Remember the Ferrari Enzo wrecked by Eddie Griffin last year?
It's all fixed up now, and the man who brought the car back to life is now battling legions of flake-a-zoid deadbeat eBay bidders and brigades of enraged Ferrari internet forum zealots as he attempts to get the car together with the right buyer. I've become so fascinated by the twists and turns of this drama that I volunteered to help write the description for the car's eBay listing; hey, if my eBay descriptions can get $1.50 for Volvo lock knobs, I should be able to help move a $990,000 supercar, right? Note: Thanks to Chris Cornwell for the top photo.
It all started in October at the Yeehaw It's Texas 24 Hours Of LeMons race. A Ferrari Enzo rumbled into the paddock, and the driver got out and promptly climbed into a beat-to-hell LeMons Neon. You can bet that got my attention! It turns out that the team captain for the Purple Pin Ball Lefty and Purple Pin Ball Righty Neons (which finished 35th and 5th, respectively) is none other than Matt Groner, restorer of awesome race cars.
After the race was over, I had the opportunity to go for a ride around MSR with über-wheelman Mike Mills at the wheel; my crappy video above doesn't really convey the intensity of the experience, but I can vouch for the fact that this highly civilized street car- it's got air conditioning, a nice stereo, leather upholstery, the works- makes like a full-on race machine once its tires touch a track. You can read LeMons Supreme Court Justice Loverman's account of his Enzo ride here. Earlier that day, I'd been on a ride-along in the Rally Ready Evo, with Pike's Peak winner Dave Carapetyan at the wheel… during the LeMons race, so it was an excellent day at the track for me.
When the car arrived at Matt's shop, it needed quite a bit of work to un-Griffinize the body and frame, and that meant scaring up some parts that neither Manny, nor Moe, nor even Jack could provide. The toughest piece was the replacement front subframe, which may be obtained only with the cooperation of prickly Italians, on their schedule. In Matt's words, the quest for that part "caused my Eddie Griffin Enzo to become Project Car Hell."
Here it is, only 7 months after he began his negotiations with the Italians! According to Matt, "Sad thing is we could have made it. But who wants that liability?" Meanwhile, Ferrari-loving
whackjobs aficionados in online Ferrari forums were foaming at the mouth expressing concern that this… this Texan would be laying his mitts upon the sacred carbon-fiber flesh of their worship object. I'll let Matt tell the story himself here:
Almost one year ago I was negotiating to buy the Eddie Griffin wrecked Ferrari Enzo from Daniel Sadek. The Saved Enzo story was reported on Jalopnik.com earlier this year. Here's a little more insight regarding the experience. After the car was bought in November of 2007, it was shipped to Houston from Los Angeles in our enclosed race trailer. It arrived late one Friday night. I was at home having a couple of beers when my employees unloaded the most expensive automobile I have ever owned. Heck, the car was worth more than my house in its damaged condition. At the shop that evening was a friend's 20 year son and one of his buddies who took some pictures as the car was being unloaded. (attached pics) Since we had already studied the car and the damage, we knew what parts were needed. Those parts had already been ordered from our Ferrari connection. David, the brains behind this Enzo purchase, was telling the kids about the repair, etc. Within three weeks of the cars arrival, we had 80% or $70,000.00 in Ferrari Enzo parts we needed to repair the car. At the time, we were told another few weeks we'd have the rest. Of course, all of the parts were prepaid because no one wants to stock Enzo parts. After all, there were only 400 of these supercars sold in the world, and their parts are rather expensive. Plus, most Enzos sit in some garage and are never driven.
We are a behind-the-scenes shop so no one knew about our having the car except a few close associates. In December I received an e-mail asking me if I knew the kid pictured sitting in the wrecked Eddie Griffin Enzo? My response was "No, I do not know him." It turns out that the kid taking pictures that Friday night had posted on a Lamborghini message board that he was the proud new owner of the famously wrecked Enzo and telling how he was going to repair it. Mimicking what he had heard David say about the repair. It's now out that we have this car. There goes our "undercover brother" philosophy around here. The Internet can make anyone who has a key board a Ferrari expert or millionaire with a dozen supercars parked in his garage these days. Kids, get out and go interact with each other! Play some baseball or get a $500 LeMons car and go have some fun. Come on! Please! The guys who write these automotive articles have been filthy from working on all kinds of cars. Trust me, you're not going to get the experience reading about it on the Internet or in a book. Just do it.
