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- 244 and a fleet of x40s
More involved version for people with an adult's attention span:
A) This all takes some work, but if you want a person you've never met to come and give you thousands of dollars, then you need to put some effort in.
There's lots and lots of cars for sale - if you make life difficult for a potential buyer, then chances are they will steer away from you, and buy someone else's car.
A good ad gives potential buyers a good idea of the car before they've looked at it, so the buyer can make an informed decision whether to contact you or not.
Never mistake asking basic questions for genuine interest. A crap ad might get 20 people asking you questions, misleading you into thinking that lots of people are interested. A decent ad might only have two people contact you, but they are people who are genuinely interested - and they are far more valuable to you!
B) Choose where to advertise.
Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are no-brainers because they're free and widely available, but do have a higher ratio of time wasters and dreamers. Carsales is good for more expensive cars (I'd say $5000 at a minimum), but probably as waste of money for cheapies. Ebay is pretty terrible nowdays, but can be good if you're really desperate to get rid of something.
Enthusiast forums and FB pages are excellent places to advertise, especially for older/rarer/interesting cars.
C) Put a clear title on the ad, that can be searched. If you have a useless title like "Car for sale", then nobody searching for a particular car will find your ad.
If you say "2002 Volvo V70R, auto" then you have a bunch of key words that allow search engines to work, and you've answered most of the basic questions straight away.
Also make sure that you fill out the correct check boxes too - a perfect car ad that's buried in "Baby equipment" will be hidden from almost everyone. Similarly, ticking "manual transmission" when it is an automatic will mean everyone looking for an auto won't see your ad - and almost everyone who does see it will be annoyed when they realise it isn't the manual they're looking for... Get the details right, because the internet is very literal.
D) Write a clear description. Type it out once and it's done - if you think you're clever by asking people to message you for details, then you'll have to type it all out a dozen times. DO NOT mistake people asking for the basic details as real interest. They're just trying to get the info you should have included.
At a minimum, your clear description MUST include whether it is an auto or manual, how many kays it has travelled, how much rego it has, any significant faults.
It is also helpful to mention any major work that has been done recently ("tyres are 5,000km old" for example), any ownership history that you know, and any extras (towbar, sunroof, whatever).
Be honest. If you 'forget' to mention a loud rattle in the motor, then you're wasting everyone's time when the potential buyer comes over.
Don't try to be funny. For every viral ad you've seen, there's dozens of people who have written a crappy ad because they forgot all the details while trying to be amusing.
You don't need amazing English skills, but if you struggle with spelling and basic punctuation, then get someone to edit your ad before you post it. Similarly, ALL CAPITALS IS A BAD IDEA BECAUSE EVERYONE THINKS YOU ARE SHOUTING.
Do NOT keyword bomb (where you add a bunch of words to your ad so itappears in more people’s search results). It doesn’t work, and annoys the crap out of people.
Wash the car and vacuum the interior, let it dry and then take the car somewhere with some space around it, and take lots of photos. If they're blurry or too dark, then ditch them and take the photo again. Move around - don't take five almost identical photos.
I would strongly recommend these as the MINIMUM:
Front quarter view of the whole car;
Rear quarter view from the diagonally opposite corner;
Engine bay photo - the less you know about what everything under there is, the more important this photo is;
The interior from the open driver's door, showing the dash, front seats and the pedals/gear lever;
The back seat;
The badge(s) typically below the tail-light/on the bootlid;
Any significant dents, scrapes or rust.
The instrument cluster, showing the odometer and any warning lights (or the lack of them!).
When you upload the photos, make sure that one of the exterior photos comes up first.
Don't post more than one "arty" shot. I know it looks cool covered in foam, and the paint looks awesome when it is wet, but these photos actually aren't helpful for a potential buyer. Similarly, a maximum of one action shot - even (especially!) for motorsport cars.
Any modified car should include photos of the modifications. If it is a race car then clear photos of the rollcage and seats are super important.
Don't bother blurring the numberplate - the plates are visible every single time you drive the car, so you're not achieving anything by blurring the plates. The only exception to this, is if the car has modifications that are not legal/approved/engineered.
Number one: Put a price on it! I know you want people to offer you mega dollars, but it isn't going to happen. You know what you'd be happy with - save everyone a bunch of time and effort and put a price on it. It's OK to say "negotiable" or "or near offer", but not giving people a starting price massively reduces your chances of making a sale.
