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Fear & Loathing The Classic Car Dealer

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,714

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    kiwijeff likes this.
  2. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 7,481


    We witnessed this very type of ordeal last week, I rode to Kansas City with our art director Dick Warsocki (xderelict) to view 4 pick ups, all were suffering from problems that don't show in pictures. One lot that had two of the four was a hopped up used M.C. and classic cars lot, the good old boy biker dude in his doo rag is giving us a grand off as we walk on the lot. And the rest of the b.s. flowed, we thanked them and left as Dick was moaning about a 25-27 Chevy roadster body made into a pure rat rod. We then went to see another with a couple small rust holes to find a nice curb appeal ride loaded with rust and bad mechanical treatments, the guy stayed on the porch as he sensed our disapproval of his misleading retoric. The fourth guy who knew we were driving from Omaha and would be home by 4:30 called us back from a missed call and told Dick he would show it after 8:00p.m. if we wanted to wait. And fate is, something better has come along. Dick will be reporting that soon. Well he reported it on todays posts 54 find. He and his wife Tess, go to see this 54 up by Sioux City, Ia. meet the nice owner a 75 year young gent who has been the care taker of this dandy for a lot of its 56k miles. He has lovingly done a nice interior restored the exterior, put on tons of new brite work and just loved the car in general. Dick and Tess take it for a ride and know this is the real deal. They go back pay the gentleman his asking price and drive the sweetie pie home. Does it get any better than that! I am going over to see it right now. ~sololobo~
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  3. Everyone who buys and re-sells used equipment be it cars ,guns, homes or toys is in the crosshairs from both buyer and seller. Its a tough job.
    Everyone thinks that their crap is cool stuff, and everyone else's cool stuff is crap.
  4. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,437

    Jeff Norwell
    Staff Member

    Everyone in this hobby has had it happen..... its a ritual, your personnel "baptism of fire" sort of speak. Just plain getting bent over.
    Buy an apple for a nickel and sell it for a dollar.... and sometimes, that apple is rotten to the core.
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  5. how does the saying go
    "when both guys can walk away from a deal feeling like they ripped each other off...its a good deal"
    i would rather have you not buy it then think i screwed you out of it
    but i am not a car dealer
    and i do this for fun not money

    P.s. My duke is my hero...Gonzo for ever my friend..Gonzo
  6. glenn33
    Joined: Sep 11, 2006
    Posts: 1,836

    from Browns, IL

    Great editorial, Thanks Ryan...

  7. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,714

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    I'm sure it is. But what's the grand purpose of the job? History tells us that nothing survives if it only takes. Everything has to give back at least a little bit. What does a dealer give back?
  8. Mayor of G-Vegas
    Joined: Nov 10, 2010
    Posts: 507

    Mayor of G-Vegas

    Life Lessons , Bad Experiances and Cheesy Key chains.... lol
  9. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,719


    Way of the world - caveat emptor....
  10. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,937

    Larry T

    Kinda brings up the question of "love of money vs. love of old cars". I never really liked the idea of buying something, just to flip it.
    Nothing wrong with making a buck but when you spin/shade the truth/flat out lie to maximize profit, it ain't right.
    Larry T
  11. D-Day
    Joined: Jun 8, 2011
    Posts: 102

    from NW Ohio

    Nice writing...gonna pass this one on to a few people I know.
  12. The purpose of the job is simply to link a buyer and a seller through a purchase and re-sell. The dealer takes a chance that he can make a living buying low and selling high.
    In a perfect deal both the seller and the buyer will feel they were treated fairly. Its hard to please people when dealing in USED merchandise.(hell, its hard to please them when selling NEW stuff.)
    Using your example, the dealer may not have known the brakes were bad either. He may have felt he did both himself and the buyer a favor by taking care of the unsightly body dings.
    I'm not denying that crooks abound. But the term dealer should not be a dirty word. It can also be just another guy trying to take care of his wife and kids.

