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Fear & Loathing The Classic Car Dealer

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

  1. Van Dutch
    Joined: Nov 17, 2008
    Posts: 247

    Van Dutch

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
    That's the classic car business. Shit has gotten weird for everybody involved.

    Ebay is the new locator service. But good luck getting a deal done unless you are getting rooked, then it's easy!!

    Love the gonzo stuff, as always.
  2. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    Got burned myself as a young kid, over a POS 69 Mustang...that was the last burn,or well, at least the last burn that felt like 3rd degree.

    since than..I have never bought a car from a used car dealer, always from the previous owner..although you gotta watch them dogs too, theres a better chance (if you have learned your lessons) that you will make out better.

    be a dam good listener..if its starts to even sound remotely like BS..just turn and walk away..

    My Dad taught me never to go buy a car with passion and need written on your face, or emotion stuck deep in your dont need a fucking that bad

    tuff article to write, eh Boss?
    I think you did good
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  3. RichG
    Joined: Dec 8, 2008
    Posts: 3,919


    "For the most part, I find Classic Car Dealers to be a rude and brainless subculture of money-hungry fiends that are more disgusting by nature than maggots oozing out of the carcass of a dead animal."

    There, I fixed it for you.:p
  4. sawzall
    Joined: Jul 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,731



    Dealing with one of these issues now, fortunately on behalf of others
    These deals can certainly make your blood boil...

    I like the "cost of your education" concept
  5. Landmule
    Joined: Apr 14, 2003
    Posts: 458


    I've always enjoyed visiting "classic car dealers" when I find one and have the time. It's very rare that I find a car I would care to own during these visits - I've seen lots of polished turds. It is always fun to listen to the "dealer" give me the jazz about whatever is in stock. Many places are stocked to the gills with cars owned by old ladies. I've been visiting these places since I was a teenager and it seems that most of the "dealers" are still the same.

    I've also been to several auctions and had the same impression of much of the inventory available in those venues. My best luck has been buying cars from other people. I like to think I know enough to be careful but classic card auctions and dealers would not be my first choice if I was shopping for a new project. When people know you're "into" old stuff, it has a way of finding its way to you - and these are the kinds of deals where everyone goes away satisfied.
  6. I almost bought a 4 speed '64 galaxie rag top once from a used car dealer. I got in it and when I tried to shift it I discovered that it was an automatic hooked to the four speed shifter and console.

    It drove and ran fine but Mrs. 'beaner looked at me and said, "but he said, "it is a 4 speed."" We were 16 and I didn't buy it, she has always had good judgement.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  7. dustdevil
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 814

    from illinois

    I enjoyed the read!! Very well written. I agree and think they are not good but I'm sure that is said about many other jobs also. I don't support them and that is all I can do!
  8. Sheep Dip
    Joined: Dec 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,572

    Sheep Dip
    from Central Ca

    :D:D I laughed good and hard at this one! All true to a point...he offered...she accepted...he offered for resale...he bought sight unseen, and you could have probably sold him one of those little magnets that get's you 30 MPG also.. it's called getting a diploma from the "University of Hardnox". :D:D
  9. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,260


    One thing I will never do is buy a car sight unseen. I almost did once because the way a 57 Chevy Handyman wagon was described by the seller, I thought it was well worth the money and couldn't get hurt on the deal. Brand new 383 motor and brand new paint for $12K. Good sense prevailed and I drove 4 hours to see the car before purchasing. If the car was outside I wouldn't have stopped and just kept on going. What a POS. It had new paint alright, they painted right over dents and rust. No paint is better then bad paint. The second thing I will never do again is drive a long distance to see a car. There are plenty of low life's out there that will flat lie like a dog.
  10. Big Mac
    Joined: Sep 12, 2007
    Posts: 1,567

    Big Mac
    1. Utah HAMBers

    Automatic, manual, either way I don't understand what a bowel movement has to do with any of this.
  11. lostintime
    Joined: Jul 27, 2009
    Posts: 30

    from minnesota

    There are always a select few that give all types of businesses a bad name/ has been going on since the begininng of time. Unfortunately, you only hear of the bad ones. One should always be doing their homework....if it's too good to be true, it probably is! Reputation is the backbone of industry. I am looking forward to the rant on politicians, clergy, coin dealers, stock brokers, mechanics, home builders, etc.
  12. SlamCouver
    Joined: Jun 26, 2006
    Posts: 2,002

    from Brazil, IL

    AMEN... also non dealer buyers and flippers.
  13. FritzTownFord
    Joined: Apr 7, 2007
    Posts: 1,020


    I once bought a nice '56 F-100 from a well known classic dealer for top dollar because it appeared perfect. I thought I knew enough to buy it based on my experience. Within a year the paint was blowing off at the seams in sheets, the clutch was gone, the fuel tank had to be boiled out because of the filter filling with rust every week and the "dropped" fnt springs sagged because they actually just torch heated the springs to get it lowered. It cost me a several thousand to fix the issues. But I didn't go back to him because I bought with open eyes.

