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Folks Of Interest Fear & Loathing The Classic Car Dealer: Part 2

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Dec 30, 2016.

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    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,283


    The internet is sometimes the gate to hell. In fact many times. My position aside from restoration services is exactly what you find as a negative value. I'm an agent for those who have no interest in selling their own cars. I'm also one of those types that might know where the bodies are buried in a manner of speaking. I also try to have my own inventory now and then. Point of fact, I'm a actually pretty generous with my stuff, but my reasons are just as self serving as they are, what was that again? Efficient, that's it. I believe in black ink. I'd rather sell a dozen cars for a grand or so profit than try to make a "kill" on 1 or 2. The goal is to sell it, not set a new standard in high prices. I'm not sure I understand "owing" an industry. Been at this well over 40 years, I truly don't think anything came to me that I owe for. I have the scars, burns, bad vertabra and grey hairs as my receipt book. And that old "karma" bullshit, well I'd be worth millions of it were true. At the sandbox I play in there's not much the beloved internet can offer. I'd say more than 1/2 the shit related to my car's is simply wrong. Production numbers, model numbers, engines, etc, more cliché wives tale bullshit than solid fact, and really not much of anything for sale except at high end dealers or known agents. If we were to agree upon who's sodomizing whom I think some of the auction houses make dealer's look way better. Sell a car for $300K and the buyer adds as much as 12%, the seller gives up 10. So, sorry if I don't think my 5% is inefficient. My knowledge, skill set, reputation, all ingredients to a terrific experience for a buyer or seller. If it makes me 1 of the few good guys then I just have to give it a Charlie Sheen and say "Winning..."
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
    i.rant, seatex, WiredSpider and 4 others like this.
  2. i do work for a couple "flippers". they buy cars that others have had a hard time selling. they usually under pay because the buyer gives up. both guys i do work for know what makes a car sell [most of the time] and pay me to make the corrections or to finish the things that were keeping the car from selling. i have seen them make some obscene money when they sell. i made money. they made money. the person they sold to are happy.
    do we go to hell for this?
  3. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,859

    Staff Member

    No. You guys added value. Keep up man!! :)
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  4. These dealers didn't carve out a new niche in an existing market, they simply filled one that existed but was poorly served. Yeah, it'd be great if these cars could be passed on to someone who 'appreciates' them, but that pesky supply-and-demand thing interferes. Ryan, I get where you're coming from on this but given the foibles of sellers/buyers, occasional ignorance and the inconsistent honesty among all concerned that's out there, the system works middlin' well.
    Hnstray and bobwop like this.
  5. quick85
    Joined: Feb 23, 2014
    Posts: 2,982


    Interesting topic and comments. I can't get too worked up about it, though. I can't buy a different car
    every six months or even every twelve months, so inflation and the sketchy dealings of shady folks
    doesn't effect me, but I still believe in treating people fairly.

    I may not be purchasing cars (many of you fellows have me feeling awfully jealous) but I'm
    constantly checking out parts and it's the same basic thing that Ryan is discussing, just on a
    smaller scale. Barely a day goes by that I don't check out craigslist looking for nothing in
    particular or something in general. Barely a day goes by that I don't say out loud to myself
    "f*****g bandit" or "you must be f*****g crazy". I guess it's a matter of being miffed at the
    guy trying to get rich along with being angry with myself for letting things go at bargain
    basement prices. I end up passing on many kool items.
    mctim64 and lothiandon1940 like this.
  6. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 2,437

    David Gersic
    from DeKalb, IL

    They provide a service to people that won't or can't do their own legwork. Caveat emptor.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Hnstray, bobwop and Crazy Steve like this.
  7. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,154


    With your statements about classic car dealers, you could apply the same thing to Realtors selling houses. All they do is raise the price by 8% and ad no value. And lets not forget the Lawyers!
  8. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 6,099


