The lecture turns to tire construction and Scotti explains how variations in pressure will affect handling, the cost of bullet-resistant radials ($1800 for a set), and other esoterica of the anti-terrorist game. But try as he might, he can’t steer clear of examples that grab headlines, and he’s quickly back to a review of the mistakes made by the driver and the bodyguards in the sensational kidnapping and murder of West German industrialist Hanns Martin Schleyer. “When Schleyer’s driver saw the terrorist van blocking the road he didn’t even try to avoid it,” Scotti says, shaking his head. “Now, when you think of kidnapping, what do you think of? Ransom, right? The Baader-Meinhof gang, or the Red Brigades, or whoever, what they’re looking for are capitalists. Shit, there are plenty of people they can get a couple million bucks off of. You gotta make sure it’s not your guy. What did Schleyer’s people do after the collision? They got out of the car.” Scotti’s voice is sarcastic again. “Now if there’s anything you guys have learned since Monday it’s that getting out of the car is the last thing you do. No matter how badly damaged the car is, if you can move it, you move it. You’ve got a choice. You can give up or you can say, ‘fuck that—if they’re gonna kidnap me they’re gonna work for it.’”

“Do they ever try to bribe the chauffeur?” the guy in the camouflage hat asks under his breath.

“Naw, they generally just tell the driver to lie down. They probably figure he’s just a working stiff anyhow,” one of the guys from Chicago pipes up. Even Scotti laughs. It’s the kind of exchange, one imagines, that would prove disconcerting to the bosses who are paying to have these guys trained to protect them.

As we head for the practice cars—a Grand Prix, a Monte Carlo, and a Ford LTD, all leased from National Car Rental but fitted with tires that Scotti supplies—I ask him if the rental agent has any idea of the violent way the vehicles will be used.  He’s heard the question before. “We used to use Hertz,” he jokes.

On the track, the class discovers that it must share the banked oval with a crew filming a Fiat commercial. Each time the small green sports car buzzes around the far turn for another lap, Scotti sneers, “There goes Remy Julienne.” We later learn that the driver is not the fabled stunt man from France, “just your typical thousand-dollars-a-day guy from Hollywood.”

Scotti is still lecturing in the warm afternoon sun. This time his topic is the difficulty even the best chauffeur will have in getting a temperamental executive to become “security-conscious.”

“For God’s sake, get him to take his name off of that damned executive parking spot. I knew a guy in Brooklyn who told me, ‘Hey look, I worked all my life to be chairman of this company. I want that space and there isn’t anything in the world that can get me to give it up.’ Now that’s just plain foolish—like those stupid vanity plates. You might as well hang out a sign that says ‘Come and Get Me.’ But that’s just one example of how un-security-conscious this country is.” At this point one of the students from Chicago explains that the “stretched” Cadillac limousine he drives is under constant video-camera surveillance in the locked garage where it is parked when he is not at the wheel. Scotti nods approvingly.

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  •   ENERGETIC ENGINEERING  |  July 01, 2008
    This article originally appeared in the June 27, 1978 issue of the Boston Phoenix.
    This article originally ran in the May 2, 1978 issue of the Boston Phoenix .

 See all articles by: MICHAEL MATZA