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A Heartwarming And Heartbreaking Tale of A Car Collector

Jim Yu October 31, 2013 Featured, For Sale 76 Comments


Every one of us has daydreamed about amassing a vast collection of cars that interest us. Today, we have an inspiring and cautionary tale of a man who did just that, several times over. It is an incredible story.

A little bit of background first: a couple of weeks ago, Tim Odell brought to our attention a Craigslist ad out of Miami in which a man was trying to sell his collection of 15 cars for $25,000. It had all of us scratching our heads, and yearning for more details. Make the jump for Bruce’s story, in his own words. Enjoy. 

Here’s my story…


I have always been a car nut. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and when I was a kid in the sixties, my father would take me to all of the car dealerships to see the new cars in September or October of every year. I would collect the brochures and trade them with my best friend. 
I begged my dad for a year to let me get a car. I had the money from working and he finally agreed. I was going through a Car and Driver magazine and I saw a picture of a car I had never seen before and I was in love. I found the car I wanted in the paper and we went to see it. It happened to be the son of a friend of his selling it so we got it. My first car was a 1960 MGA 1600About three years ago, my father sent me the check he wrote to buy the car – he had kept it all these years, $500.00. My uncle helped me paint the car a deep red.
I soon learned why they called Lucas Electronics the “Prince of Darkness”. I soon learned how expensive it was to have a car when you are a teenager. I had the car for about six months and I spent every penny I had on it. The clutch went out. I couldn’t afford to fix it so I sold it for $500 for it. Over the next few years I bought many VW Beetles and Karmann Ghias for $50 to $75 and rode them until they dropped. I had a 1963 Pontiac LeMans which had a 195 cubic inch four cylinder (half of a 389) with a four speed.


I finally had the opportunity to get a 1963 Coupe DeVille Copper Firemist with Bone Leather interior – that car was stunning. What a gas hog, but gas was 39 cents a gallon for premium. I managed a gas station while I attended Ohio State University and got a degree in finance. I drove the Caddy all through college. I graduated from college, bought a new house and started working for Merrill Lynch the same month, in August of 1980. I bought my first new car, a 1980 Renault LeCar, fire engine red with a rust colored cloth interior (I actually wanted a Fuego but couldn’t get approved for the loan). I loved that car. I had it for a year and was making a lot of money so I bought a 1981 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Coupe. A more fitting car for an up and coming stockbroker. But I wanted more. I bought an MGA and had it completely restored to concours condition. I bought a Jaguar XJ12C and re-did it. I got a Jensen Interceptor Convertible. I needed a warehouse because they wouldn’t all fit at my house with a four car garage. Then I began to make piles of money and soon I only wanted cars with names that ended in an “i”. My first was a 1977 Ferrari 400. I had the car sent to California and cut into a cabrio by R. Straman. I was out of control. I bought a collection of six Lamborghinis from an old collector: two 350GT’s with pigskin interior, a Miura P400GT, an Islero, an Urraco and an Espada. I was importing anywhere from 20 to 30 new cars a month from Europe, known at the time as “grey market” cars and making a fortune doing it. Soon I was making more money in the car business than the brokerage business.


It was January 14, 1987. Normally cold as hell in Columbus, Ohio, but that day by noon it was 70 degrees and stunning. I went home to change cars from the XJ12C I was driving for the Ferrari 400 Cabrio. I put the top down and went back to work at Merrill Lynch. I was cruising down a four lane highway and just entering an intersection and a one ton Chevy van made a left turn right in front of me. I never had a chance to hit the brakes. I t-boned the van at 60mph. The van was hurled 200 feet down the road. It knocked all four tires off the wheels of the van. I pushed so hard on the steering wheel that the Nardi wheel collapsed down to the dash of the Ferrari. I got out of the car and ran to the van to see if the guy was all right. He looked at me with a dazed look and said “I never saw you”.
The next thing I remember, I woke up four days later in the hospital. I had been in a coma. Over the next six months, I lost my wife, my job, my 6,300 square foot Frank Lloyd Wright house in Upper Arlington, and every car I had. I was on the street with no job and nowhere to live. I was driving a Ferrari Mondial Cabrio that I had on the arm to sell from one of my friends. I was living in an apartment that a friend’s dad had that he thought was empty. My friend kept telling his dad it just wouldn’t rent. His father finally figured it out and let me stay for several months.


