Friday, March 1, 2013

400 Porsches in Newport, Vermont

This blog continues to be about vintage, air-cooled Porsche cars, but sometimes the water-cooled variety can be of note, too. For example, in the modest near-border town of Newport there is a small and somewhat rundown looking transmission repair shop - with a twist. The shop is the flat-roofed, two garage doors and an office off to the side type of place, with random junk lying around, made of painted cement blocks, and all of it with a patina from years in the auto repair trade. Quite commonplace and anonymous, as this type of shop can be seen everywhere. Except for one thing - there are always very shiny late model Porsche cars sitting out in front of it. These cars are not being serviced for Vermonters. 

Today there were only a red Boxster S and a white Panamara sedan. And an SLK Mercedes, but more on that later. Now I have seen the changing display of Porsches in front of that shop before, but the Panamara was a first for me in Vermont, and since I was on an excursion to fetch some parts for my 911 that I had ordered from California, I was in a Porsche sort of mood, so I stopped in to see what this was all about.

OK, they are much newer than this, mostly
I wholesale 'em, the guy said. He looked just about the way you would expect a man in such a garage to look - unshaven, a heavily soiled Subaru tee shirt, worn out shoes. He did have a smart phone, though, and when it rang he answered in French. Quebec is right next door, and he does plenty business in Quebec.

Mostly I deal with Porsches, he said, but I've started recently working with Audis and Mercedes, too. There's a Mercedes out there now, he pointed out, but you and I already knew that.  Now here is the interesting part. He moves around 400 of these cars per year! Can someone buy one of these? I asked. No, my cars are all pre-sold, was the answer. To whom? I do business with 28 dealerships in Canada. They call and tell me they need a dark blue 997 Turbo, no older than 2010, for example. So, I find one and have it shipped up here, then it gets exported to Canada. I charge $500 over my cost, but do you know how much they sell those cars for in Canada? Plenty. I don't charge enough. This was said with a certain sideways grin that was difficult to decipher.

There aren't 400 Porsches in Vermont in total. Where does this businessman get the cars? Dealers call and tell what they need and he finds it? I would think he'd be on his computer all day, or on the phone trying to locate a perfect 997 Turbo somewhere in Texas, but no, he was in his garage changing the oil in an old Jeep Cherokee.

I don't need, nor want to pay for a recent model Porsche, but I believe I'll stop in again next time I pass his way. I'll ask a few more questions. . .

Instead of Porsches, there were some '70's American cars there. The place has new siding and almost looks respectable, and there is a sign that says "_______ Used Cars."

I went inside to see what this was all about. The same guy was there, but he was wearing a clean polo shirt, and was clean shaven, except for his new goatee. What happened to all the Porsches? I asked. I move 400 cars a year to Canada, he responded, clearly not remembering me or our earlier conversation.  I'll be getting several in a day or two, he added. Right now I'm looking for an Audi.

You told me earlier that all of your cars are pre-sold, I pointed out. OK, if I wanted a 2007 Cayman in a certain color, could you get me one? You have lot's of connections, it seems.

I do, he said, and I'm very picky about what I buy. Yes he is, the guy in there with the necktie said, he has gotten me three previous Audis and now he is looking for a fourth. They don't last? I said. No, no, I resell them, was the portly gentleman's reply, but it's not worth my time to search all over the continent, so I come here.

Sure, I can get you a Cayman, or whatever you like. Thanks, I said. When I'm ready I'll be back. The door is always open, he said.


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