    In your example both the buyer and the seller should have researched and learned what they needed to know before getting involved in the deal. Yes, an education is expensive.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  13. RatRoy
    Joined: Jul 9, 2008
    Posts: 362


    Good article Ryan, I understand and agree with your description of a "bad deal". Unfortunately it doesn't have to be a classic car dealer to have this situation to play out. You can find yourself in the same spot on Craig's list or simply the local hot rod paper "for sale" section. Advise, "Buyers Beware".:eek:
  14. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 2,004

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    The so called "professional dealers" are in business to make money. Some of these people have a true passion for the old car hobby. Some simply realized an opportunity, and expanded on it. What they can "bring to the party" so to speak is more exposure to our hobby. Some of them have a very nice budget to work with, so they can have the nice show rooms, great assortment of vehicles, position themselves in a highly visable location. With their marketing skills, and the exposure to the general public, may in some cases influence a wanna be rodder into an actual one..even if they don't buy the over inflated priced Classic Car Dealers car, but maybe the one you are trying to sell instead.
  15. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,122

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    Great Ed Ryan!
    As you hinted at, the Dealer is selling a "locating service". To him, it's along the lines of a financial advisor who keeps an individual's stock portfolio in check. Sure, any 'investor' could get edumacated and do the leg work himself...
    "Scott" and other folks of his walk get hosed because they don't educate themselves enough and simply purchase an old car on enthusiasm and rush into a purchase. A few walks through the local cruise night and they decide that "this is for me-I need to find an old car to participate here". They need to be patient and do the hard work to beat the "Teddie" type flip dealers to the good cars fist hand.
    "Scott" could be from any walk of life; a 20 year old with some hard earned cash savings. The middle aged Scott as you described. Or a newly retired dude that's "ready for his new hobby".
    What scares me more than Teddie, are the "two week restoration shops". We see Chop Cut Rebuild and Desert Valley on TV. I'm sure they do a somewhat decent job but there's something about a two week restoration based on bottom dollar profit that doesn't sit right with me.
    How many hundreds of bondo artist two week restoration shops are in the country pulling down the hobby?
  16. BrokeDick
    Joined: Jan 21, 2008
    Posts: 222


    You forgot the Bluetooth welded to the ear in the picture...
  17. 40fordtudor
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,504


    Nothing. The same as the auction people, imo. They succeed strictly on the backs of others labors. Hate 'em.
  18. I'd rather live in a country where a man is free to make his living how he sees fit than somewhere where someone else determines which professions are "acceptable".

    I say "Good for Teddie". He is making a living doing what he (probably) loves. Martha accepted his offer & Scott bought without thoroughly inspecting the car.

    Well-written rant Ryan, but I'm not buying it.

  19. 2manyseats
    Joined: Jan 24, 2003
    Posts: 32

    from London, UK

    I seldom post though have lurked for years - couldn't agree more with Ryan's post. The story shouldn't end there - the guy that has lost his wife and became so disheartened puts a for sale sign on the car ....... and the cycle begins all over again!

    Look at any popular old car 30s Fords or Tri-Chevies and their popularity make them a lifestyle choice - as was said entry for someone with limited knowledge who wants a hobby or to be in that scene without being a lifelong car guy.

    Dealers do however have a place at the top end of the market where a provenance is part of the value. I worked many years ago for a couple of Dealers - Vintage Rolls Royces, D Type Jags and classic racing cars. In a world where history is all, it was safer for a buyer to pay a premium to these knowledgeable and reputable (for car dealer) guys.

    When you're paying way over a million bucks for a car it's good to know it really is what it claims to be and sometimes its worth paying extra to make sure that it is.
  20. RAY With
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,132

    RAY With

    I had sold a couple of classic cars to a local Classic dealer and came close to blows to get the money. I finally got full payment and within a few weeks the FBI raded the place and closed it down. It was found out over a million dollars had been milked out of state and out of country buyers and a paper trail a mile long of illegal transactions. I have no use for them at all and 99% of my purchases have been individuals that I look at and see the car and make my own deal. I have never seen any classic dealer that puts any thing back into the system other than take a turd car and polish it up and shine the wheels then the lies began! If I get screwed on a car deal it will be by my own hand and not any one else.
  21. johnboy13
    Joined: May 1, 2007
    Posts: 1,073


    Well said.
  22. A muscle car I restored 20 years ago and sold 10 years ago is currently sitting on a dealers lot. I called the dealer several months back to correct some misinformation about the car but he has yet to change the ads description.....It's blatant fraud what he is saying about the cars pedigree and the car is 100 exactly as I restored it.

