Richard Jordan had everything he was told to want: cars, a new house, and a fiancee. Then his fiancee left him. So he sold everything, bought a Lamborghini Gallardo and set out across America. This is his amazing story. [via jalopnik]
This is a love story, but not a conventional one. Sure, there's a woman. There always is. But it's when the woman split that the real romance began. This is the story of Richard Jordan, a man who lost love and then found it again in an exotic Italian sports car and the open American road. Jordan's journey would take him across the country and back again multiple times as he racked up nearly 100,000 miles on a car so expensive, most owners rarely drive at all.
It was early 2006 and Richard's version of the American Dream lay crumbling at his feet. After giving his girlfriend of five years a ring and a house in suburban North Texas — purchased with the proceeds from selling his metal fabrication business, his old house and a few of his cars — she left him.
"I bought us the house and planned on moving in and, as soon as I did, she left," explains Richard. "So I got stuck in a house I didn't want, in an area I didn't want to be in... it was kind of emotionally traumatic. So I bought the car and wandered around."
It wasn't actually as easy as that. No one wanted to buy his new house so he was stuck with it. It took him months to sell the rest of his possessions. That, combined with the majority of his life savings, he used to afford a $90,000 down payment on a Lamborghini Gallardo — one of the most expensive vehicles on the market.
The Gallardo is named for a famous Spanish bull and unleashes a massive 512 HP through its mid-mounted V10. Its sharp looks hint at the performance: 0-to-60 mph in just 4.0 seconds with a top speed of 195 mph for the model Jordan purchased. The price? A steep $180,000 at the time of purchase.
Independence Day was an almost intentionally ironic choice, as he picked that day to separate from everything he'd created but now no longer wanted, including the house.
"I'd become a prisoner to my house, to everything, to my fantasy of an American Dream or anything I could remotely call home."
"I'm Not Moby"
With one of the fastest cars in the world but nowhere to take it, Jordan just started driving. For more than a year he wandered from place to place, living in motels and making new friends. He'd cross the United States three times and make trips from Ohio to Colorado to Texas to North Carolina on just a night's rest.
"It was just a feeling that I didn't really have a home, there was no place to safely be but the Lambo. That was the one thing that felt like it worked for me."
He visited the ghost towns and big cities and retraced childhood trips. As soon as he'd settle down somewhere he'd get the itch to move and pack up to drive somewhere else. It quickly became difficult to pay for the house in Dallas — his one remaining possession he couldn't shake — and still afford gas. He almost lost the house numerous times.
"I have a few hundred grand against me, I don't like debt, but I'm used to it," Richard says. "I've accumulated a lot and paid it back several times in my life."
His wanderings yielded as much joy and humor as they did introspection and isolation, including a trip to strip club in Ohio where Richard, then 32, was mistaken for Moby by an a waitress who was convinced he was the musician because of his shaved head, glasses and fancy car.
"This girl comes up and was a waitress and she's like 'You're Moby, aren't you?' and I said 'I'll be anyone you want me to be,' and she took it as 'I'm Moby.'"
Richard is not Moby, but he's also not completely against accepting free bottles of champagne when offered.
"It was just ridiculous, the manager's like kissing my butt, I maybe spent $100 the whole night and it was just really, really silly and absurd."
"It was just like The Blues Brothers!"
Driving across the country in a Lamborghini means occasionally driving above the speed limit. Richard's honest about his desire to go fast and has a drawer full of 53 tickets to prove it. But it wasn't speed, exactly, that landed him in the handcuffs of an Indiana State Trooper.
Though generally jumping from hotel room to hotel room, Richard did have family responsibilities like serving as the best man in his cousin's wedding. While en route to the wedding he was stopped for speeding but ran afoul of the Indiana State Police and suddenly found himself staring down the highway at a roadblock.
Because his car's registration was one-day expired the troops were able to search the car and found a handgun.
"I don't travel without guns, I've been in too many situations so I always carry one or two guns with me," Richard says. "A car like that is an assault on the senses, and you could be in a decent area and just be barraged by people and you never knew who you're dealing with."
At first he didn't grasp the gravity of the situation — the police thought he was moving drugs — so his calm demeanor and jokes about hating the town he was in and a general Blues Brothers schtick didn't go over well. They kept him in the back of a squad car for four hours, eventually releasing him on his own recognizance when they realized they weren't able to drive the car on the back of a flatbed without his help.
He eventually got the car back and the charges settled, but the whole endeavor cost him $25,000 in fines, travel, and legal fees.
Most people don't use their expensive cars as daily drivers exactly because they're so expensive. The highest mileage of any Lamborghini Gallardo for sale on eBay Motors is 38,835 for a 2004 model, but the majority of vehicles are below 10,000 miles.
In his trips across the country Richard managed 91,807 miles.
"I can't afford to buy something like that and drive it on the weekend," Richard explains. "The difference between being materialistic and not is when you use what you have."
For him, it's a better value to drive it given the immediate drop in value for a used Lamborghini. It's even strange for him that others think otherwise.
"No one is concerned with anything as long as Starbucks and the mall is open. It baffles me. It overwhelms me actually. You can have something that's as extreme as a Lamborghini — that's perfect in a sense — and it has no value once you use it."
All that driving does have a price and now the car has even less value. After all the hard driving and long miles, the timing chain stretched, crunching the valves and turning the car into an exotic and expensive paperweight. The car is now worth less than he owes on it and the bank refuses to grant him another loan.
"For me, it's wasteful not to use it. That's anything. It doesn't matter if it's a fucking dishwasher," says Richard. "That's not really socially acceptable. It's not the way we're programmed... most people don't live like I do. I'd eat ramen noodles to pay for gasoline, just to avoid the monotony of being stuck in four walls."
Considering the traumatic experience that led him to buy the car, its destruction doesn't seem to burden him too much.
"It worked everyday, it worked like it was supposed to, it never broke down," Richard assures me. "It exceeded all my expectations."
He's using his sudden lack of transportation not as the end of one journey but as the start of a new one, setting up a shop in Dallas where he plans to build custom motorcycles and superbikes. He has plans to repair the engine or swap in a new one once he can afford it, but for now it makes an interesting sculpture to show friends and prospective customers in the main room of his new office. Richard's also met a girl, but he's trying to take it one step at a time.
His Lamborghini may no longer run, but Richard doesn't regret the decisions he's made. He adopts a zen-like tone that clashes with his mohawk while explaining how lucky he was to be able to leave everything behind and experience something many fantasize about but almost no one has the balls to actually do.
"You're never going to live up to anyone's expectations, so you might as well live up to your own and for me that's to be as free as you can. And if money doesn't buy you freedom then it's useless."
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