Number two: Choose your price. Have a look at the price of other, similar cars that are advertised, and have a look at how old the ads are.
The best way to do this is to watch/save/follow those ads, and see which ones disappear and which ones stay - if they're all sitting around without selling, then you know there's no market at that asking price, and you have to go lower.
Once you've decided on a price, then imagine you're a buyer looking to buy a car similar to the one you're selling - if your car isn't the first or second car you'd inquire about, then it is priced too high, simple as that.
Be realistic about the value of any modifications or features! Being one of 80 red manual 1998 models doesn't make your one worth any more. Similarly, a set of $600 Chinese wheels have probably devalued it...
Any faults that must be fixed, will devalue the car by about double the cost of fixing the fault. Often the maths won't work for you... Sorry, but that's reality.
G) Dealing with stupid people.
Yes, people suck, but if you are grumpy and difficult to deal with then everyone will be a problem. In other words, you catch more bees with honey than vinegar...
So you've got to expect a degree of stupidity, even if it means gritting your teeth and not abusing them for being morons - be polite and answer their first round of questions at least. If they keep asking dumb stuff, then redirect them back to the ad (because you've got a good ad that answers those questions). If they still keep pushing then you're probably right to start ignoring them.
People who are genuinely interested have/will read the ad properly and any questions will be confirming what's in the ad, or digging deeper - don't get the poops with these people because they're your best bet for making a sale.
People who phone you are far more likely to be serious than those who text. Those who text are more likely to be serious than those who message you - but don't disregard anyone who is communicating like a human regardless of the method of communication.
H) Not getting ripped off.
This section could be an article all by itself, but here's some starting points.
Yes there are scammers out there. But if you assume everyone is out to scam you, then you will make your own life much harder. Keep in mind that not many people are out to commit the crime of the century by scamming you out of your 2006 Barina...
If someone rings you from a non-private number and identifies themself, then that's a very good start. If you're worried, then google their name and/or phone number - if their story matches what you find, then it is less likely they're a rip-off artist. Talking on the phone makes a person real - it gives you a much better feel for the person, and it makes you a human in their minds.
Ideally, text your address rather than Messenger/Gumtree messsages - a phone number is a better link to a person than a FB or Gumtree profile.
If the car is valuable or particularly desirable, then it is always a good idea to meet them somewhere public when they come to look at your car. Maccas and service stations are good because they've got cameras everywhere and are generally tolerant of people hanging around.
Trust your gut. The vast majority of people are terrible at lying, and those that are good at it generally aren't pulling used car scams - they've moved onto more profitable ventures, like politics.
Everyone loves to haggle. Don't bother with being offended by any offer. Just say No, even to the stupid ones.
Remember that they are offering you money to take away the thing you want to get rid of - seems pretty crazy to get angry at someone who is offering you money... Save your sharp words for the people who are actual dicks and try to talk shit. As a buyer, I try to avoid saying "its a POS, it's only worth a quarter of what you're asking" (even when it is what I'm thinking....). Instead, I say things like "To me, it is worth $X. I understand you want more, but it is a genuine offer and I can get you the cash in the next ten minutes", which is hard for people to get upset about.
If you think there's a chance of making a deal, then come back with a counter offer - they've started the dialogue, if you want to make a sale, then it is up to you to continue it.
The sellers who are driven by ego are the easiest to haggle down, usually because they've burned off every other potential buyer and end up desperate.
Think ahead - if the ad has been up for two months and the only person who has contacted you is standing in front of you with cash in their hand, then decide if you want to burn them off in an attempt to make another couple of hundred dollars.
J) Sealing the deal.
If they give you a deposit, then write a receipt clearly stating the amount of the deposit and how much is still owing on the car. Include the rego number and body number. Specify a time for the rest of the money to be paid (two weeks is normal) and that if they balance isn't paid in that time, then you get to keep the deposit and sell the car to someone else. Make two copies, and make sure they sign your copy.
Count the money in front of them. Keep the Notice of Disposal and hand it in. Check their licence and make sure it is the same person. Don't ever give them the car on the promise of the final payment being made next week.
Old rego papers can be signed over just like current ones. If you don't have any rego papers, then write a receipt that clearly identifies the car, the date, the seller (you!) and the buyer. Also mention the sale price, and that it has been paid in full.
