer. So they have to buy, or we have to keep asking, What if I were able to do this? Would you buy under that circumstance? What if I can get you more for for your trade another $100? would you do it? What if I can save you $50 more a month on your lease, you know, etc, etc. You weren't allowed to let the customer leave until they bought or made an offer, or until the figure was so sweet that it wasn't possible. So I used to give customers an ironclad guarantee I would let Mr. Mrs. Jones, I'm we have a night, I want your best price. We have an ironclad guarantee here, I promise that you will leave here with a car today. Or you will leave here with a price that you cannot buy it anywhere in the world. Not even here if you come back. And I'd be looking him in the eye and tell him the truth. I absolutely.
Jeff Sterns 48:20
So and before the the listening public with no car selling background judges me to death, we never lied. It wasn't a matter of lying. It was the salesperson with no authority to discount only the authority to take an offer to the manager asking what if I were able to get my manager to do this? What if I were able to get my used car manager to give you more for your trade? Or what if I were able to get you a better interest rate? Would you buy Yes or no? If the answer is no, we would give a new series of what you buy until it was possible to buy. Now the reason we would do that until it was not possible to buy was because we knew that the customers mission, if they didn't buy was to take our figures written down on the back of a business card to show to the next dealer and say, can you beat this by 100 bucks. And we did all the work and the next guy would just have to beat it by 100. So we wanted to make sure that the next guy couldn't just easily and they didn't have these then right? different clients different so the process in my dealership was a salesperson presents figures salesperson does not come back to my office or our sales office in the managers office until they have an offer or they've proposed to the customer and propose to the customer a lower and lower sweeter and sweeter deal that the customer absolutely will not do it for $1 80. And then the manager would go thank the customer for coming in and say Are you sure you wouldn't do it for $1 80
reinforce it and the customer would sometimes try on the manager and say well could you do it for dollar 80 and then the Sales Manager would say, Well, if you're willing to pay that, I'll go to the manager and see if I can get the rest out of your trading. Or I'll go to my general manager and see if I can lose money on a car because we're next to a quota, which could be true there.
Let me also defend the car business to the civilian public. The reason we don't like to give a quote, at a time that you're not going to buy, is we don't know where we're going to be in quota, in cash flow in inventory level, in how old or how aged in stock, the one that you're looking at is, the day you're ready, if the salesperson you're dealing with is one unit away from hitting some bonus that we want to help MIT to pay to help his family pay bills, there's all these things that we look at
in the moment,
which is why we're afraid to throw a number out if it's too high, and safe, meaning safety margin, you probably won't come back, but it's safe and doable. And if it's too low, meaning we could do it now because we're one unit away from a bonus, and we're gonna do it. But we don't know if we'll be there in three days, and then we can't do it anymore, then you think we made up a number and we're lying. So we don't know which number to hit you. The higher one that'll have. You don't not come back for sure. Or the lower one that we probably won't be able to do when you come back. So that's why we don't commit to anything. And we just asked, Would you and would you in would you and by the way, I hope that you just buy right then so we don't have to worry about what happens later. Okay, exactly. Right. So one of my sales people jack comes to me and says a fella came in test drove a car said he would buy now if the deals right? I served him with figures. He said, Thank you very much. I gotta go.
My wife's in the hospital.
And of course, we're thinking, if your excuse to leave is that your wife's in the hospital? Right? What are you stopping test driving and asking for an appraisal on your appraisal and your trading and whatever? sentimental Oh, man that you are. So in this case, the customer has a full asking price proposal that the bet is he'll take to another dealer and say, can you beat this by $100 which of course, is at asking window sticker to begin with, of course, anyone can be by
So now I go out to the parking lot to meet the customer. Mr. Jones. I'm Jeff Sterns, I'm the General sales manager. JACK says your wife's in the hospital. Yeah, she has cancer. Oh, my God. I'm very, very sorry to hear that. And hopefully the idea is you want something more reliable in case you get a phone call where you got to zip up in there. I mean, I understand why you might be shopping. I don't even know why he would be shopping with that going on.
I said, but
jack said you're in a hurry. So I just want to double check with five more $100 for your trade. You won't have to stay here you still go to the hospital. But with that, have you leave a small deposit on the car? And we'll see in a couple days to pick it up. What is wrong with you people?
has cancer. I'm holding up my paper, because I don't know if he's auditory or visual. And I'm asking him? Well,
Jeff Sterns 52:57
I'm very, very sorry. I just want to make sure you have the most reliable transportation in case you have to zip up there with no notice. What another 500 for your trade help. What is with you people can I have the keys to my trade and he's standing but give me my keys. I'm standing by my car. JACK go get his keys, Mr. Jones, with 500 more help because of the mental anguish and what we put you through and our insensitivity. If I only did it for that reason,
I don't understand you. What would that do to my payment? I gave him a rough calculation what I think it would do to his payment. He said Yeah, let's do it now. And he comes back in. Yeah, well, yeah. And that's it, you know, again, for the car buying public, there is the enjoyment and sport on their end as well. So, you know, I think we've all had, for those of us that have been on the selling side of a desk negotiation with a client have had, you know, just an unbelievable story I'll never forget, I had a client, husband and wife. we're negotiating on the car, just as you've described, I was a salesperson, I wasn't a manager, and again, trying to get to an agreement. And the husband actually is like rolling his eyes in his head and like doing this sort of thing. And I'm like, are you okay? And his wife smacks them in the in the shoulder and says, What are you doing? And he says, I'm having a stroke.
