According to the weather report, this summer rain would go on for a few days, over Arizonas central and northern regions. Toward the end, there would be heavy rain and possibly thunderstorms.
Hans used the time to deal with the hood ornament and umbrella. On Monday, Li Du, Big Quinn, and he took a flight to LA to sell the hood ornaments.
"Who did you contact? Why so far?" Li Du asked.
Hans said, "A car memorabilia enthusiasthe was the only one who was willing to accept this contraband. This hood ornament cant be sold in Flagstaff since it was lost in Flagstaff."
Li Du nodded. "Since its contraband, should we slash the price?"
Hans said, "That all depends on our negotiation skills. But now this hood ornaments no longer contraband. Ive already wiped its slate clean."
Li Du became interested and asked, "How did you do that?"
Hans said, "Did you think Big Fox was lazing around while you left the hood ornament alone the past two days? No, Big Fox was dealing with this.
"Every Rolls-Royces hood ornament has a serial number provided by Polycast Limited from Southamptonthis number can be retrieved from the official website.
"I found news on a Roll-Royce which had been wrecked in a car crash and found out its serial number. Then I got someone to polish it onto this hood ornament."
On this note, he opened his arms and said, "Hence, its identity is now a clean slate. But to be on the safe side, lets just sell it somewhere far away."
There were direct flights from Flagstaff to LA. When they got there, the sun was blazing down from the sky. After disembarking, they headed for the city center in a car.
For a long time, concentrated in the city center had been LAs core historical area, major business districts, and administrative districts. But once night fell, and during the weekends, the place was like a ghost town.
Recently the situation had changed: the business districts and administrative districts had begun to move out while performance and entertainment venues started to sprout up.
Thousands of young professionals and artists flooded new workshops, bars, art galleries, turning it into a city of art comparable to Manhattan.
There was traffic congestion at the city center. Hans led the way for them to travel on foot, via the subway, buses, and other means of transport, before they eventually arrived at a skyscraper.
At noon, the trio was seated in a Spanish restaurant in the building when a 40-year-old blonde man approached and asked, "Mr. Li and Mr. Fox from Flagstaff?"
This was the one; Hans shook his hand. "Yes. Hello, Mr. Bill Chicano."
Chicano, who had curly hair and a well-groomed beard, was dressed casually. He looked more like an artist instead of a businessman working in the building.
Sure enough, during their conversation, Chicano claimed to be a sculptor, but he was also a car memorabilia enthusiast who was interested in hood ornaments from Rolls-Royce cars.
Hans took out the box; the Spirit of Ecstasy was in there, poised to take flight.
Chicano called the waiter over, ordered a few meals and said, "You guys grab a bite first. I will take some time to admire it. Oh, the churros are a must-try heresimply delectable."
Li Dus impression of fried dough sticks was them as a staple in the typical Chinese breakfast. Only after the dish was served did he realize that Spain also had this stuff.
Similarly a fried item, the only difference was that the Spanish version was doused with icing, sugar, and honey.
Chicano put on a pair of gloves, and then carefully examined the Spirit of Ecstasy. After that, he turned on the laptop he had with him to search for information online.
By the time Li Du and the rest had finished eating, he was also almost done with his research. He nodded and said, "This Spirit of Ecstasy ornament is great, but for something salvaged from a wrecked car, is this not a little too well-maintained?"
Hans said, "Are you saying that our hood ornament isn't from a legitimate source? Buddy, this is a tad insulting to us."
Chicano was insistent. "Ive checked the information to do with this hood ornament. The car it was attached to was destroyed in a high-speed car accident, and the front of the car had hit the truck. In that case, hows it possible for the hood ornament to be in such good condition?"
"If you know enough about the hood ornament," Hans said, "you should know that when the speed exceeds 50 miles per hour, it will hide in the engine compartment to be protected from sand and wind."
Chicano nodded and said, "Right, that's it."
Hans continued, "When the accident took place, the speed had already exceeded 100 miles per hour!"
Chicano shrugged, and seemed to have accepted what Hans said.
The hood ornaments good condition had caused him to worry that it could have been a stolen item. However, he was consoled by the fact that Rolls-Royce hood ornaments were well-protected and not easy to steal.
First of all, when the car was turned off, the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot would automatically be concealed within the hood for protection; it would not emerge from the hood until the car was restarted.
Second, sensors were installed in the carshould the engine be running and the car was not moving, if someone tried to touch it, the sensors would immediately send a signal to the central computer. The hood ornament would then descend into the hood to be hidden immediately.
Li Du had seen the evaluation online previously; the ornament descent was particularly fast, almost like it were being teleportedone would need to watch it through a slow-motion lens.
After prolonged consideration, Chicano finally agreed to buy this hood ornament.
Following this would be the price war, which Hans had full control over.
How could Chicano the artist be any match for Hans? To practice his bargaining skills, Hans had made his rounds at the marketplace to hone his ability to negotiate.
After some time, the negotiation was concluded, and the deal was sealed for 30,000 dollars.
This was the price both Li Du and Hans had in mind; it was considered an achievement to have been able to sell the hood ornament at this price.
During the transaction, Chicano saw the umbrella and asked in surprise, "You also have the Roll-Royce Phantom Umbrella? I'm keen to buy it."
Hans rejected him firmly: "Sorry, Mr. Chicano. Im happy doing business with you, but the umbrella already has an owner."
Disappointed, Chicano asked, "Is that so? That's a pity, how much is he offering? I would like to counter offer."
Hans smiled and said, "No, its not about the price, but reputation. Were treasure huntersfor us, our reputation is our brand name. We could not possibly back out of deals weve already finished negotiating."
A look of admiration came over the artists face. He offered his hand. "Im glad to meet such an honorable friend. Next time, for matters relating to cars and sculpting, we should once again work together."
Chicano had bought this hood ornament not only to collect it, but also to examine it for his craft of sculpting.
Each Spirit of Ecstasy mascot was a work of art, having resulted from many processes.
This included two manual polishing processes: the first was to polish the wax model when it was first removed from the mold, and the second was to shape it according to the mold.For the second polishing process, the Spirit of Ecstasy was polished at least eight times by hand, and then polished in a machine using mixed polishing material for 65 minutes.