I needed to get back on my feet and I hated the brokerage business for the way I was thrown out so I turned to cars – the love of my life. Columbus, Ohio, was the highest grossing market for Mercedes and Jaguar so I decided to sell all my old buddies cars. I had a friend that wanted a Jaguar. I found one in the Sunday New York Times Classified. I called the owner. He was a wholesaler on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx. He wanted $39,000 for the car. I had the car sold for $45,000. Problem was I had no money. I wouldn’t get paid until I delivered the car with the title. I told the guy I needed to pick the car up with the title on Sunday and I was going to drive it from the Bronx to Columbus and I would send him the money on Thursday. I told him we would split the profit 50/50. He would get $42,000 for his car and I would keep $3,000. He hung up on me! I called him back and he called me an idiot and hung up on me again. I called him again and he said that he just had to meet someone that had balls big enough to ask for something so outrageous. I felt emboldened so I then broke it to him that he needed to buy me a plane ticket too! Long story short – he did!
I picked the car up on Sunday evening. It was full of gas and he gave me a $100 bill and said that the plane ticket and the $100 came out of my end. I wired him his $42,000 on Tuesday afternoon. That was late September 1987. A month later the market tanked and clients got killed and brokers got rich. My man in New York and I did several more deals and he was impressed. He took me to all the wholesalers on Jerome Avenue and introduced me. He told them that I got whatever I wanted and to put it on his tab. I was so naive, who would have that kind of juice? I was in bed with the mob and never even knew it.
Fast forward three years, I had a beautiful condo at Muirfield in Dublin, Ohio, an oceanfront condo in Boca Raton, Florida, a lakefront condo in Toronto, a summer cottage on Lake Muskoka (four hours north of Toronto), and a condo at The Gant in Aspen, Colorado. I had a Lear 24D that cost me $1,900 per hour in fuel to operate.  I had eight car dealerships in other states surrounding Ohio and a dealership in Columbus, Ohio. I was the largest Mercedes-Benz dealer in five states and I wasn’t a Mercedes-Benz dealer. I had 16 million in my company checking account and a collection of Ferraris that I turned down an offer of 19 million in 1989. I was living large! I was convinced it would never end.


Then I got the knock on the door. It was the Ohio Highway Patrol. They had an arrest warrant for me. 2,500 felony charges for selling cars without a title and 2,500 misdemeanor charges for offering a car for sale without a title. The state started prosecuting the cases one at a time. I was in court every day for nearly nine months trying case after case. I never lost a case and was found not guilty every time but I was going broke trying the cases one by one. I couldn’t work and the dealerships were collapsing. I had lost everything again.


I borrowed and scraped together $900 to buy a Rangoon Red 1963 Falcon Convertible, hey I may have been down and out but a man needs a ride! I went to work as a salesman for a huge Honda dealership in Miami. I had a partner there and we became best friends. I was making good money there and soon I was living in a nice oceanfront condo on Bayshore Drive in Coconut Grove in Miami. I rented seven contiguous parking spaces there and had room to park nine cars. I was selling trade-in’s that I got from the dealership. The cars ranged from $1,000 to $3,000. Life was comfortable. 
In 1995, I met my current wife and we got married. I wanted to open my own dealership. I opened my latest dealership in 2004 in Davie, Florida. Right next to the Manheim Auto Auction. The dealership was an instant success. My best friend from Honda needed a job so he came on board. We were making good money.


