I took matters into my own hands, put on my nicest button-down shirt, slid into a pair of J. Crew khakis, and walked into the Greenwich, Connecticut exotic car boutique that had ignored my five emails and three overly-friendly voicemails.
(I'll leave the dealership unnamed to avoid sparking any fires). To make a long story short, they were thrilled by my enthusiasm, my willingness to work 40 hours a week for free, and most importantly, by my love of automobiles; particularly loud, red, Italian ones.
A week later, I arrived for the first day of my internship at 8 a.m. My tasks for the day: hand wash the Ferrari's out front, shine the Bentley's and give loving care to the other iconic vehicles in the museum-like showroom. In addition to picking up parts at neighboring dealerships and learning the proper way to clean a mesh grille with a toothbrush, this routine continued for the next month. Like the newly incarcerated Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, those first few weeks were the toughest. I faced a great deal of dirt and grime and sore knees, but it paid off - sort of.
To give you a better idea of this "boutique", let me list the current showroom inventory: a Porsche GT2, two F430 Spiders, a 360 Modena Spider, a 1963 Jaguar E Type Roadster, a 1956 Facel Vega FV2B 4 Speed, a 1957 Mercedes Benz 220S, a 1999 Shelby Series 1, an Abbot bodied 1952 Bentley R-Type coupe, and a one-off Pininfarina-bodied 1963 Corvette 'Rondine' Concept. Each of these beauties was ready to be sold, or leased for a mere $3,000 a month.
My boss was an avid collector of rare automobiles with a specialty in vintage Rolls-Royces and Bentleys. In addition to the aforementioned beauties, Mr. No Name keeps over 100 additional exotics stored in warehouses and secret underground parking units in close proximity to headquarters.
Okay, back to moi. While I was hoping for my collar to be white, I put my whining aside and accepted the blue-collar hand I had been dealt. Besides being the shop mule, I learned a great deal of off-hand information about the exotic car business. For example, who are the clients for these museum pieces on wheels? Mostly wealthy men, especially CEO's, physicians, and hedge fund executives. I remember one guy, let's call him Richie Rich, who wore a tracking device on his ankle above his Sperry Top-Siders. Hey, if I got to ride around in an S65 AMG and an Enzo, you could force me to wear an orange jumpsuit for all I care.
By my second month on the ‘job', I was no longer simply washing these metallic beauties, I was driving them. You see, when you bring in your Ferrari to be serviced, you needn't return to pick it up when the work is done; we deliver it right back to your door, that is, I deliver it. But the best news was yet to come, I started getting paid! But the generous $250/week salary wasn't entirely altruistic: the human resources office had discovered that in order for me to be insured, I had to be a paid employee and when your employees are driving around in $300,000 cars, you want them insured. I didn't argue. From the boat-like Bentley Azure to the heroic Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, I drove them all and I was in heaven. At one point, someone was stupid enough to let me fire up the atomic powered Ferrari F430 and drive it into the showroom. I must admit, driving these exotics had been a dream of mine since I first fell in love with the ride-on lawn mowers parked in front of Home Depot. But the novelty didn't last as long as I thought it would. Did I feel like a big shot driving around Jersey in a Rolls Royce? Hell yes. Was I in awe when I drove up to a 30,000 square ft. mega-mansion, through the service entrance, to meet an estate manager named Francisco? You bet. But every stick has two ends. Driving Ferrari's on a smooth and open road is not the same thing as driving one in heinous traffic, getting lost while driving in traffic, and being yelled at for getting lost. Worse still, I worked with a bunch of depressed, underpaid employees, who pleaded with me to become a lawyer and to run far away from the car industry.
Overall, this was a summer I won't soon forget. I made a couple bucks, drove cars that few humans will ever even be passengers in, and learned from the mechanics how much of a female dog it is to own and service these high strung automobiles. I'm glad I stuck it out and stood my ground when the words "I quit" were itching to jump out of my mouth. What I learned last summer was not something you could learn at college or on Wikipedia. This was a ‘you had to be there' kinda thing.
Epilog: Towards the end of the summer I was told that my presence was no longer required. Customers for big ticket automobiles were scarce and business was slower than at a Blockbuster. I also got the sense that nobody really noticed or cared that I was still eager to learn a thing or two. I eventually just stopped showing up after I was given the "We'll call you if we need you" runaround.
So what did I learn? THAT I DO NOT WANT TO WORK IN THE FLIPPIN' AUTO INDUSTRY! But that's not to say that I wouldn't mind working on the outside of this plagued sector. I can picture it now: safe behind the confines of my own desk, punching away at my MacBook Pro, and bragging to my friends about my amazing gig, Auto Blogging at Jalopnik.
P.S.: Here's a video of me on a test ride of a customer's Ferrari 360 Modena, with one of the mechanics at the helm:
This piece was written and submitted by a Jalopnik reader and may not express views held by Jalopnik or its staff. But maybe they will become our views. It all depends on whether or not this person wins by whit of your eyeballs in our reality show, "Who Wants to be America's Next Top Car Blogger?"