Baby, You Can Drive My Car

It used to be that everyone on the Island drove either a Jeep or a pickup. These days, the new Island car may be the Subaru, particularly the station wagon. One man, Tim Mullen of Edgartown, who has been a Subaru salesman for the past twelve years, claims responsibility for at least 90 percent of them.

Noting that he’s had clients referred to him from as far away as Czechoslovakia and Norway, Tim credits much of his success to an unusual service he provides to Islanders: He will take your car off-Island, have it tuned up or repaired at Atlantic Subaru in Bourne, and return it to you by the end of the day. Sometimes he’ll even fill it up for you with cheaper off-Island gas.

“Whenever Tim takes my car off for servicing,” says Hope Register of Edgartown, who bought her Subaru wagon two years ago, “it comes back with a complimentary car wash. It’s spic ’n’ span inside and out, with all the dog paw prints wiped off of the seats. That just puts me over the top.”

Tim has been shuttling cars since 1998, when he began seriously dating an Island woman with whom he now lives in Edgartown. Initially, he provided this service for customers who’d bought cars from him, but now he does it for anyone who asks. What’s more, Atlantic Subaru now services and sells all types of vehicles (though it specializes in imports), so everyone can avail themselves of Tim’s services. Many people do – at least three or four a week.

Another Vineyarder does the car shuffle for busy customers who can’t take the time to get their cars serviced off-Island. Norman Perry of West Tisbury owns the Meineke in Falmouth (which goes beyond mufflers these days) and has been offering a service similar to Tim’s for fourteen years. Norman says some weeks he’ll drive a few cars over, other weeks none; he often shuttles cars from the Steamship Authority’s Palmer Avenue lot in Falmouth as well.

For both Tim and Norman, all you have to do is call to set up the day, then make a reservation with the Steamship Authority, leaving on the 7 a.m. ferry and returning at the end of the workday. Neither accepts payment for this service; it’s all in a day’s commute. There’s only one problem, says Tim: “Everybody’s car gets serviced but mine!”

Tim Mullen can be reached at Atlantic Subaru at 508-759-5000, and Norman Perry at Meineke Car Care Center at 508-540-6997.