Jimbo is now dropping names I can easily check. The stones on this dude belong on Easter Island

As offered by Legendary Motorcars (www.lmccars.com): This car was completely restored in the late '90s and comes with factory Rudge wheels and belly pans. Other features include a sport camshaft and big front sway bar. This car was meant to be used and has competed in several rallies, having done 7,500 miles since completion. Yet it is still very fresh, showing little or no sign of use.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Scam-a-Lot

This car is still for sale. Problem is, it’s being offered not just by its rightful owner, but by someone else as well.
By self-imposition, I have been admonished to run my own business and support my own domain, and I have chosen to do this by selling cars. This decision has clearly over the years had its fair share of virtue and vice, yin and yang, Lewis and Martin, but an obvious reality of this business is that your “horse-pucky” meter has to work on many gargantuan levels. Sadly, this ability is plainly missing from some members of the public; I state this after reading the “Indonesian Car Scam” section on the SCM Web site.
Two things, people. Firstly, for those of you that have been scammed, are you kidding me? A Gullwing for $50,000? Snap out of your comas! Santa Claus is not real, there is no Tooth Fairy and Ed McMahon is not going to be ringing your doorbell with a check anytime soon. Nothing in this world is a deal of those proportions, especially not in the car world. Free floor mats? Extra set of keys? Free tank of gas? Certainly. Incredible desirable collector cars at 25% of their value from a third world nation that has about 400 yards of paved road? Please.
More importantly, these scammers are bold and blatant enough to continue to go looking for saps, suckers and people fueled by enough greed that they can’t see Yosemite through the trees. I share with you my own recent Gullwing scam experience and the reason for this rant.

“See, The Thing Is”

The phone rings on a Tuesday morning: “Steve, this is James Brockman (curious Texan drawl), are you looking to buy a Gullwing Mercedes? I saw your ad in Hemmings and I have a silver and black 1955 Gullwing for sale, 7,500 miles since it was completely restored. See, the thing is, I’m selling an estate for my uncle who has passed away.”
What did he just say? No, not the ubiquitous dead uncle con, but the, “See, the thing is,” part. Let me just state right here and now that any sentence, idea or thought that starts with those four words is destined for doom, controversy or manic laughter. In this case, we’ve got a little of all three.
Okay, I’m game, James. I like the color and if you can give more details or photos we can talk further. How much are you asking?
“Well, I can e-mail photos later this morning and I’m buying a Kaiser in New Jersey next week so I can tow the car to you. I know the car is worth more but I don’t like the idea of an auction and would sell it quickly for between $150,000-$200,000.”
Warning shot number two: Not the slightly-under-market price, but the thought of doing something quickly.
And here’s the pressure move: “If you can wire me 10%, that would get me motivated.”
I bet it would Jimbo, I bet it would.
My B.S. meter is pegged, but I’m still game. Ever play with a kitten and make it chase a flashlight spot?
“.Chassis number 5500197.”
Why is that familiar? One call to Alex Finigan at Paul Russell and Co. later, and I’m reminded that Autosport Designs sold that car to Terry Price at Legendary Motorcars in Gazelle, CA, a while back. I actually have photos of the car somewhere in my office. But didn’t J.B. tell me his uncle owned the car for 25 years and it was in Denver? The last earthquakes weren’t that strong, were they?

“It’s My Car But Terry’s Selling It”

