A few words to the wise. I’ve bought many cars. I mean lots of the them. Every time I try to remember how many cars I’ve owned, I remember a new one. Like that silver Datsun I had for six months or so back in 1994. Or the white something or other that my wife swears I drove for a whole year. You get the point.
My beloved Greasebenz came with an unexpected twist that I was, even with my extensive car buying history, unfamiliar with–a salvage title. Apparently they issue salvage titles to cars that have been wrecked, flood damaged, or in the case of Greasebenz, just sitting around for a really long time. When I went to the DMV in Haverstraw, NY to register the car, the guy at the counter sent me packing on an elaborate journey to obtaining a new, “clean” title.
First, I had to send the old title, with a new application, to Albany, with $200 (shakedown fee). Then, I had to wait three weeks to receive a salvage inspection from one of six certified DMV inspection centers in the state. Fortunately, one of these was only 15 miles or so from my house, in Elmsford, NY.
My temporary tags had long since expired, so I had to arrange a tow from my mechanic while I went ahead in my partner Chuck’s car, which he was nice enough to lend me for the day. I drove to what looked like a row of crack houses in Elmsford (an otherwise quaint little town) to a warehouse district that housed what appeared to be a series of no-name body shops. In fact, it looked like one giant block of body shops, all operating as one entity. I pulled into the DMV section, still waiting for the tow truck to find it’s way to the inspection bay, and asked one of the inspectors where I could park. He waved me around to a side lot, where I parked Chuck’s car and made my way back to the inspection bay.
After a two hour wait, I was told Greasebenz had passed with flying colors (should have–I had just had my mechanic give it a total saftey upgrade), BUT I’d have to wait another three weeks for the new title to come in the mail. No title, no registration, no driving.
As I made my way back to Chuck’s car, I was greeted by a booted tire and a sticker on the window telling me I was illegally parked in the lot designated for an auto body shop. IF YOU ARE EVER ON RIVER ST. IN ELMSFORD, BEWARE THIS EVIL PRICK.
I tried to reason with the guy at the body shop, telling him that DMV told me to park there. Suddenly I realized that I was no doubt just another sucker in a decades-long scam to extract funds from unsuspecting visitors to the DMV inspection place. $75 later (another shakedown fee), I got Chuck’s car back. I guess I’ll just build that into the “master Greasebenz budget”.
Lesson of the day–get a car with a clean title when you take the greasy plunge!