Then go an find all your ads and mark them sold!
This is my experience from buying about 250 cars over the last 25 years. Your mileage may vary, but trust me on how asking for offers is a terrible way to sell stuff.
Today was a good day.
The event was the Goulburn Toyota Affordable Endurance Classic, run by the Light Car Club of Canberra.
It runs to the same rules as the usual Cheap Car events, but is not part of the series.
We won it last year after the #17 blue Integra broke a couple of wheels while leading, leaving us as the only experienced team left.
This year, car 17 is a newly built VTiR Integra, and again they were faster and then had mechanical drama while leading - this time it was bolts falling out of an exhaust flange.
The S40 was magic. We moved to 205/50 Federal 595RSRR tyres, instead of the usual 195/50 595RSR (note the missing R). They are definitely better, although the larger size raises the gearing and dulls the brakes slightly.
So anyway, the race was all sort of a bit odd. We qualified second, inherited the temporary lead when the Honda pitted early, dropped back to a close second after our first driver swap.
Then the Honda had the exhaust problem and the race was just ours to lose. Definitely less fun than the usual games of cat and mouse, but much better for the ego! It was just a matter of keeping our poop together, and not making mistakes or getting penalties - we were super cautious with pit stop times and driver stint times.
We progressively pulled laps on all the other cars while the Honda very slowly unlapped itself.
Near the end, there was a discrepancy between time of day and race time that made it unclear whether we needed a final driver change. At that point, we were nine laps ahead of second place, so we chose the safe option and did a late driver change, which reduced the lead to six laps at the end. Good enough!
Car is ready to go again. I reckon the tyres have another four hours left in them, and the rest of it is as good as it was at the start.
Peter Ewingand Anna both drove very well (including Pete being faster than me for the third or fourth event in a row, and Anna finally realising she is more than competent at this).
The beer is tasting very good tonight!
After MUCH head scratching and discussion about what I want from my next rally car (simple version: RWD, 4 cylinder, cheap/readily available bodyshell), the E36 Compact won out.
It has a few bonuses too: the steering rack in front of the crossmember, and the semi-trailing arm rear end are both less than ideal for circuit work, but are positives for gravel work.
Plus the gearbox ratios are good - the ratios from 2nd to 5th are pretty much identical to 1st to 4th in an Escort Rocket Box. Add in a 4.44 diff from an auto Compact, and you have achieved what would cost several thousand dollars for virtually any other car.
This one is a twin cam 1.8, so is less hopeless than the more common 1.6 single cam version.
It is quite funny how the BMW guys all rag on the 4-cylinder motors (apart from the S14 from the E30 M3), even though the M44 in this car is rated at 103kW - which is 100% in line with other NA 1800-2000cc motors of its age.
Also scored a free 318is (twin cam coupe) with a blow HG, and a free running 316i, which vindicates the "disposable car" part of the decision.
Next step is to get it rego'd in my name.
It's amazing how many people do a terrible job of selling their car, so here's my idiot's guide to not stuffing it up.
Really simple version:
- Write a decent description, including the car's location, how many kilometers it has travelled, what spec it is (GL vs Sports or whatever), what motor it has, whether it is an auto or manual and how much rego is on it.
- Make sure the title is useful: "1982 Volvo 244GL, manual" is far more helpful than "Car"...
- Take lots of varied photos, including front, back, both sizes, interior and engine bay. Make sure the photos are clear.
- Make sure that you fill out all of the 'check boxes' correctly on the website.
- PUT A PRICE ON IT. Asking for offers is a magnet for dipshits, and turns off a lot of genuine buyers. Add "negotiable" or "firm" as appropriate.
- Remember that you want people to give you thousands of dollars - they're less likely to do this is you sound aggressive, stupid and/or loony.
This is the bare minimum. Missing out, or f$%king up any of these steps is just going to make it harder to sell.
5th today. Smoke was absent when we started it this morning?!??
Could have been 4th with a couple of things had worked out very slightly differently, but whatever.
New PB for me of 50.01, but Petey did a 49.95 in his last stint to reset his and the car's best.
They lowered the breakout time from 50.40 to 49.90, which I was a bit skeptical about but turned out to be good, considering Pete and I both did plenty of laps under 50.40...
