Meet the Man Selling the Cars Tupac and Biggie Were Killed In
Who buys this stuff anyway?
When we heard that the cars that both Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. were killed in were each on sale for $1.5 million through a company called Moments in Time, we knew we had to get in touch with Gary Zimet, the company’s CEO, because seriously, WTF?
Moments in Time usually specializes in rare autographs and memorabilia, like Donald Trump’s signed script from a 1995 Pizza Hut commercial. They were tapped for the sale of the black 1996 BMW that Shakur was shot inside of because they’ve become known as one of the top dealers of Tupac memorabilia, once selling a four page letter addressed to the Black Youth of America for $169,000.
After seeing news about the sale of Shakur’s car, the current owner of the 1997 GMC Suburban in which Christopher Wallace (aka Biggie Smalls) was shot, sent a notarized letter to the auction company saying, “I read you were selling Tupac’s BMW and wondered if you would also be interested in selling our car.” These sales mark the first time the company has ever sold celebrity cars—much less death cars, or any cars at all.
Zimet was in the middle of a busy day on the phone, but was gracious enough to answer a few of our questions.
What’s the market like for celebrity death memorabilia like this? Is business booming for you?
In terms of major items like this, absolutely. When you’re dealing with garbage like John Wayne Gacy material or Charles Manson material, to me that stuff is just a joke.
Yeah, these are actual items that were used by the people. Like Biggie actually sat inside this car.
So who buys this kind of stuff?
Car collectors, hip hop collectors, the list really is endless.
Are you personally a fan of hip hop in any way or is this strictly business for you?
No, it’s strictly business for me. I’m not into hip hop, but I respect both artists for the contributions they’ve made.
So why is this a sale and not a straight-up auction?
No need to go the auction route, a fixed-price sale is perfectly fine.
I definitely wouldn’t turn my nose up at a million and a half dollars.
How long has the business been open?
I’ve been in the business for 38 or 39 years.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve sold?
The craziest thing I’ve sold? That’s a toughy, you to have to elaborate on crazy.
Anything that’s an active part of an investigation?
About 20 years ago, I was going to sell a bloodstained book that was in Malcolm X’s pocket when he was killed. A little pocket diary, but I found out the person who sold it to me stole it from New York City, so that went back to New York City.
Has anybody made you an offer for either of these cars yet?
Is there any kind of bidding war going on? Could someone interpret this as a new East Coast West Coast rivalry?
Haha, no not at all.
What kind of music do you listen to, just out of curiosity?
I like soft rock.
Cool, like who?
Dan Fogelberg is my favorite. I love Toto. I like the bands and singers of yesteryear.
Do you have any ethical issues with selling memorabilia like this?
None whatsoever. They are historical relics.
How did the first family arrive at the figure of $1.5 million, it seems arbitrary.
In conjunction with me.
Oh okay, so Kelley Blue Book value does not apply here?
That’s totally meaningless.
Not to be morbid but have you gotten a chance to really take a look at these cars yourself?Are there any visible bloodstains or anything of the sort? Or do you just list these for sale and show them to prospective buyers as needed?
The latter. Well, I know the Tupac car has the original leather interior, but obviously the blood has been cleaned off. To quote the owner, “You can smell death in the car.”
Are you in any position to tell us a little bit about current offers on either of these vehicles, aside from the fact that people are interested?
I can, but I won’t.
What do think about all the media hype? Is it good for business?
I’ve had about 26,000 hits on my website since.