The Truth About Cars » Craigslist The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:00:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Craigslist Hammer Time: Craigslist English Thu, 26 Jun 2014 13:03:21 +0000 squidoo

If there is a hell, you will probably find it on Craigslist.

Also, if there is a Santa Claus, you will probably find him performing some advanced NSA style hacking that tracks all the emails and texts people like me have to endure.

I’m pretty sure that Saint Nick would also have an amazing Craigslist to English translator for that purpose.

“Wut” very roughly translate to what, of course…. unless “wut” happens to be a typo, in which case, start thinking of words that end with “ut.”

“Whass u got???” is, “Excuse my kind sir, but I have texted 33 people in the last 22 minutes. I can’t even remember why I texted you but… whass u got?”

I miss the good old days.

10 years ago, the average person you dealt with on Craigslist was a professional in many respects. They knew what they were buying. They knew that it would take a reasonable amount of cash money to buy it. And they knew that their free time shouldn’t have to become your time to the tune of 13 texts that could mostly be answered by just reading the ad.

These days I feel like I’m left with the far left hand side of the bell curve. Of course, there are a few stragglers that find a way of making it to the middle of that curve and beyond. But most times, I’m left to deal with folks with those 13 questions that are spelling catastrophes, and a budget that has mostly champagne on the mind and Schlitz in the wallet.

So, I may as well have fun with it. Here is a nice little cheat sheet that will help you translate those terrible texts with high annoyance, and low rates of sales success.
Text message: “What is your absolute lowest price?”Translation “Whatever you say, I’m going to try to knock it down another 50%. You’re welcome!”

Text: “R u farm? I have $$$!!!”

Translation: I am the doofus who hogs the computers at the public library playing Farmville. I have no $$$!!!.

Text: “What’s the lowest you’ll go?”

Translation: Because whatever you say, it will never be low enough.

Text: “Is it a diesel?”

Translation: I am confused. What does the word gas mean in the description? Also, is this 30 year old Mercedes cheap to own?

Text: “Is it a V8?”

Translation: I can only afford to look at pictures while goofing off in high school. You mentioning that it is a V8 in the title AND description has no bearing on my current reading level. 

Text: Can you send me pics?

Translation: Because 24 pictures of a 15 year old Ford Escort wagon is certainly not enough!

Text: “Can you come to my place?”

Translation: No, trust me. You don’t want to go anywhere near my place.

Text: Can I check it out? What is the VIN#? Any mechanical issues? What about maintenance? Did it pass emissions? Tires?
Translation: I am going to drive your car for an hour and a half. Then give you a checklist of all the things wrong with your car. Even the ashtray I’ll never use! I will do this on the nicest day of the year.  
Text: Kelly Blue Book says your car is only worth $2400.
Translation: Assuming your five year old Impala has 280,000 miles… is in poor condition… is a base model… and has a rebuilt title.
Text: Does it have leather seats?
Translation: I will lie to you and say I want cloth instead.
Text: Does it have a 5-speed?
Translation: I don’t know how to drive one. But can I practice on yours?
Text: Are you the original owner?
Translation: What does one owner mean?
Text: I have cash money!
Translation: But not enough to buy your car.
Text: My mom needs a car and I have $1200 in cash. Can we work out a deal?
Translation: My mom is really my father’s cousin’s former roommate from Hoboken, and he knows absolutely nothing about this.
Text: Would you mind if I combine the test drive with some local shopping? I have to get…
Translation: The keys are in my hand. The tank is full, and that back seat has my girlfriend’s name written all over it.
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New or Used? : Vroom! Crunch! Cha-Ching! Thu, 12 Jun 2014 19:47:47 +0000 Source:


Troyochatter submits this request for your perusal.

Hey there, I have a dilemma that you might be able to help with.

Got a sec?

My brother had a motorcycle accident. All is well, but here’s the issue.

The bike is a 1996 Honda Nighthawk that books for $1895…except I have never seen one sell for  that cheap.