    1. sort through the BS. Sniff out unscrupulous sellers such as this one. I am now discussing another car that is claimed to be a numbers matching SS Camaro with a two barrel carburetor. Nope, no SS had a two barrel.
    2. repair the deficiencies that were not noted by the seller. I try very, very hard to do a pre-purchase inspection to discover what repairs are required to make the car drivable, enjoyable and safe. My customers get an inspection report addressing each and every feature, gauge, light, etc. and I note which, if any, are not functional. This is required by law in Wisconsin and I am glad it is.
    3. be ABSOLUTELY certain that the serial number on the car, as installed by the factory, matches the VIN on the title. You cannot imagine how many don't match and the seller has no clue. Afterall, he is just a car flipper. There were many cars that used the engine number as the serial number, all the way up to 1953. Especially in the Midwest. How many still have the original engine? Not many. How many had the title VIN changed to match the serial number on the frame or serial number tag? Not many. Try and do that without having the original engine to go with the car.
    4. keep their eyes peeled for vehicles requested, such as a desired 1940-41 Ford pickup. But no promises!
    5. I just sold a car to a fellow from Georgia. He is wise, wealthy and willing to spend a buck to get what he wants. The car he bought from me was very reasonable compared to what he found elsewhere. But he wanted changes made. He asked if I would utilize my local service providers, outlets for parts and accessories, personal expertise and time and if I would provide concise advice as he morphed his new car into his vision. He was willing to spend up to $15000 to accomplish this, as my car was that much under the market. In the end, all the work that was done and the guidance given to him cost him less than $3000. He was so pleased he flew here to take me and my lady to dinner. And my local service providers had the chance to make a few bucks along the way.
    6. I provide cars for many, many local shows and events. My inventory is also my collection. I have shown at all but one of John Wells events as a feature car to support his charity, Helping Hannah's Heart. And it is a different car each time to keep things fresh. Nobody else can make that claim. I couldn't either if I weren't a Dealer.
    7. A group of Southern WI classic car dealers have banded with other car lovers and our customers to create Cars Curing Kids, a charitable organization that is funding research at American Family Children's Hospital in Madsion. In two years we have had a ton of fun, created much awareness to our cause and raised $1,300,000. I don't believe this could have been accomplished without the generosity of time, tenacity and money that the Dealers have brought to the table.
    8. somebody has to be the whipping post!

    I am proud of my relationship with Ryan and HAMB. I hope you all feel welcome to use me as a resource. I may not have the answer to your question, but I promise to try my best to be of assistance. So don't be bashful to send a PM if you feel I might be able to help.


    very well put
  9. Bob, you're one of the good ones and I have no personal relationship with you.
  10. ditto
    #9 install all four fenders
    lothiandon1940 and bobwop like this.
  11. Lebowski
    Joined: Aug 21, 2011
    Posts: 1,569


    "My main beef with the classic car dealer remains the same. I hold no value for a middle man in this game of ours and would like nothing more than to see them extinct. They aren’t worthless. No… They are worse than that. They take away from this thing we love by removing cash from our ecosystem without adding any value what-so-ever. They are leaches."

    Let me tell you about the experience I had when I purchased my current 1960 Edsel Ranger from Gateway Classic Cars in O'Fallon, IL (suburban St. Louis) in November 2015. I live over 200 miles away from there and was unable to see the car in person so I had to trust their salesman Brendan to handle the negotiating process for the price of the car over the phone in an honest and truthful manner which unfortunately he didn't. He told me that he called the owner twice to negotiate the price when in fact he didn't call him at all. I had to give them a $1000 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit with a credit card before he would begin the so-called negotiations so they basically had me "over a barrel" if I didn't agree to their price. After the sale I called the seller (an 88 year old career Army man who did 2 tours in Vietnam) three different times and we spoke for over half an hour each time about the car and our time in the Army. That's when he told me that nobody ever called him regarding negotiating the price of the car. He too was disappointed in the way they handled the sale of his car and said he would not be recommending them to anyone. They told him they would keep $2500 of whatever they sold the car for and send him the rest. I bought the car for $15,500 and they only gave him $10k so they obviously cheated him out of $3k. I tried to contact the owner Sal Akbani to ask him about that but he never returned my calls or emails. Gateway has about a dozen locations east of the Mississippi so if anyone is considering dealing with them feel free to look them up on the Better Business Bureau website ( first to read some of the complaints against them. I completely agree with Ryan when he says that some classic car dealers are leaches and worse than worthless....
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
    kiwijeff, lothiandon1940 and bobwop like this.
  12. Like it or not we are a service based world. Today, home repair(or any other repair) is rarely done by the owner. Its not good enough to call a repairmen. Now you call a service that recommends one. Need insurance call a service, need a hotel room call a service etc. etc. Middle men have been around since the beginning and do have a niche. I personally try and cut them out when I can but if they make money honestly so be it.
  13. i tell you the real S.O.B.s are real estate agents. middle men with no skin in the game. they tell YOU what to do so THEY can sell your house easier............... sorry off topic.
  14. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,859

    Staff Member

    You aren't a dealer. You are something more than that. As such, you don't count.

