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Like most kids in high school, I had car. Mine was a 1971 Ford Ranchero. The Ranchero was based on a station wagon chassis. It had the front end of a sporty car and the utility of a pick up bed.
Early 70’s cars came with some of the most potent V-8 motors. The 351 cubic inch “Cleveland” motor was in mine. It was mated to a C-6 automatic transmission. Good acceleration, high top speed and very dependable. We added headers and a Holley carburetor to increase the performance.
One of my favorite features was the bench seat. There is nothing like driving around with your best girl sitting next to you. A good-looking ride, all shined up with a babe sitting as close as possible. Talk about being on top of the world. I wish that I still had one…I mean the Ranchero.
Riding in the back of a pickup used to be legal. My Ranchero was packed with people many a time for various road trips, especially to Zuma Beach. Put a little air in the High Jacker rear shocks and it would handle the load. I would drive down Malibu Canyon with Don and Chris… brothers Larry and Rodney…Floyd and George, two in the front and five in the back. With Peter Frampton, or, Elton John playing on the 8-track. We were going to the beach to look at girls. The 70’s were a great decade at least what I can recall..
We took a lot of pride in our cars back in those days. I washed and waxed my Ranchero hundreds of times. I knew that is was special. It was more than just a set of wheels, because I had custom pinstripes. To a car buff, what makes a good paint job stand out is flair. Pin striping is usually two different colors, one to set off the body color and one to make it stand out, almost a 3-D effect. Freehand pinstriping is the most difficult, but it permits almost unrestricted creativity.
My Ranchero was pinstriped by a master my friend Gary. Gary had a body shop in town that did paint and body work. But custom car fans knew it was home to one of the premier pin strip artist. It transformed my paint job into a work of art. I got to watch him do some of the Ranchero and I was in awe of the lines and designs he would create.
I really enjoyed those days. I have many great memories in the Ranchero. My whole life was in front of me. I had the freedom to go anywhere in my Ranchero. That is still part of the draw of being in car sales, being able to connect to people on what really makes them happy about driving. Finding the little things that really make a difference.
At our store, Sierra Motors, in Jamestown CA. we don’t pay our sales people on price or profit. We pay on one simple detail; customer satisfaction. If you aren’t satisfied we shouldn’t be doing it. I want you to be as satisfied as I was with Gary’s pin stripes.
”CALL TODAY @800.571.0275
It was not the position that I had expected to find myself in. Explaining to an 11 year old what was going to happen to his beloved station wagon. It was a prototypical sale, one where everybody leaves happy. I thought.
The family comes in on a Saturday, looking to replace their aging station wagon. You remember the ones with the fake wood sides and the backwards facing, not to mention car sickness inducing, rear seats.
A family of four still needs some room, but the late 70’s model wagon with a mid-six figure odometer, has seen better days.
The sale was almost nondescript in that everything went just as it should. It is amazing though, how much you can find out about people and the bond between man and machine. We had the right vehicle in stock, interest rates were good, trade value was better and the payment was just right. They took delivery and went home happy or so I thought.
Monday and I am at my desk. I look up to see Mom, as she walks into the showroom with her 11 year old son. She points me out to the lad and here he comes. I greeted him with a smile, but he looks very serious for an 11 year old. He inquired, “what’s going to happen to our car?”
This is the family who had told me how much their son loved “The Wagon”. He had his own space in the back that he loved to be in when they traveled. When the next child was born he did not feel displaced because he had his own special place in the wagon that was his alone. He grew up there, safe and secure. I was feeling tremendous pressure all of the sudden.
I looked him straight in the eye and told him that the wagon was going to be gotten ready to be sold to another family. To another family with a little boy who needed his own place to be safe in the wagon. The 11 year old stood very straight and said “thank you”. He then turned and walked back to his mother and they left.
His mom called me a couple of hours later. She explained how upset the boy was because “the wagon” that he had traveled in, slept in & grown up in was not just gone, but more importantly he did not know where his friend was going. She told me that her son wanted to come back to the dealership and ask me. She agreed and brought him down unannounced. She thanked me and said that I was amazing because her son would be honored to share his special place with the next little boy to grow up in, “the wagon”.
I just smiled …for days.