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Collector Car Scams

Over the years we have purchased a lot of different cars for our own personal use. Some have been brand new off the show room floor, some were special orders to the factory and some have been private party purchases. It used to be if you wanted to buy a used car your best bet was to go to the classifieds and make a deal with a private party. The used car dealers had a reputation of being sharks.

Of late things have changed; I think they are worse. Now thereĀ are the internet classified sites with used car classified sites everywhere, plus eBay and all it has to offer. I have used Craig’s List and eBay to purchase cars with mixed results. However, recently I have been assisting others in making a purchase from internet sites and have been shocked at the what I have found.

I am not sure if it is the weak economy or some other explanation but there is no excuse for what I found. I have, on multiple occasions, found cars represented as “top class complete restorations” with asking prices well over $100,000. What I found were basically nothing more than good drivers that photographed very well. Some of the cars were arguably unsafe to drive.

Almost any car can be made to look like a dream ride by a good camera and photographer. It doesn’t even require a computer to “photoshop” the car. I have seen $100,000+ cars with sanding marks in the paint, chips where the chrome was installed and even non-sanded bondo in structural elements of the underside! It is clear that these sellers are looking for long distance buyers who will never see the car until the shipping company drops it off in their driveway.

PLEASE, if you are even thinking about purchasing a car from an internet photo don’t do it UNLESS you go see the car; hire a trusted professional to look it over; or buy it so cheap you can afford to restore it from the ground up all over again! I have even seen advertisers use photos that were taken when the car was restored…..numerous years and thousands of miles ago!

Would you purchase a car in your city without looking at it in person just because you were given some pictures of it? If you can’t afford the cost of the trip to visit the car or the cost of paying someone to look at it for you then you can’t afford the car.

I have flown across the Country to look at a car I was interested in and I have purchased a car on eBay without seeing it. The difference was the one I flew out to look at was very rare, priced fair, represented to be in original condition and I wanted it bad. The other was one I bought for a price I thought I could live with even if it was misrepresented; and secondly, I went to pick it up. If I didn’t like it, the worst that was going to happen was I was going to loose my down payment and drive home with an empty trailer.

The other part of this story is actually looking at the car with open eyes but that is another story for another day.

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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

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