    For instance;
    The "original interior" I bought from a guy who had built a race car out of his car back in the 1970's and kept the interior. My car never came with buckets but the dealers say's in his ad the car's interior is 100 percent original to the car...
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  23. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 5,957


    Dealer Here!

    It sickens me that the reputation is earned. I saw the vultures in action this weekend at Back to the 50's. But as noted, some are different.

    A good dealer provides an accurate and thorough inspection. In this State, a "Buyer's Guide" is required by law. Dealers are licensed, bonded, inspected and certainly have standards to abide by. But WI is a consumer oriented State. Other States may have weaker laws

    My pal Povertyflats gets a kick out of our commitment to insuring the features of the vehicle work as they should. He is especially humored by our bragging that the dome lights work. Buying from an individual will not get you a written inspection report. I can speak from experience when I say how easy it is to neglect a thorough inspection due to the excitement created when a great car is found. At times, they aren't so great after learning of all the defects.

    A dealer will provide a shopping center of sorts that is accessible through advertising or the internet. A prospective customer has the opportunity to sift through some variety.

    A dealer will typically offer some expertise. Perhaps that is the rub in this situation. A good dealer will have expertise on many different makes and models.

    A dealer provides a product at a stated price. There is no law that says all classic cars must be sold by dealers. Yet many people choose to buy their classic cars from dealers. That suggests a dealer must be providing some value. I am proud to say that we have many, many repeat customers.

    Buying from an individual is a dead end street. Whether that person is a curbstoner (flipper) or just some old lady selling a car to finance a home project, there is no recourse. Let the Buyer Beware.

    A dealer is accountable, to a degree. In some States, that may not be much value. In others, like WI, the customer has means and power to correct a wrong.

    I acknowledge that the reputation is deserved. Probably more so in the 50's, 60's and 70's when rolling odometers was the norm.

    I am saddened that a subject like this has been chosen as a headliner.
    kiwijeff likes this.
  24. Francisco Plumbero
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 2,536

    Francisco Plumbero
    from il.

    I sort of got biased against the take on this story from the on set.

    Maybe you don't see this side of our society as much as I do. Perhaps that is why you are so appalled by it, well...this is life. There are predators and there is prey. Does this scenario suck, well yes it does. Does it hurt people, yes it does.

    In my business, plumbing, you see this every single day. People taken by the unknown, captured by word play and drama and shaken by their ankles for their own reactions to your Teddy there. Does it make it tough to be in a business that has a stigma towards the prospecting of human souls, yes it does. All you can do is the best you can do and try to serve because if you become a Teddy you won't be able to stand your own reflection.

    Sad that you see it every single day, sadder still that once you save folks from a Teddy that they can be persuaded to call him back and believe his yarn and turn against you and your honest position.

    It's like watching a nature show, there's this cute little baby Leopard, damn thing is just so cute and fuzzy, you just are in total love with it. You get up off the couch to get a Blue Bunny ice cream, sit back on the couch and there's this 20 foot Python with a big lump in it's belly slithering out of the bushes. Well...where's my kitty?

    You see that big snake and you just hate the hell out of it, you blame it for taking away that cute fuzzy little cat from the world. But that kitty made a few critical mistakes of it's own that you did not see while you were at the freezer door, that kitty knew better than to be vulnerable, that Kitty had good and tingling instincts that were lit all up and highly tuned, they were telling it to do the right thing but it did not listen to it's instincts.

    Both of your "victims" in your tale were described as having those same tinglings, those same, "oh shit, somethings not right here" emotions, and both of them in the end succumbed to these emotions for some reason or another.

    Now, I'm not telling you that Teddy is defendable, he's a Python through and through, but as a guy who has been taught to hunt in the same fashion as this Python, I can share the secret to his prowess. You see there is only one thing that makes you vulnerable to the Teddy. Emotion.