And he's still poor yet.
And she is she yells at him and says, just write this young man to check and that was it. Did he did the stroke go away? Yeah, he immediately was stroke free and you know, wrote a check for this. Yeah, okay, I'm gonna get off this tangent and you know, of course you can.
We can go for hours.
Jeff Sterns 54:54
This is the Chris Warren show tonight. But it might first franchise store Ford store. I had a Fellow, a couple, a husband and wife, nicest people in the world adopted me as their grandkid, we pick out a car, it's very low friction sale, it's everything's going swimmingly, and the guy turns on me, in the middle of like, I'm getting paperwork ready. Like, I think we're done with goshi ating. And he like turns on me and gets a double nasty, and I'm worried I'm worried they're gonna walk out. We've been together three and a half hours we're getting you know, I'm envisioning that I've made a sale, right, it makes it. It's exciting. I mean, for those of you that sell or don't sell, I mean, if you sell you know that it's just fun every time you sell something, and if you don't sell, this is what draws a lot of us into it. I mean, it's definitely like playing a sport. It's fun. And the wife reaches into the guy shirt, his top couple of buttons are on done. And she reaches into his shirt. And Pat's, what turns out to be a nitroglycerin patch. Oh, my gosh. on his chest, and he's like, oh, okay, any chart, you know, goes back to Dr. Jekyll. Oh, my gosh.
those patches I need to pass out where do you get those?
No kidding. So
I'm now leading into exotic car. And I mean, unless some story comes to mind, I know that you've met some famous people and you had coffee with someone out in pebble. Yeah. So you know. There was a we became a Rolls Bentley Lotus dealer back in 99 2000. So the brains were married together Rolls Royce family, we're all building crew at the time. That was my first first venture out to Pebble Beach. So the Pebble Beach Concours, obviously an iconic event for a long, long, long time, crime to the crime of the car world is out there. And, you know, this is my first experience, I really don't know a whole lot of what to expect or what's, what's going on and, and what and what a car weekend, as soon as you get off the plane. Like as soon as you go to your first coffee shop, as soon as you go to your first gas station. I mean, the cars. I mean, you know, anybody that's, you know, eat, whether it was then or now, you know, Pebble Beach, like a lot of these events is turned into an over a week event. Back Back then it was pretty much a weekend, you know, three days if you were hanging out with buddies to go golfing, but now it's over a week. But you know, the cars that you see at a grocery store, you know, I remember Pebble Beach last year, or the last time they held it was leaving a restaurant. For dinner. It was I don't know 1130 at night, and on this quiet side street, there's a McLaren f1 underneath a pine tree with pine needles being dropped on this a $20 million car, you know, no security is you could go stand on the roof if you wanted to. I mean, it was it's crazy. What you see there at Pebble Beach and car week just you know, cars at the grocery store. It's really truly an amazing safe anybody loves cars loves going to you know, it's not necessarily about the celebrity or you know who the people that are there in attendance that just seeing the cars is is truly amazing. Truly amazing. It's not about celebrity but you did have coffee with somebody Yeah, so so my very first Pebble Beach I'm at the lodge at Pebble on Sunday. manufacturers have hospitality which then was a lot smaller than it is now most of the time nowadays it's you know they have a house rented somewhere in the vicinity where they have hospitality but this one's a hospitality then would be like a tent plus outside chairs with a little yeah or you know it at this particular venue. This was in the lodge one of the upstairs rooms looking down right looking down on the 18th green prior to the the roll up of the judge cars but you know that sort of thing. So I'm in I'm in the the rolls Bentley hospitality and it's the room is divided by plants like this. So I am stepping through a couple of these display palms to go from one side of the hospitality to the other rather than you know the 18 steps out and around. I'm holding a cup of coffee and I come through the other side and I spill hit them right here. A cup of coffee on Jay Leno. That's beautiful. Never never met him until then. And so I've had I've had a few chances to shake his hand and he obviously doesn't know me from Adam but that was my my first brush with car celebrity was spilling a luke warm cup of coffee on Jay Leno's denim shirt at the Rolls Royce hospital. How did he react? Like, how did the transaction go? He was great. I
mean, he was just like, Oh, you
