Never low ball; what goes around comes around

A word of warning to the easily offended: the following entry contains cursing. I know it may not seem like the most "professional" thing to do, but if you had the opportunity to uncover what we did then you be cussing, too.

By now, many of you have seen the great Recaro stash we uncovered on March 3, 2013. Our buddies who we sharedthis story with loved it so much that we'd thought we would share it with you, too. Being the seller is a reserved guy,I've changed his name out of respect for his privacy.

About seven years ago I saw a random local ad for some MK3 Recaros. Interesting, I thought, no way I'm passing this up. Since I was building a MK3 at the time and it was a local ad, I hopped on the old computer and sent an email. Within an hour the seller called me.

"You sure these seats are for a MK3?" I inquired.

"Yes sir, I have 3 sets, they came from Japan. I have lots of MK2 Recaros, but no MK3s. I sort of bought them on a whim and I could use the room."

"Japan, huh? When can I meet you?"

Needless to say I asked him to pull the ad and I'd be on my way ASAP. He replied ‘no problem’ and a date was made. I proceeded to drive off on a 2 hour trip into the unknown. I had no idea what to expect. Sometime that's the fun in it, but a set of OEM MK3 Recaros in the US didn't hurt either.

I was having second thoughts upon arriving at his garage. It was in a less than ideal setting, with a dilapidated trailer home backing up to it. Needless to say I wasn't hoping for anything nice. Steve, as we'll call him, came out from behind the garage. We shook hands and he said before opening the door "Now the only thing I'm selling is the one set of MK3 Recaros. Nothing else is available." Interesting.

As he hit the clicker to the one garage door I struggled to maintain my poker face. ‘Holy shit!’ was the only thing that crossed my mind. His 2-car garage was filled to capacity. Every model of Recaro was represented along with a few other makers. ‘Holy Shit!’ He had OEM, brand new Classics, SRDs still in the wrapper and some Italian seats I haven't even heard of. ‘Holy Shit!’ I had nearly forgotten what I had initially came for. 

"Steve, how did you get all of these?"

"Your set is right back here."

"I've never seen this many sets in one spot before. Are you an upholstery guy?"

"Here is one of the fronts."

I could see Steve wasn't going to be very forthcoming. So I shook my head and gathered my thoughts. I helped him pull the seats I had come for out of the garage. I wasn't even going to try to make an offer other than his advertised price. This is a guy whose good side I wanted to stay on. I did however, manage to get him to sell me another set of the same seats. They now reside in Canada.

Fast forward to early 2013.

It seems a different world from seven years ago. Now I'm married with kids and a mortgage, along with a new and existing business. I see an old thread on VWVortexadvertising some pieces a friend had been looking for. I sent an IM thinking nothing would come about it. I get a reply two weeks later with a phone number to call. I call and leave a message. Another two weeks go by and I get a call out of the blue.

"Hi, my name is Steve. You had sent me a message about some parts I have."

"Yeah that was me. Thanks for returning my call. Are they still available?"

"They sure are. I have two storage units I'd like to empty. Both have all sorts of old VW stuff."

‘Perfect,’ I think. This could get good. Being it's sevenyears later, I hadn't put two and two together yet.

"I have a locker in CT and a garage down near you. If you want, I can meet you in CT, then you can follow me back down. Everything is available. I'm having health issues and can't do what I used to anymore." 

We set up a weekend to do this and I reserved a truck. After enlisting the help of my brother, we set off for CT. We arrived and met with Steve.  I couldn't help but notice that he looked familiar. I am much better with faces than names,but I definitely knew him from somewhere. 

He opened the door to his unit and uncovered a mass of boxes, old letter bins and the most random stuff you could imagine. ‘Uhhh, you said you had parts here right?’ I thought. He apologized for the mess and said "dig in". Anything we found was available. So we did just that. Fulfilling my newly found American Pickers dream we climbed over piles of junk and began pulling out parts.