    Truth be told, a man who can control his emotion this well had to sell his soul to do it, and it shows on him like a big red X, you can see it, it's not hard to see, when you do , just turn and walk away and keep on walking.

    As long as you still have these feelings of remorse about stuff such as this you are on the right path, it's those who never feel this that will be fanning flames later on.
  25. zep058
    Joined: Jan 9, 2007
    Posts: 599


    Wow, Ryan this is timely for me in so many ways in relation to the purchasing the riviera, not so much the classic car guy impact on the hobby. Let me explain, as I feel you are highlighting something I should think seriously about. I am probably completely missing the point of your editorial but it's the second time your articles have got me.

    In January I looked then passed on a cheap '65 here in Australia, around the same time as your "I miss my Riv" article and half coaxed my wife into owning such a classic; Your lines from that article of "it looked illegal, ready to pounce, it was a gangster of steel" got me over the line. Thank you, but I digress.

    With our dollar so strong I am looking at buying stateside and shipping back here. I have scoured craigslist, eBay, trovit and here hoping for something at a reasonable price and trying to make a deal with a private owner as I can't get to touch it before it gets shoved in a container and arrives here where I get to say "here it is honey, the car I spent the house renovation money on". This car has to be good. But there are no guarantees when buying a motor ve-hicle from anyone, it's about taking a leap of faith, whether you can sit in it or not.

    There are alot of stories here in Oz from the camaro and mustang crowd of the bare metal resto's from the classic car dealer guys being bondo abortions of epic proportions because there is a demand from buyers like me.
    It's hard to type all that on an iPhone.
  26. Flathead50
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 280



    I'm a professional in a field that any one of my clients could do the work if they just had the time to do the research and take a few easy classes to figure it out.

    Mechanics simply do the work that anyone else could do if they had the time and the inclination to learn the process and do the work.

    Middle men save time for those that don't have the time to go out and sell their cars on their own (or do the research to find the right avenues) and for those that don't want to spend the time searching for the car they want.

    We're living in a time of instant gratification. Most people aren't happy spending years searching for the right car or specific part they need anymore. HAMBers are unique in that most of us are.

    Yes, as with any profession, there are lots of profit motivated car salesmen that will take advantage of granny at every turn, and those are the stories we hear about. But for someone who isn't willing to spend the time finding their own car, spending a few thousand extra is worth it to them.

    Yes, we probably lose some good cars to charletans who oversell and overprice, but as long as there are those out there (frequently gold chainers) willing to pay it, the middle men will remain.
    kiwijeff likes this.
  27. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,714

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Remind me never to buy a car from you. :)

    I'm not aware of any recourse a buyer can take over a dealer that they can't take over an individual. What are they exactly?

    Also and it's worth mentioning here... there is a reason that you are one of the only dealers I let regularly use the classifieds.
  28. I've bought and sold through dealers. There are folks like you describe, sure. But the dealers I've dealt with have been fair and honest to a fault. You're giving the group a bad rap for the actions of a few.
  29. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,937

    Larry T

    After I looked at my first post again, I kinda had to laugh. I'm a mechanic, we sometimes don't have the best reputation in the world either.

    There is a place for reputable car dealers. If they are honest, they save the customer the trouble of doing the leg work. Nothing wrong with that. It's the folks that are less than honest, for the sake of an extra buck, that give any business a bad reputation.
    Larry T
  30. I have another take on this from Back To the Fifties this weekend. The GREEDY OWNER/SELLER. You know the type, guy plays with cars but has seen one to many SilveBarreMecum auctions in person or on TV.

    Dad lil bro and I laughed at some of the prices folks had on cars. A few REALLY thought they could get that kinda money from them. One in particular was a late 30s sedan, an orphan make. Had all the bad 80s wheels and graphics. Car was built buy a guy trying to fit in 20-25 years ago and he missed the mark even back then! The selling price? An easy 65K and you too can be a street rodder!

    On the other hand they found a 54 Chevy that was NICE, price was decent but the guy was starting to entertain offers. Really tempted my brother.

    Just my thoughts.

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