know, and you know, it was so sorry. And it wasn't hot, you know, thank God, you know, but he was like, Oh, you know, and he laughed it off. I don't know, he could have been yelling at me earlier or later. But, you know, he was really great. And, you know, we shared a few things about Boston. He's from Boston. I'm from Boston. And you know, that was it. We moved on. But that was my first my first brush it of celebrity at Pebble. Well, our good buddy, in pliant. Chris was always at these events with his pilot Frank Hogan, pilot Frank, violet Frank, when he was sober. I'll tell you a pilot Frank story. This is a great story. Pilot Frank was a Joe sixpack type of fella. He wasn't your delta 747 pilot. It was our clients pilot that flew him. Now on this trip to pebble You know, I'm a young man and it pebble Pebble Beach can be a very expensive trip. And Chris was generous enough to share his pilot's room with me. So he was gracious enough to tell his pilot that he was going to have a roommate, Chris Warren for his Oh, you're getting a free room out of the day. I'm getting a free room, which is great. But I didn't fly with them. I flew commercial. And I met Frank on a couple occasions at the dealership but certainly didn't know him. So this is my this is pilot Frank. I'm at an event and you know a lot of these car vents, they go into the night and I go to the room. And it's I'm trying to remember the name of the Del Monte hotel, which is right there on the wharf in Monterey. And I opened up the door and here's this man on top of the covers in his tighty whities face down snow snoring like you've never and I'm a snore so but snoring like you've never heard someone snore before. Now I can't sleep. Fortunately, our little room had a balcony that was out on the boulevard you know, so I get the the two little aluminum chairs that are on this balcony. And I cover all the cushions with the cushions from the sofa inside the room. And I grab my blanket, close the doors behind me and I'm sleeping in the beautiful you know splendor of Monterey in in August, which is probably it's probably 15 degrees out who knows to fall asleep it i'm sure after midnight, only to be woken up at like 430 in the morning, as the trailers are now unloading Ferrari's for a Ferrari event that day. That was driving so I got about two hours of sleep with fighter pilot Frank's snoring and the the trailering of to ada gtos and 365 for cams and you know you name it. It was a it was a long night. I'll put it to you that way. I remember that. When that was a brand new store. I remember that. And we went to Barrett Jackson. And with of course pilot Frank bris let him bid up a car and he left I think with like a 69 for 29 Mustang. I don't know if you remember that it came into the dealership for
Yeah, probably just the transport or something and then titling it. But you know it's just like yeah, you can have it bid on it. So funny. So pilot Frank. Yeah, I'm saying come to find out he had the flu. That's why he was storing so much so who knows? I probably got the flu out of the deal. Poor guy. Poor guy. God bless him. Chris the guy we're talking about and pilot Frank used to fly us places. I think he had a I think the plane was called a Cheyenne Yeah, I don't know like I don't I never was on his plane but I never flew on his plane. It was a twin turboprop Don't get me wrong. I I'd love to have it but it was like, I remember you flew to the Detroit Auto Show. That's right. On his plane. And I had my first ride on a private plane at that time as well with a client who had a you know, a proper jet. You know, he had a challenger. And you know who it is. Okay, you're on Chris's playing with no bathroom? Five and a half hours one way, right, because you're facing the headwind and I'm having crack crab on Gucci, China. Some other some some designer China on this plane, and it really you know, to have the experience and now of you know, I've had the experience of flying private, on a few occasions not a lot, but enough to realize that if your goal setting at any point in your life, to get to the point where you can fly, you're be flown on your own plane is definitely a goal to set. I mean that there's no other way to travel. In my opinion, that really is an incredible thing. I remember if it's the same guy, it's a challenger, it was probably the same guy invited us to Bahamas to gamble one night and invited my father. Yeah, absolutely. You know, he would fly. He was a basketball fan. And he would call you at four o'clock, hey, I'm going to a basketball game you want to go and you're thinking it's local. Next thing you know, you're in Kentucky. And you know, it's 1130 at night and he says, well, let's fly to Biloxi and play cards. And he's like, I have to work in the morning. Well,
Jeff Sterns 1:06:11
I mean, speaking of that, we're at Atlantis playing blackjack. And he took us to dinner prior. But it's just so convenient. I mean, it was like, right, you ready to go Ready to go? you park right in the building, you just walk to the plane. I mean, like no way there and like, get ready to go wheels up. And we're 45 minutes later, we're sitting at a restaurant in Bahamas, and we're on the west coast of Florida. We're not even like in the Miami area. And I remember the thing you said about going to work? Well, first of all, we had to get a special limit on the blackjack table because my dad and I were $10 a hand. And if things got lean, we could drop the five bucks a hand and a big bet would be 25 bucks. Right? Right. And so that's the limit table that we need to go to. And he needed to be at 10,000 a hand. Right.