AND.. his is a one year only model, in yellow, and it is mint.

The insurance company wants to total it. But I have looked at it and, honestly, high end, maybe $600 total in parts and labor puts it back to 98% before it was wrecked.

Steve flippantly Says: Offer to keep it with a salvage title and find out the price difference. Then you can paint it purple with green zigzags like those old Kawasaki Ninjas.

Troyo:  See, that’s the thing, it’s not even close to totaled. So can he keep it and request a salvage title and xxx amount of dollars?

Steve: Yes and no. Older vehicles are historically undervalued and typically, you have to offer examples of why their valuation is wrong. All older vehicles, cars and motorcycles, have been historically undervalued in certain price books. The best thing you can do is visit them all. NADA often provides higher valuations due to their primary clientele (banks and finance companies), while Kelly Blue Book does a good job as well with the consumer side. Although older vehicles in general tend to be a bit of a hit or miss, depending on their rarity and the fact that average older vehicles tend to have fewer accurate data points.

He should use Ebay’s completed items, Craigslist, and Cycle Trader to find examples that reflect what he had, which won’t be easy. Even an expert’s opinion in the industry can go a long way. I have helped insurance companies with automotive appraisals. But motorcycles are a very different animal.



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How I Royally Screwed Up My Life And Bought… Mon, 09 Jun 2014 11:00:33 +0000 limoclosetvphone

A 33 foot stretch limo that was formerly owned by a famous run down strip club in Miami.

Two small TV’s that dated back to the beginning of the Clinton era.

Cheap burgundy upholstery that I probably would never want to study with a forensic light.

104,000 miles, and a corded phone right next to the champagne glasses in the mini-bar. Oh, and it was a Cadillac. Not just any Cadillac. But the last of the old-school rear wheel drive Cadillac Fleetwoods with rear-wheel drive and the 350 V8.

Everyone screws up at some point when it comes to cars. But when I screw up… it’s something truly special.

This limo from Stripper Central had wheels that were (cough! cough!) begging for what most mother’s call “negative attention”.


These were 90′s era gangsta wheels that, here in Georgia, are the rolling equivalent of MC Hammer pants. 

The reason why I bought this rolling showcase of 90′s era bling was the same reason why most car dealers and hobbyists end up buying this stuff.

We got drunk and saw it on Craigslist.

Now, in my case, someone from Alabama had already seen my own personal screw-up of a badly bought vehicle. A 2007 Crown Vic Police Interceptor that had been overhauled to a point of being practically brand new.


Transmission replaced recently? Check!

Suspension overhauled? Big check.

A stack of papers that made the history of this car look like a paperback book? A never ending stack of papers and check copies.


I paid a bit for the Interceptor since it was so new mechanically. About $2600 in total.  Drove it for a bit around town just to revel in what was a good deal on paper.

And then… nothing… nobody wanted a gas guzzling police car. It sat for months on end.

So what did I do? Well, first I got the phone call.

“My name is Sherman K Wires June-yah! I have a Cadillac stretch limo and an old Inidan bike I’m tryin’ to sell. You want to do any tradin’ with that police car?”


My business is right near Deliverance country and, as such, I’ll pretty trade anything except chickens and tomatoes. I have a neighbor back a bit who raises both and I got all of those I need.

In the south, you get more than your share of folks who want to trade due to their own car’s mechanical issues. More times than not, you’re better off not doing it.


“Tell me about em’?” and thus started a 30 minute monologue I put on speakerphone while drinking bourbon, and going on Craigslist to look at the pictures of his two vehicles.

The first thing I noticed was that the Indian motorcycle was a fake. Fake Indians are as common as kudzu around here thanks in large part to a powersport auction that gets thousands of repossessed motorcycles every single month. The first play toys to bite the dust are always the phony ones. Yesterday’s Chinese scooters with Honda-esque names to them have largely been replaced with full-blown imitators of classic machinery.


