We follow a salvage Lexus through the international used car underground. : Planet Money A practically brand new Lexus with a New Jersey inspection sticker lands on an auto body lot in Turkmenistan. How did it get there? To find out, we journey into the bizarro economy for misfit cars. And we follow a very different kind of journey – of the auto body repairman from Turkmenistan who brought us this story in the first place. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

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The salvage car Silk Road

The salvage car Silk Road

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Auto repairman Oraz standing in front of the New Jersey Lexus which he found in his shop, with only 7000 miles on it and in near perfect condition With permission from source hide caption

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With permission from source

Auto repairman Oraz standing in front of the New Jersey Lexus which he found in his shop, with only 7000 miles on it and in near perfect condition

With permission from source

A few months ago, a mechanic named Oraz who lives in Turkmenistan came across a kind of puzzle. A new vehicle had arrived on his lot. A white Lexus SUV. He could see by the registration sticker that it came from the U.S., from New Jersey, but that wasn't what was odd about it. The strange thing was the shape it was in. It was practically brand new, not like the dented and mangled cars that usually come to him for repairs.

Oraz wondered: how did this car get here, to my shop? And what kind of place, what kind of person, casts off such a nice new car? Those questions lead us on a journey through the international used car underground... all the way back to a pleasant, two-story home in suburban New Jersey.

Music: "Groove Safari Archaeology," "Icy Boy," and "Baghdad to Bombay."

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