And he actually the casino accommodated us and gave us a $10 to $10,000 limit special table so we can all sit together since it was a bad thing. Glad that they did that. It's It's, you know it is it's a it's a whole nother world and you know, you're exactly right. They I remember sitting in the you pull up in the van to get on the plane in the hangar in Detroit. And it's five o'clock in the afternoon. And there's 35 commercial jets getting ready to take off and I'm thinking to myself, we're gonna be here forever. And the pilot pulls out of the gate and you're in the air. I mean, you just got carte blanche to take off. It's it's just an incredible, incredible way to travel for sure. I do remember being at that card table and saying to him, you know, I got to be at work in the morning. It's like 11 o'clock at night. And you know, here you are in Bahamas, you got to be working in the morning like eight o'clock, right? And it's 11 is it Okay, then let's go. And he calls the pilot. So the pilot knew we were coming. We took a taxi or a hotel limo or something to the plane from saying I need to leave at 11 to being in my bed. IN CLEARWATER, FLORIDA from the Bahamas, was about an hour and 15 minute I said I am playing cards at 11 at 1215 I'm in bed. Unbelievable. Yeah, it really is so crystal clear if you want to aspire Yeah, then I mean, we don't have to go through your entire resume. Yeah, but you were in the Ferrari business. So I had the I had the opportunity to Ferrari of Tampa Bay it was just a dream I think at the time or you know, the the property had been acquired and I was given an introduction and given an opportunity and hired as their general manager to build the store and and run in a matter of fact it you know it I remember looking at the blueprints, the blueprints the very first time and it said Ferrari Gulf Coast and I remember looking at the builder and I said you know we're on the Gulf Coast are we I say cuz you know it goes pretty far. So that's how the name Ferrari Tampa Bay came up is, you know, I didn't want to name it. Ferrari Gulf Coast. And so that was a that was a really great experience labor labor love hard times, you know, building a single point franchise from the ground up. There's things that I learned that I'd never forget. And that was a you know, just a really a great thing. And it's, uh, you know, a very good store now today was good. Unfortunately, you know, when the store was opening I remember I was being interviewed by a lot of news outlets to, you know, because the store was opening and, and one of the news stories was from the local time warner cable channel, which I didn't realize would send their news feeds to, you know, their parent company, which was, you know, CNN or whomever owns cnn at the time, or still does, what have you? I don't know. But I remember I got a phone call from a client of mine, who was on his treadmill, saying, hey, you're on, you're on headline news. I turn it, you know, and those news stories ran like every 23 minutes for that news day. And they I was on headline news for every 23 minutes for a whole day on CNN Headline News, it was hilarious for in what was the news that gets a Ferrari store? No, the news was who would open a Ferrari store with a declining economy? Because this is when the, you know, the economy is crashing the housing market was was crashing, you know. So here we were opening on top of the mountain in terms of exotic cars and exotic car price and in an economy that was spiraling downwards. So that was the that was the nature of the story. So it was me building up the the fact that the folks that were buying these cars weren't being affected by the dwindling economy, they were profiting from the dwindling economy. So that was that was my headline news. My name for there was a little bit of exotic car liquidation going on for a while. And there was a little bit of people getting off of their waiting list cars in some cars, that we're bringing $250,000 over window for a short time were dropped right back to Iowa. Absolutely. It was it was a crushing time. And it was a it was a time I think that,
you know, the exotic car business may have never gotten back to that stature to what it was Previous to that, you know, you're exactly right. There is some, you know, especially within the brand of Ferrari, you you could step all over people for profit. And, you know, those days have have have long shifted. So it was a you know, it's a tough time and I was a casualty of that, you know, the market dwindled, and I was I was a general manager, and I was a casualty of dollars after the store open. So it was a tough time. But it was, it was a great experience, I wouldn't trade it. So what happened with this 599 bumper, we're building the store, and in this particular owner had another Ferrari store as well. So we had a sister store and my office was a, a 40 foot motorhome with, you know, I worked on a 18 inch round mahogany table for two years building this store, we had one little service Bay, that we had renovated while the business was while the building was being developed, you know, meet people locally, who might own Ferraris that we may not know, we could serve as people who are customers of the of the sister store, etc. So we had a, you know, one big garage where we could do some service work. So we had, it might have been the very first 599 certainly, that we had sold as a dealership, but maybe in the state of Florida or maybe the country for that matter. You know, this was, you know, like a lot of these, these cars that these manufacturers still come up with today. You know, when there's a new model that's out, it's, it draws a lot of attention. So I'll never forget I'm sitting with you know, my mechanic gave at the time on around this table. We were having lunch, and this Honda Civic or Honda Accord, pulls in the buildings under construction, there's no dealership, we had a pillar sign out front. And that was it. But we had this 599 that was backed into a parking spot across from the garage Bay. Well, this little Honda comes in and is, you know, doing a U turn. But he doesn't have enough room to make the turn. So he throws the car in reverse. And he actually backs into this brand new 599 which nobody's seen. And we of course, our hearts jumped to our throats and we've run out of the coach. This kid you know, there's a crack in the in the bumper cover. And he's like, Oh, yeah, you can just paint it. And I'm like, You don't seem to understand what you just hit. And you know, so this is a carbon fiber bumper, you know, Extremely finicky customer. You know, it wasn't an easy situation. Well come to find out long story short, this kid was on his very first day selling concrete for some concrete company. His employment packaging done he's on his own car insurance. It was horrible. Well, you know, fortunately, his employer was understanding to what their new employee had done. You know, they they paid for a new bumper cover for this car. I can't I can't remember how much it was. I want to say probably 15 or $18,000. What was the sticker on this car? 375? Probably. Okay. Mid threes? 400 grand? Yeah, yeah, I just, you know, it's just a scratch. Yeah, in the kid who says I can no, you just you know, you. If it's cracked you all we need to do is paint it. And it was just like, it was like he didn't know, sorry. You know, this isn't your Honda that you cracked. So it was just, it was hilarious. It was I felt really bad for the kid. But you know, fortunately, the company that he worked for was, was really honorable. I'd love to promote them here. But I don't remember who it was. But they did the right thing and took care of it. You were telling me about some twins? Yeah. So I am. I am blessed with identical twin daughters, who are now 13. And so then their age is right. Typical for you.
Yeah, they were one at the time or two, one and a half something such as that when when we started to have cars in the showroom. And of course, we had security cameras, you know, throughout the facility. And I'd always remember, I would get phone calls from the owner, who I'd never know when he's looking at the cameras or not. And he would call me and he says, you know, oh, your kids looks so beautiful. So cute. Please don't let them touch the cars. You know, because they were, you know, they'd running around the showroom. It was, you know, coming to see dad at work. So, yeah, the twins don't touch the cars. It was. It was it was a great time. You know, we had a lot of fun for the time that we were there for sure.
