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Old 01-04-2015, 08:34 AM   #1
jon laing
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Default Buying a car site unseen.

About 18 months ago I bought a 39 Ford deluxe 2 door sedan from what I thought was a reputable antique car dealer. It was reported to be a quality frame off restoration and the only problem was the speedometer did not work. Pictures were beautiful. Undercarriage looked better than new. I have had a lot of problems bringing the car to a nice driver condition. Not to bore you with all the problems I have spent an additional $6500 of unanticipated repairs and still have half a dozen items that I will fix. Bottom line---If buying a site unseen car be sure to hire a good inspector before you settle on the purchase. Regards: Jon Laing
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:02 AM   #2
Sixseven
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

Buying a car unseen, marrying a spouse unmet, and picking your nose in public generally leads to some level of embarrassment.

Sorry you are having so much trouble. Sometimes even after a high-level visual inspection, a buyer finds surprises. I'm afraid you're not alone.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

Years ago I purchased a car on Ebay, site unseen. Pictures looked great, description sounded spot on. When the car arrived I was very lucky. The only untrue description was the fact the floors were pin holed on the passenger side.
But the scariest part of the story was when the transport company driver asked me if I had gone to see the car prior to buying it. He said there have been numerous times people would hire a cross country transport company to pick up a car, and when the driver would get to the pick up address, it was just a vacant lot. He said I was lucky there actually was a car to pick up.
So, would I do it again? Certainly not!!!
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

"But the scariest part of the story was when the transport company driver asked me if I had gone to see the car prior to buying it. He said there have been numerous times people would hire a cross country transport company to pick up a car, and when the driver would get to the pick up address, it was just a vacant lot. He said I was lucky there actually was a car to pick up."

I have a friend who experienced a similar situation. He bought the vehicle sight unseen from a "reputable dealer". Flew in to the nearest airport, got a cab to the address listed and it was a vacant lot. I think he was out about 10 grand.

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Old 01-04-2015, 10:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

I have purchased my 38 Ford Pickup on Craiglist, My 57 Wagon on the Hamb and my 54 Studebaker on Craiglist.

Each vehicle I had a member of the Ford or Hamb Forum melp me out. Each one turned out just great.

Always try to find someone to look at the vehicle. and get as many pictures as well as info.


My best one was when I helped my wife's boss with a 64 Corvair convertible that was in New Mexico. Claimed to be all original and original paint........ HAd a guy from the Hamb check it out and he said........ If you don;t take it ""I am Going to Buy it""

thats all my wife's boss needed to hear
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

I think you must PERSONALLY do the inspection. I had a reputable expert look at a vehicle for me and found the actual product to be far below the anticipated level when the transporter arrived.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

Sorry about your bad deal,got a couple questions. Was anything in writing, was any research done on dealer in question before purchase.Have you reported the fraud to any one.What was he reply when you told him about the shape of you purchase are was he dealer at all.I like to have trust in my fellow man ,but you can get burned when you don't cover ass.Post dealers name so he might think about doing it again and file some charges of fraud .I would never buy car sight unseen are looked at by a friend.But some people do ,if so you need to your home work before spending that kind of money. Good luck to you.There a lot of bad people out there keep your guard up.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

That's unfortunate.My neighbor bought an original twin cam MGA from a guy on the east coast that was supposed to be in "restorable condition".The front end and frame had been altered for a later engine.When it was rolled off of the transport, rust was tinkling down from everywhere and there were holes in the floorboard big enough to throw a cat through.The driver handed him what was left of the exhaust that had fallen off somewhere in Nevada.I handed him a box of Kleenex.
As it turned out, the seller refunded a portion of his money (lucky in that respect).
Lesson learned.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

I would also like to add to this for people contemplating buying a car sight unseen. I have done it twice and got burned both times. The first time was the 34 in my avatar. I saw some good photos of it but photos don't show how thin metal is if its rusting from the inside out. I have had to replace virtually every panel except the roof and top of the cowl on this turd. My bad. Second time I bought from a dealer who assured me the car was a rust free Texas car. Beautiful pictures but I learned to not buy a car painted white, it hides too much.The gas tank fell out getting it off of the transport because the fiberglassed trunk was so rusty it wouldn't hold up any longer.
Dealer or not, do not buy a car you can't physically molest with your hands.
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:03 PM   #10
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

Not always having someone come to look at the car your buying or selling works out. Once I had a Corvette for sale on Vette Finder.com and someone living far away sent a fellow that knew Corvettes to inspect the car before he came to buy it. The fellow said that this is exactly what his friend was looking for and felt the car was definitely worth it. He called his friend and the fellow rented a trailer and drove 400 miles with cash in hand. When he got to my house he had a different opinion. His standard was much higher and he was disappointed in the car. The point being you need to come yourself and don't rely on someone else to make that call.
The next person that looked at the car bought it and was very happy with what he was getting.....a happy ending after all.
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

