Well, that didn’t go as planned. Though, working from a baseball analogy, batting .250 isn’t too bad. More on last week’s picks later — on to the new stuff in sunny Florida!
For years, Carlisle has been shorthand for a series of massive swap meets in a central Pennsylvania town. I’ve not had the pleasure of a Carlisle event yet, but I’m imagining a million-acre orgy of rusty cars and parts. In other words, heaven.
I have a sickness. I can’t stop shopping for classic cars I’ve no hope of buying. While I’ve been shopping eBay, Craigslist, various forums, and other classic sites over the years, I’ve never spent much time looking at auctions. The prices seem inflated — especially when the auction house’s cut is considered.
But perhaps that’s a good thing. Private party sales via classifieds introduce a significant element of risk, either via outright fraud or the natural problems of handing over either a title or a wad of cash to an outright stranger. Classic car auctions are appealing since there is a nominally neutral third-party involved in the transaction.
So, I’ve decided to virtually wade into the crowd and see what’s coming Across The Block. In an occasional series, I’ll pick out several interesting cars coming up for auction that weekend, discuss them briefly, and make wild guesses to their eventual hammer price.
My four-year-old grandson Aryeh wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. He’s got a full fire chief’s outfit and his ears perk up whenever he hears a siren. That’s probably due to the influence of Fireman Sam cartoons and the fact there was a fire in one of the buildings in the apartment complex where he lived until just recently.
There are worse things he could do when he gets older. For example, scouring auction listings of oddball vehicles he can’t really afford — like his grandfather. (Read More…)
We discussed the general process of repairing a salvage car a few weeks ago and one commenter asked about airbags. Joe Btfsplk writes:
How do you deal with deployed airbags? Are used parts allowed to be used in salvage vehicles? This seems to get little attention in the article.
Dealing with deployed airbags in modern cars can be a tricky and costly situation. The installation of used parts is allowed but may not always be the safest solution.
I buy a lot of cars, which means I often find myself thinking about car sellers and buyers. These are two interesting groups of human beings. In many cases, they’re openly trying to screw you. In other cases, they have no idea they’re screwing you, and you don’t discover they have until four days later when you go to put your briefcase in the trunk and it’s full of rain water.
This got me thinking: What is the least trustworthy group of automotive sellers in existence?
I’ve bought cars from all of them. New car dealers. Used car dealers. Family members, friends, auctions, and strangers on the Internet, from Craigslist to Cars.com to Autotrader to web forums. Every transaction is a little different. And every time, I’m wonder to myself: Is this person going to screw me?
That’s why I’m soliciting your opinion on a topic that’s near and dear to my heart (and wallet). Which car seller can you count on to be the very worst?
Would you visit a hotel that rents its rooms by the hour to see a 36-year-old Cadillac with a wrench sticking straight out of the carb?
That old-school Caddy — a 1979 Cadillac Deville D’Elegance — had pretty much popped straight out of Craigslist while I was eating some hashbrowns at a nearby Waffle House. About an hour after I first saw it, I bought it for $500. TTAC compatriot W. Christian “Mental” Ward even helped me drive it off to my dealership.
It was pretty beat up, but the Caddy could still maybe, kinda, sorta play the part of a “Goodfellas” Cadillac if you were far enough away from it. Maybe 50 feet. Maybe 150 feet with a really old pair of eyeglasses.
Between seeing a nice thick solid line of fuel sputtering out of the Cadillac’s tailpipe off Highway 278 and watching its body bounce like a pinata at a kid’s birthday party, I decided to do something.
I decided to write for TTAC again.
Salvage and rebuilt vehicle listings on Craigslist (and other classified sites) are ubiquitous. They often manifest themselves as late-model metal with low prices and even lower standards of ad copy.
But have you ever wondered how those vehicles end up on Craigslist in the first place? What happens to a salvage or rebuilt vehicle between the time it’s sold at auction and its first appearance on your local classified site?
If you want to see a great example of automotive journalism, go read Raphael Orlove’s account of the unclear history of the development of the Saleen S7 supercar.
Triggered by an email tip, Raph checked into the rumor of the Saleen S7 starting its life as an Aston Martin racing car before being stolen by Steve Saleen himself. Orlove spoke to the entire cast of characters involved in bringing the Saleen S7 into reality — Steve Saleen, Reeves Callaway, UK racecar builder Ray Mallock, and Phil Frank, who designed the body — to try and clarify the matter.
Since none of their stories precisely align — and in some cases contradict each other — Orlove wasn’t able to determine the true provenance of the S7, but he did a great job of debunking the Aston Martin rumor by tracking down leads. It’s also well written and highly entertaining.
The timing of what’s essentially a story about intellectual property coincidentally got published soon after a recent auction for that same intellectual property along with what appears to be enough parts and tooling to at least contemplate building a few S7s again. (Read More…)
“Honey? I just got into an accident!” she said.
My body experienced an instant adrenaline rush as my mind wandered through the worst “what if?” possibility of that moment, something like the image above.
My wife… Hospital… Pain… Medical bills… The other driver…
“Is everyone okay?” I asked in reply.
As I’ve mentioned before, I spent about four years as a “deal spotter” for Bring A Trailer. Much of that work consisted of browsing eBay, Craigslist, and various marque-specific forums looking for interesting deals on classics. Of course, I have a day job as well, so I try and minimize the time I actually spend looking at cars while simultaneously looking like I’m actually working. The eBay app for my Android helps in this matter, so I can work on my side job while indisposed.
So, I spend nearly an hour or two every day trying to quickly assess every car by the lead photo before moving on. I can quickly spot deals or find those auctions that won’t sell. It’s like automotive Tinder – swipe left for the rotted F-body, swipe right for the longhood 911.
Should you happen to be in Cheswick, Penn. next Sunday, you could be the new owner of a 2014 Hennessey Venom GT, or a Ferrari once owned by a Penguin.
Should you happen to be in Berlin next Friday, you could have a shot at the DeLorean once owned by none other than the former Mrs. DeLorean herself.