    Good try though!

  15. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,766


    Glad bobwop is in on this. I would buy from him in a heartbeat.
  16. ......................I see their ads all of the time and the prices always seem to reflect a "gouge the buyer" mentality. I'm sorry that you got caught up in their game and I'm even more sorry that they apparently took advantage of an 88 year old veteran that deserved better.
  17. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 6,099


    Wow! Thanks Fellas. I am humbled
    117harv, mctim64, das858 and 5 others like this.
  18. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,370


    My family has been in real estate for 3 generations. Sellers rarely have any idea what their house is worth, what it needs to get the maximum sale value or the time and patience to talk to buyers. Don't believe me? Try doing a "for sale by owner" for a while.

    The Potter Meat Market does nothing other than buy and sell old parts (don't let the name fool you).
    That's about the best way I can describe what I do. There are lots of people who want to sell stuff all at once, for one price, with little or no effort on their part. I am their buyer. And there are many others who will pay a huge premium to buy a part from their computer and have it mailed to their door rather than find it "out in the wild". I am their seller.

    As for the coupe in question, the guy reposting the ad with a jacked up price tag is committing fraud, presenting the sale of an item he does not own and (we can assume) does not have a contract to consign. But the dealer may have been the one who put that '41 engine in it to get it driving again, or they may have been approached by a seller who didn't want to put any effort into selling it, and now the dealer has to hold it until the right buyer comes, ect. Can't blame them for that.

    People come to the HAMB to get expert advice and read about ongoing projects which is mostly content provided by other users, who is the middleman there?
    WiredSpider, bobwop and wraymen like this.
  19. 4psi
    Joined: Nov 30, 2011
    Posts: 283


    It's all circus music.
  20. I would also buy from bobwop! As long as it does not have fenders.:rolleyes: Sometimes you can just tell the credibility of a person.:cool:
    lothiandon1940, kiwijeff and bobwop like this.
  21. " Perfect Information "

    That is a subjective term.

    Reality is shared perception.

    Consensus determines reality for those who choose to ascribe to a particular point of view.

    Some folks need a dating service - a realtor - an interior designer - a classic car dealer.

    It is a matter of personal choice.

    Nothing is perfect or absolute.

    Humans are flawed by design.

  22. junkman8888
    Joined: Jan 28, 2009
    Posts: 629


    When I was in college the first time I worked for a used-car dealer that lived in a mobile-home parked on one end of his lot. One day I needed to ask him a question, knocked on the door and he yelled for me to come right on in finding the owner sitting at the kitchen table finishing some paperwork. I looked the place over while I waited and saw that all down the hallway and into the bedroom he had bolted 4 x 8 sheets of 1/8" steel to the inside walls of the mobile home. I asked him what on earth the steel plate was for and he told me to look outside where I could see that the trailer had been shot full of holes by customers he'd screwed. The guy actually laughed about all the people that were trying to kill him.
  23. jvpolvere1
    Joined: Aug 19, 2016
    Posts: 176


    Ryan, I think you knew exactly what you would start by initiating this thread. Like the opening of Pandora's Box.
    This is a complicated subject. No quick answers here.

    First thing to consider is added value. What does a party add to the transaction when a car changes hands? I have seen dealers, and private parties, do NOTHING to a car and spike the price. Others may go through the car, do minor fixes or point out its needs. In its simplest form, this is an added value and justifies a markup. Others may give it what it needs to make it right, justifying larger mark up.

    At the end of the day you must remember someone who does this professionally has overhead that hobbyists may not. Rent, insurance, utilities, payroll, etc.

    Everyone deserves the opportunity to make a living. Eventually the market sorts it out. No one is holding a gun to your head. As a buyer you can always walk away.

    Do your homework. Make an offer. Ask the question, "why do you think this vehicle is worth what you are asking?" Open ended questions are best. Who, what, when, where, why, how. These are questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no.

    Most importantly, when you launch one of those questions, SHUT UP AND LISTEN to the answer. A lot of information may be forthcoming in the answer. Or you may find out the seller has no valuable knowledge to support his position.