So that Indian was out. But a Cadillac limo? Hell, I had never bought a limo before. May be worth at least checking out now…

I ended up falling in love with the old bastard. It had that perfect combination of retro-kitsch and “Look at me!” uniqueness to it. I drove the Crown Vic to central Alabama through winding one lane roads, and met the fellow halfway.

Within ten minutes we exchanged keys and papers. I was shocked to find out that this behemoth could actually manage right near 20 miles per gallon if you kept it going at a 50 to 60 mile per hour clip. Just don’t press hard on the accelerator. Ever.

My goal was to surprise my wife by rolling it up to our driveway.



Well I certainly did, and I managed to surprise a lot of neighbors as well who knew my regular work. Pretty soon, I was filling up the limo with folks I had known since forever and giving them a joyride.

There were lots of ideas hatching up in my enterprising little head while I took that drive. Most of them bad ones.


The Atlanta Braves will soon be coming to about 15 miles from where I now live. So why not create a party/limo service to that new stadium and back?

Well, there were liability concerns. Old car concerns. People potentially barfing in a 100 square foot space with only two rear doors for ventilation. All of these things conspired to keep me conservative with that use and abuse.


Then I thought about putting a big wrap around it and advertising it at the big box stores a few miles from my car lot. Other nearby dealerships use old military trucks to hang banners and pollute the aesthetics of the nearby Walmart and Home Depot parking lots.  So why not do the same with a vehicle that people would actually want to ride in?

To be blunt, I just saw it as hokey, and this thing had a neverending assortment of electrical issues that required a battery jump if I let it sit for a few days… which always happened. $2000 for a wrap seemed like a lot. But I realized that a supersized magnet could be had for about a tenth of the price. So financially, that was in the running. I just never warmed up to it.


In the end, I just used the old limo as my own personal party and fun time vehicle. I took my wife and her friends to the movie theater when it came time for her birthday. I used it for my son’s birthday as well along with one of my mechanic’s kids. When Black Friday came, I was able to get a 32″ TV mounted on the wall behind the driver.

So now I had 3 TV’s. A ton of leather, and a vehicle that gets easily noticed wherever I took it.

That was the good news. The bad news was that like all novelties, I got tired of it after a while. It took up space. It required a lot of little things to be done which all soon added up, and this past week I finally sold it for $2800.


So now I have one less limo in my life.  As for other automotive screw-ups, I have plenty to share. Dozens in fact.  But what about you? Have you ever bought a fun vehicle that became a rolling mistake as soon as you were given the keys?

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Piston Slap: Because Nobody Lies on Craigslist! Wed, 07 Aug 2013 12:07:54 +0000

Walt writes:

Mr. Mehta,

I am seriously considering purchasing a 1965 Mustang Fastback from a private seller on craigslist. He owes $3000 on the vehicle. I myself will have to take out a loan to pay for said car. The title to the car is held by the same institution that will be lending me the money. The situation is somewhat further complicated because this institution has no local branches to sit down with a representative and the current payer on the car to do the necessary paperwork. Compounding the issue is the fact that I live in a different state, 200 miles from the car’s location.

Bottom line, I would like to know how to go about this to achieve these objectives:

– My money goes to the rightful person or institution
– I get the proper paperwork to take possession of the vehicle
– The seller is legally compelled and bound to sign the title over to me when I have paid my loan
– I minimize my trips to and from the car’s location

This is my first ever car purchase (worry not, I own another reliable car) so please let me know if I have my facts wrong about the process. Provided these circumstances are not completely heinous and indicative of a potentially bad situation for me, I would like to move forward with my purchase.

Sajeev answers:

OMG…did I really just read that?

Everything here sounds like a unique twist on the typical craigslist scam. If you can’t get a trustworthy, third-party local to sort out this complete Charlie Foxtrot, run like hell. I see nothing worth pursuing in your letter…and not just because I think Fox Mustangs are better than any Pony Car from the 1960s.