I collected this current collection of cars from those times. I was going to five or six auction a week. I would find cars I thought were neat and would buy them. I had more than enough guys working for me and had three or four warehouses full of cars. Soon I had gathered 35 or 40 cars. I had seven Rolls Royces, three Bentleys, Mercedes, Jaguar, Lotus, BMW and many old school muscle cars and classics from the late sixties and early seventies.
(Ed.: By 2008, Bruce’s dealership closed.)
I still had 35 to 40 collectible cars I had stored away for years. The market for collectible cars then was nonexistent. The nation was in the throes of the worst financial collapse in 80 years. I have sold off many of them over the years to cover rent and other expenses. Which gets me to my offer.
I think these cars offer a unique opportunity for an astute collector or collectors to pick up several cars for free. With very little work, these cars will make money for the new owner(s). The good, the bad, and the ugly… but mostly good.
The star of this collection is the 1988 Mercedes Benz 560SEC Convertible. This special coachbuilt edition. This car started as the only production car still hand built by Mercedes in the day. Then the car was shipped to Coach Builders Limited in High Springs, Florida. I was told it was bought new by a Palm Beach socialite and kept at their Palm Beach Estate. One owner awesome all original condition. I have driven this car about 3,000 miles since I bought it. Perfect? Of course not but I don’t think you could find a nicer one with 75,000 original miles. One of the best convertibles ever…you can have a civil conversation with your companion while driving 70 mph on the freeway. Nearly no wind noise – awesome. One look at you in this car and your friends will think you are a tycoon.
The 1991 Lotus Elan M100 is also a very nice car. The nicest body I have ever seen on one. Another Palm Beach car. Only 500 of these cars were made for the US. Turbocharged Isuzu engine in a car that weighs 2,200 pounds. Lightning fast and corners better than a 911. Needs the seats redone, interior freshened up, new top, new battery and has bad fuel. $1,200 in work and this car brings $11,000 to $12,000 on eBay in a heart beat.
The 1990 BMW 750iL is a star too. Alpine White with Pearl Beige full leather interior. No paintwork and all original. The interior is awesome. As far as I know a South Florida one owner car. Low miles around 110,000, I think. Needs an alternator, battery and driven.
The sister car is a 1989 BMW 750iL, Cirrus Blue with Pearl Beige full leather interior. All original and the interior is awesome. I bought this one owner Palm Beach car after the hurricane. Minor damage to the hood and right front fender. New hood goes with the car. Needs fuel pumps, a new battery and twisted drivers seat (easy fix).  
Don’t make the mistake of thinking a 750iL is a 735iL with a twelve cylinder. It is way more than that. These cars were $30 to $40,000 more than a 735iL for a reason. These cars are being junked and parted out and will be worth a fortune in the future.
The 1987 Mercedes 420SEL is a terrific daily driver. 040 Jet Black with a Palomino leather interior. Looks like a car from the Godfather series. In my opinion and many others this is the best Mercedes ever made. W126s rule and this was the best one ever built. Runs and drives.
The Alfa Romeo 164L is stunning. Classic Racing Green with an Italian Tan leather interior. This car looks new in and out. The interior looks like a Rolls-Royce. This one has the most desired 5 speed manual transmission. I have $7,000 worth of receipts on this car. 98% of the cars that came to the US were automatics and dogs. This is the first front wheel drive Alfa Romeo. This car is fast and nimble. More expensive than a BMW or Mercedes in the day. A true driver’s car. The name is crap in the US. But just look at that opening scene in “Quantum of Solace”…Aston Martin vs. Alfa Romeo…if that doesn’t get you going you are already dead!
The Buick Riviera is the only USA car I have left. Charcoal Grey Metallic with a grey cloth interior. This car was an icon in its day. If you were a big swinging %ick in the day you drove a Riv or a Toro or an Eldo, period. The Riviera was the car for the sportier guy. The Eldo was for old men. This one is all original and I was told the car came from a barn in Kansas with one family owning it forever. Original miles in the mid seventies. I spent $3,000 on this one making it mechanically perfect. Complete new braking system with silicone brake fluid. Top is good. Needs paint on the upper surfaces of the car. Runs and drives. I see some T fluid leaking so maybe the seals need freshened up. They have trans sealer that should do that.
The 1980 Mercedes 450SEL is a movie car. It was featured in the 2008 Film “Bart Got A Room” shot locally here in Fort Lauderdale. I was told this was actually a very nice car that came off Miami Beach from an old codger. The director had the car covered with a mixture of floor wax and dust to make it look old. They painted “rust” marks on the car too. This car runs like a tank. The W116 body was awesome. Not many survivors left and this car is the right one. Yellow with Tobacco leather. The car needs a fuel pump, a battery and a new back seat bottom. The film crew crouched on the back seat filming parts of the movie. I would get this car running and leave it alone. The thing this car has going for it is the movie tie.
The 1980 Mercedes 450SLC is also a watershed car. The predecessor to the SEC, the SLC was the sporting man’s driver. The classic W107 lines in an all weather coupe. This was the one you got when your wife said no way to the 450SL! I feel this car is incredibly undervalued and will be much higher at a later date. Rugged cast iron V8 that goes forever. This one is Alpine White with Tobacco. The interior is just right…soft “worn in” patina and looks great. The outside is nice with a few problems. These cars get rust around the rear window and the sunroof. Some idiot tried to fix the rear window with fiberglass and made it worse. Great car to start with…mileage just over 100k, good mechanics and needs to be painted and freshened up. Runs great.
The 1983 Mercedes 300CD was the car for the up and comer who couldn’t afford the SLC. Mercedes coupes are much rarer and more sought after than the four-doors. 040 Jet Black with Palomino MB tex. Nice interior with the exception of the panels in the rear seats. Body is good with some clear coat peeling. I drove this car to pick up many others. Turbo diesel that flies and has turned into kind of a cult car now. Super low miles for a diesel at around 165K. Runs good and needs a battery.
The 1994 Jaguar XJ12 was also a magnificent car. Very expensive and the top of the line Jag in the day. The only year that Jaguar offered the V12 in the XJ40 body. Silky smooth quiet luxury. Nothing rides like a Jag! This one is Classic Black with Magnolia leather and Coffee piping. Awesome sumptuous leathers and burl wood everywhere. This one runs good, has a front end issue with bushings, needs paint and the interior seating surfaces done. I have two NOS seat backs for the front seats. What a car!
The 1983 XJ6 Series III is my favorite car of all times. This one is extremely rare Black with Black. Most Jags in the day had Biscuit color or maybe Doeskin, or Mulberry or Navy but you rarely ever saw black. This came out of Palm Beach and ran like a Swiss watch… I know, it’s British so how is that possible, but this is a story… right… OK in my mind it did. I started restoring this one and detailed the engine compartment. All S3 Jags have rusty cowls and usually some around the rear window. This one does…not as bad as most. Needs paint and the seats redone. Great car to start with…no rusty dog legs or sills. I know a drummer for a rock bank that spent of $100,000 restoring his S3 to pristine condition! The cornerstone of any modern collection. There is a 1984 parts car that goes with this one…the head is in the trunk and the inside is filled with new parts for the XJ6…manuals and all kinds of stuff. What a terrific find for the host car!
The 1991 Jaguar XJS Convertible. What a masterpiece. Stunning Black with Magnolia leather and a black canvas top. This year had a special edition called the “classic collection” and this is one of them. 39k all original car out of Palm Beach. I had this car for several days and was driving it on US 441 when some ^sshole in a truck “didn’t see me” and ran up the side of the car with those giant lug nuts on the front wheels of a truck. It damaged the driver’s quarter and the door. He pinned me up against a fire truck for god’s sake. The fireman walked across the hood to “rescue” me. Most of the hard work is done. Awesome work by Paul’s Jaguar in Fort Lauderdale. I traded Paul an XJS coupe for all the parts to fix the convertible so that goes with the car. Easy completion and paint will make this cat run again. The damage was cosmetic and the car runs good. The title is clean with no damage history. The interior needs some TLC. The top is good.
Last one! I had a 1989 Mercedes 560SEC Coupe in the package but I can’t find the title so I am substituting a 1998 Jaguar XJ8L in its place. This car is Beige Metallic with Doeskin inside. Classic X300 body but the longer lengthened car. Runs good. I was going to use this one as my driver. But what the hay…This car has some clear coat problems on the top and trunk. But overall looks nice. The interior is really nice. Someone dyed the driver’s seat and did a shlocky job so it needs to be redone and the interior is really nice.
That’s it for the collection for sale. 15 real cars $25,000!


