In 12 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Marvin has amassed 1,090 receptions, catching most of them from quarterback Peyton Manning, with whom he shares a number of tandem records. He’s only the fourth player ever to catch 1,000 balls in the NFL, and when it’s all said and done, he’ll likely be second only to Jerry Rice. He’s been to eight Pro Bowls in his 12 full seasons and is only the seventh wide receiver with 10 touchdowns. He holds the single season record for receptions with 143, almost nine receptions a game.
What was your first car?
My first car was a Dodge Daytona…not sure of the year. It was a two-tone five-speed, blue with grey stripes down the middle, from the trunk to the front of the hood.
Where do you think that car is now?
I totaled it about a year after I got it, so it is crunched up into metal.
So you can drive a stick-shift?
Now to prod him a little. Marvin is a man of few words. I figured if I could find the right button, something about his collection, I’d get him going.
As I look around your garage, I see that you are a collector of Pace cars.
Okay, maybe that wasn’t the right button, but something about the gleam in his eye and the way his eyes swept over the room when I mentioned pace car told me I was on the right track.
When did that collection start?
For years, I have always liked pace cars, especially Corvettes. I had a problem distinguishing between whether I just wanted to collect Corvettes or to collect pace cars, so I combined the two to make it Corvette pace cars. I am missing three of the years-2004,2005, 2006 – but I will continue to grow as I get more space.
Bingo! Have you tried to find those three missing years?
Yes. The 2005 was at a Barrett-Jackson auto auction in Las Vegas last month. It went for $70,000.1 stopped at $55,000, so it got away. They only made three of those identical cars each year, so it will be rare to get those three that I am missing.
Marvin obviously loves his pace cars. I wanted to learn more of what he knew about them.
What year is the oldest pace car that you own?
A 1978 Corvette pace car.
Then the most recent year is the…
Two-thousand eight. You had to have both.
Okay, that about covered the pace cars. I wanted to find out more about his experience with automobiles in general. There’s more to cars than restoring them.
What type of music do you listen to while cruising down the road?
I just like to relax to R&B. Anita Baker is one of my favorites. Good choice, yes. I listen to the more relaxed music than the upbeat and up-tempo music.
I’d try to push his buttons, get him going a little, see what makes a guy that catches nine footballs a game and still goes over the middle against linebackers twice his size tick.
So you listen to baby-making music?
I would not say that. Just relaxing music.
Marvin giggled at my joke and was definitely loosening up. Now I could find out what he liked besides Corvettes. Certainly, there was more to the man than a passion for ‘vettes.
Other than the Corvettes, what cars are you passionate about?
The Buick GNX. That is the ultimate, being as they only made 547 and there are only about 200 left in existence. They are numbered and I happen to have car number 88. It is on the dashboard.
Eighty-eight is Marvin’s number for the Colts, a number that most certainly will be retired by the Colts when his playing days are done. He even wore number eight in college at Syracuse, when he was catching passes from Donovan McNabb.
Really? Was that coincidental?
I wanted the car number 88. The odds of that happening were slim to none. A guy in North Carolina had the car and I bought it from him in North Carolina.
How did you find it?
A friend of mine who is also in the car world told me that this guy had it.
Looking around the room, I noticed other cars, too…cars he hadn’t yet mentioned, but had gone to the trouble of purchasing and restoring.
I see that you also like Impalas.
Yes. The thing with my Impalas is that they obviously only made three colors-the cherry, the green and the black. I have two cherry and one green. I am missing the black one. I want the black one to be very nice. If I could get the Dale Earnhardt edition in black, that would be my choice, but I have been holding off on getting it.
Ahhh…sports figures, championship-caliber ones, are always competitive. It’s what drives them to succeed in the toughest of all arenas. They love most any game and sport, once bitten by it.
Are you a NASCAR fan?
Not really a big fan, just feel the need for speed.
Speaking of speed, how fast have you driven in one of your cars on the freeway? Marvin giggled as I asked the question. I must’ve hit a nerve.
Pretty fast. I cannot remember the exact top speed, but it was over 100 miles an hour. Nowadays, the way they make cars, it is not hard to get going over 100 miles an hour. I would rather not talk about how fast I was going, but just pretty fast!
I take it you do not like cars that have a governor on them.
Marvin, while certainly wealthy, appeared to be very wise with his money. He didn’t overpay for cars he wanted, but could obviously afford, preferring to wait for a good price. He’d bought this building to convert instead of overpaying for a suburban spread. This made me wonder how he paid for the cars.
Do you prefer to own or lease?
I like to own, definitely own. It depends on what you are buying. If I am buying an everyday car, I like to own. Being as I have my own dealership, I can own and sell my cars. I am not in the lease or own business, so I will own, then sell and switch out to a different car.
Would you own and drive a hybrid?
I do not know the power that the hybrids have. I know that they are supposed to be good on gas, but I do not know how much torque and how much power that they have.
I do not think you can put hybrid and torque in the same sentence.
I would probably own one, but I would not use it as my everyday driver.
When you first signed as a professional athlete, what was the first car that you bought yourself?
It was a Lexus LX470 SUV. That was the first car that I bought.
Where is that car now?
It was a lease, so I do not have it anymore. It is long gone.
Ah, so when finance dictates, he’d lease. But his frugal, Intelligent nature tells him to buy outright when possible.
What do you drive as a daily driver now?
I drive an SRT-8 Grand Cherokee – black exterior on a charcoal interior. It is super fast.
Is that your favorite color combo?
No. My favorite color combination is white exterior with a tan interior.