    So then I put it up for sale for what I had in it but couldn't get a buyer for months. Finally, the guy I bought it from called me and offered much less than I PAID HIM for it two years ago! "Oh, well those trucks have really gone down in value" he says. "Well you know the paint is gonna have to be stripped and redone" he says. "Well I need to make a profit too" he says.

    So I say FUCK YOU! and hang up. So I sold it for a big loss to some other guy. And two weeks later I see my truck back on the dealer's lot with a price even higher than I paid for it two years ago! He retouched the paint and that was it. He sold it out of the area, but I never knew how much.

    BTW this guy owns a stable of really fine cars (that aren't for sale) he uses as bait for non-car guy buyers. And he's still in business - go figure.

    But hey, this is what is called the "Free Market" - you know, unregulated free markets are the salvation of all ills. Bought health insurance lately?
  14. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,688

    from vail az

    Had a guy here in Tuscon. I was in neeeed of a car like right now. Divorce, kids,dirt road, the whole ball-o-wax. I looked at a minivan and he said I was gonna screw up. He takes me over to a Suburban. Tells me this is the one you want. OK, drove it, bought it. Took it back 3 days later because it needed some expensive work.
    NO PROBLEM!!!!! I was expecting a fight. I bought two more cars from him.
    They've moved on since then but I'da been to see them again two years ago.
    Generally, however, I'm a private sale kinda guy.
  15. This is nothing new, been going on ever since there was used cars to sell, probably before. I have seen an educational movie from the '30s that covers this sort of dealing and it's the same old story. "buyer beware" I am going to send this artical as a link (so You Ryan can get all the credit) to my friends that are in the market for a classic car but don't really know about cars much or the people they are dealing with. This is a warning, though like you say there is still some good out there, and should be kept in mind when dealing with the "Maggots". :rolleyes:
  16. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,188

    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    Dealers still provide a couple things. They may be the answer to someone who needs to buy a classic car on credit.
    They do the legwork and gather available cars that someone may not find quickly otherwise.
    They have a trustworthy network setup involving honest body shops, exhaust, bankers, etc....
    They may have a hoist so you can inspect what you're buying.
    They provide jobs.

    This is all based on an HONEST dealer, which actually DO exist.
  17. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy

    Florida has its share of the crooked,lying just to move the merchandise classic car dealers,Jax..Clearwater,Ft. Myers,Miami just a few. Still there is some honest ones left but not many.
  18. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,021


    That is the best way I have see it put.

    And if you have been around enough you have either been burned or have driven a lot of miles and spent a lot of time to look at something that wasn't even close to what it was advertised as being.
  19. pwschuh
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,468


    Anyone else seen Wayne Carini's show Chasing Classic Cars, on the "HD Theater" channel?

    He doesn't generally do hot rods but the concept is the same. He buys cars to fix up and flip and he buys cars on order for clients. Interesting insight into the business because he's up front about trying to make a profit on each transaction. The stuff that makes it onto TV makes him seem like a reasonable guy and I have no reason to suspect otherwise. Sometimes on a sale he gets his money back and more, and sometimes he auctions a car at no reserve and loses money. Seems like a fun job to have if you have the right skills and attitude. I don't.

    Obviously you can't believe anything you see on TV, but based on what I've seen, if I lived in his area (New England) and was looking for a specialty car, I would probably call him. Now that he's a public figure it might make it that much harder for him to do the wrong thing. Not that he ever would, but I'm just sayin'.
  20. cool37
    Joined: Jan 20, 2009
    Posts: 1,872

    from SoCal

    Ryan...well stated.
  21. mgbtc
    Joined: Dec 22, 2006
    Posts: 112


    Salesmen will always be just that, whether it be cars, houses or tv's. And not all car salesmen are car people.
    I've always had a regular job that we could count on to pay the bills, so my car hobby was always a hobby. I've bought and sold lots and lots of cars over the years, as a hobby, not to get rich. Given lots of people what I thought was a great deal, guess they thought so too.
    Some of the dealers were hobbists that took it to the next level, and not being buisness people, are the one to two percent you might be refering to. Then there are the ones that have made it because they are honest and are car people that aren't out to screw anyone.
    Bottom line is let the buyer be ware! The same people that bought Yugos are the ones crying in thier milk now!
  22. Jeem
    Joined: Sep 12, 2002
    Posts: 5,885

    Alliance Vendor

    Man....I see right down the middle of both approaches here (Ryan's and Harrison's). I love the idea of free enterprise, and therefore agree with Harrison. However, I wholeheartedly agree with a quote I read from Ed Roth, something to the effect of self policing. In other words, sure, charge what you will, make the best money you can, but have a conscience. I'm not a very spiritual person, but I do live by the golden rule. Bending someone over, because you think you can, does not mean you should. And THAT my friends is what it's all about. And to that end, I'm not a big fan of the "Teddies" of the world.
  23. rixrex
    Joined: Jun 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,433