I know someone will ask – are there any more? The answer is yes. I have a 14 year old and a 15 year old and if I didn’t save cars for them, I would be sent out on the ice pack to die! I have a 1995 BMW 318iA Convertible Triple Black. One owner from Fort Lauderdale. 152K miles and a really nice car. I also saved a 1991 Mercedes 300SL White with Palomino and 120K miles. The girls both seem to be happy with the choices (well except maybe my youngest who laid claim to the Lotus the day I got it).
FYI: I drive a 1995 Volvo 850GLT wagon. Great daily driver; no turbo, no AWD. The car is Black with Black leather and really nice. I get lots of laughs about it but I love it; comfortable; reliable and always ready to please. My wife drives a Toyota Highlander Limited. I know, I know, I bought it for my mother-in-law but she let someone tell her it wasn’t reliable – go figure. I kept it and was driving it. My wife totaled a 1999 Mercedes CLK320 and needed a car so I gave her the Yoto. I actually liked the way it drove and the interior was like a Lexus. I bought the Volvo wagon for my father-in law after he totaled a Volvo 850 Turbo he was driving but he decided to call it quits on driving so I started driving it and liked it. 


I have always loved cars. I think without a doubt they have revolutionized our lives in so many ways. They are ingrained in our total ability to get around and make us infinitely mobile. I thought every boy dreamed about cars when he was young. The joy that I get from looking at cars is unbelievable. I love the stories behind every one. Some good, some bad, but all interesting.
I truly wish I could keep the collection but I haven’t worked since I closed my dealership in 2008. Nothing I thought would happen in the last five years has happened. The collection has become a burden rather than a source of pleasure. I love to go in and tinker and work on the cars but it is costing me too much for the therapy. I seem to be selling off cars to pay the rent and just need to bring this chapter in this life to a close.


It’s funny after having the incredible wealth I have had in the past I find myself more at peace and happier today than I ever have been in my entire life. My family is my central focus and I am determined to make sure my two girls get the best education possible. The collection is a burden to them too because it syphons off money I could be using on them. Time to release the burden and move on. As much as I want to keep it, I have come to peace with letting it go. I thought selling it together might keep it together. As I have learned all too well in my life, all good things come to an end. But don’t count me out just yet. I will be back on top in no time, I would never give up the ups and downs for average. I don’t regret a single thing I have ever done in my life and I have made some stupid moves. We learn and get stronger!

Images source: Bruce

Post Script

Bruce sold the entire collection to a hoon in LA.

Big thanks to mzs zsm msz esq for helping make this post happen.

I edited Bruce’s story for length.


  • Amazing story.
    Can someone explain to me "selling cars without a title and 2,500 misdemeanor charges for offering a car for sale without a title"
    What title?
    The title to the car? How can a sale of such cars can even be made? As in, how would the buyer register a car without a title?
    In my ownership of more than a dozen cars, I never go that.