Jeff Sterns 1:17:18
And at an Italian place. And that time you don't want you know, the kids could go for a long ride. Absolutely. You don't know. I mean, it's funny, because when I met the owner of that store in Ohio, it was long before they built that Tampa Bay facility and I'd gone to Newark to meet them and nofo has some warehouse on the port there in relativity. His I don't remember, was in the business of getting a dozen guys. Okay, getting cars in from the port and production cars. I don't remember. I think at the time it might have been Saab or something. And I remember them meeting at the store and kissing on each cheek and having an espresso and I'm just the guy visiting for the day. Now. Let's go take a ride and they drive me into this warehouse and we're in the back of like a Lincoln Town Car. I'm in the back.
And we're driving further and further and I'm actually I'm no Bologna. And Frank if you're watching I'm sorry.
No Bologna. I'm thinking
they're getting rid of me. I was selling too many us Ferrari's in their territory. When I was at the absolutely Bentley's you sold a lot of them. And fine. I mean, I was honestly but because we're driving, it's like five minutes. nobody's talking in the building, driving and further back and further back and further back. We want to show you something. And it's like dark and where are we going? And finally, there's some racecar under a cover.
They're like see? And I'm like that was it? That was funny. Yeah. And you know, I gotta do this. So Wikipedia. Oh my gosh. So I get a phone call from I think is a telemarketer. You know, Indian heavy
accent and come to find out. It's the assistant for the guy that founded Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales, who lives in St. Petersburg. So he's got a Ferrari that he wants us to service that he says hasn't run in a long time. Can you come get it? So we send a transport down a flatbed truck to and I wish I had a picture to share for your your viewers because it's unbelievable. Next to his house, in a very nice neighborhood. Is this Ferrari not parked in a garage, that someone's been mowing the grass around it for, I don't know 10 years and there's a tree growing underneath the car through the motor cover that is now creating shade. Do you know what model for Yeah, it was it was a three oh a dB. So it was a magnum p i Yeah, it was a 70s Ferrari that, who knows how long you've been sitting there for flat tires. Matter of fact, you know, you know, tiny, little tiny was the guy that went to go get it. He sends me a picture. We didn't have FaceTime back then, sadly, of this tree growing through this car. And he goes, What am I going to do? So he had to cut the tree down to drag the Ferrari on to onto the thing. But the thing that's hilarious is, I had I could not speak to this gentleman. I had to wait for India to awaken to speak to his assistant. And then so it would take like three days to have two seconds of phone call, because we're waiting for the clocks to change. But it was that he wanted to restore the car. And we ended up buying the car for $500 because it was you know, it was just a parts car. And, you know, you you couldn't restore it. It was unrestored. But it's just a great story, you know, to have, you know, Wikipedia and the, you know, having a call India in three days to get a yes or no. And the tree growing through it. I mean, it was just, you know, unbeliev you know, Ferrari customers are some of the most unique customers that I've that I've met over the years. You know, I remember a client would buy a new convertible in Florida, where it rains a lot in the summertime, who would never put a stop up and just drive faster. And so you would get a car back in a year or 18 months that usually needed an interior. But the top was perfect. So, you know, it's just, you know, there's 1000 millions of stories out there for some of those people, the athletes, the entertainers, the you know, you you do start dealing in an exotic car dealership and you have stories to and you know, they keep on going well, that's what the podcast is for. That's true, you know, we both go to dinner and people say Who do you meet what happens so i i hope that our customers getting some value here that's watching this or viewer so Aston Martin spiker Fisker, yeah, so, after after Ferrari, I went to work for Aston Martin of Tampa, which was also spiker and then became Fisker. We actually even pitched McLaren at one point when McLaren was thinking about building a car for the road again, remember, you know obviously, we had a lot of, you know, well heeled clients again with with those brands of cars and but one in particular story was spiker, which is a great car you know, those those those cars back then the CH that were out where our D. Va engines, these are the cars, the the SAE motors, you know, no, no power brakes, no power steering, they were just great little race cars, can m suspensions. And I remember getting a phone call from a client who had bought one of these cars. He was a he was a software guy who had sold this company for a bunch of money, a young guy, and he bought now these cars were a quarter of a million dollars back then. So he calls me and he says, Hey, I need you to go pick up my car. He lived in Tampa, I'm figuring the cars in Tampa. And I go, well, we're you know, we'll we'll send a truck over to your house. And he goes, No, it's not at my house. I'm like, Well, where is it? And he goes somewhere,
you know, you go down to Fort Myers. And you you turn left like you're going to Miami and it's if you do that, you'll find it. And I'm like what? And he says yeah, he says it broke, it broke down. And I you know, I had some I had a buddy come pick me up and we send a transporter down. And lo and behold, you turn left at Fort Myers on I don't even know what the road number is the route number. Going over to Lake Okeechobee. And on the side of the road, with the key in it is this spiker. Now when we get to it, it hadn't broken down. He had jumped something with the car and the suspension was like pushed up into the nose of the car. We had to drag the car up onto the transporter but it's just one of those, you know, numerous numerous stories that you get from these people who have the means to do whatever they want. And as a lot of fun, so we we we hold that car up actually Quite frankly, I don't think he ever got it back. I think he had it for a week, you know, and that was that. So, just a lot of fun with those cars. A lot of fun. I remember my first baby's mama taking my son over to see a therapist in Miami and her Range Rover. And that in going across, I don't think it's the road. You mean, this? This is alligator alley, right? Yeah. You're talking about the one that like goes through D hall or something. Yeah, no, it's even it's south of there. But yeah, just a very remote two lane road going nowhere. So my ex calls me from the Land Rover with her mom and our young, slightly disabled son going to see a therapist, that a giant vulture because there's always roadkill there. And these birds are like turkeys. Yeah, hit her in the windshield, like a body hitting the windshield. Oh my gosh, and knocked the whole windshield that knocked the whole windshield in and asked me what to do. And I said, Can you see? And she goes hang on and I hear glass. You know stuff clinking and she's poking a hole through the driver through the glass, and she says What should I do? I says, well, you're halfway across the state. No sense turning around. You could sit there for hours while I send someone to rescue you just you're under an hour from what Fort Lauderdale wherever? Yeah, let's just
Jeff Sterns 1:26:28
bow where you're going. Tell me where you're where you are. Get a hotel. And Ron, our transport driver, the one that we used to take our three cars and the three go to all of the events. I asked him when he come pick up a I don't know what kind of car you know, some traded in used car to zip down to her. So within a half hour he was on the road. Five hours away. She was under an hour away. But 567 or I don't know. She had the replacement car that night and he brought back her. Oh my gosh, I don't know when she drove with wind interface.
