FEBRUARY 18, 2011: Selling your Classic Car on the Internet-Avoid the Minefield



So you’ve decided to sell your classic automobile on the Internet.


Good for you.


As a person who has bought and sold both classic cars and not so classic cars I’m here to give you some advice for success in 10 quick and easy points:


Point #1: Not all cars are classics


Some cars are just old. If it’s special to you and you think it’s worth lots – then keep it.


Point # 2: Give the Caps-lock a break


Do not write your online car ad in all capitals. I know it’s tempting to use the caps-lock to grab people’s attention but it makes you look like a backwoods idiot who types with his nose. In internet-ese this is called “shouting”. Think to yourself: “why am I shouting?” You wouldn’t shout at me if I were standing in your driveway? Then why do it on the Internet?


Point #2.5: Pick one font color


You’d think this would be a no-brainer.


Point # 3: Leave the world “Rare” out of your title.


“Rare” means absolutely nothing coming from you. You’re not Mike Joy or Steve Magnante so we don’t value your opinion. It could be rare as it’s the only one on your farm. We’ll decide if it’s rare and being rare has nothing to do with desirability. A ‘65 Mustang is far from rare but is a very desirable car. A ’65 Biscayne is very rare because no one wanted it then and no one wants it now. If we are interested in your car we’ll know if it’s rare or not. Don’t use the word rare.



Point #4: Pull the car out of the bush


If the car you’re selling is a project car that has been planted for awhile, hook it up to Mr. John Deere and yank it out of the bush. Fill up the tires that will hold air and put it in a place where it’s easy to take photos of and easy to load onto a trailer.



Point #5: Take lots and lots of pictures


What I do when I post a car on EBay or another source is to add a link to a Flickr account where I can host high resolution pictures for free. A buyer wants to know everything before they jump on a car. Give me every reason to buy your car. Have more photos available by request. If you have one photo of a ’68 AMC Rebel; that has a bush in front and I can’t tell if it’s a two-door from all the Vaseline on the lens – well that car is going to stay your car for a long time.



Point #6: Price it to sell


This is not a car show –price it to sell. Just because you saw a ’71 Hemi Challenger go for a 200,000 at Barrett Jackson last year doesn’t have anything to do with your ‘74 Challenger 318 with no front clip. Those are two different beasts. Don’t price your 4-door sedan the same as a 4-door hardtop – again, not the same car.


Rule of thumb, that captures about 80% of old cars: If it’s not been restored (well) or is a very low mile survivor don’t price it over 7000 for a two door hard top, 5000 if it’s a four-door hardtop and 3000 if it’s a four- door sedan. Even restored 4-door sedans will have a hard time climbing past 3000. This rule will work for almost all cars 51-77. There are lots of exceptions and wagons and convertibles are wildcards but if you think your car is an exception – it probably isn’t.



Point #7: Part out your projects


If, in a fit of madness, you started stripping down a project car just to realize you have no where near enough: money, talent or understanding wife to finish don’t sell it as a lot. Do the right thing – part it out. It’s not “easy to finish for the right person”. That person is you and we have no idea how you organize your parts and where you put all the bolts to the left fender. This is not CSI.


For example: if you have a ’69 Charger that came with a 318 and the 318 is out of the car but you have a 383 (probably with a truck cam in it) from something else that you’re selling with it – don’t put that all in one ad as a lot. In that case your wife should pay us for coming to clean up your garage and probably will after she punts you for being a slob who can’t finish a project.



Point #7.5: No Car makes a good clone


I had to include this as it would be doing the world a great disservice to not. No car makes a good clone – there is no such thing as a good clone – If you don’t believe me ask Boba Fett of Star Wars fame.


Not every Satellite needs to be a Road Runner. Not every Firebird Formula or Esprit needs to be a Trans Am. The world needs sleepers. Don’t say it will make a good clone and don’t clone – simple as that. If this hobby had rules – that would be the first one.


By extension: Don’t make your 4-door Plymouth Fury into a police car clone – that’s just stupid.



Point #8: Promote communication


Answer questions and post the questions and answers on your ad. Don’t say things like “borrowing a friend’s computer to post this – phone” or “don’t do email”. That’s not our problem. Unless you live under a bridge you can gain access to a computer with internet. You can get a good used computer that can do email for 200 dollars. Make it easy on the buyer. Give us all the communication avenues you can: email, Skype, text, phone, Bat Symbol. If you want to sell become a net-savvy extrovert.


Point #9: No Tradese


Use the money you get from your classic vehicle to buy a truck, snowmobile or “something interesting”. We don’t know you and we don’t know what you find interesting. Let’s not complicate something simple by finding out more about you than we need to make this transaction happen. Think very hard about what you believe your vehicle’s worth, then research it (Point #6), then think hard about what you want to buy (keep that to yourself). Finally, pick a price that will accommodate what you desire.


Point #10: Don’t be an Ass


Saying things like “No tire kickers”, “Firm” or “I know what I have into it” makes you look hostile and we really don’t care what you have into it. You’re going to get a certain percentage of yo-yos no matter what you say in your ad. But if you say these things you’re probably going to scare off people with some cash in their pockets who made need to be entertained or coddled while they go through the process of buying.


Remember you’re in sales now.


Angus Sutherland  

Angus Sutherland is a hardcore 2nd gen car guy and if you like his style,  follow this link to his blog-http://www.thetr6project.com/


BOB:”Like they say “a picture is worth a thousand words ” if you have a picture in your advertisement all the flowery verbiage is unnecessary.

TREVOR:”I really enjoyed the “sales advice” story by Angus. The part I liked the best was the rant about when people call their car “rare”. I’ve seen it many times when people put a stupid price on a ugly car all because it is rare and just like Angus said it’s only because no one wanted them back in the day. Here is a question for Angus. I have two cars that I refer to as being “rare” one is a 1959 Chev Bel-Air @ dr HT. The other car is my prized 1959 chev, Biscane 2dr sedan delivery wagon. I call these cars “rare” because both cars saw production of only about 100 units each. It’s true that these numbers represent the demand for these cars, after all why would any one want a 59 Bel-Air when for a few bucks more you could have a Impala! Truth is I had the chance to buy the very same 59 Bel-Air way back in 1988. At that time it was a complete car in fair condition. I turned it down at that time for the same $$$ I just recently paid for it as a stripped out rolling shell with no hood or trunk lid. The sedan delivery was proclaimed to be one of the rarest chevys made between 1958 and 1972 by Chevy Classics not because of the low production numbers but simply because you rarely ever see one. So are these cars “rare” or do I have to accept the fact that back in the day no one wanted them? One thing I do understand is that no mater what, these cars will never be worth the same value as say a 59 Impaly convertible, rare or not! Great article Angus, too bad we could not post it on Kijiji!—