    • Oh, it can be done. My KV was brought to the US by a museum that never intended to put it on the road, so they never titled or registered it. They then sold it go a guy in Georgia who also never titled or registered it [and besides, Georgia doesn't issue titles for cars that are more than 25 years old!], so when he sold it to me, all I had was the original French paperwork and a bill of sale from him. This did not please the WA Department of Licensing at all, so I had to take the car to the state police for physical inspection of its data plate, engine serial number, and so forth.

      Following all that, I received a registration but no title. The registration was granted under the stipulation that the ownership was "in dispute" for a period of three years. Nobody came forward to make a counterclaim during those three years, so at the end of this period I received a title.

      • I understand that, and have seen similar stories.
        How does that turn into a misdemeanor charge?

        • Probably if you have a dealer license.

          • Jinx. You owe me a scotch.

            • Coming right up…
              [youtube 8gvPBlHisPU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gvPBlHisPU youtube]

              • Jay_Ramey

                Pfff, umm, 10 demerits for illegal use of Claire Forlani.

                Who is she doing an impression of there?

                • Scott

                  She's not – that's her actual voice 🙂

        • My only guess is it's one thing if it's a private party sale, but dealers live by a different set of rules? That's my best guess.

      • topdeadcentre

        Did they point and laugh at the car when you brought it in for DMV inspection? 🙂

        • The inspector was a bit concerned when he saw the rollers pressed against the rear tires, as he initially thought they were the brakes. He was relieved (still concerned, but relieved) to learn they are instead part of the drivetrain.

    • OA5599

      Even more amazing is the mindet of the prosecutor who tries 2500 losing felony cases and 2500 misdemeanors one at a time instead of consolidating them. The way it was described really killed the win-loss ratio and wasted lots of tax money.

      • Van_Sarockin

        They prosecutor may have had to get the agreement of the purchasers in order to consolidate the cases. Guy's lawyer should have insisted. Maybe the judge needed something to do that year.

        • Jay_Ramey

          I think it's pretty clear that some part of the story have been, ahem, omitted there. I can only imagine the hours converted into dollars the OH state court system spent allegedly trying those cases, if what is written above is true.

          Hope those cars haven't been sitting there too long. Unless that garage was climate controlled, which must be a pretty penny in electrical bills, I can only imagine the temperature/moisture conditions in there being in south Florida. This is also why most of Prince Jefri's car collection is only good for parting out – the humidity rotted all the leather like stupid.

    • Bruce

      Ohio is a title state which means even a dealer gets a title in his name when he gets a car by purchase or trade. You must transfer that title physically before you sell it or offer it for sale. Most states like Florida use reassignments on the back of a title for transfers involving dealers. The Ohio law is from the days of a horse and carriage and impossible to deal with in the real world. Selling a car without a title is a felony in Ohio. Offering a car for sale without a title is a misdemeanor. If you put the car in an ad in the paper or craigslist and sold it before your title clerk went to the title agency and transferred the title you have a technical violation on two counts…one felony and one misdemeanor…now sell 2500 cars…now bend over and grab your ankles! If the laws were actually monitored every car dealer in Ohio would get life in prison…well maybe not such a bad idea!

  • dukeisduke

    Wow, what a story. Now I understand all the stock photos used in the ad – it's better than showing a picture of a car shoehorned into a warehouse.

    • Better for whom?

    • Bruce

      Thank you! Sell the sizzle not the steak!

      • dukeisduke

        Bruce, I hope you'll get an IntenseDatabase account and become a regular commenter.

  • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

    There is one point that really hits home to me here, after all these cars from USA, France Italy (Ferraris and Lamborghinis included), England, and Germany, what does Bruce drive? Logically it would be a car matched by no other, correct? Yes he drives a nearly twenty year old Volvo wagon, oh yeah! <img src="http://img.mylot.com/1885142.gif"&gt; Good road to you Bruce.

  • Impalamino

    Holy shit.

    • Yup. Imagine my reaction when I read Bruce's email.

  • Of course I have thought about amassing a collection of interesting cars, but I certainly wouldn't want to live Bruce's kind of life to get it. Low-key is more my style.

    I have doubts about the viability of amassing a collection of cars. At one point, there were five cars in my household of two people, and I felt like I was just able to keep up with them. I know people with even more, and it's often the case that only half are drivable at any given time. The other half are usually close to drivable, but need some small job done like replacing a brake cylinder seal. And yet the repair gets delayed for months or years because there just isn't time to get it done. I know I would be disappointed having a warehouse full of awesome but undrivable cars.

    My current thinking on the matter is that it's OK to add another car to the fleet as long as it adds a functionality that wasn't present before. That way, I'll be committed to keeping it roadworthy. So I won't say that there's a limit at five or six or seven, but each increment of growth of the fleet gets less likely.

    By the way, there are four cars in the fleet right now and the "division of labor" feels pretty good even though I make use of creative accounting to justify having three sedans.

