…on the side of the road?
Way back in the day, I used to work as an auctioneer at Logandale Auto Auction. I used to call it, “the red light district” because every vehicle there sold under the red light, which meant AS/IS.
AS/IS meant, as it is. That means whatever you bought when it came on the auction block. it was yours. That also included whatever spilled or fell off the vehicle as it was leaving the barn. You, and you alone, were the new owner of a vehicle that probably drank, smoke, and hung around with the bad boys.
Why do I mention this? Well, most of the vehicles that were sold at the sale were impounded or abandoned vehicles. Those vehicles you see on the side of the road in the USA? Well, out here, most law enforcement officers will stick a nice bright tag on the front and rear windshield of the vehicle, giving the owner “x” number of days to get the vehicle or the local wrecker company will pick it up and impound it.
From there, it’s a waiting game, and the vehicles get ever the more expensive to get out of impound. Here in Georgia, the standard rate is around $126 for the tow and $20 a day for storage. If you don’t get it in time they end up having a public auction which is usually advertised in the local county paper beforehand.
15 years ago, I would say that about 90% of these vehicles that were at those nearby auctions would eventually wind up at Logandale. The buyers would usually just fill up the coolant levels to the max, oil if it needed it, a cheap refurbished battery, a quick wash detail, and voila! Brand new auction vehicle sold to the general public with the ultimate of caveat emptors as the buying policy, AS/IS.
Back in the Y2K era, I would see a ton of old K-Cars make it through the auction along with Chevy Blazers, 1980′s GM econoboxes, and most notably, the Ford Taurus. Sometimes it seemed like the majority of the inventory at this sale matched one of these four categories to some degree or another.
I was reminded by this from my ride home yesterday from an 85 mph racing circle here in Atlantan that we call Initerstate 285. Now that the weather is hot, I’m seeing a lot more vehicles on the side of the road with bright stickers to alert the local wrecker services. A 25 year old Buick Lesabre may have finally earned it’s wings on Exit 27. But the 2002-ish Cadillac Seville on Northdside Dr. may have fallen victim to the reptilian four figured fangs of GM’s Northsatr head gasket issues. A mid-90′s Sable wasn’t far away, and finally, a similar era Roadmaster sedan rounded out the four I saw over the course of the 20 mile drive.
I’ve seen a lot of rolling money pits and crusher fodder in my travels. But what about you? What’s the most common vehicle you have seen on the side of the road?