And FWIW, needing a loan to buy a classic money pit is a horrible idea. And that’s putting it mildly! If you can’t afford it now, how on earth can you afford the repairs that will come sooner rather than later?  Everything can and will go bad, even the new parts you put on could be defective…it happens all the time!

Come on, Son! Even if the craigslist seller is on the level, you have to pass this one up until your savings account matches your passion for antique vehicles.

(Offline Update from Walt: In the end I decided to pass on the car.  Too much money and too much of a hassle for what was being offered.  I read TTAC daily and enjoy your articles, so keep up the good work!) 


Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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’41 Plymouth Hell Project Puzzle Piece Scored Via Craigslist: Corvette ZR-1 6-Speed! Fri, 19 Jul 2013 13:00:46 +0000 02 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe sedan Junkyard Find that I bought from the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard last fall now has the body off the frame and is awaiting a Lexus SC400 suspension subframe swap. After much debate about what engine/transmission combo to use in this Hell Project (the plan is to build it to Pikes Peak International Hill Climb specs, while retaining a grimy-looking rat-roddish character), I decided to go with the GM Vortec 4200 aka LL8 L6 engine, with turbocharging added, and that meant that I’d need to find a manual transmission that can withstand at least 400 ft-lbs of torque. Since the Vortec 4200 never came with a manual transmission, and the pseudo-bolt-on Aisin-based 5-speed out of the Solstice and Colorado can’t take the sort of power I’m hoping to get (thus forcing me to go the machine-shop bellhousing-adapter/custome-flywheel route), I was looking for a Borg-Warner T-56 out of a fourth-gen GM F-body, or maybe a Tremec TKO out of a fourth-gen Mustang. Then, an ad for a ZF S6-40 6-speed showed up on Denver Craigslist, with a very reasonable asking price.
14 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinKnown as the “Black Tag” ZF transmission, this rugged German 6-speed was used in C4 Corvette ZR-1s and is rated for up to 450 ft-lbs of torque. Thanks to its square-cut gear teeth, this transmission made more noise than many Corvette buyers could tolerate, and so GM went to a quieter gears and (if you believe the rants of detail-obsessed Corvette freaks) less strength for the 1994 model year.
03 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe seller of this transmission had purchased it out of a wrecked ’93 ZR-1 for use in this beautiful ’57 Chevy project, which is getting an LS swap, but the ZF turned out to be too big to fit in the Chevy without major transmission-tunnel hackage.
06 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI brought along Rich, the guy I’ve hired to do the engineering and fabrication work on the ’41 Plymouth project, to check out this transmission and say yea or nay on the possibility of using the ZF. He’s the captain of the Index of Effluency-winning Rocket Surgery Racing Checker Marathon 24 Hours of LeMons team, and he managed to get a small-block Chevy engine to bolt up to a Ford Toploader transmission and then stick the resulting mess into the Checker using all manner of garage-expedient cheap technology The ZF transmission came with all the little bits and pieces that make a Frankensteinian swap like this a lot easier, including the shifter, clutch master/slave cylinders, bellhousing, flywheel, even a bag full of fasteners. Looks good!
08 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinSo, into the hatch of my cargo-hauling, thief-magnet ’92 Civic with all the goodies.
07 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinDid I mention that the transmission seller owns the nicest Jeepster Commando I’ve ever seen?
13 - ZF Transmission Purchase - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI haven’t bought the Vortec 4200 yet (the plan is to buy a wrecked Trailblazer or Envoy donor vehicle, so I can get all the harnesses, computers, and maddening little bits needed for the planned swap), but we’ve got this block and pan to enable Rich to move forward on the necessary fabrication on the Plymouth’s frame.
IMG_3240For now, the Plymouth’s body sits on wood blocks in the yard, awaiting its modernized frame.