    • Mike England

      That's a really interesting rant on having a collection of cars. It really makes me think about mine.
      1966 Mercury Montclair – driving, fun to drive, but much opportunity to spend money on – a work in progress
      1969 F600 with 39,000 original miles – perfect body – some issues with steering and brakes that need sorting
      1979 F600 with unique provenance – almost ready to drive – just a couple more days – also super low mileage
      1993 F150 – engine broken – will need a rebuilt engine but it's worth it – putting it off for now
      1994 F150 – daily driver – 130,000 miles, 302 engine – nothing wrong but about to replace cap
      There is no way on earth I would want to add one more auto. Too much work to do on these.
      But I'm toying with the idea of buying a $750 old pickup; to combine with the 93 F150 (and replaced engine)
      the 93 F150 with EFI engine is solid, but what if I put the skin of a 59 Ford pickup on it? It seems like a good idea to me.
      I just wish I had a nice bldg to keep them all in.

  • In bed with the mob (not that he was a bad guy) and then the feds come knocking on his door instead of the mob's door.

    Bruce is cool as hell and doesn't throw anyone under the bus to get out of his problems.

    I'd buy this guy a beer any day.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Something about the story just doesn't seem right. And a lot of those cars have fancy names, but also come with big issues, and most of them are not exactly in showroom condition. Someone may be buying a lot of trouble. But the guy does have a good yarn.

  • Quite an impressive story. The highs and the lows, god, amazing.

  • nanoop

    Great story that deserved to be told, Bruce!
    I like your style when describing the cars – I can tell that you've been in the business, and that with genuine enthusiasm. Thanks for sharing!

    • He's definitely a great salesman…and a car lover.

  • So what are you up to now, Bruce?

    Makes my problems seem small. Daughter just wrecked her first car, 90 days into a license. Guess I'll go to the garage and wrench.

    • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

      Everybody is okay, right?

      • Yeah, so far.

    • dukeisduke

      I've got three girls, the oldest is 13, and I'm terrified at the thought of her driving our vehicles (hey, I was a teenager, too). I think I'll curl up into a ball and cry now.

      • BrianTheHoon

        I have four kids – son is 18 and triplet daughters are 16. They all know the drill: You want a car, you buy it. That's the way it was for me and in my opinion, it makes for a healthier life outlook and expectations. Two of the three girls are all still saving (one doesn't really care about having a car right now) but the boy bought a 1955 Fairlane for his first car. He and I have spent many an hour working on that car. Initially because the car sat for 5 years as it was a "ran when parked" special, and since then because its an old car 😉

        I'd like to think my son and I grew a lot closer and got a lot more out of it this way. I'm looking forward to seeing what the girls choose to buy. One wants an old Beetle and the other wants a 2-door 510 "Dime." Looks promising! 😀

        • I used to tell them they could have any car they would build, and I would help. Then, in a moment of weakness, I succumbed to my wife and oldest daughter's pleas. That shit won't happen again, much to the dismay of the younger two kids.

          • calzonegolem

            Lol, I want to hear that story.

        • calzonegolem

          Were you able to replace the trim on that back door?

        • Ol' Shel'

          I was 19 when I got my street-prepped '72 510. It's a miracle I survived, because I was an idiot. Luckily, I was more into cornering than top speed antics, and that car handled incredibly.

          I decided to have no children, 1. so that I wouldn't pass on my bad traits and 2. because I'd rather have wheeled toys.

    • Sjalabais

      Having established that everyone is alright, I'll say she took the scary element of halloween way too far. My kids are childseat small, but thinking about them in traffic already makes me sweat.

      Did she keep her license? For entertainment purposes, here is how a boy loses his cool. After losing his license on day one for letting the back end of his crapcan Volvo 240 come out in a roundabout: http://klipp.tvnorge.no/?id=A21982FE

  • Sjalabais

    You have a responsibility to turn your life into a movie, Bruce. Well, no, not exactly. What a great read, what a story behind an unassuming ad! I have to say, it is fantastic that you have found your balance in your family after all this – good luck, and thanks for sharing!

    • Bruce

      It was already done…Rain Man…Wealth Midwest parents…a 1948 Ford convertible…my only and older brother is very slow(said nicely with respect and admiration)…the car deal in the beginning of the movie was a deal involving 105 new or nearly new highend cars that end in i and some racing Porsches. The deal involved a Swiss industrialist who died when the shipment was enroute to Baltimore…the ship and it's contents sat in Baltimore harbor for years while the estate fought over every Franc! The BS with Vegas never happened. Dustin Hoffman was a great choice for my brother but couldn't they get someone better looking than Tom Cruise to play me! LMFAO

  • Neen85

    "The Story of Bruce"

    Directed by Asif Kapadia
    Filmed on location in Chicago and Detroit (through a special labor union exemption experiment)

    Christian Bale as Bruce
    Mila Kunis as the girlfriend
    Christopher Walken as the New york 'friend'
    Michael Madsen as the Mob Overlord

    with Special Appearances by:
    David Schwimmer as the Former Honda Employee
    Jennifer Garner as the New Love Interest
    and Corey Feldman as the Van Driver

    A story of the rise and fall of the 80s Hollywood stereotypes and lifestyles.
    Coming to select theaters in late 2015

    • Your casting is pretty much spot on.

