SAVOY — A 1972 Honda 600 Coupe had been hanging on a wall at the Honda-BMW dealership in Savoy since 2006.
The orange vehicle has caught people’s attention, particularly kids’, said sales consultant Jonathan Kerr.
“When they see that one on the wall, it just stuns them because they’re looking at it, and it defies physics,” Kerr said. “For a little kid, you can just see the wheels turning in their heads.”
With the help of Tatman’s Towing, the vehicle was lowered to the showroom floor Tuesday without incident.
“I need the space,” said Ben Quattrone, the executive manager of the dealership. “We’re remodeling the showroom.”
He’s been wanting to take it down for years, he said, mentioning it to University of Illinois engineering folks.
“We’d have engineers come in from the university just buying cars, and I’d say, ‘This sounds like a fun project for your guys.’ They never really looked at it,” Quattrone said.
Instead, the towing company they use offered to take a look.
“He said, ‘Oh yeah, I could get that down,’” according to Quattrone.
On Tuesday, Jim Hampton, CEO of Tatman’s Towing, helped get the Honda down with assistant Cody Durbin, a tow truck, a lift and two cables.
“We’re planning on backing a tow truck in here, run a cable up to the beam, bring the cable down, then lower it down and move the front end up,” Hampton said.
The car was hanging from a beam in the ceiling by two cables. Durbin attached another cable to the car’s axle over the beam and out to the tow truck. The car was then raised on the new cable, and the old cables were removed.
“This is what insurance is for, right here,” Quattrone joked.
Finally, the car was lowered while another cable attached to its front pulled it forward.
It landed safely as Honda salespeople stopped to watch and take video. The process only damaged some drop-ceiling tiles and left a couple tire marks on the wall.
“I am surprised at how small it is,” Quattrone said after it was lowered.
The dealership bought the car from a customer in the 1990s, Quattrone said.
“The customer didn’t want to fix it,” he said. “So (previous dealership owner) Kent Shirley bought the car from the customer as is, and then put the money in it to restore it.”
The car was originally green, Quattrone said, but because the paint needed work, they decided to repaint it orange to get close to UI’s colors.
“Since the car was restored, they’ve taken the engine and transmission in and out several times because people wanted to use the car for like a parade or something like that,” Quattrone said. “It was something someone could do in three or four hours.”
When the car was lowered Tuesday, it still had its keys in the ignition, and Quattrone said they plan to put the 500cc engine and transmission back in the car, with the hopes of reselling it.
He said he was told that it could be worth $25,000 to $30,000.
“I’m going to sell it, because that’s what I do,” he said.