Culpeper resident John Hayes is a star, a pawn star,
Hayes appeared two weeks ago on the History Channelâ??s popular reality TV show Pawn Stars where he sold a rare autographed 2014 Ford Hertz Penske Mustang GT to Pawn Starsâ?? leading pawnbroker Rick Harrison.
Also featured on the show was NASCAR driver Joey Logano, who took the car for a test drive at 150 mph on the Las Vegas Speedway to help Harrison determine the carâ??s value.
Hayes, 58, who lives in town, originally purchased the rare black and gold car for $39,000 through a VIP program at Hertz Penske. His brother-in-law was a long time Hertz employee and eligible for the program. In fact, his brother-in-law purchased one himself and called Hayes and told him about the program.
â??I asked him if they had any left?â? said Hayes. â??He said maybe.â?
The rental company commissioned 150 of the Ford Mustangs to allow people to rent a high-performance car. The company rented 140 of them, all with automatic transmissions.
The first 10, which appeared in the summer of 2013, all had manual transmissions and were never rented. Those were available for company VIPs to buy.
â??I am thinking I am going to buy it,â? said Hayes, when told there was one available.
With his brother-in-law purchasing number 4, Hayes looked at purchasing number 7.
With the purchase price, fees and taxes, Hayes paid a little more than $40,000 for the car, which had 400 miles on the odometer. Hayes thinks the car may have been used for marketing purposes, accounting for the few miles.
Hayes and his 28-year-old daughter Jenny went to pick up the car in January 2014. He planned to keep the car about five years as an investment.
â??When I bought this car she said I should sell it to Pawn Stars,â? said Hayes. â??She was kind of kidding about it. It was all a big joke.â?
Little did Hayes know, but his daughter wasnâ??t kidding. She contacted the show about the car.
â??Six to eight months later she called all excited,â? said Hayes.
â??Pawn Stars wants your car,â? Jenny screamed into the phone.
Hayes thought it might be fun and a good way to make some money on the car by appearing on the popular TV show selling his car.
Pawn Starsâ?? producers work out of New York. The pawn shop, officially called The World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, actually is located on the Strip in Las Vegas. The showroom is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with a drive-through window open from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. Like the city that never sleeps, the pawn shop only closes two days a year, Christmas and Thanksgiving.
For almost a year, Hayes worked with the producers to get the car to Las Vegas and set a date to film the segment. The producers wanted to film in June, but Hayes began having second thoughts.
â??I wasnâ??t sure I wanted to do it,â? said Hayes.
In September, Hayes was still hesitant to the idea but remained open to the proposal as negotiations with the show continued.
On Nov. 4, 2015, the producers scheduled the filming to take place.
Hayes faced getting the car to Las Vegas.
â??I didnâ??t want to put a bunch of miles on it,â? said Hayes who had driven it only about 600 miles since he bought it in 2014.
He and his wife Jan planned to fly to Las Vegas and have an enclosed trailer haul the car. Once in Sin City, the car would be detailed and stored at a friendâ??s house until it was time to film.
As often happens, plans donâ??t work out.
The trailer, which was hauling two other vehicles wouldnâ??t hold the rare Mustang.
â??So I had to drive it out,â? said Hayes.
On the road again
The drive to Las Vegas began without a hitch. However, Hayes and his wife encountered a driving rain storm in Arkansas that had him gripping the steering wheel tight hard and staring at the tractor trailers on each side of his valuable car.
â??Why am I doing this?â? Hayes said to himself as he nervously navigated the Interstate and fretted that his car might be damaged.
It was too late to turn around so they forged ahead, putting extra miles on the car, to meet the November filming date.
â??As it turned out, mileage was never an issue,â? said Hayes.
The couple arrived in Las Vegas, stored the car with the friend and a day later had it detailed to take to the Las Vegas Speedway where the segment would be filmed. No longer was Hayes working with New York producers, he now had a contact in Las Vegas.
A Detail Kings Mobile Auto Detailing employee made the car look brand new.
â??The car was unbelievable when he was done,â? said Hayes. â??It looked so good.â?
However, rain was threatening in the desert and all that polishing and cleaning could be for naught. It took five or six men time to get the car looking pretty again.
On Nov. 4, 2015, Hayes went to the pawn shop and signed the release to film the segment,
The car was driven to the speedway where it took five hours to film the segment that would last about nine minutes on the air.
Hayes said planes flying into nearby Nellis Air Force Base stopped some filming due to noise, as did cars zooming by on the race track. There were several retakes with the showâ??s star Rick Harrison.
Harrison looked the car over but wanted an expert to check it out. The expert was Logano, who was familiar with the rare Mustang.
Meanwhile, Hayes came up with a figure with his wife that he would be comfortable taking. He settled on $60,000.
Logano asked Hayes if he could drive it.
â??That would be fine,â? said Hayes, nervously. â??That would be fine.â?
He handed Logano the keys. Harrison climbed in the passenger seat and the cameras rolled as they flew around the track at 150 mph.
â??I was excited to see it zipping around the track,â? said Hayes.
When Logano returned to Hayesâ?? location, the owner heard tires squealing on the pavement. He knew it was his car. He was not happy.
â??No shake, no vibration,â? said Logano, who also said the car was in great shape except for the tires, with a laugh. â??I had fun, thank you.â? Harrison asked Logano what he thought the car was worth. Hayes was asking $85,000.
Logano estimated the carâ??s value at $75,000, commenting that only 10 came with manual transmissions. â??Itâ??s cooler than the others.
Harrison offered $60,000.
Hayes tried for $67,000. When Harrison refused to budge, Hayes lowered his offer to $62,000. Harrison stood fast with his original offer.
â??Iâ??ll do it,â? said Hayes, who was pleased with the deal because he didnâ??t want to take the car home.
When Hayes flew back home, he went to the bank to deposit the $60,000 check, with the Las Vegas address. He said there was a pregnant pause when the teller looked at the check, saying that it may be a few days before the money is available.
As for the car purchased by Harrison, it currently is for sale at Celebrity Cars in Las Vegas, which has an online list price of $49,900, noting that the car was featured on Pawn Stars.
Would Hayes do it again?
â??Yeah,â? said Hayes. â??Itâ??s a good experience. I am glad I did it.
â??In the end, I did OK.â?
Wally Bunker is a freelance contributor with the Culpeper Times. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org