For Steve Waldie, a life in automobiles began with a blindfold. As a teenager, Waldie’s father, William, owner of Quakerbridge Auto Parts, would blindfold his son and have him identify car parts by feel.
By the time he graduated from high school in the mid-1980s, Waldie had mastered an encyclopedic knowledge of auto parts that would be the envy of any Chilton’s manual. So is it a surprise that Waldie today is the owner/encyclopedia of inventory at Interstate Motorsport in Hopewell? Well, maybe, if you stop to consider that Waldie actually became a New Jersey State Trooper after high school (who, incidentally, was nicknamed “the book” for his ability to memorize every code and law he was charged with enforcing).
But not if you remember that Waldie pumped motor oil through his veins the entire time he was a trooper. And, as luck would have it, Waldie’s service area was Hopewell, where he often monitored the former Hopewell Valley Racquetball Center site on Titus Mill Road that would eventually become his showroom. After the entrepreneurial Waldie left the State Police, he opened a car dealership in Atlanta, but wanted something more upscale and closer to home.
In 2012 Waldie purchased the 26,000-square-foot former racquetball club site as a showroom for some of the most high-end cars on the road. How high end? Let’s just say that Fortune 100 CEOs, pro athletes, and even Arabian royalty have made the journey to Waldie’s showroom ‒‒ by appointment only ‒‒ to view his inventory of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Bentleys, and other luxury rides.
The showroom opened in 2013 and has since been the standard of exotic cars in the region. On average, Waldie keeps about 30 cars on-site, with some of the showroom’s residents going by the names Rolls-Royce and Porsche.
But all is not the impossibly high-end machine built only for the Casino Royale set. Waldie and Interstate also offer the rare and unique. In Waldie’s inventory now, in fact, are a 1968 Corvette Stingray, a 1961 Morgan Apollo, and a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560. Oh, and a shiny-red 1988 Federal Motors two-door, for those who have always wanted their very own fire truck.
The thing to keep in mind about Interstate customers is that, like Waldie, they see such vehicles the way an oenophile sees wine ‒‒ something to be savored and relished when you find a particular, hard-to-come-by vintage.
To say that Waldie loves elite autos is a bit of an understatement, and his customers can spot that love immediately. This is no mere business venture solely for the money, nor is it Waldie’s way of playing with elite buyers and those who want to look like them. It is true love, from the tip of the gearshift to the gleaming chrome of the exhaust pipe.
Then again, Waldie loves all cars. “I even love a Buick Regal,” he laughs.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, different cars mean different things to different drivers. Waldie will tell you that whereas Ferrari and Porsche drivers are all about the race, Lamborghini drivers are all about the wow factor (which is fine with Waldie because Lambos are his favorite car).
Regardless of the make or model, however, all of Waldie’s customers are enthusiasts.
Waldie envisions Interstate Motorsport as more of a club than a car dealership. He’s kept the racquetball courts and the indoor basketball court of yesteryear. He’s also got a lounge upstairs with big-screen TVs and a pool table. For his customers who store their rides with Interstate, membership has its hang-out privileges, because these rides are all about lifestyle.
Beyond the showroom, Interstate Motorsport hosts events and parties amid its decidedly awesome backdrop. The hardwood floors are one of the loving touches Waldie provides. Tires love hardwood, you see, and the place is kept at a steady 70 degrees with controlled humidity.
Under it all is Interstate’s passion for world-class customer service befitting its world-class inventory. “We consider customer satisfaction to be our highest priority,” Interstate’s website notes. “Everything we do is designed to make your car buying or leasing experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. We have no unsatisfied customers.”
Interstate Motorsport, 109 Titus Mill Road, Pennington. 609-239-7800. www.interstatemotorsport.com.