So refreshing. Yeah, so refreshing. So with with glass splinters. They thought when she checked into the hotel, she had glitter on her face. So you'd mentioned McLaren that you guys at the at Rob elders place at the Fisker? Aston Martin. Yeah, you were trying to get McLaren but I think you traveled for that, didn't you? Yeah. So yeah, so there was rumor. We heard rumor. You know, having been with Ferrari, and knowing some of those guys, there was rumors around that brand that McLaren who hadn't hadn't built a road car since the f1 was now thinking about developing a road car, which well, that came out to be true. The mp4 12 c. We contacted McLaren to, you know, I reached out to them and talk to them about the Tampa market. Their whole vision of of McLaren was you know, Miami, New York, Beverly Hills, you know, Houston, Texas, Chicago, Illinois, maybe six stores would cover the country. And that's it. I gave them demographics. Talk to him about what we had done with Ferrari talk to him about, you know, what we would we'd done with Aston Martin, the used cars that were, you know, being bought elsewhere and resided in this area. And you know, a lot, you know, really opened their eyes to the fact that there's a tremendous amount of interest in in cars and in the Bay Area, so Sarasota, all of that sort of area. And we get them to take a pitch. So Rob and I flew over and you know, they had a beautiful little set up at for us at this little country manor house, which is, you know,
for those of you who don't know, a little country Manor houses, some guys form a castle that they've turned into a bed and breakfast. So we get shuttled from Heathrow to Surrey, England, where McLaren is is based out of and, you know, we check into this nice little castle and we were the next day we get a tour of McLaren. And just an incredible experience. I've been to McLaren a couple of times now. But that very first time, you know, being walked around showing you know they have their Boulevard of champions, which is where they have all of their racing trophies. You know, they switch out cars that they have there and it's just an incredible facility to visit and that was just a really a great thing and we made our pitch in the afternoon for the franchise, which sadly you know, Rob didn't get went to another bidder. The great thing about the manor house was Rob and I finished our pitch went back to the to the manor house to flag flying out in the morning, you know, first light out of Heathrow, so we're not on what the driving was. But we have, we have our dinner, and we go back to our rooms. Now I have the worst case of food poisoning that I've ever had in my life. You are so fragile. You've seen me. You've seen me fragile? Yes. Um, and we won't get into that. But I'm literally, you know, it's just horrible. We get picked up by a driver in the morning, you know, his Mercedes E Class or something weaves in and out of the traffic to get us to Heathrow. Like he's, you know, AJ voice, you know, he's just, he's just racing us. And I'm green as I could be. And Rob's like, you know, Rob was great. Like, you're gonna be okay, you can be okay. And we get to the first class lounge there for virgin at Heathrow, which is spectacular. People are getting haircuts and massages, and all I want to do is curl up in a ball. You know, Rob's like you want some mags. He's just joking with me and stuff. And, but the great part of that was, you know, the silver lining in that horrible evening was we get on the plane, and we're flying, you know, first class, you know, back to Tampa, he says to the, the the flight attendant, and my friend here is, is so sick, these English house mothers were so attentive to me, I actually they made my bed, if I hadn't even sat down yet. So they they lowered the bed, they lowered the seat made it in, you know, the, you know, turns into a bed, they made my bed up, they got me, they they laid me down. The the one flight attendant actually was like rubbing my head, while I was trying to fall asleep before we even took off. You know, so I took off, I was sound asleep. And we took off, he tried to get your phone number after Well, you know, it was a great time. But it was just you know, it just you know, is a great customer service experience. And I'll tell you, I have flown virgin many times after that, based off of that customer service. So, but that was a that was a great day, it was too bad that we didn't get the McLaren pitch but, or the store. But it was it was a great experience to be able to do that as a lot of fun. So, you know, and that brought me to where I am now, you know, the southeast region sales manager for premier financial services, and have been here for eight years now. Now going into my ninth year. So if you don't know what premier is, premier is an exotic car leasing company. So Chris, I never stopped dealing with his exotic crowd. Exactly. And for eight years, and I mean, I'm good friends, and you're good friends with a co worker of yours. But I mean, I think you've been the top guy, right? I mean, is that will that hurt any feelings? Well, yeah, I mean, you know, knock on wood. If this is wood, you know, we've, over my tenure, we were in my I just finished my eighth record year in a row. You know, for the last four years, I believe I've been the number one region for our company, and it's just really been a great blessing. You know, it's a great small company we do. We work hard, we do a great job for our clients and what we do in the in the in the niche that we provide the exotic car world. And it's, it's been a great time I've, I've had a lot of a lot of great experiences, a lot of car events across the country, meeting a lot of really, really interesting people. It's, you know, I think one of the things that you may have enjoyed and certainly one of the things that I love about, you know, dealing in this type of clientele is is how people have made money. And it's always
Jeff Sterns 1:33:53
interesting. You meet someone who can buy something like this. We're dealing with them, but we can't necessarily buy something like this right? And you'd like to figure out like or learn what did this person do? Yeah, of course, I wouldn't know how to have an Alzheimer's care home or make the aluminum slides for carnivals, or being the guy who takes the school photos speaking of challenger jets, right.