    Sent from my SM-T377V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
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  24. Green Voodoo
    Joined: May 22, 2007
    Posts: 75

    Green Voodoo
    from Melbourne


    Ryan if you believe that the internet lets people do it themselves then why are you complaining.
    If buyers have a choice to utilize the internet to purchase from dealers or private vendors and they elect to purchase from a dealer - what is the issue.? Why should you even be bothered that the dealer is making a bunch of money.?

    Are you bothered when a dentist charges $5000 - $10000 for a tooth implant and a few hours work. The implants are often made in China for a mere fraction of the cost - but the dentist feels entitled to add value by adding 1000 per cent plus mark up - for what ?-because he placed an order for the item. Would he not add more value to patients if he continued to charge his usual outrageous $1000 per hour to fit the implant -say $2000 and pass on the implant at cost ?

    You think classic car dealers are crooks. What do you think about dentists, doctors , lawyers at a crazy $1000 per hour or more. These guys seem to be taking more money than they should depriving patients of money they could be spending in the economy. Sound familiar?


    Based on your theory if a dealer adds no value or the purchaser perceives no value then the free market will eventually extinguish dealers from the market place.

    From my perspective you have failed to consider that the value added by a dealer may be perceived differently by different purchasers and the fact that dealers have not been extinguished from the marketplace despite the advent of the internet gives credence to the view that they must be seen to contribute value added benefits to the market

    I suggest your perspective that classic car dealers do not add value is founded on the assumption that classic cars are all alike. which is not the case despite being of the same year make model - classic cars differ in condition, modifications, history etc,.

    It appears from your perspective that a purchaser can elect on any given day to purchase a unique classic car such as a sweetheart heart 1936 Ford 3W coupe built in the 50s with a Barris chop from either a dealer or private vendor alike on the assumption that the exact same car in all respects is available from either.

    That is a rather simplistic view in any ones book and undermines your argument


    Usually a dealer makes his money by buying low and not by selling above market.
    A dealer cannot be successful by constantly selling above market because in theory there would be no buyers at above market.
    From my perspective a dealer adds value to vendors who don't want to sell directly to the market and are satisfied to sell below market to forego in their mind the hassles associated with selling or because they want to enjoy the benefit of converting there asset into cash without delay and are prepared to incur the cost to do so.


    Different purchasers may have different reasons for buying from a dealer ,
    Some may see the benefit of buying from a dealer who are subject to consumer protection laws.
    Others may choose to buy from a dealer because they can afford to pay market and don't want the hassles of dealing with private vendors who can at times be less reputable than some professional dealers.
    One of the best reasons for buying from a dealer has to be that the exact same vehicle in the same condition or with the same history or modifications cannot be found with private vendors despite there be other cars advertised of the same year make model etc..


    Your presumption that the internet can provide the same service classic dealers once offered prior to the event of the digital age would be correct if they were selling EXACTLY the same items however in reality classic cars unlike new cars are generally unique - no two are exactly alike and the probability of discovering two like cars, make model, condition & options is often remote. Classic cars are generally unique despite being of the same year make and model, their condition options, history will differ..


    Therefore Classic Car dealers continue to offer the same value added service to buyers as they always have done in the past and particularly in respect of limited production or unique one off cars.!
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
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  25. Boatmark
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 301


    By definition, a "good deal", or a "fair deal" is one where both the buyer and seller chose to enter into the transaction of their own free will, without coercion or undue influence. Whether I make 3%, 30%, or 300% is irrelevant. Something is offered for sale, and someone chooses to make a purchase.

    There is nothing in there about adding value, removing the soul of the car (whatever the hell that means !?!), or aligning the planets in the process. It's a simple offer and acceptance.

    I'm not in the car biz, but have been in the marine industry for decades - both in manufacturing and retail dealerships. None of that time has been a non-profit or a charity - every bit of it has been with goal of making a profit. As the saying goes: "The goal here is to turn fiberglass into bank deposits".

    I'm certain my suppliers are making a profit, and I'm assuming my customer made a profit at what he does, or he couldn't buy what we are building - expensive toys for successful people - many of them middlemen themselves.

    Maybe it's the cold of winter keeping many Hot Rod's locked in the garage. But it's just commerce as a byproduct of Fun With Cars, you can't over think it into some kind of cosmic morality.