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Vengeful Scam On Legit Repo Man or Crooked Repo Man Selling Stolen Car? You Decide! Thu, 11 Apr 2013 16:30:08 +0000 The world of towed-away cars can be a harsh one, as our very own Steven Lang often points out. Today I heard the latest in a long series of tales from the often-penumbral world of towing and repossessions, a Craigslist ad that purports to be selling a mistakenly-repoed Crown Vic. A phony ad meant to drag a clean business and its owner into a world of pain— an all-too-common occurrence in the maddening world of Craigslist cars-for-sale listings— or something that will soon have the constabulary asking a lot of pointed questions in a certain Maryland tow yard’s office?
24 Hours of LeMons Legend Speedycop, who happens to have a day job as a Washington DC police officer (and never looks for potential race cars while he’s on duty), found a too-good-to-be-true ad for a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria with free bonus ’99 Crown Victoria as part of the deal.
Hmmm… something about this doesn’t smell quite right. Let’s read the text of the ad (redacted in case this is a burn job by a vengeful ex-girlfriend and/or business rival):
“1 1998 crown Vic with title n runs great and. 1999 crown Vic with no title. The second was repossessed my my company ■■■■■, but was the wrong repoed and we never took back. Car runs great n in mint condition. Can get up a title by swapping vins easily. 100.00 for both. I own ■■■■■ REPOSSESSION COMPANY. IF WANT TO BUY ASAP CALL 410 ■■ ■■■■, my name is ■■■■■. Best time to reach me is at night or here’s my address to stop by n look at em. ■■■■■ ■■■■■ rd. fallston md. Both must go ASAP. Feel free to stop by anytime at my residence. TY. Ill be home all night at furnace rd or my business at ■■■■■ ■■■■■ rd. Nottingham md. Please rush”
So, Speedycop has informed his law-enforcement colleagues in the Baltimore area about this ad, and let’s just say that they’re verrrrrry interested. Mistakenly-repoed car being offered with the suggestion of a VIN swap, or reprehensible burning-bag-o-dog-poop-on-the-porch prank? The “I’ll be home all night” and ridiculously low selling price suggests the latter, but who can say? We’ll let you know what happened, once the dust settles.

PleadingNote1_1280 38 - Spirit of LeMons Racing Cessna - History Craigslist Sketchy Tow Ad- Picture courtesy of Craigslist Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 13
Long Distance Run Around – Buying My 300M Sight Unseen Thu, 28 Mar 2013 13:00:36 +0000

The salesman must have thought I was nuts. I could hear the incredulous tone in his voice, “Some guy calling from Okinawa wants to buy a used car that we put on Craigslist? When does he want to come and look at it? He doesn’t? How’s he going to pick it up? He isn’t?” Fortunately for the both of us, money talks.

By the spring of 2010 I had spent six straight years in Japan and I was worn out. Although I wasn’t exactly eager to return to the United States, whether I wanted to believe it or not, it really was time for a change of scenery and the closer my departure came, the more comfortable I became with the idea. A return to the United States meant a lot of good things, I realized. My wife would get to experience life in the land of the free and my kids would get to hear someone other than their dad speak English for a change. It would also be a return to live football games on TV, real bologna sandwiches and, best of all, I might even get the chance to own a cool car again.

As soon as the thought entered my mind, I knew what I wanted, a great American sedan. I spent a lot of time hemming and hawing about the various ones on the market but, when the time came for me to put my money where my mouth was, reality reasserted itself and took control of the situation. As an auto enthusiast, I’d like to say that I refused to settle, but the truth is a couple of my dream cars went out the window, foremost among them the Pontiac Bonneville GXP I had long dreamed about. Then an old memory tickled the back of my skull, what about the 300M?

From the days of the Eagle Vision, I have been a sucker for the LHS cars. Now, of course, I know that some of them have transmission issues, but from the day photos of the Eagle Vision hit the magazine stand those cars have featured large in my own personal vision of the future. Each iteration of the design, the New Yorker, the LHS and eventually the 300M represented another step towards a better, brighter tomorrow. So the 300M really didn’t have 300 horsepower? It looked so good to me that it didn’t matter.

