GROSS POINTE, Mich. — The world’s greatest car salesman, Joseph Sam Girardi, died Feb. 28 from a head injury suffered in a fall at his Detroit-area home, the Detroit Free Press reports. The man who was better known as Joe Girard is credited with selling 13,001 cars between 1963 and 1978, including 1,425 in 1973 alone by Guinness World Records.
Girard was born in a “deplorable” ghetto on Detroit’s east side on Nov. 1, 1928, according to his online biography, and joined the workforce at age 9. The high school dropout shined shoes, delivered papers, and washed dishes, then briefly served in the U.S. Army before beginning his record-setting run at Merollis Chevrolet (now Genesis Chevrolet) in Eastpointe, Mich., north of Detroit, at age 34.
Girard “retired” at 49 to begin a second career as the bestselling author of “How to Sell Anything to Anybody” and “How to Close a Sale” and a tireless, world-famous motivational speaker. He is survived by his wife, Kitty, and two children.