    • James Franco needs a part.

      • HTWHLS

        No! No more Franco!

    • Jay_Ramey

      Claire Forlani needs a part.

    • Rain Man already happened. See Bruce's comment in this post!

  • Hat tip, Bruce! You can be keynote speaker at the first Hoonapalooza.

    My place, Thursday.

  • BrianTheHoon

    What, these? These are just "happy tears," honest!


  • Roscoe

    There is no Frank LLoyd Wright house in Upper Arlington, Ohio. Or in Columbus, which U.A. is a suburb of..

    Then again, this is a used car salesman, so not really surprised. I'd take every story with a grain of salt the size of a basketball. Reading (and seeing) the condition of all these cars, none of which are collectable and all of which are readily available at low prices, I'm guessing 25k is at best a 'fair' deal. And that's before transport, storage, parts, service, etc. etc. etc. I see many of these eventually landing at a dismantler.

    Also: I'm guessing the A/C on all these cars "just needs a charge", too.

    • There's actually an entire neighborhood of houses inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright in Columbus, well, Worthington. They, and the neighborhood, Rush Creek Village, were modeled after Wright's Usonian community ideas. Worthington is not far from U.A. and I think the houses are frequently associated with Wright although he had nothing to do with them. It's possible that Bruce lived there and mis-remembered it, although these houses do not come up for sale often.

      • Roscoe

        That's interesting about Rush Creek Village (honestly-cool architecture) but I think you're being kind-thousands of houses are 'modeled after' F.L.W.'s designs, but no one calls them a "Frank Lloyd Wright house". Plus, you know, wrong 'burb. Also, I haven't been to every Wright house, but I've been to several, and none of them are close to "6500 square feet". Falling Water, for instance, is under 3000.

        Gaw, whatever-nothing here rings true. Some truth probably, b.s. certainly, and pathos aplenty to tug on the heart. My b.s. meter isn't pegged, but it's running in the red. Hopefully the buyer is paying extra close attention to those titles. Good luck.

        • I didn't catch the 6,500 square feet. Yeah, that does make sense for Arlington, but no actual FLW houses here and none that big I think. Wescott House here in Ohio (Springfield) is 4,400 square feet *(and well worth a visit if you're in the area), not sure if that's the biggest or not. None of the houses in Rush creek are even 2,000 square feet.

          He strikes me as a guy who's fairly loose with the details, not necessarily maliciously, so maybe it was FLW inspired, maybe it wasn't quite 6,500.

          Neither discrepancy does harm to the story, but if I was a buyer it'd make me look hard at the details of the cars & transaction.

          • Roscoe

            I'd LOVE to see the Wescott House! Talk about saved from imminent ruin-a very close call. The interiors and furniture look amazing. Next time I'm in the Heartland-maybe we can connect.

    • Bruce

      Careful there are actually 12 in Ohio…this one was a period correct knock off built in 1948 by a builder who built several of them with plans from a student of FLW…FLW was too busy and the builder was too impatient…close enough for government work!

    • Just needs Plugs

      Yes, there are some peculiar things about the story…

      1) Weather almanac list Jan 14th Columbus OH weather at 50 degrees F
      2) 2500 cases were sent to trial and were resolved in 9 month (~270 days). That's nearly 10 a day if the courts were opened every day. Also, it seems dubious that any government process is even half that efficient. Also, how long from jail to trial?
      3) "Rain Man" was written by Barry Morrow after an inspiring meeting with savant Kim Peek

      • NCIS: Hooniverse.

      • Roscoe

        Nice detective work, which probably took 3 minutes on The Google. Of course, I'm sure there's a rationale that 'Bruce' can come up with for each of your points, as is common for these guys. I'm sure if anyone gave a shit they could disprove every single point this guy made in his scribe, but he's not worth the effort. Seems like just another car hoarder with no money and too many crappy cars who has, for whatever reason-probably overdue rent-been forced to sell his "collection"(?). In a hurry. Which is fine, I have no problems with any of that, but I just get annoyed with the obvious and so contrived back story designed to gin up interest and sympathy to help the sale.

        Though I guess it worked-here he is on Hooniverse. Oh well……

    • Yak

      Yep, I'm more than a bit skeptical too. Although this yarn is well written by someone who is obviously educated, it seems filled to the brim with hyperbole and/or loads of straight BS.