"Is that wheel a Centra?" my brother asked. 

"Pull it," I said

"Here's a flare to something." I heard Steve saying.

"Pull it, " I again replied

After a couple of hours of scouring through the most random stuff you could imagine, we had a small pile of NOS 80's/90's goodness. Not nearly enough to justify the 26' truck I rented, but it was a start. Feeling like an ass for jumping the gun on the rental, I started probing Steve to see what he had available in his other unit.

"Uhh, I have some random VW stuff and some seats. I can't really remember, it's been a good five years since I was down there." Awesome. WTF am I doing, I thought.

After coming to an agreed price for the parts, we loaded up the truck and made our way down to his other unit. As we got off the highway, another vague familiarity came over me.

"I've been here before," I told my brother "This looks so familiar."

As the truck rounded the tight turns and negotiated hills it wasn't meant for, I saw it. "Holy shit, that can't be the same trailer?!?"

My brother knew something was up. After verbally beating myself up for the two hour drive in our barely filled truck,he knew redemption was near.

"Wouldn't it be cool if this turned out to be the same guy you got your Japanese-spec Recaros from?"

I just turned to him and started giggling like a little school girl front row at a Bieber concert. Right then he knew this was going to be something big.  As we pulled up to the familiar garage, Steve parked his car and noticed the glazed look that had come over me.

"You ok? Getting tired huh?"

"Steve, got to ask you, did you used to have a set of Japanese-spec MK3 Recaros?"

"Yeah I had a few, why?"

"Remember the guy who you sold them to at all?"

"Not really, it's been awhile. I do remember that he was the only guy that never tried to lowball me. That's why I sold him 2 sets."

"I knew I had recognized you from somewhere before,seven years later now I finally remember. I loved those seats. Let’s see what you still got."

The rest of the day was spent pulling everything out of his stuffed garage. My brother and I worked diligently as Steve sat back reminiscing about his glory days. He can't do what he used to because he was diagnosed with cancer. He is in treatment for it now, but with an uncertainty of the outcome, he decided to unload what he could now rather than leave the burden on his family.

In honor of Steve, we will be donating $10 of every sale from his stash to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. If you'd like to donate more, we will pass it along.

Inside looking out

Have you ever heard one of those ideas that you knew had potential?  Well so did I.

We have been playing this game for a long time. You know the game, you build a car in your head, you agonize over the smallest details, and can't stop thinking about making those ideas a reality. Then you put your plan into action.

The most tedious part for most of us is sourcing that hard to find piece to set off your creation. After all the devil is in the details, right? For that simple reason is why collective.east exists, to make that detail easier to achieve.  

Locating quality, sought after parts comes natural to some. For us the thrill of the hunt is often its own reward. The network we have developed and assembled is very good at that. Some of the things I have seen turn up at our headquarters would make even the most seasoned enthusiast stop and take notice, it's truly impressive and I am quite honored to have been asked  to be a part of it.



A couple years ago I had an idea. An idea to source parts. To do what I have been doing quietly for years but this time offer these services to the public.  To make available all of the cool and rare parts we've been looking at but could never quite get a hold of. We use the term rare lightly. Frankly we're not even fans of it. To us it jumped the shark long before anyone even heard of stance. Please don't even get us started on that bullshit, but i digress. 

We have always had a knack for finding what shouldn't be found; well at least in this country. To be honest we always wanted what we couldn't or even shouldn't be allowed too have. Every night when I crawl into bed the last thing i do is curse the damn NHTSA and their fool 25 year rule. How stupid is that? But again i digress.

All we could do was to beg, borrow and steal from our friends overseas who ironically fiend for what we have here. In doing so over the years we have put together a network of trusted friends who have slowly become family. They now provide us with whatever you could possibly desire, and have for years to other friends & family. 

Here at collective.east we are extending that family to you. Please don't hesitate to contact us and inquire about any of your parts inquires. Our family is here to help the best way we know how.