The mountain of wealth in the Bay Area reached a new height this week when an auto repair shop opened on San Francisco's elite Nob Hill that requires patrons to reserve two months in advance for tune ups, insists on references and will not work on automobiles valued at less than $200,000.
Dubbed "The Wrench Laundry - an obvious play on words/homage to Napa Valley's revered restaurant The French Laundry - the shop has been already flooded with "reservations" requests and has drawn gawkers - and paparazzi - up to three deep at its California Street address who are eager to see exotic cars and the celebrities who drive them.
"I saw Jay Leno pull up in his orange McLaren P1," said an excited Doug Zamensky, a Southern California restaurant manager on vacation. "He was very nice."
Other celebrity sightings have included , actor Tom Hanks (Bugatti Type 41 Royale), television journalist Hoda Kotb ( Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing), film mogul George Lucas, (Ferrari F50), former NBA great Julius "Dr. J" Erving (Rolls Royce Dawn), painter K.C. "Dutch" Smitherton, (Costin Maserati 450s), and retired British race car driver Mike Hawthorne (D Type Jaguar),
However, the Wrench Laundry has also drawn several protesters who are decrying that growing gap between the rich and the super rich. "The sheer arrogance of this mechanics shop is just another demoralizing indication of the growing disparity between the super rich and the regular rich," said a lawyer who refused to give his name. "I have a $140,000 Audi R8 and i can't get in."
Despite the protests, business has been booming since opening Oct. 13. Attempts by our staff to get a reservations (admittedly bogus) were unsuccessful. The Wrench Laundry has taken measure to ensure against such fake attempts, - such as ours - by requiring potential customers text over a photo of their driver's license along with a photo of themselves in their automobile.
Approved customers are then emailed a confirmation along with a "menu" . A tune up at the Wrench Laundry can cost $10,000 while a simple alignment run about to $1750.
Owners and mechanics at the Wrench Laundry refused to be interviewed for this story.