There’s an assortment of reasons why David Milton Duggan’s car makes other drivers check their rearview mirrors.
There’s the mounted driver-side spotlight that points at dark doorways and, at times, at shadowy figures on a darkened street. There’s the car’s paint job, a royal blue (in some light, it looks purple) with wide white stripes.
Then there’s the roof rack, which kind of resembles a police light bar, a feature that might cause others to become more observant of the speed limit during the lunchtime rush to and from downtown offices.
The car has a hood scoop, too — a turbocharging technique that mines air for power — and decals on the driver and front-passenger door panels.
All Duggan needs is a siren, because his car, one of the most recognizable vehicles in the downtown area, already looks like a police cruiser.
“That’s what everybody thinks,” says Duggan, who delivers food on weekdays for Wing Zone.
When I began reporting for this column, I went into the Wing Zone on Assembly Street and asked for “the guy who drives that car.” The person I was talking to smiled and said, “You mean David.” I left my number, and a few hours later Duggan and I were talking about his customized ride.
Is it an old cop car? No, Duggan says: It’s a 1998 Camry with more 240,000 miles that Duggan has owned for seven years. He’s had the transmission rebuilt, and brakes installed. He did the struts himself.
“Delivering chicken wings, it puts a wear and tear on your car,” he says.
He doesn’t have use for the spotlight on most shifts.
“When I used to work at night, I used the spotlight to find addresses,” he says.
And the rack on top with the tray-like slot that runs the length of the roof?
“I actually used to use that for my mobile gigs,” he says. “My DJ coffin fits perfectly.”
By day, Duggan is a delivery driver. By night, he’s driving to put the spotlight on himself as DJ Davey D. The decals on the car doors promote Vinyl Sightings, Duggan’s DJ business. The Camry is for food delivery. He delivers his DJ equipment to gigs in a Toyota Tacoma.
Duggan, a 43-year-old Richland Northeast High School graduate who was born in Korea, spins house, techno, R&B and rap. He prefers playing vinyl and meticulously bridging transitions between songs so the two beats sound like one. He says his sets have an old-school vibe, though he likes to mix it up.
“I like the music that’s got the singing and rapping in it,” he says.
He’s performed at local establishments such as Group Therapy in Five Points; Wild Hare locations in Lexington, Irmo and the Vista; and at Cody Ray’s Grill in Lexington.
Duggan, rarely seen without his hair in a ponytail, has been a DJ for more than 20 years. He’s so committed to the craft that he built his own console that includes a CB radio microphone, which allows him to more easily turn the mic on and off.
If he doesn’t have a weekend gig and he’s not hanging out — “If I’m out at a nightclub and I hear Salt-n-Pepa’s ‘Push It,’ I’m dancing, period,” he says — Duggan makes mixes and programs the stacks of lights he’s amassed. He’s also accumulated disco balls, beer signs and speakers.
“I probably have enough sound to furnish a small nightclub,” he says. “That’s my dream. Even if I don’t fulfill it, I’m going to die trying.”
A collector of comic book and superhero masks — he’s got two of Optimus Prime with different paint jobs, and the Darth Vader mask with voice-changing capabilities — Duggan says he really needs a place for his record collection.
“I wish I owned my own nightclub, because I wouldn’t have to tote them anywhere,” he continues.
You’ve probably seen him working so he can deliver on that wish.
Soda City Chronicles is a column about interesting people in and around Columbia.
Let us know what you think: Email firstname.lastname@example.org.