There was a time when "Rent a Wreck" meant you rented an existing wreck, but with exotic rentals, it's become just the opposite it seems, it's like they got it wrong and are thinking, "Rent TO Wreck," emphasis on the 'to' which I don't think conforms to the business plan. There was another this past week in Bellvue. Shocker!
"Well, our business plan is to rent cars that people can run into walls and stuff..."
Investors are sitting there wondering, "So how do we make a return on our money???"
The sound of crickets for about twenty seconds before they come back with...
"Uh, there will be insurance, and they have to pay for it...yeah, that's how it will work..."
Reality sinks in with these rental agencies and they almost always fail. Even if the other squidly is paying for it, it's a car out of inventory, and good luck defending yourself in one lawsuit after another on the liability side of the equation. We've never seen one last all that long anyway.
Years ago, when I first got into exotic cars, I noticed an unmistakable phenomenon. It seemed like all of the new exotics that were plowing fields, scraping roofs, involuntary transforming, rapidly disassembling parts, or testing trees were all caused by new owners and borrowed cars. I started paying attention to every accident and over and over I'd see the same thing. When I hear about an exotic in a wreck, my assumption is just that, it's a new owner or a borrowed car. For those of you in Fresno, a rental is a borrowed car.
Top Gear once wrote about the Lamborghini LP640; that it was a car that wanted to kill you and it was your job to not let it happen. That sunk in when I first took delivery. I didn't need to know what it could do because that was already in the magazines and on YouTube. What a lot of people don't know is that with most exotics, you're basically driving Chucky. Chucky wants to kill you and most of all Chucky likes to surprise you when he's about to kill you. There won't be the faint screeching of tires as a warning, it will be that sudden...WALL!!!
I get it, Harley Quinn is sexy as hell, looks like fun and makes a lot of noise, but if you're going for that ride you'd better sleep with one eye open and a hand covering the huevos rancheros. Exotics are no different. Renting one with no prior ownership experience is like going on a date with Harley when she's a wee bit crabby.
Lamborghini loosely translated in Romanian means, "Let's go have some fun and then die together." This is not to say Lamborghini's are inherently dangerous cars because they are not the dangerous component. In fact, they are designed to do things other cars can't. Keyword is "cars," it says nothing about the one with their hands on the steering wheel. Lamborghinis are great fun! It's the person behind the wheel who gets the notion in their head that goes something like the last thought of a lot of dead people... "I wonder what will happen if I..." WALL!
Like finding an unexploded shell, "I wonder what happens if I tap...right... here?"
Or, "Is this wire hot?"
Or my favorite in the jungles of Africa, "Poke it and see if it's sleeping..."
Or the idiot in Alaska who said, "You just have to understand these grizzlies and we're now genuine friends..." and was later found with his camera running...and his hand far away from all the other pieces of him.
If you're thinking about renting or buying an exotic for the first time, have fun, but don't go looking for the "edge" because it's extremely sharp if you get my drift, excuse the pun. Do a rental experience on a track with an instructor first. If you're new to ownership, get to know the car over the first few thousand miles and slowly work up to idiot status. Get some training. Don't go there in the first 100 miles. Just about every exotic dealer I know has had someone total the car the day they took delivery.
I was at Symbolic Motors in La Jolla standing there when a guy in a brand new yellow Gallardo who was just handed the keys drove out the lot and right into the very high curb while taking delivery. He hadn't gone thirty feet before he peeled off the front. I stood there in amazement like I just saw a cool magic trick.
We encourage exotic ownership, but we also encourage staying alive without the need for tubes the rest of your life. Also, we don't want you damaging the reputation of exotic cars, so there is that too. So, to recap, avoid being the whole tool bag and take it easy! This is as close to a public announcement as we want to get.