Yeah, no, it's, uh, you know, the guy that invented gutter guards, and, you know, all of those things. And, you know, it's just seeing the jet exhaust muffler. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Right. You know, it's those sorts of stories and interesting ways that that people have bettered the world or change the world or, you know, have made made their fortunes You know, I've I know people who are have billions of dollars who have multiple jets and you know, I know people like me, who don't, so we try to help everybody the same. So it's The interesting thing about what we do as a as an independent private leasing company, we're the nation's leading independent lessor of exotic cars. These are, but these are millionaires, Chris, can't they pay cash? I mean, like, why would they leave? And that and that's the thing, you know, you start dealing in in Toyota Corollas, and you're talking about $5 in a monthly payment, because the guy has a cable bill that's due. And you're exactly right, Jeff, you know, you start talking about a guy that that has multiple jets, multiple homes, makes millions of dollars a year, a month? And why in the world would you want to borrow money, and it's, it's really about the use of funds, it's about that cash flow, and it's about them knowing that the benefit of their money working for them in another venue, whether it's an investment or a business, or something such as that, where they understand if I pay x percentage of interest, earning five times that 10 times that on a monthly basis, and it makes the most sense. You know, it's really amazing to see that the people have immense wealth, who get that, that picture? And, and really understand the concept and how it can help them I remember, Yeah, go ahead. I think of it that it's a way that you can really legally rob your business, because a lot of these people run the lease payment 1000 2000 5000 8000 or whatever the payment is through the business. And then they have a chance to buy the car out personally at the end for the end of lease value. Sure. Sure. It's, it's there's a lot of different ways where you can, again, have your cake and eat it too, if you will. where, you know, as you said, if you're expensing your payment pre tax dollars, which means that you're paying it through your business, and it's showing up as an expense, on your corporate return, you as a business owner are paying income tax on your net. So if you're a 40%, income tax earner, while you're still enjoying your Ferrari, or Lamborghini, your Bugatti, your Bugatti or what have you, you're able to then save 40% on the time of the of your ownership, it's a huge advantage. And we as a private lender, we don't report to someone's personal credit. So if you're using your debt to income for other opportunities, having a car of significant value, not report can be a huge benefit for somebody, but also then, you know, having the cash flow advantage over, you know, over conventional financing, or some of the other ways to pay for a vehicle can be, again, it can open up revenue streams for an individual are more valuable for them than what they're doing. So it really is in a significant way for people to take advantage of tax code take advantage of, of different reasons, or benefits that they may want to exploit for themselves. Every every, everybody has a different financial picture. So it just it's just reality. And it's not a shoe that fits every foot. But it's a shoe that that certainly should be explored it to see if it does fit, I was at add on a hotel, having dinner in Monterey with a friend of mine and I'm sharing my story of my travel the next day, my three flights that I have to get from here to here to here this layover that layover to go from Monterey to Tampa.