ALWAYS go look at a car yourself before buying. If it's too far to drive, fly in and check it out personally. Looking at a brazilen pictures, asking a friend to go look at it, or hiring someone to go and inspect it will never be as good as going there yourself and making the final decision.
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

I agree totally on flying to or doing whatever to see car first hand. I bought a 36 Ford based on nice photos and a great conversation with the owner in Washington state. When the truck arrived in Illinois, almost didn't start on the truck, battery cables so loose. All "original" car had a lot of chrome stuff on the engine, wrong distributor and intake manifold. Long story short, a lot of work replacing parts and overdue maintenance but luckily the car turned out nice.
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:16 PM   #13
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

Maybe I am old fashioned, but I would never purchase a vintage car that I had not personally examined. That's me. I'm crazy like that.
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:45 PM   #14
glennsanders
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

JM I'd trust you to look for me.There a difference in all opinions but not 6500.00 plus difference. Point being better someone then no one.At least he can give a ballpark.
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glennsanders View Post
Sorry about your bad deal,got a couple questions. Was anything in writing, was any research done on dealer in question before purchase.Have you reported the fraud to any one.What was he reply when you told him about the shape of you purchase are was he dealer at all.I like to have trust in my fellow man ,but you can get burned when you don't cover ass.Post dealers name so he might think about doing it again and file some charges of fraud .I would never buy car sight unseen are looked at by a friend.But some people do ,if so you need to your home work before spending that kind of money. Good luck to you.There a lot of bad people out there keep your guard up.
I too, think that this path should be pursued. I would also not be bored if you want to post what the problems you had were; it might help someone else in the future. Luckily, I already have too may cars.
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:07 PM   #16
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

Most car dealers are just salesmen and know very little about old cars. Just read some of the ads on e-Bay from dealers selling a classic car. The descriptions are sometimes laughable. Always go inspect the car yourself. A few bucks for gas or an airplane ride can save you thousands. I bought two cars from photos. The first one turned out better than described by the owner and was actually a Rouge car. I called him and thanked him immensely when it arrived at my house. The second one was a disaster and I fixed all the offending problems and sold it. Took a loss and never regretted it. Also learned to always inspect a car myself.
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:14 PM   #17
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ View Post
Most car dealers are just salesmen and know very little about old cars. Just read some of the ads on e-Bay from dealers selling a classic car. The descriptions are sometimes laughable. .
Yep.
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:16 PM   #18
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

I have been very lucky. The last 5 cars I purchased were cars that I did not personally inspect. I spoke with the owners of the cars and then checked with people who knew them. Two of the cars were purchased from a man I bought cars from years ago and I trust him implicitly. All of the cars are high quality cars and worth every cent. If I had waited even another hour they would have been sold. That being said I will not tempt fate and buy any more cars. I have been fortunate and by working hard and researching, I have been able to locate all of the cars I wanted.
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

Sorry for the problems you are having. Fortunately this does not happen in the vast majority of vehicles purchased. As a veteran of lots of classic/antique/hot rods transported (numbering in the thousands) most of the time the buyers do not see the vehicle in person or have it inspected & are overall happy with their purchase. Of course there have been a few that had obviously been taken advantage of. You will have this in all parts of life. In my 30 years though, I have never not been able to load the car from the seller & was never given a bogus address
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:55 PM   #20
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Default Re: Buying a car site unseen.

I bought a 28 roadster pickup sight unseen. It worked out OK I suppose. The buyer didn't disclose that there was a crack in the driver's door that needed fixing and way later I discovered the passenger side door was rusted out on the bottom. It had the wrong starter installed. By wrong I mean it wasn't functional. An early 28 Model A takes a special starter with a 1/2 inch shaft. This one had one installed with a 5/8 inch shaft that would not disengage after it stuck to the flywheel it wasn't designed for. Oh well, it was roadworthy after locating the correct starter. In this case the guy that owned it inherited it from his uncle who restored it and didn't know a thing about it. I asked if it had the early 28 transmission and was told it had a Model A transmission. Turned out it had the early multi-disc transmission which was OK and had a lot of very hard to find early parts.

I was advised a long time ago by my older and more car buying experienced brother to buy an antique car from the guy who restored it. He should be able to answer detailed questions as to what work was done and you should be able to tell whether he is truthful or not. I add this bit of good advise to "don't buy sight unseen."

I'll also though in have someone who knows about that particular vehicle inspect it. After 5 cars purchased I'm a little better at inspection but my enthusiasm and the excitement of the chase seems to cloud my better judgement.
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