Did you know that the very first thing that was sold on eBay by its founder, Pierre Omidyar, in September 1995 was a busted laser pen for $14.83? Omidyar quickly realized he was really on to something: basically, people will buy any old crap. And as we all know, this truth has been the downfall of many a MotorPunk let loose with a good bottle of red, an idle few hours and a fully charged laptop.

In fact, most emails I get from Rich and Si late of an evening begin with the prefilled attention-grabber ‘Check this out!’ predictably followed by an eBay hyperlink to some forlorn, ruined old classic; a ‘fixer upper’ that probably ‘only needs a fuse’ or a ‘little TLC’ to get it MOT’d according to it’s devious/deluded seller. And why is the V5 always missing? Was Leon Britton also given the logbooks for every shed-moored snotter to file along with that dossier?

eBay is a sellers market. For the car-savvy investor there’s no greater delight than running an appreciating classic for a few months before selling it on for a few quid profit. I’ve done it with a few motors: I once had a Corrado VR6 for sale where a guy on the phone was bidding against another potential eBay buyer as he supped tea in my kitchen; I also ran a VX220 for 18 months and made enough profit to cover what it cost me to insure and tax it. Yes, of course, I’ve lost a few quid too sometimes from the 40 or so motors I’ve ever owned, but hey ho.

Selling your car isn’t usually too tricky on eBay; yes, there is the odd no show or dubious excuse (‘my toddler pressed the keyboard’ ‘I mis-entered the amount’ ‘I was watching pornography and my hand slipped’ etc.) but, on the other side of the coin, it’s getting harder to find and buy those bargains. Among eBay Motors’ top five searches are ‘Porsche 911’ and ‘Classic Mini’. Prices of both have gone stratospheric in recent years because nobody has to get off their backsides to find these motors anymore; gone are the days when you’d get the Exchange & Mart on a Thursday morning to snag a bargain; cars rarely swap hands in pub car parks for envelopes of cash like they used to. And with lazy buyers snapping up dodgy examples for strong money it’s skewing the value of highly sought after classics. However, there have been exceptions to this rule that give us hope.

In 2005 ‘Shock Jock’ Tim Shaw’s (now the tea boy on Discovery Channel’s ‘Car SOS’) £25,000 Lotus Esprit was sold for 50p ‘Buy it Now’ by his livid wife after she caught him flirting with the Essex uber-trollop Jodie Marsh. The ad read: ‘I need to get rid of this car in the next two to three hours before my husband gets home to find it gone and all his belongings in the street.’ The car sold within five minutes.

So what are the alternatives to eBay? Leave a comment below.

About The Author

Darryl can usually be found up to his elbows in some unloved piece of BL detritus when he isn’t snapping and scribbling for various print magazines or producing the book on road tripping or tally-ho adventurers. As an occasional presenter on CBS's Carfection YouTube channel, his other hobbies include vintage Scalextrics, ‘60s Bang & Olufsen and dabbling in grassroots motorsport.

2 Responses

  1. Jack Allegro

    You get what you pay for. Owners forums have always been my most successful hunting ground for well cared for motors. Better value in the long run than chucking money at ruined snorters with sketchy histories.
    Do people still stick adverts in Newsagent windows like in the olden days? Got my first Astra ‘Antebes’ that way. Dreadful car.


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