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Part 3: Selling your (P)Ride

Progression of an automotive enthusiast

Part 3: Selling your (P)Ride

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Part 3: Selling your (P)Ride

We all, at one time or another, decide that it is time to move on and sell our beloved sports car. “Out the old, and in with the new”, as they say. This “old” car has been fun, rewarding, and driven you through thick and thin, for a short time, or for many years.

1974 BMW 2002tii

Unfortunately, it is likely that you have now run out of imagination, excitement, energy, or platform integrity for this vehicle, and have already decided on your next new machine. This is usually a step up in automotive hierarchy as one moves through life and your successes. But still, you'll likely be at least little sad to see your faithful companion go after all of your good (and bad) times together. As European Car enthusiasts it’s our pleasure to love our cars. However, the part I always dread about moving on to my next new and exciting sports car adventure is the actual process of selling this endearing companion. It is this affection which makes the process selling all the more difficult. Selling your ride can be the “period of dread” in your relatively happy ownership experience.

For a start, basic human nature influences us into thinking that “our” car is perhaps a little more valuable than another similar model on the market. Because it is a GREAT car and we have taken such good care of it, of course! This in turn “forces” us to ask for a higher market value than we likely should. The end result is that it takes several times (weeks, months, years!) longer to sell the vehicle, thus prolonging the dreaded, “period of dread”. And, we are always regretful of the selling price compared with our original expectations. Counseling is sometimes required!

The other trip-lines in the selling process include your car’s actual pristine original or intelligently performance modified condition. As enthusiasts, we prefer to drive cars at these two ends of the spectrum. The meticulously kept original is relatively hard to find these days and therefore should demand some kind of premium reward for the outgoing owner; one would think. On the other hand, a tasteful and well thought out high quality modified car should also command higher price due to the additional investment of money and time, provided the modifications are desirable to the potential purchaser. Unfortunately, neither of these are rewarded or regarded well in the general market place. Investments in time and money for vehicles “perfectly unmolested” and “highly molested” vehicles are nearly a complete write-off. Someone is always selling the same model for a lower price, although it is not in as good condition, or as awesome a performer, as your car. Most definately not!

Time ticks on as you wait for those few enthusiasts to call or e-mail with some interest in purchasing your pride and joy. They are out there, they just haven’t heard that you are selling your baby yet. Be patient, eventually it will sell, although, you might not be pleased with the time delay or the eventual cost recovery. I never am, patient and/or pleased, that is.

1987 Porsche 911 Carrera

Anyway, here are a few basic tips that I have learned in the trenches to help you unload your “heap”, or rather, your beautiful and powerful unwanted project car:



  • Bring the vehicle back to stock as much as physically possible, and sell off the individual mods to other enthusiasts via the on-line forum classifieds. Remember, to keep your OEM parts for re-installation in your garage or basement, just for this purpose. Don’t sell them for more mod money!

  • Research current market pricing vigorously, and force yourself into that ballpark, if possible, no matter how painful it may be. For highly modified cars, this can be extremely difficult, even heart wrenching!

  • Advertise in as many places as you can think of: newspapers, magazines, websites, auto repair shops, car clubs, work, word of mouth, seek professional help if required.

  • Clean it up and make your car beautiful inside and out. You may consider having it professionally done if you have been a little lacking in attending to your car’s personal hygiene.  But really, just do it yourself. Honestly, its not going to make much of a difference in this market. Remember, though, first impressions are important.

Just for your interest (and my therapy!), the two most difficult to sell cars I have owned to date were:  a 1974 BMW 2002tii (2 years to sell) and a 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe (9 months to sell).  The main reason for the slow sales: “I loved them too much!”


1987 Porsche 911

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