Back to the repair of the high dollar Ferrari beast. Before I agreed to repair the car, no one told me that the Italians take 'holiday' for two months. So, January and February are gone and I still don't have all the parts needed to repair my car. I am getting grumpy from the wait. My guys will tell you I am always grumpy when things don't go as planned, and a $ one million dollar car is sitting in my garage unable to be repaired. They might be right. Anyway, March and April go by, and we keep hearing from Ferrari that the front sub frame is being made and it'll be any day now. "Any day" in Italian must be measured in dog years because it must mean "whenever we feel like it." At this point in the process, I am really becoming irate since I turned down a profit on the car when it first arrived in November. Plus, that's our normal business plan: buy it, sell it, and turn the inventory fast. Do you hear that, David? We repair a few cars, but that is not our typical method to make money. I don't like to own inventory for more then a couple months, especially cars this expensive. David, the brains (?) guy, assures me that once he has the parts it will take a short time to repair the supercar. And once it's done he's got people to buy it. Ok, Ok , I will calm down and promise not to swear at him as much.
In May of 2008 we FINALLY get our front sub frame and the repair begins. We start by assembling the front completely to assure the car goes together correctly. Hand built cars are quite different than the robot built cars like everyone drives these days. Everyone of them is slightly different, and this pre-assembly process is important. (picture attached). Once we are assured that every body panel fits perfectly the car is then disassembled again. The Italian hand made body parts are far from perfect from the factory. Since a carbon fiber fender costs more then a new Toyota Corolla you would think you could just bolt it on the car, right? Nope, many hours of prep are performed to assure all of these parts are now perfect. You just can't cut corners when rebuilding cars. In our eyes, that goes for $10,000.00 cars as well as $1,000,000.00 supercars. The reason I opened my own shop was I got tired of dealing with shops that had no integrity or work ethic. My hand picked employees rebuilt this supercar Ferrari, and no one could have done a better job. Period. Yes, that is of course my opinion, but I have been doing this for a long time. The human beings that work for the Ferrari factory in Maranello don't walk on water as many in the Ferrari community assume. Humans built this car in Italy in 2003, and humans in Houston, Texas rebuilt it perfectly in 2008. Am I going to hear crap about that "walk on water" opinion for the rest of my life? Well, Internet Ferrari 'experts', when you repair an Enzo call me and you can share your opinion about how it's supposed to be done.
As the world's economy falls and my stock market investments fall, I am glad to own this supercar and a few other collectible cars. If I had the prescience of things to come earlier, I certainly would have taken the profit up front. But I am OK with owning a car this rare that will continue to appreciate. I am sure there are some car people or investors who feel the same way after losing 20% to 50% in the stock market the last few weeks. At least you can enjoy this investment. The car is still for sale and offers have come in, but when dealers throughout the country and the 'experts' (people trying to buy the car) on the message boards tell potential buyers that they can buy this car for $800k or $850k, it sometimes makes me wonder to whom they are talking. Let me tell everyone. No, you or they can't buy my Enzo for that amount. And, if you can buy any Ferrari Enzo, story or no story, for that kind of money then I suggest you write the check or call me, I will buy it. Price is negotiable on this one. Bring a decent offer and you can own some Enzo history. Plus, the new owner will be able to say that more than 10 million people have seen my car on TV or YouTube. That's the before, here she is after. Pretty cool, eh?
Having dealt with my share of- how shall I put this?- troublesome eBay buyers while selling car parts (the most valuable of which was a super-low-mile big-block Ford Toploader, worth approximately 1/1000th the value of an Enzo), I thought it would be fun to write out several paragraphs of ominous warnings to potential deadbeat bidders for the Enzo's eBay listing. When it came down to it, though, I wrote just a few sentences for the car's description, which Matt very kindly included in his listing, giving me the right to brag about my excellent Enzo-hawking abilities next time some hotshot salesman starts talking about "the good leads." You can check it out here, and if you've got $990,000 (or an offer that comes close enough) you could park your very own Enzo in your driveway! When you're done there, we've got a few photo galleries for your enjoyment: