True Stories: Buying Used Tires

 

A true, weird story. I hope you like that sort of thing.

I have always enjoyed finding the odd among the normal. After college, I stayed in the university town, a suburb of Oklahoma City, which was where the people with all the oil money used to live.  My rented duplex was on the wrong side of the tracks, in one of the poorer neighborhoods. People in my area were the type who had to buy used tires, and I was one of those people. And, my Luv pickup had a flat.

     I called Jimy’s (his spelling) Tire.  Jimmy said to come on by, and he’d get me my tire.  He was only a block or two away.  Turns out he was running the business out of his old 1920s bungalow. There was a detached garage stacked to within two feet of the ceiling with tires.  No Jimy, though.  A young Middle Eastern male sat on the porch, reading what looked like the Koran.  He told me Jimy would be along soon, and that I could go in the house to wait.

Inside were about twenty kittens, and countless empty bottles of what was labeled “raisin wine”.  An albino-looking man with a bleeding eye was sitting in a chair watching a soap opera.  He didn’t speak.  After what seemed an eternity, Jimy arrived, a scraggly Arabic man clad in a white v-necked t-shirt.  I gave him my tire size as we headed to the garage.

He then climbed up the wall of tires, and disappeared, crawling away on his stomach, like an infantryman.  A minute later, he came crawling back, pushing the tire in front of him.  His white shirt was now marked in black. (In retrospect, I remember he looked a lot like Khalid Sheik Mohammed in his famous t-shirt photoshoot. But this was long before 2001.) I paid $20 and left.  For the next six years, I kept coming back, as much to take in the atmosphere as to buy the tires.

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  1. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I had to do an internet search both for “Luv pickup” and for “Khalid Sheik Mohammed famous t-shirt photoshoot.”  Worth it.   

    • #1
  2. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    A great short story! 

    We’ve all been there. (Well, many of us, anyway) When we lived in Hollywood, in the Seventies, there was a Mexican guy parked every day outside the car wash, with a set of bodywork tools and materials in the trunk of his ’73 Cutlass (a very nice car, BTW). He was a real artisan who could work wonders with steel, putty and paint. 

    • #2
  3. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    A great short story!

    We’ve all been there. (Well, many of us, anyway) When we lived in Hollywood, in the Seventies, there was a Mexican guy parked every day outside the car wash, with a set of bodywork tools and materials in the trunk of his ’73 Cutlass (a very nice car, BTW). He was a real artisan who could work wonders with steel, putty and paint.

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I had to do an internet search both for “Luv pickup” and for “Khalid Sheik Mohammed famous t-shirt photoshoot.” Worth it.

    Thanks for reading! I will write a shorter bit about that Luv soon. A “Luv” story.

    • #3
  4. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    A great short story!

    We’ve all been there. (Well, many of us, anyway) When we lived in Hollywood, in the Seventies, there was a Mexican guy parked every day outside the car wash, with a set of bodywork tools and materials in the trunk of his ’73 Cutlass (a very nice car, BTW). He was a real artisan who could work wonders with steel, putty and paint.

    Honored you read it! 

    Next time I’m back in OK, I’m going to see if they’re still around.

    • #4
  5. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    A great short story!

    We’ve all been there. (Well, many of us, anyway) When we lived in Hollywood, in the Seventies, there was a Mexican guy parked every day outside the car wash, with a set of bodywork tools and materials in the trunk of his ’73 Cutlass (a very nice car, BTW). He was a real artisan who could work wonders with steel, putty and paint.

    Honored you read it!

    Next time I’m back in OK, I’m going to see if they’re still around.

    There’s been a lot of improvement in dent removal over the past several years.

    • #5
  6. Steve Fast Member
    Steve Fast
    @SteveFast

    This story is one of the reasons I love Ricochet.

    • #6
  7. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Steve Fast (View Comment):

    This story is one of the reasons I love Ricochet.

    Glad you liked it. More coming.

    • #7
  8. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Steve Fast (View Comment):

    This story is one of the reasons I love Ricochet.

    You said it, pal. 

    • #8
  9. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    I remember the LUV.  It was a rebadged Isuzu (I thought Toyota but a quick search showed me the truth).  I also didn’t remember that there were actually diesels available for a couple of years.   Those tiny pickups (we owned a couple of them) were true utility vehicles. 

    • #9
  10. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    A great short story!

    We’ve all been there. (Well, many of us, anyway) When we lived in Hollywood, in the Seventies, there was a Mexican guy parked every day outside the car wash, with a set of bodywork tools and materials in the trunk of his ’73 Cutlass (a very nice car, BTW). He was a real artisan who could work wonders with steel, putty and paint.

    Honored you read it!

    Next time I’m back in OK, I’m going to see if they’re still around.

    There’s been a lot of improvement in dent removal over the past several years.

    Back in those days, you’d be amazed what a simple plumber’s plunger could do at pulling a dent out. 

     

    • #10
  11. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    I remember the LUV. It was a rebadged Isuzu (I thought Toyota but a quick search showed me the truth). I also didn’t remember that there were actually diesels available for a couple of years. Those tiny pickups (we owned a couple of them) were true utility vehicles.

    I didn’t know the LUV was an Isuzu!  How about that!

    I had a friend with an Isuzu pickup – it was a great small truck – practical and basic.  Easy to work on .  

    • #11
  12. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I was in OKC for a six month gig. I liked it there. I tried to talk the company for which I was consulting into starting a software department. They had the work coming and they knew it, but instead they decided to continue to rely on the kindness of strangers software consultants. By the time they were ready to make a proposal, I was in the wind.

    • #12
  13. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Dotorimuk: I stayed in the university town, a suburb of Oklahoma City, which was where the people with all the oil money used to live. 

    Shortly after we were married the first good house we bought was in Yukon, OK so not where the oil money was but, back then a sleepy suburb with a couple of grocery stores, etc.  When I needed tires for my junker I drove to the tire plant I also went to a used tire store but my Jimmy was a redneck Okie who had some kind of line on worn tires; $20 for one with pretty good tread or $10 for one that had only maybe 10,000 miles left in it (if you didn’t mind a few threads showing for the last 100 or so).  I was mostly able to spring for the ‘better’ tires and the truck might not last longer than the tires at that, so, why buy new? In those days I was careful not to trade cars with more than a quarter tank of gas left.
    Anyway, the question I have is: did he mount and balance the tires or did you have to take them somewhere for that and if so what did that cost. I didn’t bother with balancing since those tires didn’t see the highway very often. One tire I got that way had a serious wobble so after a few days I took it off and rolled it down the driveway slowly to check it out. It turned out the tread had been applied in a definite snake pattern so nothing could be done to fix it. I switched it with a rear tire and took the corners slower for about a year or so.  Those were the days, no money but plenty of fun. 

    • #13
  14. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Dotorimuk (View Comment)Back in those days, you’d be amazed what a simple plumber’s plunger could do at pulling a dent out.

    Even today you’d be amazed what it could do back in those days.

    • #14
  15. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    OkieSailor (View Comment):

    Dotorimuk: I stayed in the university town, a suburb of Oklahoma City, which was where the people with all the oil money used to live.

    Shortly after we were married the first good house we bought was in Yukon, OK so not where the oil money was but, back then a sleepy suburb with a couple of grocery stores, etc. When I needed tires for my junker I drove to the tire plant I also went to a used tire store but my Jimmy was a redneck Okie who had some kind of line on worn tires; $20 for one with pretty good tread or $10 for one that had only maybe 10,000 miles left in it (if you didn’t mind a few threads showing for the last 100 or so). I was mostly able to spring for the ‘better’ tires and the truck might not last longer than the tires at that, so, why buy new? In those days I was careful not to trade cars with more than a quarter tank of gas left.
    Anyway, the question I have is: did he mount and balance the tires or did you have to take them somewhere for that and if so what did that cost. I didn’t bother with balancing since those tires didn’t see the highway very often. One tire I got that way had a serious wobble so after a few days I took it off and rolled it down the driveway slowly to check it out. It turned out the tread had been applied in a definite snake pattern so nothing could be done to fix it. I switched it with a rear tire and took the corners slower for about a year or so. Those were the days, no money but plenty of fun.

    Yukon is my hometown! (Home of Garth Brooks) The town with the tire shop was Edmond (home of postal shooter Patrick Sherrill.)

    I had to take the tire to a shop for mounting and balancing, but dang me if I can remember the price.

    Yeah, you had to really look over those used tires, or as we sometimes say in OK, those used “tars.”

    • #15
  16. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Percival (View Comment):

    I was in OKC for a six month gig. I liked it there. I tried to talk the company for which I was consulting into starting a software department. They had the work coming and they knew it, but instead they decided to continue to rely on the kindness of strangers software consultants. By the time they were ready to make a proposal, I was in the wind.

    It’s boomed since my high school days. I moved there around ‘97 and stayed until coming to Korea a few years ago.

    • #16
  17. EJHill Staff
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Isuzu still exists but is no longer active in the US market. Still, they were the greatest thing to happen to David Leisure.

    • #17
  18. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Growing up as a child of financially well-off parents growing up in middle class suburbs, I was oblivious to how much industry and economic activity took place in obscure garages and other “unconventional” spaces.