I made contact with the normally untouchable #17 Integra. They had a new driver who was not slow, but slower than their normal pace. I'd caught him and was looking for a way past, when he ran wide on the right hander up the hill. I stuck my nose in but I don't think he realised I was there and he basically shut the door on me. I would have hit him in the driver's door, but had just enough time to back off and hit the quarter panel ahead of the rear wheel. He spun, I bounced into the infield and kept going.
We both got the 'bad sportmanship' flag on the next lap, which was fair call by Race Control. I'm basically interpreting it as "that was a legit racing incident, but don't do it again".
I went and spoke to the crew of car #17 at lunchtime (this happened just before lunch) and they were OK with what had happened but annoyed that they had gone from 1st to 2nd as a result of the spin. Oops... Fortunately, they quickly assumed the lead on the afternoon re-start, so my conscience is clear!
That was fun! :)
Qualified 3rd, 1st Class A with a 66.92. Next fastest Class A car was Varouj in the red Corolla with a 68.6, which was nice buffer for me - Varouj is a 262 owner who some of you may have seen on Facesook.
Race 1 saw the two fastest Pulsars (#35 and #22) get away from me, but Zheng in the #12 Pulsar chased me down and got past late in the race. So I finished 4th, 1st class A with a best lap of 66.48.
Race 2 saw a real ding-dong battle between #35 and 22 at the front which allowed Zheng and I to stay well within striking distance. Until there was contact between them and one of the drivers gave himself a drive through penalty (guilty conscience?). I finished third behind #22 and #12.
My fastest lap was a 66.62.
Last race was reverse grid from qualifying times so I started third last. It was 45 minutes long (previous races were 12 laps each). Amazing experience in the traffic with lots of craziness but no contact that I saw.
#22 got past me early and worked its way to the lead pretty quickly, I got past #12 by using slower traffic, and had a bit of back-and-forward with #35 until he used slower traffic to get past me and cleared out (and eventually won the race).
Managed to build a bit of a buffer over #12 until the traffic cleared. at which point he began to reel me back in. As he caught me, we started to lap the slower cars which made things interesting - basically Zheng was faster but I was able to get past the slower cars more easily and gain a bit of a buffer each time.
Eventually he caught me at a time when there were no lappers to be found ... and he got past. Managed a 66.47 lap time.
So the day was 4th, 3rd, 4th for either 3rd or 4th outright (haven't worked out if 4,3,4 beats 1,10,1 or not).
The whole day was an absolute ball. The Bubble is awesome.
Edit: Lots of photos like this from today...
Link to video of the first few laps of the reverse grid race. Hope it works.
Round Five of Cheap Car today.
Lots of changes to the car before the event: Swapped to AD08 tyres, Ferodo DS3000 pads, different offset wheels, and ABS delete.
Funny sort of day, entirely because of the rain. Lots of the usually fast cars were WAY off the pace, and some of the usually slow cars were way faster than usual. The #99 Celica usually finishes in the top three, but today I lapped it in the first stint!
We seemed to run in our usual position, but made more mistakes than usual.
Qualified 14th, which sounds not-great, but we were bedding in the new brake pads at the start when it was relatively dry. By the time the pads were bedded in, the track was wet again... So a good time was pretty much impossible.
I started the race, it was pretty wild with cars going everywhere. Picked up a few spots, lost a few, but stayed out of trouble. The car was working well and we were definitely faster than a lot of cars that qualified ahead of us.
We spent most of the morning in 9th or 10th, then rose to 8th when the #03 Integra DNF'd with a broken CV.
Picked up an over-drive penalty when Paulie missed the pit board while duelling with another car.
Has a period of double yellow flags when the Lexus IS200 shortened itself against a wall.
Progressively rose up to 6th at the end, despite all of us spinning the car at different times (Pete managed to do it during qualifying, which is much better than doing it in the race).
We were 7th as Petey started the last stint, but he hunted down and passed the 6th place car in the last couple of laps, which was nice.
EVERYONE copped over-drive penalties - mostly one or two laps of penalties... But we copped three, which dropped us back to 8th. Turns out that we all forgot our pit strategy and f$%ked it up...
Was a tough day, in a lot of ways. There are lots of positives though. Need to drive the car in the dry to see if the changes were actually positives. Feeling pretty sus about the tyres, but everything else seems to be an improvement,