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I recently shared the story of a Tesla owner who was once homeless and managed to rebuild his life to the point where he was able to purchase a Tesla. Afterward, I was contacted by someone from the Tesla Owners Club of New York who told me they have a member with a similar story.
Photo provided by Anthony Cimino, used with permission.
Anthony Cimino has always been a car guy. His backstory is pretty similar to that of my mentor, Daryl Thompson, who was the son of saxophonist Lucky Thompson. Both men were kicked out of their homes by a parent (Anthony’s mom, Daryl’s dad) at a young age.
Anthony was only 15 when he was put out onto the streets, but was fortunate to find an adoptive family to shelter him and teach him. He described the family as a positive experience. However, he’s struggled on and off with homelessness before finally being able to start renting out apartments. Today, he owns six properties and a Tesla Model 3.
“I wasn’t going to buy a Tesla,” he told me. The reason was that he isn’t a luxury car guy. He is the type who would take a $500 car and fix it up. In fact, he’d purchased a classic 1967 VW Beetle Convertible on eBay in Michigan and planned to drive back to New York. Before he got there, he found out that the person he bought it from was actually a dealership that was trying to rip him off. He’d spent $6,000. He had to fight to get that back, but in the end, he got his money back and wound up purchasing a Tesla Model 3.
One of Anthony’s passions is working with cars. In 2010, he was interviewed by The Daily Gazette for his work with vehicles and being able to use waste vegetable oil for fuel. He also bought a 2000 Ford Ranger EV. (Talk about an early adopter!)
Back then, it was quite difficult to get an EV. He found his truck on eBay. It was a former fleet vehicle for California Power & Light. “The only maintenance is plugging it in,” he told The Daily Gazette. He also talked about how Ford joined GM in taking back these prototype vehicles from their leases and refused to resell them. Ford chose to crush the trucks after taking them back.
The range on the electric truck wasn’t great for long-distance trips, so Anthony purchased a 1982 Mercedes 240D (diesel). Instead of going to gas pumps, Anthony would go to Mark’s Grill, a local restaurant where the owner agreed to supply him with all the fuel for the vehicle that he needed.
For Anthony to go from owning old vehicles that he fixed up to owning a luxury vehicle seems to be odd since he never really considered himself a luxury car guy. Nonetheless, Anthony was one of the first Model 3 buyers, purchasing the now-discontinued Tesla Model 3 Long Range RWD. (Note: While this trim is no longer available in the USA, it will be produced in China.) Anthony described the process of standing in line. He was stunned that there were others — around 100 or so — with him. “I had tears in my eyes,” he says in a voice filled with emotion. He explained that the Tesla employee told him that all of the Tesla stores were this busy around the world.
Owning six properties has definitely helped Anthony go from couch surfing, a type of homelessness that isn’t as bad as living on the streets, to being a landlord — and he has goals to buy a Tesla Roadster. He’ll use the money from selling three of his properties that aren’t so close to him. After owning a Tesla since 2018, Anthony tells me, “A Tesla is what I assumed 2020 would be.”