Parting Ways With a Semi-Collectable
Giacchino looked to kill two birds with one stone by clearing the 1980 KZ750 out of the garage of his girlfriend's mother - to stay in the good grace of his girlfriend and make a some extra cash.
Should my friendly employers here at MCUSA decide at some point that they are no longer in need of my services, I am pleased to report that I may still have a career in the motorcycle industry. Namely in the field of sales.
Case in point - my girlfriend's 1980 KZ750, which has done little more than take up space and collect dust from within her mother's otherwise tidy garage for the past two years. I mentioned this particular model in earlier columns, as ridding ourselves of this bike has been on the short list of priorities since, well, about 30 seconds after we had brought it home for the first time.
Through the miracle of the Internet and the equally mind-boggling miracle of girlfriend-induced motivation, I was able (see: forced) to post several free ads for the bike in strategic locations. In time, I figured a collector from some part of the globe just may stumble upon my lowly ads, like finding a message in a bottle adrift on the high seas. Perhaps there was an individual out there whose near complete cycle collection lacked only one pretty-well-used, non-running, mass-produced 1980 Kawasaki Twin. At least that was the mind-set going in.
Several months had passed in which the only contact earned by my fleet of advertisements were renewal notices claiming that if I didn't reactivate the ad immediately it would vanish from cyberspace forever. It wasn't exactly the type of communication I was hoping for. Then one day in early November an e-mail arrived from just the type of collector that I had made up in my mind when placing the ads, claiming that he had been searching for this exact bike for years. Shocked and a bit skeptical, I reread his e-mail several times in an effort to pinpoint the catch. Was I expected to cash a fraudulent high-dollar money order then Western Union him the cash? Was he contacting me from outside the country with the scheme that his domestic shipping agent could make room for the KZ on his next boat load? Was this really just some cruel joke from friends who laughed hysterically when I told them about my ideal customer?
His story seemed pretty legitimate. Apparently, extensive scouring of the net revealed only two specimens for sale of the bike he lusted after, one of which happened to be my girlfriend's. He would give us our full asking price but there was one snag. He lives on Long Island, which is a good nine hours from the bike's resting place in Western N.Y. His initial plan was to take a flight out, pay for the bike, then ride it back home. The problem with that plan was that on account of a thrown cam chain, the KZ only moved when it was pushed. The next option had both myself and the potential buyer checking on rate quotes to have the bike shipped. Turned out that most shipping outfits were looking at roughly double the asking price of the bike itself. Suffice to say, a total nearly triple of what we were asking didn't sit well with our collector friend.
Finally, when all other options had been exhausted, the buyer explained that he had some acquaintances that lived about 30 miles from me. With some finagling, he was able to convince his friends to store the bike until he could rent a cargo van in the spring to come out to pick it up. It was nearly the third week in December by the time we had all of the details of the transaction sorted out.
We don't know if Giacchino had a Clymer's repair manual, but the KZ750's new owner can still find them on the Internet to help him with his thrown cam chain.
In a moment of good-will-toward-men sentiment, I agreed to load the bike up and deliver it to his friends' house. With a swig of eggnog and a long country ride past dozens of beautifully decorated houses, the trip was both festive and relaxing. My holiday cheer was temporarily wiped away when the slippery loading plank came lose and smashed my foot during the unloading process on account of the collector's lazy friend who made it clear he wanted as little to do with this entire transaction as possible. Perhaps if I had thought ahead and wore steel-toe boots I wouldn't have been so inclined to start swearing in front of people I had only met a few moments earlier. Live and learn. Now unloaded and with a-foot a-throbbing, I watched as my girlfriend handed over the title and key in exchange for a check in her full asking amount. I barely waited until she closed the door to the pickup truck to begin pulling out of the driveway. Transactions this lengthy can never come to completion too early.
So it turns out that I possess many of the traits of a successful bike salesman, as I probably should, being a mortgage broker and all. My family was so impressed at my ability to find a new home for the KZ that they wasted no time in putting my skills to use. Both my father and uncle have asked me to list their bikes for them and handle all of the transaction details. I'm not sure that there's enough eggnog in the world.
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