      The mob, penniless with no wife, home or job after 6 months due to an accident that was someone else's fault (no one had ANY insurance?), won all 2500 cases but he lost 10's of millions in cash and real estate and a Lear jet over a 9 month period (like any judge would have let that go on after 5 or 6 losses by a vindictive prosecutor), etc.

      The cars all have glowing write-ups but they seem like little more than non-desirable models with thrashed paint and interiors that are rusty, leaky and don't start/run. There are so many holes in this story, it looks like a brick of swiss cheese. Perfect for a Hollywood screenplay.

  • Synchromesh

    Very cool story. Almost textbook in the ups and downs section. But the collection is a bit hectic to say the least. Most interesting cars are the Lotus and the Alfa, everything else – not so much.

    • Bruce

      I wanted the Alfa as a daily driver…Awesome car…I spent $7000 making it a star…it was back in the shop almost weekly…one day the rear brakes locked up on I-95 in rush hour traffic…I spent over an hour in searing heat…I thought there was going to be a homicide…I liken it to the most beautiful women you have ever laid eyes on…absolutely stunning in every way…only thing is she is a whore and has VD…you know better and but you just can't help yourself! Textbook case of insanity!

      • Acd

        Hi Bruce,
        Did you have a physical dealership in Columbus or did you just warehouse the cars and sell them by word of mouth to your broker clients? I've been racking my brain and can't figure out which store was yours.

  • Irishzombieman☆

    Dude. . . wow.

    • Irishzombieman☆

      Seriously, WOW!

  • Ol' Shel'

    I don't know if any of you guys are as allergic to sales persuasion as I am. Even the slightest bit of it creates such a strong negative reaction in me that I can't be around the typical used care salesman-types. I'll decide what I think on my own, thank you. And while I'm pretty patient with folks with no agenda, I find myself picking them apart and getting a bit nasty in response to their manipulation.

    Anybody else like this?

    And why is car sales so sleazy? Does it have to be dishonest? Is there a rule?

  • Maymar

    Brave man to take on 20 cars, especially with that variety of European machinery.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd gladly buy almost all of the cars mentioned. Just, you know, one or two at a time.

  • Troy

    This story is cinematic.

    So basically, Bruce reminds me of Charlie (Tom Cruise) from Rain Man, because he's selling exotic cars on the grey market and is a financial wiz.

    Then at the end of the story, he's totally sobered out and transformed into Gus from Breaking Bad — they both drive a Volvo station wagon, non turbo, FWD!

    Bruce, if I had the storage, I would've personally driven each of these cars back to my imaginary garage. Your collection is nearly a carbon copy of what I dream of having one day.

  • dukeisduke

    The story here made it onto AutoBlog:

  • mike

    Hmm. According to this website, the weather on the stated date of Wednesday Jan 14, 1987 was only 48 degrees, not 70. Facts mixed up or bogus story? Maybe the website is wrong? http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KCMH/

    • mike

      And no mention of a 70 degree day all month (which would have been all-time record high for January. http://allcolumbusdata.com/?page_id=1291

      Top 10 Warmest January Highs
      1. 1/25/1950: 74
      2. 1/21/1906: 72
      3. 1/22/1906: 71
      4. 1/14/1932, 1/26/1950, 1/22/1999: 70
      5. 1/13/2005: 69
      6. 1/20/1906, 1/27/1916, 1/6/1946, 1/23/1967, 1/18/1996, 1/7/2008, 1/8/2008: 68
      7. 1/13/1890, 1/19/1907, 1/18/1929, 1/22/1933, 1/1/1952, 1/25/1967, 1/13/1995, 1/4/1997, 1/29/2013: 67
      8. 1/22/1887, 1/11/1890, 1/12/1898, 1/24/1909, 1/28/1914, 1/8/1937, 1/4/1950, 1/24/1950, 1/14/1995, 1/31/2002, 1/12/2013: 66
      9. 1/12/1880, 1/26/1916, 1/24/1967, 1/29/1975, 1/1/1985, 1/5/1997, 1/5/1998, 1/23/1999, 1/27/1999, 1/29/2002, 1/13/2013, 1/30/2013: 65
      10. 1/11/1880, 1/3/1897, 1/30/1916, 1/15/1932, 1/29/1947, 1/181949, 1/19/1949, 1/3/1950, 1/13/1950, 1/13/1960, 1/22/1967, 1/2/2000, 1/12/2005: 64

  • Rwcglenwaverley

    Wow it was a wonderful car collection you had in those days. I was surprised after accident you wake up & went to another person whose car collided with yours and after that you went in coma. Anyways car with leather interiors are old trends it gives a wonderful feel to sit in any classic car form old days.

  • Balint Safed

    Having a huge collection of cars is not a very big deal but what matters is maintaining the cars which really means a lot like if we see our own cars within two or 3 days if we don't touch it, it feels like horrible all the ice, dust are on the vehicle isn't??
    More Bonuses

  • julia

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    sell house by owner