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The Shart of the Deal: I Keep Killing Killer Used-Car Deals


From the August 2017 issue

I’m in a cab in Los Angeles, making an early-­morning run to LAX, when a McLaren 570S trundles across the intersection ahead of us. My eyes track it, taking it in, and I notice that the cabby’s do, too. “I know about an old McLaren race car in Peru,” he says, and from then on I know we’ll be friends.

Over the six or so miles to the airport, I learn that the driver, Juan, is a former SCCA racer who now owns a cherry C4 Corvette. Furthermore, according to Juan, he imported an original Cobra from Peru in the late 1970s or early ’80s. “I paid $500 for it in Peru,” he says. “It was dirty, an old race car.” I ask him whether it was a 289. “No,” he replies. “It was a 427.” He later sold it in L.A. for, he says, $80,000. Now, Juan seems a little loosey-­goosey with his numbers. Showing me a photo of his Vette, he says it was an ’84 until I point out the square taillights and he agrees that it was a ’94—but if the basic substance of the Cobra story holds up, then that would be high on the all-time list of used-car success stories.