How not to sell a car (el-rant-o)

Steve Sears steve.sears at
Mon Jun 18 01:23:44 EDT 2001

I'm sure that you've seen the joke (here it is from the ng - posted by SunRider):

* American cars are designed by engineers to be worked on by idiots.
* British cars are designed by idiots to be worked on by engineers.
* Italian cars are designed by lunatics to be worked on by fanatics.
* German cars are designed by scientists and not meant to be worked on
   by their owners.
* French cars are designed by nobody to be worked on by everybody all
  the time.
* Japanese cars are designed by committees to be worked on by midgets.
* Russian cars are designed by the Government to be keep the Proletariat
  employed and then thrown away to pollute the environment.

I got a good laugh from that one when it appeared on the Antique ng.  I
guess you have encountered some Fiat designers selling their company cars.
IMHO, in the "classic car" business, the selling price of a car is driven by
the owner's perceived value of the car, and their desire to get cash/garage
space/spousal peace/etc.  I recently went to look at a 1957 Auto Union at a
yard about an hour and a half's drive from here.  I should have known
something was up when the owner said that I couldn't take pictures of it.
Went in to the fenced (and overgrown) yard and stepped back in time,
sort-of.  Old chevys, buicks, kaisers, etc., all jammed together, rusting
away.  Found the '57 - hidden behind a '58 Chev. Impala ht - yep, it was
there, barely.  I bet if you tried to free it from the yard, you'd need a
helicopter, at the very least.  And that's if the frame held together -
which I guarantee it wouldn't.  A three-inch diameter grape vine was growing
through the engine compartment and, considering that the bark on the vine
had actually partially grown into the capless mouth of the rad as it passed
by, the engine had seen many a winter exposed.  When I left, the guy first
asked me what it was worth (as I am the editor-in-chief of the DKW Club of
America's newsletter) - "$2500?" says he....followed by a chuckle by me.  I
told him that it was indeed worth _something_, but that it would only fetch
about $100 to 200 (that's Canadian pesos, mind you)  He started into a
tirade about how he'd prefer to keep it and let it dissolve (which will take
forever if you consider the glass), and that he should charge people to
enter the yard.  He also added that he would prefer that I not publish his
address/etc., as he didn't want "hundreds of people tramping across his
yard" - that's his perogative, but considering I'm probably the second
person since 1980 to know what the car is, let alone have one, you'd wonder
how this guy figures "hundreds" will turn out.
If you are looking for a car, like a Fiat, the best deals are the
word-of-mouth deals, the ones where the owner has given up on a restoration,
wants a different car, cannot justify having it sit at the back of his
garage under a tarp, etc.  Try going to a european-specific swap meet/show
n' shine and asking around.  Maybe a local/internet Fiat club has a
newsletter with classifieds.  Also, keep an eye on eBay - that's where I got
my two Juniors - the latter of which I picked up for about U$450 and came
with a complete set of records, workshop manuals, etc. - even the original
key fob.  Hemmings might also be a spot to look - check them out at
Steve Sears
1987 5kTQ
1980 5k
1962 and '64 Auto Union DKW Junior deLuxes
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