Saturday, April 21, 2007

It's a Bug's Life!

(These cars were never my cars)

This is the most beautiful car I've ever seen! (1968 VW White Bug) You have to understand my connection to the V.W. Beetle before you'll understand my great love for them, but these guys - 11 of them total, helped me survive my 4 years in Hollywood, California. I lived off the profits I would make when I sold an Oklahoma VW to a California driver. You can still make a (nearly) 500% profit margin off of one. I checked today before I blogged. The same type of 1968 VW Bug in my hometown of Edmond (K&B Auto) will go for about $1800-2250.00 You buy it, you sell in Beverly Hills or even Torrance, and you'll get $12,500 easily - off the street selling! CASH!

I did this exchange 11 times, 10 of which were Beetles, one was a 1968 Karmann Ghia semi-automatic - ever heard of that? The stick is there in the console, but you don't have a foot clutch - very, very off the wall odd, but real, and I took in 600% for it. You simply have to love American Capitalism, and you have to have a great VW connection like I did in the 80's with Kenny from Bug Heaven, or as it was called in the day. I'd get a car, have Kenny fix it up, drive it from OKC to the Ocean, and before I could make it to the hills most of the time, I had the car sold. I remember walking to the bus station a couple of miles once because I sold the car a bit too far from where I wanted to catch a ride to the mansion I was watching - imagine that for a second...just think about what goes throught he head of a 17-18 year old wheeler-dealer, living in a mansion - driving Bugs for profit! (I said BUGS, not was the 80's!)

Kenny is still in business, he and his son and wife run the K&B Auto in Edmond, OK if you're thinking you'd like to hook up with the men and do a little transport business. Just be sure and give me a little credit OK? Thanks - I'm sure Kenny will giggle a little when you first ask. He's been wheeling and dealing a lot longer than I ever have. He's good too!
My favorite bug-for-money story came in the summer of 1983 when my friend Kendra was going to Hollywood to be in the new George Lucas film "Return of the Jedi". Remember it? She stands 4'3" and had a part guaranteed - she was told would be hot, but they were filming in northern California in the redwoods so it may not be as much on the suffering side as she may have imagined. From Oklahoma City to Flagstaff, AZ, she and I broke down at least a dozen times. It was the Ghia we were driving. First went the oil hose in Vega, TX just outside of Amarillo, and if I went into detail about it - you'd swear you were reading the newest horror flick manuscript. I'll leave it at that.

Next the clutch failed in Santa Rosa, the fuel pump died in Gallup, and we had more fun with the steering wheel locking up near Albequerque. It was a mess - we actually ran out of gas two separate times, once when the gauge was working and once when it wasn't. To say we were frustrated doesn't come close. I gave up! I parked the car in a HoBo Jo's off I-40 in Flagstaff and placed the wire to my dad through his employer - Western Union. "Pick me up. Flagstaff HOBO Jo's I-40". He sent my pot-smoking, party-to-the-end brothers Mike. I have a big brother Mike and a younger brother Mike. My younger brother doesn't do that anymore! (OOPS - sorry Uncle Mike, I just outed you!)

I put my friend on a bus - she was pissed. She made it to Hollywood, and yes she was the best damned Ewok on the planet! We watch the movie now just to watch her falling and tripping herself. After all these years, she's still the best. Shouts out to the girl from Blue Harvest!

When I returned with my dad and my mom a few weeks later - Ghia in tow on the back of the truck - my dad was the most amazed man on the earth to find out that wherever we stopped for gas someone wanted to buy the little car. Could have been the for sale sign, sure, but they were just anxious to get a better look at the little thing. Butter Cream yellow and just adorable - was it a real car, some wanted to know. I guess Ghias weren't all that popular in the desert at that time. I held out for the PIER. I knew the Ventura Highway heavy-hitters were the real audience. Dad wasn't all that thrilled about pushing it through to the end. He wanted me to sell it then - maybe 300% profit. Sounded really good to the man. I refused.

Making it to the Pier. Standing outside. I think the record was 16 hours, that was a really long day - but on the day I arrived with the little Ghia - maybe 30 minutes passed before it was gone. Maybe. Cash in hand, 600% - pure profit. In the day, I think it was $6000.00 - today, you'd have to triple it, but remember, the original price in Oklahoma would have only been about $900-1000 in 1983. Today a 1968 semi Ghia would bring in $3000 or more in Edmond, anyway.

So, bugs not drugs. There's always a way to turn a dime if you look hard enough. Do this: Go to your paper now, look up VW's for sale, and then go to the classified in L.A. to make the comparison. WOW....I may have to turn Caity onto this - she would LOVE to drive 1500 miles across the impassible desert sand in an air-cooled car without a top - and maybe, just maybe she won't carry a butcher knife for protection....oh, I didn't finish that Vega, Texas story did I? Let's just say I'm not the most conventional driver - we'll leave it at that.

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