Most car guys have already turned the corner on the Internet because they know why it has become one of the most valuable tools in the car game.


The Dark Ages are still embraced by a few car guys, but they are not exactly doing themselves a favor when they turn their backs on the online information highway.


There used to be a time when the search for cars and parts was limited to local ads and long distance phone calls.




Car guys had to work against long odds that a random series of phone calls and want ad searches would produce the right vintage ride, or the right missing part for a vintage ride.


I can still recall two personal dog and pony shows that were the result of newspaper ads that sent me on a couple of seriously unnecessary wild goose chases.


The first one was a car located in a city about two hours north of me that was a year newer than the model I wanted to buy for myself.


The 60s was an era when most cars got a facelift every year, so my idea of an ideal model of car also meant that it had to be a specific year. The guy on the other end of the phone assured me that the car was indeed the right year and make, so I headed north to see the car.


The wrong year meant that the car had zero value to me, an interesting fact that seemed to completely escape its owner; a sleazy clown who couldn’t have cared less about the confusion.


My second encounter with the wrong car involved a car with the right front clip and the wrong rest of the car. The two years were close, but my three and a half hour trip to find the wrong year of car was greeted with little sympathy from the seller.


He was completely mystified about why the one year difference would even matter, so I explained the situation to him: I had driven three and a half hours to look at the wrong year of car that had the wrong front clip on it because it had undoubtedly been in a serious car accident.


My entire journey was based upon his information and front-end-shot-only of his car. I was far from happy with his “What’s the difference?” attitude and suggested that he arm the next guy with the real story behind his Franken-car. Obviously this is the laundered version of how I presented my sermon.


The new age of e-commerce has eliminated much of the confusion about model years and basic condition of a car. You can ask owners to forward photos of the car’s weak spots and, if you want photo verification, you can probably connect with somebody in the car’s area to take shots of the car.




It might be a friend of a friend, or it might be a local car guy from a local club that you may have found on the ‘Net. The new cyber- age has meant a huge difference for car guys because it has brought the world right to the car guys’ home computers and phones.


That is why the Internet should be warmly embraced by every car guy–to do anything without it these days is just plain idiotic.


Jim Sutherland

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