He has a very cheerful attitude, a hint of mischief in his eyes, and, again, is a very intelligent guy. He does have a love for power, though. Most people with a love for power like to work on cars, too.
What type of modifications do you like to do to your vehicles?
I like all stock stuff. I like the original window sticker, all of the original details. I do not like anything but stock. One of my cherry-colored Impalas has a little bit of everything done to it because it is my speed car. It has a lot of things added to get more horsepower. Typically, though, I like to keep base rims and everything stock.
How often do you take some of your Corvettes out and around the block?
I take all of them out once a year. Every year, I take at least one out for a weekend or a week.
Tell me about your custom golf cart
You just have to have the ultimate golf cart. When I go to big auctions – whether it is in Carlisle, PA, or Barrett- Jackson in Florida – you have to have a golf cart to get around to look at all those cars. Normally, I rent a golf cart every year, but, from now on, I can just bring my own, just drive it around. It is good to have it. If you have family picnics in the park, you can bring the golf cart or even drive it around the house.
I see that it is personalized and very cute.
Yes, it is something good to always have.
Marvin also has a collection of motorcycles, quite a serious collection, just like with the cars.
What kind of bikes do you have?
I have one Hayabusa and five Ducatis. Ducatis are my passion. I also have three Spiders – a yellow one and two silver ones. One of the silver ones is a limited-edition. I started out with a passion for motorcycles – like my Ducatis – but when I heard that the Spiders were coming out, I just had to have three of them for my buddies, and for me, when we ride. The Spiders are a cross between a four-wheeler and a motorcycle.
If you do not currently own your dream car, what would that dream car be?
It is a toss-up between two different ones. For collecting, it would be a Mercedes Benz Gold Wing, but to own and drive every day, it would be a Mercedes SLR McLaren.
What color would you choose?
I would go with a black exterior on a charcoal interior.
How many cars do you think that you have owned throughout our life?
I am in a different realm when you are your own car dealer. I have owned a ton of cars and I have sold a ton of cars, but the cars that I have personally owned…l would say probably about 50.1 still have about 25 to 30 of them and more to come.
Do you think that you were ever influenced by another teammate’s choice in cars? Did you ever pull up to practice and say to yourself, “I have to get me one of those?’
No, I never have wanted something that someone else has. I have always tried to be the first one to have the hottest car that came out, so, no, I have never been influenced by another teammate’s choice in their cars.
How old were you when you got your driver’s license?
On my 16th birthday. On my birthday, I tookthe driver’s test. I did not waste anytime!
Do you get a lot of speeding tickets?
I do get pulled over an awful lot, and to someone’s good credit, it always seems to work out. I have not had a lot of speeding tickets, but I do get pulled over a lot.
Do you have any favorite road trips that you like to take?
I do like road trips, in general, being as I do not like to fly. I do not like the hassle and congestion of going through airports. I do not like driving more than eight hours, so anything between three and seven hours, I do not mind driving. I like nice scenery, so I like driving through North Carolina and the Virginia Beach area, being as they are very pretty areas. I do not mind driving at all.
What is your favorite charity?
My favorite charity is to help out inner-city youths that do not get the opportunity to go to Virginia Beach. Or here, locally, we have Six Flags Great Adventures and we have Dorney Park. During the summer, when I get to take all the kids from the neighborhood on a bus trip to amusements parks…that is my biggest thrill that I get to do.
What do you have going on right now?
Nothing too exciting other than it is my 13th season. I’m enjoying it. I am looking forward to finishing off this year, and I obviously have a Super Bowl ring.
I was curious. He’d mentioned several times that he’s an entrepreneur, which is common after the playing days. But to be the best receiver of your era AND run car dealerships can’t be easy.
Tell me about your car dealership.
It is a used car dealership; we call it the little rinky-dink used car dealership. We have $3,000 to $5,000 cars that we sell. Being as I have been into cars all my life,
I want to continue. Over time, this is something I will do – sell cars and collect cars. I will always be involved with cars.
You seem to be very passionate about cars.
Yes. I love to sell them and collect them.
What does your family think of your choice in cars?
My six-year-old son, Marvin Harrison Jr., loves cars as much as I do. He has his little Corvette, a four-wheeler and a little motorcycle. He has all the same things that his dad has.
Does he want to be a race car driver?
He is not into race cars, but he loves his four-wheelers and motorcycles. At the age of six, he knows every Corvette, and knows the name of each and every car and motorcycle. My family and friends love my choice, but my son is the one that enjoys all my cars the most and gets to ride in the passenger’s seat with me all of the time.
Have you ever had any car accidents?
A ton of them, but let’s not talk about them. I have had a couple in my time.
Do you have any funny car stories?
Yes. The limited-edition Buick GNX is a great story. I was shopping around for a GNX for years. I knew they only made 500-plus and they were each numbered. I was just waiting for one. When the time came for me to get the right one, I was lucky enough to get the number 88 car.
How long have you had it?
It has been over a year, now.
How many miles does it have on it?
Thirty-six thousand. A little high for a Buick GNX, but you can hardly find them, so I had to bear with it. It was either get low miles or get the right number. I could not refuse getting the number 88 car. □
Man/in indulged us and opened a huge exterior bay door of the garage where he keeps the majority of his rides in Philadelphia. We pulled inside and there was a giant garage in the old building with a mammoth collection of beautiful, vintage, restored cars. It became evident that this man is very, very serious about his collection. I can’t describe the depth of it. As I found, Marvin’s passion for, and knowledge of, cars was matched only by his passion for his community – for Philadelphia. His biggest joy is using his cash for inner-city children and biking around with his friends. He could live anywhere in the world and he’s stayed loyal.