The new age of the Internet has opened up a lot more doors for car guys.


The right letters punched into a keyboard will link you to a potential car or truck of your dreams and many of the candidates have an extensive array of photos to give you a visual on the vehicle.


The big trick is to interpret the pitch and figure out whether you should take a more serious look at the vehicle.


The toughest ones are the projects because you have to decipher what the seller has told you in his pitch.


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One giant red flag for me is any deal that includes more than one vehicle in the sale. One is the project car and one or more extra cars are the parts cars.


The biggest issue is whether the correct answer is “all of the above” when the question is “Which of these are parts cars?”


It would be foolish to assume the seller is a Mother Theresa kind of guy who just wants to make sure you get a smoking deal on your dream car because all the parts to make one complete car are contained in the extra car (or cars) thrown into the deal.


It is more likely the guy has assessed the condition of all the cars and concluded he has neither the right combination of skills, money or vehicles to make one whole car. It is also likely the cars have all rusted in the same places and he discovered the fatal flaws when he dismantled one of them.


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Bear in mind many of these vehicles usually come in various stages of grim dismemberment that indicate the precise moment when he finally waved the white flag of surrender. It is his history of dismantled defeat frozen in a moment of time and you can see that fateful moment very clearly when you see the vehicle and the nameless parts scattered around it.




Throw in his violation of the local derelict vehicle municipal ordinance, plus an angry bride embarrassed by the rusty cars in the backyard, and you have a desperate guy trying to recoup his investment with a two (or more) for one sale.




Think about any pizza joint that sells two for one pizza and consider the relative worth of the pizza in comparison to a pizza place where the real value is the quality-not the quantity of their pizza. Two for one pizza is a tough call between the pizza and the box for flavor.


Apply this same philosophy to old vehicles and you get the picture.


Whether or not my pizza example is food for thought is up to you but remember: Hauling somebody else’s rejected basket case of a car back to your place is one thing, but hauling more than one of his basket cases back to your place is a significantly bigger challenge.




This points to the key question. Do you have the space for more than one non-running rusty vehicle? Do you have the right Dr. Frankenstein-ian mechanical skills to build the living from the dead? Do you have the most understanding bride in the history of women?


Finally, do you know the name of a very competent divorce lawyer?


Seriously, all of these questions may surface pretty fast when you get more than one car in the deal.

Jim Sutherland

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