January 8th marks a year since the X-11 was delivered.
I first heard about the car for sale in early December, 2008, and immediately started working out how I was going to get it. Had to have it.
My cheapest plan involved me taking a Greyhound to Bradenton, Florida, then driving the beastie back to Pensacola. Then I was told that the car wasn't drivable--brakes, tires, and other problems.
Plan B: transport company. They pick up the car and deliver it, and you pay the driver. Out of a dozen companies, I narrowed it down quickly to three, all cheap, but still with better credentials than the two cheapest ones.
I tried for a loan; bank said "no." Bastages. I ended up cashing in a CD, sent the $1500 to the seller, and arranged for the trucking company to bring it up.
The next few days were hell; I didn't get a call as expected on Tuesday the 6th...or on the 7th. I was wondering if I'd been scammed. Then my cellphone went off at 7:00 Thursday morning (woke me up) and a Hispanic guy told me he was in town, stopping for a quick breakfast, and would be driving up in a few minutes.
I was out of bed and out the door, and to hell with the 30-minute wait. I paced, I moved my Tracker out of the way (that spot's where I used to park my old Citation), and paced some more.
The guy finally pulled up, driving a big-ass duallie Ford with at least 30 feet of trailer. I got my first look at the X-11, nestled in ahead of a 4-door Expedition:
I inspected the car once he turned the rig around and got that monster Expedition out of the way. No headlights? Smelly upholstery from years of leaking sunroof...some ugly patches of rust...filthy...she looked pitiful sitting there.
The driver hopped up and loosened the tie-downs, then got in the car and did the exact freaking thing I didn't want ANYONE doing: he cranked it.
The car had been sitting for years. I didn't want to risk engine damage, and I had some things to do before it was cranked--making sure the piston rings were lubed so they wouldn't score the cylinders, pre-lubing the engine by running the oil pump so the crank and cam bearings wouldn't get fubar'd.
And here's this guy doing what I'd asked the company not to do. By that point, I figured it was too late--any damage had been done, either right then or in Bradenton when he drove it onto the trailer.
The starter whined, the engine cranked and caught...and died. It took the guy maybe 5 minutes of that--whine, crank, catch, die--to get the car to back 20 feet, then off the trailer, then into the driveway, then a little further, and finally--FINALLY!--into her spot. Holy crap, the engine sounded horrible, like a sick Diesel (knock, knock, knock, knock...pretty expensive sounds). Plenty of black smoke (old gas? Bad gas? Carb's out of adjustment?).
But I didn't care.
I paid the man and we parted ways. Well, I did. He still had to get that Expedition back onto the trailer. And I had to get ready for work.
My cellphone was ringing when I shut off the shower. It rang again while I was drying off, and again while I was dressing. I finally answered.
It was the driver: he'd gotten the Expedition up on the trailer...but he'd locked himself in.
See how little space there is between the doors and the trailer uprights? He couldn't open his door to get in or out, so he went in through the rear hatch, which snicked shut. Good thing he had his phone.
Too bad I didn't take my camera out there. [evil grin]
The Protection Racket
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