How to buy a car, even if it hurts...
Buying this car was an exercise in patience, negotiation, and plain
- First, on 11/7/94 I sent in a deposit to KLM Automotive to reserve a car. And I got back a receipt saying that Vin # 110 was mine and scheduled for "Early March Delivery".
- So, I had to wait until the car was delivered. (Which still has not
- I waited, and waited, and waited, and finally got to test drive one of the early cars.
- I loved it, it was noisy, and fun. I could not wait
- So, I waited, and waited, and waited.
- Finally tired of my constant questions, Ken McGraw decided to sell one of the 3 cars that he had to me, to keep me quiet.
- But, at first I did not know if I wanted to buy what was obviously a first-run vehicle. Iwas still suppossed to get #110 and they would have worked out a few kinks by then. So I waited some more. But, then in March of 1996, I could not take it anymore. I went and talked with my Credit Union, and tried to get a loan.
- No, they said. It's an electric, we don't know what it's worth. Negotiation. Well, okay, only if you pay 20% down. Well, that's worked out, now to get insurance. Call AAA of California (my insurance agent), they say "How many cylinders?" I say "0", they get confused, they ask "Manual or Automatic Transmission?" I say, "None." The get REAL confused.
- So, it's negotiation time with the Insurance agent. Finally, we agree, they agree, the bank agrees. We cut the check, I call Ken, and he goes to register the car and deliver it to me. (I live about 10 miles past the maximum range from the dealership.)
- Ken calls me on Monday, 3/25/96 and says the DMV won't register it without some more paperwork. Let him try and he'll tell me on Tuesday.
- Tuesday comes, and Ken informs me that California DMV wants another set of paperwork that the Manufacturer doesn't have. Apparently, the MSO (Manufacturuer';s Statement of Origin) is not enough for California to register the car, they want an additional amount from the Manufacturer and 6 weeks to do it. So, we start coming up with alternatives...
- If I am a part-time resident in another state, I could register the car there, and then transfer the car to California. Hmm, Arizona doesn't require this additional paperwork, and my best friend Chris lives in Tempe, Az. I call him, he says okay and then I'm on the phone to the DMV in Arizona. They would love to help, and give me all sorts of information. But, I still want to try registering the car in California.
- So, I call AAA (since they also do registrations) and talk to some of the people there, I explain the situation to them, omitting that DMV wouldn't do it. They then agree to try. So, on friday I go up to AAA in Mission Viejo with the car in tow from the dealer. We stop in at AAA at 9:30am, I talk with them, we do the paperwork, I write the check, and.... They can't find the Federal Label on the door. They say, we can't go further, but we can give you a temporary permit until you get the car insepcted by the CHPs (California Highway Patrol)
- A quick phone call to the CHP local office and they say they won't have a appointment until May. (But it's March 29th!) So, I explain the situation, and the Officer says to go to the DMV and that I don't need to be inspected by the CHP. So, off we go to the DMV. Here's where Ken thinks it's all over.
- We show up and after 1 hour in line, I'm explaining the whole thing to them. They look at the paperwork. They look at the paperwork. They look at the paperwork. Well, let's look at the car.
- Outside we go.
- I show them the car and we start looking for the secondary VIN (you know the one that's hidden inside the car somewhere.) and we can't find it. So, in my most sad puppy-dog voice I ask, "So, if we can't find this other VIN number, does this mean I can't get my plates?"
- "well..." Nibble.
- "Why don't I go inside and get your plates. If CHP has a problem with it, they'll schedule you for an appointmnent and put one on you car."
- With my plates in hand, we returned to the dealership triumphant.
- Only took 6 1/2 hours, but now Tropica/Zebra #13 is licensed as "", "LUCKY13" was taken :).
- So that evening around 6:30 pm a strange looking car glides into my driveway, and this part of the saga draws to a close...
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