By on July 20, 2010


17 year-old Steven Ortiz is the envy of his friends at Charter Oak High School. The reason? He drives a Porsche Boxster S to school. And before you say it, it doesn’t belong to his parents. It’s legally his. Now I know what you’re thinking at this stage, “How does this punk drive a Porsche to school and I had to make do with a Ford Pinto?”  Well, the answer lies with 3 things, an old mobile phone, a little time and Craigslist.

Steven Ortiz used an old mobile phone and bartered his way to a 2000 Porsche Boxster, The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. And because he’s now famous for this, people think he can provide this service at random. “I get so many people who say, ‘Can you trade my phone for a car?’ I just say ‘Yeah. It’s not that easy,’” said Steve Ortiz. The barter went like this:

Mr Ortiz got given an old mobile phone from a friend of his. Using Craigslist, he traded it for a better phone, which then got traded for an iPod touch. That, then, got traded for a few dirt bikes, then a MacBook Pro and then, a 1987 Toyota 4Runner. By this time he was only 15 and couldn’t really use it, so that got swapped for a souped-up, off-road golf cart, then another dirt bike, a streetbike, then another series of cars, then a 1975 Ford Bronco. This was the key trade, because older Broncos are considered to be a collector’s item. Mr Ortiz’s Bronco was worth an estimated $15,000. Whilst he had the Bronco, Ortiz was offered a locksmith business, which he turned down. Then came the offer of a Porsche Boxster for his Bronco. What was interesting was that the Porsche was only worth $9000, so it was actually a trade-down, rather than a trade-up.

It’s important, at this stage, to clarify that Steven Ortiz considers himself not to be a crook. “People just make trades,” Ortiz said, “I am not lying to anyone.” So before you all start swearing and screaming what a jammy sod he was, deep down you’re all thinking the same thing. “Wish I’d thought of that…”.

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30 Comments on “Buy And Cell...”


  • avatar
    educatordan

    Good for him. Didn’t someone a few years ago through the internet trade a red paper clip into a farm house? Oh yeah, here’s the bare details.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_red_paperclip

    Of course he did end up in Kipling, Saskatchewan.

    • 0 avatar

      Of course, Kipling is only two hours’ drive from the capital city of Saskatchewan, which is a province that has a higher GDP per capita than all 50 of the US states (only second in Canada, mind). You might laugh, but if you can tolerate a cold winter you can have a pretty good quality of life in Kipling.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      I was just being a wise guy. As Craig Ferguson would say; “He’s from a strange land called Ka-na-da.”

    • 0 avatar
      johnthacker

      PhotoJim, that’s by nominal GDP, not PPP. If you’re talking quality of life, then PPP (purchasing power parity) makes more sense to compare than nominal GDP. Canada does have a somewhat higher cost of living. PPP has fewer swings than that of nominal GDP– I don’t really think that it became that much better to live in Canada when the loonie appreciated against the US dollar, nor the reverse during times when it depreciated.

      Also, the District of Columbia has a higher GDP per capita than any of the 50 US states, and higher than that of Saskatchewan. I don’t think that makes it necessarily a wonderful place to live for everyone there, though.

      Saskatchewan is nice, though.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Please someone introduce this guy to Mr. Chavez to see if he train him in some basic business skills.

    It’s brilliant.

    And yes, I wish I’ve thought about it too.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    I’d have kept the Bronco. Cheaper to maintain, and worth more money. One thing that makes me insane, being in the automotive service industry, is people that have expensive cars and don’t maintain them.

  • avatar
    Paul W

    How is it possible for a 17 year old to get a car insurance for a Porsche?

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      If Charter Oak High School is in Kipling, SK, and he has one clean year of driving, then it’s $1333 per year for him to insure his Boxster! It’s $1359 if he just got his license.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    +1 on keeping the Bronco. Way better on style points, but you would need another car for commuting.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Good for him. Though I think I would have sold the Bronco and bought the Porsche and kept some of the cash for repairs, insurance, and tires. Were these the model years with the grenading engines…

    “…One thing that makes me insane, being in the automotive service industry, is people that have expensive cars and don’t maintain them…”

    Not just expensive cars either. If the service industry is to be believed, more than half the cars that end up in the bone yard have factory installed struts/shocks on them. What is the typical lifespan of a car? I’m guessing at least 140K or more. That means a lot of potentially dangerous vehicles are out there…not to mention how much enjoyment is sucked out of a car with bad dampers…cheapskates…or waiting to blow a hose…foolish.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Didn’t you catch our own Jack Baruth saying in a previous comment section when Porsche engines were brought up that there were only two water cooled models he could think of that were worth a dang?