    But then late in my teen years (mid-1970s) I was helping my father with a project for high school students with academic promise but who had no idea what going to college was like, which project took us into some of the economically poorest areas of Orange County (California) (mostly Santa Ana and Garden Grove). I got an eye-opening introduction into some parts of the economy that don’t come under big brand name signs and don’t operate in big fancy spaces or in major commercial districts. 

    Since living in more rural areas the last 25 years, I see lots of back yard / garage / barn / mounted-on-a-truck businesses, which I find very encouraging. People see a need and work to fulfill it, usually working very hard at it. 

    • #18
  19. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Dotorimuk:      He then climbed up the wall of tires, and disappeared, crawling away on his stomach, like an infantryman.  A minute later, he came crawling back, pushing the tire in front of him. 

    This reminds me a bit of the flooring store where I work.  The warehouse is so jam-packed, this is the procedure for getting out a roll of carpet.

    1. Drive forklift with forks outside.
    2. Drive forklift with pole outside.
    3. Bring forks back in and haul 2-5 pallets outside, and leave that forklift outside.
    4. Bring pole forklift back in so I can get the roll of carpet from the pile.  If the roll I need isn’t near the top, haul several rolls (maybe over a dozen) outside until I have dug down to the one we need.

    Last week I had done this and one minute after I finished putting everything back in place, a guy who had seen me doing it said he needed two rolls from the pile.  And if someone wants some hardwood or laminate flooring that is deep in the warehouse, it might be a 3-4 hour job digging it out and putting everything back.  Good thing I like driving forklift.

    • #19
  20. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I had to do an internet search both for “Luv pickup” and for “Khalid Sheik Mohammed famous t-shirt photoshoot.” Worth it.

    Share the results. 

    • #20
  21. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Growing up as a child of financially well-off parents growing up in middle class suburbs, I was oblivious to how much industry and economic activity took place in obscure garages and other “unconventional” spaces.

    But then late in my teen years (mid-1970s) I was helping my father with a project for high school students with academic promise but who had no idea what going to college was like, which project took us into some of the economically poorest areas of Orange County (California) (mostly Santa Ana and Garden Grove). I got an eye-opening introduction into some parts of the economy that don’t come under big brand name signs and don’t operate in big fancy spaces or in major commercial districts.

    Since living in more rural areas the last 25 years, I see lots of back yard / garage / barn / mounted-on-a-truck businesses, which I find very encouraging. People see a need and work to fulfill it, usually working very hard at it.

    Some of those folks have created YouTube channels with a decent following.  

    • #21
  22. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    Last week I had done this and one minute after I finished putting everything back in place, a guy who had seen me doing it said he needed two rolls from the pile.

    Now see, that would upset me.

    • #22
  23. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    A great short story!

    We’ve all been there. (Well, many of us, anyway) When we lived in Hollywood, in the Seventies, there was a Mexican guy parked every day outside the car wash, with a set of bodywork tools and materials in the trunk of his ’73 Cutlass (a very nice car, BTW). He was a real artisan who could work wonders with steel, putty and paint.

    Honored you read it!

    Next time I’m back in OK, I’m going to see if they’re still around.

    There’s been a lot of improvement in dent removal over the past several years.

    Back in those days, you’d be amazed what a simple plumber’s plunger could do at pulling a dent out.

     

    They still use similar techniques to start with and on larger dents.  But they have a bunch of tools now that can be used from inside, along with heating and cooling the affected and surrounding metal…  Sometimes without needing any filler (putty, Bondo, etc) at all.

    Years ago, my youngest brother had a Datsun 710 “station wagon” to which a magnet would not stick to any part of the back.

    • #23
  24. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    I remember the LUV. It was a rebadged Isuzu (I thought Toyota but a quick search showed me the truth). I also didn’t remember that there were actually diesels available for a couple of years. Those tiny pickups (we owned a couple of them) were true utility vehicles.

    I didn’t know the LUV was an Isuzu! How about that!

    I had a friend with an Isuzu pickup – it was a great small truck – practical and basic. Easy to work on .

    You may be interested in taking a look at YouTube videos of the K/Kei trucks being offered now.

    • #24
  25. Lunchbox Gerald Coolidge
    Lunchbox Gerald
    @Jose

    When I was a struggling airman in the UK, cars and insurance were very expensive.  I finally found a low mileage Toyota Starlet (Tercel) and paid for it with a personal loan, a Christmas loan, and a signature loan.  Each one was for the maximum amount the bank would offer an airman.  Combined, all three were enough to make the purchase.

