Jalopy Auction: 1941 Ford Pickup
A few weeks back, we launched The Jalopy Auction House in Beta. An auction platform was something I had always wanted to try building, so I figured I’d give it a shot and if it didn’t speak to our audience… well, at least I got the experience of building something. The results of the Beta test, however, surprised me.
Beforehand, if this thing failed, I figured it would be due to either a lack of auction listings or a lack of auction traffic. As it turned out, traffic was not an issue. We got millions of page views not only from the HAMB, but from off site promotion as well. Listings weren’t really an issue either. I spent a lot of time cruising classified ads and offering the service. Most of the time, I was greeted eagerly.
The problem turned out to be listing quality. No matter how much I pushed, I couldn’t seem to get potential sellers to provide the type of content the Auction House really needed. As a result, buyers didn’t seem to trust the listings and bids were few and far between. It failed quite miserably… Our only real sale came through the generosity of Cob.
So… What now?
I am not ready to throw away my work just yet. Instead, I am gonna slow things down and only accept listings I believe are substantial enough to build trust with buyers. That means listings will need to have substantial photography (at the very least, 75 photos), decent video if it makes sense, and comprehensive descriptions that accurately portray the car.
To set the example, I took a little roadtrip and met my buddy Steve and his bitchin’ ’41 Ford pickup. He had been talking about selling for a few weeks and I figured it would be the perfect inauguration of my idea. I shot the car using very basic principles – open space, evening sun behind me, and the patience to shoot every imaginable angle. While I was at it, I also took a little ride-a-long video. The whole process took about an hour and a half and is easily doable by anyone with a decent camera or a modern smart phone.
From there, Steve took the time to document everything he knew about the truck’s history, his time with it, and its condition. I’d imagine that process took him another hour or so… But the thing is, Steve was willing to work with me and bought into the idea that a listing could be almost as good as a “sight-seen” visit if it was encyclopedic enough. In my opinion, it’s this level of detail that is required to gain trust of the buyers.
Anyway, next was my writeup and the sort of “shtick” I am going with. I hope to write every listing as a sort of traditional car feature that you might have found in an old magazine, but that also includes things like problems/issues, my views of that particular car, ideas for the future of it, etc… So, accurate listings with some entertainment value and no regard at all for formulaic write-ups that often come with mass listings.
But… Will all this shit work? Are people willing to put in the time for a listing like this given we have no track record of sales and only gaudy traffic numbers to lure them in? I have no idea. I would be super happy if I could publish a listing/feature a week, but I think it might be some time before we can pull that off – if at all.
To be frank though, I’m not all that worried about it. When I set off to do all of this, I had a vision of what the site would look like, how it would work, and how my first listing would read. Check, check, and check… If it works and I get to study a new car each week, write it up, and be a small part of uniting it with its new owner? Hell, that’s just icing I probably don’t deserve.
Special thanks to all those that helped us launch the Beta test with their initial listings and, of course, to Cob for all his help. And finally, thanks so much to Steve for taking the time to help me with this listing. I can’t put into words how much I appreciate him.
In any case, if you are in the market for a pretty rad little early pickup or even if you just want to read about one… Well, what are you waiting for? Head on over to The Jalopy Auction House!
For more photos and videos of this 1941 Ford pickup or to bid on it, click here.
Please keep in mind that The House is a completely separate site to The Jalopy Journal and the H.A.M.B.. As such, to comment or to bid on listings you will need to create an account there as well.
If you are interested in listing your car at The House and are willing to put in the work, so am I… Go here and start the submission process.