And I hear
billowing voice from across this restaurant. If you can stay an extra day, you can fly with me. And I look over and it's a guy that I know who has his own jet. You know, fortunately for us, we stay we rent a house in Monterey for for a week at a time and we had an extra day and so I was able to not take my 18 hour three layover, you know, bargain basement flight back from Monterey and flew on this man's very nice plane. The next you know, and had an extra day to kick around Monterey. So yeah, it's not too it's not too bad. So as the as their finance guy, I mean, you're their lease guy. You're their finance guy. I know you give them car advice and stuff. But I know I mean, you can't break privacy here. But I know that they've got to give you some bank statements. They got to give you some tax returns, they got to give you some proofs. Are you jaded? Does none of it mean that move you at all? Or do you once in a while see when that even now has you say oh my Yeah, no. I mean, it's, you know, I think that the longer you're in the This side of the business, you have your joy every day in what is it, whatever it is, but there are, there are times when you know, you see a guy that, you know, makes a million dollars a year, a million dollars a month and you're going oh my gosh, they're they're incredibly wealthy. But I'll never, you know, I'll never forget my largest tax return. This is a one year earnings for a gentleman It was $164 million. And that's what he reported for income. So I don't know what is really earned that particular year, and I will let you know that he's a multinational. So that was his US tax return. Okay, but really, if you think about it, I mean, I don't know my calculator out, but that's only 13 or 14 million. I mean, you know, how do you you got to worry about dinners, I guess. Interesting cars that you've leased? Does that mean people listening to this probably are geeking out on the car piece. You know, 250 short wheelbase California. I remember I was at what's that late 50s, late 50s, early 60s 12 $15 million. della Hayes. You know, there's a lot of cool cars. I remember I was at the RM auction in Pebble Beach, and I get a text message from a guy that I know and he says, Are you here? Well, I'm where I am. Where are you? And he says, I'm at RM I just bought that 63 luso. And he says, I think I want to lease it. So he bought a three and a half million dollar car on a on a Oh, yeah, that cars nice. I'll buy it. Then he decided that he wanted to, to not pay for it all. And so we, you know, he walked to the back of the room and we worked out some numbers and you know, we we said RM auction $2 million in the morning. You know, so there's a lot of cool stories like that, but there's been a lot you know, it you know, Pagani is is one of my favorite cars. You know, and there's a you know, there's a Bugatti dealer in Miami that I love going to it's a, you know, just an absolute toy store for somebody that's a car guy like me, and I remember I was I was heading there one day, not for Pagani. But just you know, to say hi, like a lot of door to door salesman, you're, you know, you're going in with something and so I pulled into a Dunkin Donuts not too far away to you know, bring a couple dozen donuts for the guys at the store and you know, so you're in a normal parking lot in Miami at a Dunkin Donuts and a brown Pagani pulls in next to me. I'm on my phone doing something else and I'm like, but it's nonsensical. You don't even understand it. Dunkin Donuts dunkin donuts. And it's not even a Starbucks and this is a Bugatti. So the guy gets out of his brown Pagani closes his door goes in comes out with a large cup of coffee gets into spaghetti drives away. And I'm sitting here floored on so many levels. That here's a person with a $3 million car in a parking where he parked be driving away with a 90,000 degree cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee in a styrofoam cup. And there's no cupholders in a Bugatti and so it's just you know, there's so many so many car stories so many great cars, you know, to see you know, we
we've leased billions of dollars worth of cars is crazy. So all these cars all these people, all this exotic life, all this wealth, and I still think that the most exciting time you've had in your life was on a 19 foot boat with me. Oh my gosh. Wow, that was a Do you want to tell this story? I think I should tell this story. I think you should tell the story. Alright, so we are young men at the time. I don't know how old we were. You probably do because you're far sharper than I am. You bought a Was it a cobia 19 foot Coby a little code 19 foot cobia 175 mercury. So you're you're taking me out for my first ride on this boat. And I tell this story much better standing up but I'm not going to stand for this. And you want to show me how fast this boat accelerates. And this boat had pedestal seats that were like probably three feet of aluminum posts with a seat on top that I'm sitting in the passenger side seat and you drop the hammer on this motor. Well, this seat rips from the floor. And I almost fly out the complete back of the boat and crack my head on the transom of the boat. There you are. In a New York. You didn't even blink an eye? don't sue me. I don't have insurance yet. I have no insurance.
but yeah, like 97% of injuries go away immediately. And thank God, you know, knowing us back then, we probably weren't feeling anything anyway, if there was a bone sticking out of me, so we had a lot of good times on that boat. I remember I remember that, but very well, but yeah, that was great. That was a great story is, you know, how about are you not? Are you okay? don't sue me. I have no insurance yet. I don't think to this day I've ever asked how you are. Were you okay? Yeah, I think so. Okay. How about the boat race? Oh, my gosh. Was that in the same boat? Yep. Oh, yeah. So we were visiting j by bank in Englewood. So about two and a half hours, by boat, right. And we're coming home, probably on a Sunday. And we probably didn't have all of our faculties. And we're trudging through Charlotte Harbor, which is a very large body of water. And in this in your 19 foot boat. Next thing, you know, one of these Popeye's offshore racers goes flying across our bow. And then we look to our port side or starboard side, and there's a bunch of them coming in. And you just hammered on the gas. And we find out later that we were in the sea trials for the offshore boat races, which were the next weekend in Charlotte Harbor. We were in the race course in the in the race cars and how we made it in I mean, it total Mr. Magoo, how we made it in or how they didn't stop us from getting in there. But we literally could have been vaporized that morning. Trying to get home. Do you think we would have gotten hurt? I mean, the boat couldn't have been going over 120 Yeah, we might not have we might we might have made it. I mean, Rooster tail. Yeah. Going 5075 feet behind this boat. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I you know, if if we were drunk, we were sober quick, but it was. Yeah, I'll never forget that. That was just craziness. craziness that was that we had a lot of fun in that. But I remember waterskiing in the middle of the Gulf with glow sticks on a on a vest. You know, at two o'clock in the morning, guys, we were crazy. Good times. Rich. This podcast is all about a labor of love. It's all about me reaching out to people from my past. People I love I've enjoyed every minute of it. I you know, we'll see how much of it we don't have our memory lane. A lot of fun. I mean, for us, it's you know, maybe it'll just be for us, right? Maybe it'll just be for the kids. But I hope there's something in here for the listener. I love you, man. I really appreciate you coming to Yeah, thank you so much. This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars.
Car washer, salesman, service manager, sales manager, general manager, Premier Leasing area manager
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