Hammer Time: Expectations

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

I started the bidding at $275. The faces in front of me went instantly from melancholy to downright sullen and FU’ish. Low end dealers, auto recyclers, crushers par excellence, this was an impound lot sale. A final howling call for the dead, the dying, and the DUI’s. In the past few months I had started the bidding at $100. But the tow company’s finances had taken a cliff deep dive (they lost the county contract). With one of his regular wreckers already being used for spare parts. The owner was clearly on the ropes. You know what? The strategy worked . . . and . . .

I really had nothing to do with it. Most of the regulars had already known the owner back when he was a driver for another outfit. Gregarious, nice, a dirty mind, he has all the right combinations of a successful tow operator. Rod had received the very last tow permit in the county and opened up his place of packed dirt and sparse gravel about ten years ago. Since that time there have been continuous cat fights and new contracts stripped and re-neg’d on a yearly basis that effectively made it a ricksaw styled, feast or famine business. You have a county contract? You can win. But only if you also subsidize it with apartment contracts, strip malls and various other developments. If not, the belt must become as tight as a tightwad’s.

While I started my bid calling, I opened my left hand and motioned towards the once running hauler being scrounged for spares. The regulars knew and the bidding expectations were adjusted. In the future, this favor will result in other favors being given for the ‘regulars’ who bid up and stood up for the fellow. In the car business, you always remember those who help you.

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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4 of 14 comments
  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Jul 20, 2009

    I'm not interested in getting into the business. I understand the requirements for bonding, insurance, and having space to put cars. But even if one had all that, he might still not be able to get a permit. That I don't go along with.

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Jul 20, 2009

    I agree with you on that.

  • Skor Skor on Jul 20, 2009

    I attended a county impound sale.....once. Most of the cars sold for between $25-$50 dollars, because that's all they were worth -- one car had a tree growing out of the driver's seat. The cars that may have had any value were stolen. Stolen?, you say. Yup. Stolen by the auctioneer and his partners in crime. You see, the decent cars were started at ridiculously low prices. Before the auctioneer even got his last word out, a hand shot up, the bid was accepted, and bidding was closed. No real bidder got to bid on any of the decent cars. When I pointed this out to the auctioneer, I was told to shut my fucking face or the cops would be called to arrest me. Fuck tow truck operators, fuck county impound actions, and fuck humanity in general.

  • Majo8 Majo8 on Jul 20, 2009

    Looks like two, or maybe three, 1967/1968 Cougars on that trailer in the photo. Where is this junkyard? I believe that is a picture from West Coast Classic Cougars. I don't know if it's an actual photo of their operation or not, but I'll see if I can find out, as the owner posts on a Cougar website I frequent.