      Honestly though I wouldn’t want my first real car to be a Porsche, one thing goes wrong and BAM, there goes the college fund if you want to fix it.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Strut/shock replacement is often overrated. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in both the driver seat and passenger seat of a 200k mile car (Acura 1.6EL) with original shocks and struts that still handles far better than a big floaty new car, like a Camry or Impala. I’m not saying new dampers wouldn’t improve the car, but it’s certainly no danger, especially considering that most SUVs handle even worse than the floaty cars I’ve mentioned.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Although they are one of my favorite cars, turn of the millennia Boxters just aren’t that expensive. As far as insurance, I don’t know about someone his age but when I was looking into buying one my insurer said it was cheaper than the Toyota Matrix that I was (not really) cross shopping.

  • avatar
    EChid

    I don’t think it is too hard to own a Porsche at age 17. Afterall, in reality the thing was only worth $9000, yet the image it projects is that it costs way more. I budgeted $10,000 for my first car (parents subsidised the truly first car), but instead of buying an unrealiable, old and expensive Porsche (as much as my Porsche-fanatic great uncle would have preferred) I purchased a 2005 Mazda 3 sport. Yes, not as exciting, not as flashy, not as fast. But hellez more realistic to own.

    + Points on trading up to it
    - Points on trading up to something so unrealistic

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      Interestingly at 17 I was also budgeted $10,000 for my car (my second one, though; first was a hand-me-down ’97 QX4) and I also ended up in a 2005 Mazda3.

      I ended up talking my parents into letting me spend $12,800, though, as that was the cheapest 3 I could find at the time (two years ago). It was my own money – money that, of course, would have been better used for college/savings, but my college is mostly paid for through other means and I really wanted that car. Anyway, I never even considered a Porsche, though I did briefly consider the E39 5-Series.

      Good for the guy and everything, but maintenance will be a b*tch, and going by the horrendous panel gaps in the picture I have serious reservations about that Boxster’s prior history.

  • avatar
    salhany

    Is it me, or does the nose panel/”hood” fit on that Boxter look absolutely terrible? I wonder if the thing had been in an accident before Young Mr. Ortiz acquired it.

  • avatar

    Judging by the gap on that front bumper, that Porker’s been ridden hard and put away wet. I suspect he’ll put it on Craigslist in a few months, and it’ll need a few grand in repairs.

    Shoulda traded the Bronco for an Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Accord Coupe, V6, manual trans, FTW! That would have given all of us much respect for the lad. And a pretty low mileage one could have been had for $15,000 as long as it was a few years old. With oil changes ect the kid could still be driving it 10 years from now, the Porsche? Not bloody likely.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      He’s 17…if the only mistake he’s made so far is choosing a Porsche over a Bronco or an Accord….well, how many of us can say that is the only thing we ever eff’d up when we were that age?

      Rock on, with yer bad self, young man…I’ll be looking for stock in your IPO someday soon….

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      ^^^

      @ Mark MacInnis. Well said.

      I bet he will trade that thing before the crankshaft explodes (if it hadn’t already)

  • avatar
    Areitu

    A couple of B&B say the Boxster is a bad idea, but think of it this way. Mr Ortiz didn’t set out specifically to get a boxster, and the car is just one stop on his trading adventure. If it does break down on him, I suspect it won’t dampen his enthusiasm. He would just trade it for something else.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I assume he has some safe practices for dealing with others on Craigslist – as even here in the Midwest – a local guy gave his address to a prospective buyer and was taken by gunpoint to a wooded area and had his throat slit. They bad guys were caught as they tried to sell his stuff on Craigslist.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    Unless the photo’s been ‘shopped by a gorilla with a computer, the left front is in pretty bad shape. The amber turn signal is completely missing, it looks like there’s duct tape (or terribly mis-matched silver spray paint) on the bumper, and scratches look to run to the middle of the front bumper. Of course the rest of the car looks cosmetically decent from that (terrible) angle…

    Either way, good for him, I suppose.

  • avatar

    Gonna be a hell of a souk merchant. Does he have a sub to BloodCamel?

  • avatar
    ajla

    Now trade the Boxster for a V12 Jaguar.

    Then trade the Jaguar for a Triumph TR8.

    Then trade the Triumph for a Maserati Biturbo Spyder.

  • avatar
    cdrmike

    Good on the lad for his 15 mins of fame and ingenuity.

    However, “he spent around six hours a day on his iPhone, trawling Craigslist’s barter section, seeking deals that would somehow make his asset base seem more impressive.” Multiply by two years and that’s not much of an hourly return on time invested.

  • avatar
    Toyondai92

    Bloody awesome, why didn’t I think of that a few years ago.

    Now trade the Porsche in at an unsuspecting car dealer before something expensive happens and get the aforementioned BMW or Accord or whatever!


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