It’s fair to say Tim Quocksister’s obsession with cars started at an early age.
“My dad used to take me to the collector car auctions when I was a kid,” the owner of Silver Arrow Cars says. “I guess that’s where it all started.”
It’s not unusual for Quocksister, who likes to joke that he was probably born with a steering wheel in his hands, to sell cars worth millions of dollars, and he’s gaining an international reputation as the “go-to-guy” for hard-to-find luxury sports cars and collector cars. His highest sale so far clocked in at a cool $4.64 million US for a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing, one of just 29 in the world.
“We’ve actually sold two of the 29 and they’re just the best of the best,” Quocksister says. “An aluminum car trades for four or five times what a standard steel body car would.”
While most of the cars Silver Arrow sells go to global buyers, the company also inventories high-dollar Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches on its Victoria lot, and Quocksister estimates that he’s had a hand in more than half of the high-end sports cars you see driving around town.
“Dollar-wise inventory at any given time, we probably have about $7 or $8 million worth of cars on site and this can include as few as 20 cars or as many as 30, and we always have cars that are in restoration,” Quocksister explains.
The 38-year-old expects to exceed $40 million in sales this year and construction will begin early next year on a new, high-profile showroom on Douglas Street. It’s a far cry from where he started in the industry 20 years ago, washing cars at Three Point Motors.
“I had just graduated from Oak Bay High School and I went to see Jack Julseth for life advice, not a job,” Quocksister says. “Jack’s the best salesman on planet earth and he sold me on the idea I was going to be the ‘reconditioning centre manager’ and I quickly realized I had a hose in my hand and I was washing cars.”
But after just two months, when a salesman was on vacation, Quocksister stepped in to greet customers.
“All the salesman were busy so I went out on a test drive and sold two cars my first day and they took my hose away,” he says.
Quocksister went on to become the general sales manager before branching out on his own in 2001 to launch Silver Arrow Performance Cars, capitalizing on the growing demand for luxury vehicles. But after a few years, he returned to Three Point Motors and then moved into real estate, buying and selling apartments.
“It’s still part of my business today but a lot less of my passion lies in real estate,” Quocksister explains. “I don’t particularly love the real estate business, but I love the car business, so in 2009 I decided I definitely wanted to be in the car business.”
Quocksister credits diversification into the lucrative collector car market and providing vehicles that can’t be found at other dealerships to the success he’s seen since re-launching as Silver Arrow Cars.
“In the past, I was trying to sell a lot of late-model Porches and Range Rovers at the best price — stuff dealers were providing,” the married father of two young sons says. “Whereas in the specialty car market, we’re trying to provide the best product and make sure it’s different from what everyone else has.”
The biggest challenge is finding inventory and Quocksister criss-crosses the globe for exclusive automobile auctions and to track down rare cars for clients.
“It’s not the money that’s the fun part, it’s chasing down what somebody wants you to go find them anywhere in the world,” Quocksister says. “We’re not selling transportation — we’re selling something that is a goal for somebody, or maybe it’s adding to a collection. We’ve helped build some massive, massive car collections.”
One that stands out is a Toronto client, who spent around $30 million to build his collection. Another client has bought 37 cars from Quocksister. And of course, there are famous people with whom he’s been involved. He sold Mike Tyson’s Ferrari F50 in 2017 and bought Simon Cowell’s Bugatti Veyron from Barrett-Jackson auctioneers. His clients have included musicians like Nickelback and numerous NHL hockey players.
With a passion for cars as the driving force behind his booming business, it should come as no surprise that Quocksister has a collection of his own — including several Porsches. But the one that means the most to him is his 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo.
“There was a poster they did in 1996 with an arena red 911 Turbo that said, ‘kills bugs fast’ and I remember seeing the car in that poster,” he says. “That was the car everybody wanted in our generation, so it was on my bucket list of cars to own.”
- Story by Tess van Straaten