With my departure from Japan just a month away, there was no time to be lost. After reading as many old road tests as I could, I set down a list of requirements so thorough it resembled the build sheet for a brand new car. I chose the 300M Special, a slightly sporty variant of the already good-looking 300M that featured a few more horsepower, fake carbon fiber interior trim, special body work, lower stance and special wheels. I decided too that I wanted the white/grey two-tone interior, a sun roof and all the other options. Finally, I decided that it had to have less than 70K miles and be in perfect condition.

Thanks to the internet, I had a whole world of 300Ms at my finger tips. Thanks to my list of demands, I had very few choices. I found a nice black one in Salt Lake City that looked like it met the criteria, but it was sold when I called. A gorgeous blue one in Sandusky Ohio was long gone, too. Eventually, thanks to a Craigslist search aggregator, I found a dark grey 300M in Tucson, AZ. This time when I called it was still there.
The salesman was shocked, but when I told him I was a cash buyer he jumped at the chance to sell a car. He sent me dozens of pictures and promised me, under threat of a major beat down, that the car was in great condition. From half a world away I held my breath, took the plunge and bought the car sight unseen. Then I had to get it up to Seattle.

Fortunately, I am from a big family and my older sister Connie needed a vacation. For the price of a one-way ticket to Tucson and a few dollars pocket money I was able to solve that problem. I watched her progress via Facebook as she picked-up the car and then headed across the high deserts of the American Southwest, then Northward through California, with a stop to visit the wine country, Oregon and finally Washington state. When I arrived at the airport two weeks later, Connie was there to meet me and the big Chrysler was waiting for me in the airport garage. It was a thrill to step right off an airplane and slide right behind the wheel.

The car was and still is immaculate. I used it to travel from my home north of Seattle across the country to my new assignment in Buffalo. Later I used it for a trip to New Hampshire and another trip to Washington DC. It has, thanks to the birth of my third child and the subsequent purchase of a mini-van for my wife, slipped from daily driver status but considering the winter road conditions here in Buffalo, that isn’t a bad thing. Even now it sits hunkered down safe and snug under its cover and a layer of early spring snow in my driveway. I may have had to move heaven and Earth to get it, but it was worth coming home for.

Thomas M Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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The $2600 Question: Smartphone or Car? Mon, 28 Jan 2013 15:54:40 +0000


I recently read an article that said a growing number of young Americans would rather have a smartphone than a car.  Half of American teenagers prefer web access to car access, said the article, and communicating via text, e-mail or social media is taking the place of actually driving somewhere to spend time with someone.  You know – in person.

This is, of course, because times are changing.  Years ago, turning 16 meant inheriting a dead relative’s full-size sedan with V8 power, rear-wheel drive, and no traction control.  Gas was eleven cents a gallon.  It was practically an invitation to hoon.  But today, turning 16 means spending thousands just to get saddled with a four-cylinder economy car that has annoying features like airbags and disc brakes.  No wonder teens don’t want cars: their smartphones are probably faster.  And less expensive.

Or are they?

American teens, listen up: the average Verizon iPhone 5 costs $199 plus $100 per month for two years – a grand total of $2,600.  But a recent visit to Craigslist turns up far better ways to spend that cash.  Drum roll please…=

1985 BMW 635CSi: $2700 – Los Angeles Craigslist

 This ’85 6 Series is the perfect car for any teenager who wants stylish transportation and lives near a BMW mechanic.  Sure, the ad doesn’t list the car’s mileage, and it doesn’t include any interior photos.  But who needs that crap when you have 850i wheels?  Best of all, the ad insists the car has a factory spoiler even though it clearly doesn’t – one of the bargaining points that will help get its final price under our magic threshold.  That, and the fact that it likely passed smog as a 2004 Honda.