    (But opinions may vary)
    mctim64, Hnstray and bobwop like this.
  26. Right on for the broker getting called out Ryan! That is total BS with the fake back story. I worked for a guy who was sort of a poser dealer in San Diego. I say poser because when he wasn't trying to rip people off, he was trying to get me to do it. I was hired as a mechanic and I wanted no part. I guess he was just too busy to do the dirty work himself, so he kept pressuring me. He really did not know much about market value except that all of his stuff should be priced at the top regardless of condition. One day he finally asked me what was wrong with me for not wanting to make some easy money. He got really mad when I said "It's parasitic". Then one day he told me to stamp a VIN in a Talbot Lago parts car so he could sell it for a lot more. I quit and opened my own shop. I don't sell cars I just provide service and repair work on old stuff. After I left the place of "Fine motorcars" it did not do a thing for 18 months ,as none of the customers wanted to deal with the guy. I guess they have since hired an ace salesman, and are doing just fine now. It is one thing to sell something outright, it is another to lie and cheat in order to meet the end goal. As for me I like being able to sleep at night.
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  27. Johnny99
    Joined: Nov 5, 2006
    Posts: 874


    Caveat Emptor!
  28. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,280

    from Australia

    shit I do , bastards are ripping off the farmers........... I saw your "Ill shut up now" don't , its a forum all opinions should be shared and heard...........for the record on first meeting I treat all car dealers as theives and conmen as they have shown themselves to be over many years, if they prove otherwise all good..................................... now I"m going to have to read the damm article , I should be out doing a brake job :(
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,283


    Talk of "parasites" and "leeches", of taking money that doesn't belong a tangible part of a car's market value? I'll tell you when I heard a lot of that. I was about 17-18 yrs old, some of my usual suspects heard from a big mouth sibling what I did to get things I wanted without throwing newspapers or flipping burgers. "Dude you're a fuckin rip off!" "Yes I am, thanks for noticing." You can't sell those cars for more than you paid for em, what the fuck man?" "Why?" "Because, that's a rip off man. I wouldn't buy anything from you." "Don't. You don't like my stuff anyways so go make payments. Talk about a rip off."
    That's what some of the positions I'm reading sound like, like those old sour grape whiners who didn't have the will, the knowledge, the balls to hang a few bucks out there and watch em grow from a little sweat equity and the cost of a wanted ad in the local paper. Sometimes I'd buy from 1 paper and sell it in the other by week's end. In the past me and dear ol Dad would have guys arguing in the driveway over who got there 1st. Knowing this market, knowing our customer base, we bought a semi truck load of hanging unit heaters from an Air Force base. Paid $20 each, hauled em home and stacked em 4 high in the garage (a 32X22!) and had just enough room for aisles and a test stand. We ran the ad in the hot rods and antiques column of the local Sunday paper, "Ford, Chevy, Mopar, heat for your garage. 75000 BTU hanging unit heaters in excellent working condition. $75.00 each, when they're gone, they're gone." By Monday afternoon they were all gone. I think we had about 70-something total and a few were scrap but we had to take em all. So we were clearly value added by providing our fellow hobbyists with economical natural gas SAFE hanging furnaces for about 1/2 of what market was for smaller new ones. That was in the late 70s and that furnace was still hanging in the family garage when I sold the house this summer.
    I've met some shady mofos in my day too. The old check for more and give me the difference game in person, threats of police coming to get me because it was HIS CAR and I stole it, and way before "Pickers" on TV I had the good ol soul that was going to educate me on what things are truly worth. Decades later some things never change, and frankly neither will I. I have car for sale on the pages rt now. Very negotiable, a great car with a pedigree that includes the late great Bill Harrah, clean paper and even cleaner sheet metal with huge hi-def pics provided to prove it. The right guy will come along and wonder why he didn't see it or act on it sooner. Yes, I will see black ink at the end of it too, assuming somebody will save me from keeping it. Yeah, it's that good that I may do just that but then there's Mrs Highlander in there. Now her I do OWE, but not $$$$$...;)
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  30. Fuel to burn
    Joined: Jul 17, 2009
    Posts: 281

    Fuel to burn

    Don't confuse flipper with dealer. A flipper profits from the seller who under values the car. He adds no value unless he does some real improvements. A traditional dealer provides value by having many cars in one place. The value is that the customer can view 10-20 cars at once without driving all over town or the whole state. At times I have bought from dealers specifically for that reason. There are good and bad in both camps as there are in all walks of life.
    i.rant and bobwop like this.
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