It was another hot NC summer, I was fucked up on a variety of drugs like any other day at East Coast Motorsports. I started work at my desk late by logging into Central Dispatch and grabbing the phone number to the transporter arriving later. My partner Todd’s friend, Tony owned three high-line used car dealerships in north NJ and sent us the trade-ins he didn't want or need at his stores. It was a beneficial relationship for both parties, we received easy to recondition inventory regularly and he quickly warehoused his trade-in cars on our floorplan without him worrying about the auction at all.
This particular day we were receiving a batch of 8 cars, mostly benign European luxury vehicles. This was also my 22nd birthday, hence the early drug induced fog. It was a long day spent working hard and getting these new vehicles prepared for sale. These cars as a part of our inventory weren't particularly spectacular, but a few introduced me to some of the most interesting customers I've ever encountered. Most of them are criminals, and some became friends I still see to this day. Obviously, I won't use any real or full names in this piece, so don't go looking for these folks.
2006 BMW 750i
This one was actually interesting the moment it rolled off the truck. The driver backed it off the trailer first, then it immediately cut off. Thankfully, it just ran out of gas but I was enough to cause alarm. It was a black on black shorty 7-Series with 55k miles, a car reserved for the buyer with a 5-Series budget and 7-Series taste. It received a ton of attention online due to its low entry price, but most who were interested didn't have the credit or the money to buy.
A couple weeks in, a large, class 8 truck pulls up on the sideroad next to the lot. Out hops 4 guys dressed in county uniform shirts and utility pants looking at all the cars. The manager of the crew was called Jarrell and like most of the people I encountered during that era he was looking for a W221 Mercedes-Benz S550.
At that specific moment we didn't have one in stock, but I encouraged him to stop by after work so we could find one for him. He agreed and around 6:30pm a white Dodge Ram on 24” wheels rolls onto the lot. Jarrell hops out, an about 6’2” black guy in his late thirties with braided hair. We started to talk about finding him an S550, but slowly manage to talk him into buying the 750 as a temporary car.
Jarrell needed me to follow him in the 750 as he didn't have another way to get it home, plus he had the rest of his down payment money there. As we walked out the door, he hands me a half ounce of decent weed as a tip. I followed him to his house which was only a few minutes away from the store. As I walked in with him to collect the money, he revealed this wasn't his only home. It started to dawn on me then that this guy wasn't just a county employee. On the ride back he revealed his money came from dealing weed, but his secret to being able to enjoy it was keeping a reliable job and strong credit.
I ended up selling him an S550 three weeks later after the 750 decided to blow out a VANOS solenoid. He ended up being a good friend I still hang out with from time to time. I've sold him more cars and even some of his family too. Plus, he always has free weed whenever I see him, so I guess that 750 made it my birthday everyday.
The partner we originally bought out to save the store had his own group of friends he'd occasionally sell cars to. These were some of our rare buy-here-pay-here deals, because we knew these folks were good for it. Well this car was purchased by one of those guys. The GL was painted a rare Designo Mystic Blue, with a Designo Sand interior and the sport package with 21” AMG wheels.
I drove it around myself for a few days after we fixed the two blown front air struts. It was parked in the showroom the day Micah showed up asking for my partner Gus. A skinny six foot tall white guy in board shorts with tattooed arms. He was driving a green Lexus GS350 Gus had sold him the year before. He had already paid it off months before and was ready to trade it in for a SUV.
Well first off we went and took a look at the Lexus to discern a trade-in value. Mind you it was a 95 degree day in NC during late June, as soon as I opened the door the strongest weed smell smacked the shit out me. This smell isn't what you think either, it wasn't the smell of weed smoked, but the smell of pounds being transported within. We offered him a fair value assuming we might be able to get the smell out. He put down $5k in cash on top of that and agreed to a $2500 monthly payment after that for 12 months.
Micah was an interesting dude, very into organic food and holistic living. He was also very open about his prison stays. He would come every month and usually drop a lot more than his structured payment on the GL. His wife would come in occasionally to make payments, she had a variation of Bobby Brown jaw that could tell anyone what her drug of choice was. Once he came in asking me about a squeak in the suspension, so I went with him on a quick drive. Before I even managed to get the door open, I was accosted by the incredible stench of weed. I openly wondered about the smell as we drove, and he told me he just came back from Texas with 20 pounds of high grade tree.
This was just the tip of the iceberg of interesting characters buying these birthday cars. In the next instalment you'll learn how a couple of these cars almost got us in trouble with the law. Also the story about one of the vehicle’s involvement in my next birthday. These cars were a special bunch and I can't wait to tell you more about them.