1967 Cadillac DeVille: $2000 – Philadelphia Craigslist

Only good things happen to people with big Cadillacs.  Just ask Elvis.  Or Tiger Woods.  Powered by a 7-liter V8, this Caddy is also listed without interior photos or announced mileage.  But I wouldn’t worry about that too much.  After all, nothing says “trustworthy seller” like taking pictures in a forest and a ’94 Mustang without plates in the background.  It falls $600 below the budget, which allows teenagers a little extra spending money for fuel.  They’ll need it.

1985 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Hearse: $950 – Maine Craigslist

There are precisely two things on Maine cars and trucks Craigslist: Subarus and this.  Of course, I prefer “this,” a 1985 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham converted to a pickup truck-style hearse.  It comes in well under our budget because the dealer – which establishes credibility with an all-caps listing that boasts the “BEST PRICES ON USED TIRES” – says the car “NEEDS TOTAL RESTORATION.”  Better idea: get it running, then convert the hearse bit to a hot tub.  Morbid, yes, but grandma won’t mind.  If she were alive, she’d join in.


1989 Buick Reatta: $2000 – Denver Craigslist

The seller of this 1989 Reatta satisfies the only rule for posting on Denver Craigslist, which is that all items must be pictured in front of a Subaru Outback.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t list many details except for “no accidents,” perhaps forgetting about the one at General Motors that must’ve caused the Reatta to exist in the first place.  Nonetheless, I suggest the Reatta to all young men, since it will attract tons of women, including cougars and the blind.


1995 Mercedes S500: $2200 – Chicago Craigslist

Straight from the Saddam Hussein collection is this 1995 S500, which is on Chicago Craigslist for just $2,200.  It’s done 220,000 miles, but the owner describes it as “very reliable,” which is another way of saying he’s never done any maintenance, so you’ll have to.  With an original sticker price over $70,000, this one will surely impress the ladies, though I must remind teens that the classiest dames are only wooed by stick-on fender portholes.  Unfortunately, it needs tires.  May I suggest Maine Craigslist?


1985 Volkswagen Scirocco: $2300 – Atlanta Craigslist

I’ve always felt the car culture in my hometown of Atlanta is a mixture of Pyongyang (where all the cars are Chinese) and Venice (where all the cars are boats), but with more Escalades.  But now I must eat my words, as I recommend this 1985 VW Scirocco on Atlanta Craigslist that’s described by the seller as “the nicest scirocco you will find around.”  He later says it has no heat or air conditioning, though Scirocco fans will agree this still keeps it in contention for the aforementioned title.  An iPhone – which also has no heat or air conditioning – pales in comparison.


1995 Ford Mustang with Lamborghini Doors: $2500 – Miami Craigslist

Is it any surprise this turned up on Miami Craigslist?  Bright yellow, aftermarket exhaust, Lamborghini doors.  It’s also parked on grass, which – judging by other ads on Miami Craigslist – may be the only place you’re allowed to park in South Florida.  It also has no title. But that’s no problem, since it’s not like you’ll attract any police attention in a bright yellow car with scissor doors, a loud exhaust and chrome wheels.  No matter: it’s still better than social media.  And that’s what you’ll tell the cops.


1985 Toyota Land Cruiser: $2300 – Anchorage Craigslist

What’s 241,000 miles?  A trip to the moon.  But also “just broken in” if you’re in the market for a Land Cruiser.  Despite that, this seller on Anchorage Craigslist is willing to let this FJ60 go for just $2,300, or around one-tenth of what TLC would charge for the same truck in LA.  And there’s more good news: The FJ60 came with fender vents, so you don’t need to spring for stick-ons.  Bring on the classy ladies.


So, teenagers, what’s the best way to spend that $2,600?  An iPhone, or one of the delightful cars listed above?  Of course, we’re always open to other suggestions from our readers.  Even if they have iPhones.


