Posted by: Brad Nixon | February 11, 2011

Curb Appeal

We live in a good neighborhood. It’s not Bel-Air or Brentwood, nor the gated communities just up the hill from us (to which we do not aspire). It’s a quiet neighborhood where most of the houses are kept in good repair and the lawns and landscaping are neat. There aren’t any houses for sale for more than a million dollars, but there were a few not many years ago. It’s a great place to live, by almost any standard.

So when a house one street over goes for a year or so without cutting the grass, and not only the driveway but the yard itself is used to store derelict autos, a jet ski and other machines, it catches the attention. There’s no sign of daily life at the house. One can’t help suspecting it’s a meth lab or that it harbors some other questionable enterprise. If this were Switzerland, Something Would Be Done about it. One can assume that the Deputies are keeping an eye on the place as they cruise by once a day or so, but there’s likely no “probable cause” for them to go up and knock on the door.

Finally, though, we had this little diorama:

Now, that is how to add curb appeal to a poorly maintained property. That little car is a Lamborghini. I think it’s one of the Diablo models — possible the “SV.” So, there’s a 12-cylinder monster that is worth something like a hundred thousand dollars (original sticker price probably more than $250k) parked at a house where they don’t mow the grass. That’s interesting.

By the way, it occurred to me after a couple of days why they park it at the curb instead of in the drive; it’s too low slung to go in the drive. (Who knows where they even find a gas station where they can clear the cut between street and lot?).

Don’t get me wrong; there are some very expensive vehicles that live at some of the houses in the neighborhood, and several of them exceed that 6-figure price tag. It’s California, after all. If you walk around the neighborhood on a pleasant evening, you’ll pass a dozen open garages that house vintage street rods or muscle cars or darned expensive sedans and SUVs. Usually, though, those cars reside in driveways or in garages where the owners at least keep the lawn trimmed below the level of the windows.

But it’s not a Lamborghini neighborhood. I’ve seen other Lambos as well as Aston Martins, Bentleys, Ferraris and even one Maybach tooling around this part of town, usually on pleasant Saturday or Sunday afternoons. One of California’s great switchbacking roads takes off down the bluffs toward the Pacific just a couple of miles from where that car in the photo is parked, an obvious choice for weekend cruising. They don’t come home to this neighborhood at night, though.

It’s odd. What will happen? Probably nothing. It’s not a small-enough town for everyone to know everyone’s business, and it’ll probably become a non-issue, eventually. House prices will recover and whoever owns the joint will cash out and find another place to store the cars that are probably awaiting shipment to someone via the port that’s two miles down the hill. Just hope the place doesn’t blow up some night in a nimbus of blue-green flame.

Update, years later: The house changed hands, the derelict autos are gone, the property is neatly maintained. What became of the previous people, I have no clue.

© Brad Nixon 2011, 2017



  1. Nice car! Before they built super cars, Lamborghini was a tractor building company. I believe they still make farm equipment.


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