    Somewhere about High School I figgered out I could buy a neighbors old car for $200 clean it up a bit, drive it around with a For Sale sign in the window, have some fun widdit and sell it for $600. I was off and running!
    Was I a dealer? am I a dealer? what have I contributed? example, I find a nice 81 Riviera convertable in the back of some apartments, flat tires and dirty, find the guy and we agree on $175. Fix it up and drive it around for six months and finally sell it for $1700. These cars are rare and that was way less than what it was worth. Find the car, put it on the road, sell it for a fair price (I've made my profit) and pass it along. I had my fun and brought the car out of hiding to the public.
  24. vonpahrkur
    Joined: Apr 21, 2005
    Posts: 922


    Great article, very persuasive! I commend you on the creativity, humor and wit.
    I think its important to remember that a used car is just that, a used car. Classic or not. I'm pretty sure that most will agree that the best way to buy one is to look it over in person and check it out yourself, people make mistakes and descriptions are open to interpretation, rust to a guy in the desert is probably different than rust to a guy where they salt the roads or at the coast. You can make rules and regulations on how to buy and sell and all that but then will that be much different than when the government tries to come in and regulate our hobby via smog laws or other legislation?

    If you want people to operate to certain standards then the best bet would be to get a bunch of folks together to vote on it and agree to be a part of it and to operate under those standards and then you can hold those folks to the standard they made from here on out, but will that make our hobby more fun or remove fun out of our hobby?
    Will that make it too serious?
    Do we want to spend our time arguing over whether someone meant to screw over someone else when they sold them a car or whether surface rust was cancer or vise versa?
    With how busy life is, I think a hobby is meant to be fun and an escape from having a boss and a bunch of rules?
    is that right or do I have it wrong?
    At swap meets there are always dealers of old parts and old cars, Some of their prices are high while others are not, some have good products others have better. Never have I seen any of the dealers force anyone to buy their product. Should we regulate these dealers?
    The state I live in heavily regulates and taxes business and it seems that many businesses are shutting down and/or moving elsewhere. Even films are being filmed in many other places besides Hollywood for that exact reason... A used car is a used car, a used part is a used part. People are people and they make mistakes, bad decisions and thats how we learn and become better people. Will micromanaging our hobby and everyone's buying and selling of cars and parts make it more fun?

    I think its cool that organizations like SEMA go and help fight against laws that seek to ultimately shut down or discourage or destroy our hobby. I think its awesome that Miguel Torres and Kevan Sledge are puting together the Traditional Car Club Association which is more specific to our traditional car club community and that will stand up to preserve this hobby we love so much and keep it fun and thriving and in order. However, just like government was created to establish order and protect our rights, we see today how it can work to strangle freedom and destroy the very things its supposed to protect. What do you guys think?
  25. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 6,099


    even those lowly, slimy maggots have some good in the world. They are certainly useful for composting and have been used since the Civil War in what is medically known as Maggot Debridement Therapy.

    every cloud has a silver lining.
  26. vonpahrkur
    Joined: Apr 21, 2005
    Posts: 922


    PS: Thanks Ryan and everyone else who keeps this forum running and provides a place to exchange info, parts, cars, dreams and ideas even if everyone isn't always in agreement! :)
    Keep up the good work, always enjoy all the articles, threads and posts!
  27. olskool34
    Joined: Jun 28, 2006
    Posts: 2,463


    This sounds just like the guy who lives up the road from me, always getting there first and offers a crazy low offer only to end up getting the car. He is the best bullshit artist I have ever met. I never understand how he gets the people to crack but he then offers it to me or one of my friends for double the amount he paid. He kicks you in the balls everytime. I no longer speak to him, and that is a good thing.
  28. dealers , salesmen , wholesalers ,flippers ...
    whatever ya call em they are the way all things are bought and sold ...
    nobody works for free
    not the cow not the milk hauler, not the dairy , not the advertiser, not the grocer , not the bakery using the butter , not your mom bribing you to mow the lawn for cookies and milk , not you for doing the mowing ....
    fair trade means a profit some where

    if she sells her car under valued she's robbed
    if you find some ones grammas car cheap yer a hero
    if you say it was owned by a gramma and sell it now yer a zero
    if ya buy grammas old car and pay too much for the problems you are stupid

    guess you should only buy from grampa
  29. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,846

    Staff Member

    You missed my point. I don't care about profitability. That part doesn't bother me at all.
  30. concealledweapon
    Joined: Apr 9, 2011
    Posts: 9


    i had the same exact thing happen to me when i had a car up for sale

    nothing but idiots coming to my house slinging their car flipper bullshit

    trying to pick my car apart,thinking they are talking to some idiot who doesn't know any better.

    heck,i even had several people fly in from out of town,and fly back home without the car,because they thought i would bend over because they brought cash.

    as far as i am concerned,Ryan was being nice saying only 99% of classic car dealers are maggots.

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