    I drove it about a year before it was totaled by another GI who forgot to drive in the left lane.  I had to rent a lemon at the only place I could afford, owned by an Indian.  He was a nice guy but had a very different concept of personal space than a kid from a ranch on the prairie. He would follow me around while I backed away from him, each of us trying to reach a comfortable proximity to the other.  I understood what was happening but it was kinda weird.

    • #25
  26. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):
    He would follow me around while I backed away from him, each of us trying to reach a comfortable proximity to the other. 

    Bizarro Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

    • #26
  27. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Lunchbox Gerald (View Comment):

    When I was a struggling airman in the UK, cars and insurance were very expensive. I finally found a low mileage Toyota Starlet (Tercel) and paid for it with a personal loan, a Christmas loan, and a signature loan. Each one was for the maximum amount the bank would offer an airman. Combined, all three were enough to make the purchase.

    I drove it about a year before it was totaled by another GI who forgot to drive in the left lane. I had to rent a lemon at the only place I could afford, owned by an Indian. He was a nice guy but had a very different concept of personal space than a kid from a ranch on the prairie. He would follow me around while I backed away from him, each of us trying to reach a comfortable proximity to the other. I understood what was happening but it was kinda weird.

    The first time my wife went to China on a FedEx trip the crew (3) went to a market in Beijing.  She said every time she turned to move someone was up inside her personal space staring at her. 

    • #27
  28. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    I remember the LUV. It was a rebadged Isuzu (I thought Toyota but a quick search showed me the truth). I also didn’t remember that there were actually diesels available for a couple of years. Those tiny pickups (we owned a couple of them) were true utility vehicles.

    I didn’t know the LUV was an Isuzu! How about that!

    I had a friend with an Isuzu pickup – it was a great small truck – practical and basic. Easy to work on .

    You may be interested in taking a look at YouTube videos of the K/Kei trucks being offered now.

    I almost bought one around 10 years ago.  Found out I would not be able to license for street use. Had to pass. 

    • #28
  29. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    I remember the LUV. It was a rebadged Isuzu (I thought Toyota but a quick search showed me the truth). I also didn’t remember that there were actually diesels available for a couple of years. Those tiny pickups (we owned a couple of them) were true utility vehicles.

    I didn’t know the LUV was an Isuzu! How about that!

    I had a friend with an Isuzu pickup – it was a great small truck – practical and basic. Easy to work on .

    You may be interested in taking a look at YouTube videos of the K/Kei trucks being offered now.

    I almost bought one around 10 years ago. Found out I would not be able to license for street use. Had to pass.

    That seems to be less of a problem now, at least depending on which brand/model you get.  Seems like a person is allowed to get one non-complying import, too.  More often used for vintage or otherwise sports vehicles from Europe, but it would apply here too.

    • #29
  30. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    OkieSailor (View Comment):

    Dotorimuk: I stayed in the university town, a suburb of Oklahoma City, which was where the people with all the oil money used to live.

    Shortly after we were married the first good house we bought was in Yukon, OK so not where the oil money was but, back then a sleepy suburb with a couple of grocery stores, etc. When I needed tires for my junker I drove to the tire plant I also went to a used tire store but my Jimmy was a redneck Okie who had some kind of line on worn tires; $20 for one with pretty good tread or $10 for one that had only maybe 10,000 miles left in it (if you didn’t mind a few threads showing for the last 100 or so). I was mostly able to spring for the ‘better’ tires and the truck might not last longer than the tires at that, so, why buy new? In those days I was careful not to trade cars with more than a quarter tank of gas left.
    Anyway, the question I have is: did he mount and balance the tires or did you have to take them somewhere for that and if so what did that cost. I didn’t bother with balancing since those tires didn’t see the highway very often. One tire I got that way had a serious wobble so after a few days I took it off and rolled it down the driveway slowly to check it out. It turned out the tread had been applied in a definite snake pattern so nothing could be done to fix it. I switched it with a rear tire and took the corners slower for about a year or so. Those were the days, no money but plenty of fun.

    Yukon is my hometown! (Home of Garth Brooks) The town with the tire shop was Edmond (home of postal shooter Patrick Sherrill.)

    I had to take the tire to a shop for mounting and balancing, but dang me if I can remember the price.

    Yeah, you had to really look over those used tires, or as we sometimes say in OK, those used “tars.”

    Our family moved from Fort Worth to El Reno when I was in HS. That was in 1965, I graduated in 1967, married in 1968 and moved to Yukon about 1971. When I retired around 2012 we moved to Barren County outside Glasgow, Ky and built our retirement home, mostly to be closer to things we hadn’t seen east of the Mississippi.

    • #30
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