So Jimmy B. actually e-mails me the photos that are currently on Terry Price’s Web site, where it is advertised at $350k. And yes, that would be strike three-but let’s see how far this half-wit wants to take the scam.
I ask what the real quick deal price is, and he says $125k if I commit with 10% today. Super, another $25k saved just like that, so what the heck, I’ll buy it. Just send me the contract and a copy of the title and, oh, by the way, why is this car for sale with Terry Price?
“Well, Terry is taking too long to sell it and it isn’t advertised anywhere else and I’ll send you a contract and title after I get to Denver.”
Hey, I have a better idea. I’ll send the whole $125k to a friend in Denver. You bring him the car and title-he’ll give you the entire amount.
“Nah, I like you, you don’t have to do that. Oh, you’re an Aston dealer, and my friends in Dallas are Aston dealers. Do you know [name hidden to protect further embarrassment]? He’s a good friend of mine.”
You have to be kidding me. Jimbo is now dropping names I can easily check. The stones on this dude belong on Easter Island.
Well, turns out, Mr. Jim is indeed a fine Honda customer who has been known to buy a car now and then. Surprisingly, he can be traced easily enough, leading me to wonder: What is this guy thinking? He wants me to wire-transfer money to a real Texas bank? What gives? Is he drunk? Stupid? A crackhead? Or is Jim just a victim of identity theft, and this con man is really someone else? I don’t get it.
In a moment of real desperation, Jim even sends me an e-mail with his social security card and his driver’s license to show me he’s real. Next, a contract with a witness signature shows up. I’m half expecting blood and urine samples to arrive via courier.
An hour later the requisite deposit requirement has dropped to 5% if I can do the deal by 2:00 p.m., Well, sadly, I missed the deadline. Jimster tells me he has to move on to another buyer. The day ends without fanfare. No Gullwing for me.

One More Try For Old Time’s Sake

The next day arrives as promised by the local weatherman, and being the sort that never wants to leave well enough alone, I decide to kick the sleeping Texan mutt for some giggles.
James, did you sell the car yesterday to your other buyer?
“Well, no; actually, he wasn’t real.”
Jimmy, I want the car, how do we do this? Can I send our mutual friends in Dallas the money? They’ll act as escrow agents.
“Nah, I don’t like nobody knowing my business.”
This coming from the guy who just sent me his social security card.
All right, time to make Slim Jim snap. I call Tom Papadopoulos at Autosport to find the precise trail this 300SL has gone down. He tells me where he got it, to whom he sold it, and how it got to Terry. Time to have a tète-a-tète with Mr. Price.
Terry Price is a little-how do we say?-less than amused, after hearing yet again that his inventory is being offered by someone else. Terry, let’s get our friend Lonestar Jim on the phone and have a little conference call.
Terry shouts some, and I ask if we should call the FBI or the Dallas police. In an Oscar-worthy performance, Jim now believes he must have sent the wrong photos from his uncle’s estate file.
“Jeepers gents, what car does my uncle own then? I must have had the wrong serial number too. I gotta go to Denver to check.”
Our conference call gets Jim a little squirrelly, but he doesn’t cave. I believe true scammers, lifers if you will, never admit to any wrongdoing. They’ll keep the myth alive, forever, under any circumstances. Think Kevin Spacey in “The Usual Suspects.” Ten minutes after I hang up, it’s Jimmerino on the phone again.
“Steve, I want to thank you for not sending that money and
saving me from a world of hurt. Do you think my uncle’s car might be a dual identity car? What were Terry’s pictures and serial number
doing in my uncle’s file? I had my son check the car and that’s the number!”
Ahhhhh, what? Jim-a-lim-a-ding-dong, you better check that mysterious missing title. Or maybe Jimmy Junior is reading you the engine number or body number and not the chassis number.
“That’s it! He’s giving me the wrong number!”
Right. Please now crawl back under the rock from whence you came, because this has become sort of pathetic. They’re going to toss you from the local Scammers Union if you don’t give up, Jim.
A few days later, I have one final communication with Jim via e-mail: “Dear Steve, I think I may have a re-creation or a phony car, good as it looks. I’m having an FBI friend research and see what the real history is for this particular vehicle. I’m sure there will come a time when I will need Terry’s number, but for the moment l just want to see how badly I’ve been fooled. I’ll keep you apprised.”
Yep, he’s good. he’s so good he’s probably looking at some beachfront property in Indonesia.

Comments are closed.