Doug DeMuro operates He’s owned an E63 AMG wagon, roadtripped across the US in a Lotus without air conditioning, and posted a six-minute laptime on the Circuit de Monaco in a rented Ford Fiesta.  One year after becoming Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager, he quit to become a writer.  His parents are very disappointed.

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Piston Slap: The Automotive Equivalent of The End Of The World? Mon, 27 Jun 2011 14:13:53 +0000

Steven writes:

Hi, Sajeev. I have a dilemma that I need your advice on.

I’m in a rural area of Central Ohio and have a 2000 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer, 5.4 V8, just shy of 144,000 miles, leather, 3rd row seat, air suspension, etc., etc.. We got it to tow our livestock trailer, but now with an ’05 Chevy Silverado 2500 Crew I no longer need it (daily driver into Columbus is a ’10 Subie Forester). It’s all paid for, so no pay off issues. It’s in pretty good shape, clean, loaded to the gills as most Eddie Bauer editions are. It has some electrical glitches that no one seems to be able to fix, so when it’s parked, all the time now, I have a battery cut off switch to save the battery. The engine did blow out a spark plug awhile back but the local dealer was able to helicoil the head and it’s held up.

I want to sell it. My issue is that the tires need replaced, they’re still legal, but barely. It appears this will be about $600 or slightly more that we don’t really want to put into it unless it will help sell it for more (and faster). There is also a bad shake in the steering wheel at speeds up to about 60. This will have to be fixed (?), what the problem is and cost I don’t know (any idea?), but the air suspension is in good shape, front and rear have been fixed up by the Ford dealer’s shop. Given the price of fuel and, at best, the 14 mpg this thing gets I think the demand for a big SUV will be low, along with what I’ll be able to get for it.

Should I replace the tires and get the shake fixed or just try to have it fixed and sell it with not so good tires? Or, just keep it around for awhile and hope gasoline prices come back down and there is more demand later (yeah, I’m dreaming)?

Sajeev answers:

Bill: there is always demand for an old work/family truck. Especially one that’s loaded to Eddie Bauer levels. The question is at what price for what condition?

Selling right now for reasonable money will be tough on an Expedition, especially without putting the effort to sell in Autotrader and (preferably?) Craigslist. You could certainly dump it for pennies on the dollar, but I would take my time to recondition it: finding cheap tires on Craigslist and shopping around for the repair by local mechanics. Bide your time and wait for gas prices to go down.

Regular gas (more so than premium, if what we usually see holds true) will go down again in months, maybe sooner if the word on politics and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is true. No matter what your political orientation, you might use this to your advantage.

As far as technical help on the shake: that comes from numerous sources in the front end. I can’t armchair that one: wheels, tires, ball joints, play in the rubber bushings…who knows? I would ask around for free estimates from multiple mechanics, or perhaps a paid ($70-90) inspection for an estimate from a trusted shop. Price the replacement parts by yourself (online, for starters) and see just what exactly is involved in terms of labor hours: ask multiple shops (including the dealer) for the labor rates to replace said part.

That last bit is crucial. Homework is necessary. Nobody likes to be conned when it comes to a minor front end job that gets billed as the automotive equivalent of The End of the World!

Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Shafted Delphi Retirees Lose Their Shirt – Again Tue, 15 Feb 2011 11:08:41 +0000

Delphi’s salaried retirees lost their shirts after the Delphi bankruptcy and the GM bailout. Now they lost their main voice in congress. Rep. Christopher Lee resigned last week after Gawker showed a picture of a bare-chested congressman.

Lee had sent the picture to a single woman he had contacted via Craigslist. According to Automotive News [sub], Lee had led more than 20 congressmen who “persistently complained to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other officials that 15,000 salaried Delphi retirees may have their pensions cut by as much as 70 percent.”

Gawker also published an email exchange between the congressman and the Craigslist woman. In the mails, Lee said he was a divorced 39-year-old lobbyist. He is a married 46-year-old with a young son.

The Craigslist woman ratted on Lee because she “was just sharing the story.”

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