Wall Street Manna

An irreverent look at Wall Street

Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Because that one's the truth"


In 1998, on Little Duck Key, almost next door to Papa John's house, was a huge Spanish Style house, that had the ocean on one side, the gulf on the other, and a pass thru in the back for the boat dock.

The house was being tossed in a marriage dissolution, and they had already come down from $1.5 million to a final offer price of $955,000.

So I thought I would be smart, and offer $885,000.

They never took my bid.

In the real estate heyday, the house changed hands at $4.1 million.

I never forgot that lesson.

Sometimes you just pay the ask.

This came to mind, because the founder of Papa John's, John Schnatter is doing a restaurant tour, and offering $25,000 to anyone that can find his original Camaro Z-28.

He sold his 1972 Z-28 in 1984, and purchased $1,600 worth of restaurant equipment, and started making his "better ingredients" pizzas.

The company today is worth over $750 million. It was a good trade.

It was a way better trade than one of my hometown cohorts who made his own trade about the same time. He sold his 1970 Dodge Hemi-Super Bee for a pound of weed. But instead of starting a business, he smoked it. And then ordered pizza!

That's the trade everyone still laughs about!

In Papa John's tour, he drives a replica of his car. Here's his words on what made his Z-28 unique:

"It had the split-bumper, sunroof, BF Goodrich tires with steel wheels, I swapped out the rear end with a Positrac differential — and now the speedometer reads 10 MPH over the actual speed. It had a velvet interior, unlike the vinyl one in this car, it didn't have A/C, and the ash tray in back is falling off."

Someone asked him, why he would want his old car back, given that he probably already has a nicer Z-28 than the one he lost.

His reply:

"Because that one's the truth."

It's a rainy day, and I'm going to have a Papa John's Pizza, and then see "Up" in 3-D with my daughter.

And pay the ask for the pizza.