View Full Version : eBay and classic cars

07-20-2004, 12:03 PM
I've been keeping an eye on ebay the last month or so for various classic British cars, MG-TDs/TCs, TR3s, etc and have been amazed that people will buy them off there. I would be extremely hesistant to buy somethng I can't check out, sit in and drive. How about the rest of you? Also, the
asking prices seem rather steep but a ground-up TR3 resto just sold for $21K so someone has the $$$ to pay!

BTW, attached is a photo I found of a '65 Fiat 1500. My first car was exactly like this one, same color and all!

07-20-2004, 12:22 PM

I stumbled across a 1972 TR6 on eBay that I had owned from 1986 to 1993. I briefly entertained the notion of actually bidding on the car and even had my wife's blessing (we went on our first date in that car); however, bidding quickly rose over $6,000. Based on what I knew about the car, the apparent condition of the car, and the seller's reluctance to allow me to drive up and inspect it, I passed. The car eventually sold for $6,700 in unrestored condition. I figured it was probably worth about $4,500, and I would have been willing to pay $5,500 (due to my sentimental attachment) assuming I'd had the opportunity to inspect it. I only hope the winning bidder is not disappointed.


07-20-2004, 12:30 PM
I am like you and would be hesitant to buy one unless I had checked it out myself. Like buying land in Florida site unseen, just not the way to do business. They do have some fine examples on ebay and I would not hesitate to bid if I had been to check it out before hand. My boss purchased two cars from ebay. The first a Dodge Durango was in great condition and he was very happy. Went to Florida to pick it up. The second was an older Mercedes Benz. He has been less than happy with this one as it didn't look as good as the pictures and had major paint problems. He also has had lots of Mech problems. If you go this route just get the service that checks them out for you or visit the owner and check it out for yourself first. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cheers.gif

07-20-2004, 12:37 PM
My wife and I also dated in my TR3. Sometimes I think she loved the car more than me! Boy, how I would love to find that car again! I sold it to a guy from Germany who planned to do a ground up resto on it.

Geo Hahn
07-20-2004, 12:43 PM
Generally I too would be very wary of buying a car w/o seeing it... but like all things, there are exceptions.

I got my daily driver TR4 on eBay. It was located 4,000' up a volcano on a Pacific island. There wasn't much bidding interest due to the perceived logistical problems. 100's of digital photos and chats with the seller were all I had to go on.

Got a great car at a very fair price, but probably won't try that again.

07-20-2004, 02:17 PM
Actually... I always thought my wife hated my TR6. It was winter when we started dating, and my wife simply cannot stand to be cold. I had a functioning heater in the car; however, at highway speeds it still let way more cold air in than the warm air produced by the heater. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif


07-20-2004, 02:25 PM

I remember looking seriously at your TR4 when it was on eBay. There were certainly plenty of pictures available, but like you said, the logistical problems involved in getting the car back to the mainland were my main concern... Plus, I had just bought a TR4. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

I actually believe there are some good deals on eBay (if you're careful). I've seen a lot of strange bidding lately though. I've seen cars go for a lot less and a lot more than I would have expected. TR4s seem to go lower that I would expect for the most part, while TR6s have been going a little high. I've not paid that much attention the the TR2/3s.


07-20-2004, 04:00 PM
I'm curious what's involved in and how expensive it is to ship a car across the US? There seem to be many more rust-free TR3s out west.

07-20-2004, 05:01 PM
Classic Motorsports had a neat article on shipping (or driving) a newly aquired classic cross-country. I think that it was the May issue.

90 XJ-S
07-21-2004, 12:09 AM

I have, in the past 9 months or so bought two LBC's off ebay. A '79 MGB LE and a '90 XJ-S convertable. I have been more than pleased with both of them. I hired mechanics in strange cities to look at cars and reject them, (This can cost from $100 - $300)(probably more if you want to pay it) but, money well spent. Most folks should do this even if they are buying a car locally.
The MGB was local so there were no transportation issues, other than talking the wife into going after it.
The Jag on the other hand, was clean across the USA from me. I hired an Auto transport Co to go get it and bring it to me. Put your patience in order if you do this (it took more than a month to get it and I have been told that this is not abnormal). On the other hand, it cost less than flying out and picking it up and then driving an unknown entity back more than 3000 miles.
Don't be afraid to buy off ebay. But, do be cautious.

Hope you soon find your TR and are out happily /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/driving.gif about town.

Cheers! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cheers.gif


07-21-2004, 10:38 AM
I bought my '73 GT6 on eBay two years ago and I think it was a fair deal. Seems to me the biggest catch with eBay buyers is unwillingness or inability to travel. Within the allotted 3 days following the close of bidding, I went to see the car and I had every intention of backing out if it was misrepresented. Considering what GT6's go for these days (VERY little!!), it's hard to get burned if the car starts and drives, which it did.

eBay + 2 years + $10K = nicely restored GT6 that's not worth what I have in it but I expected nothing else.

07-21-2004, 11:33 AM
Saff, $10K sounds about right to restore a GT6 that was in "restorable" condition when you bought it. That is, no really bad rust, decent mechanicals, mostly age-related problems such as rewiring, suspension, etc.

That's what I've got in my '70, $10K plus the purchase price.

These sexy little cars will most certainly bring more reasonable prices someday (hopefully before I depart this earth!). I mean somewhere near the cost to restore them. Like maybe $10,000 or so for a restored example?

I'm not holding my breath, but maybe someday soon. . .

Geo Hahn
07-21-2004, 01:09 PM
I'm curious what's involved in and how expensive it is to ship a car across the US?

[/ QUOTE ]

There are many many sources for this. I have used household movers, owner-operators and brokers. A google of 'auto shipping' will mostly turn up brokers. You deal with them and they arrange with the carrier. I have had good experiences and fast service... but that isn't always the case.

I suspect that the more miles the move the more likely it will take a very long time and encounter problems as the route may become circuitous and the car have to be unloaded and reloaded as the trailer crosses the country.

There are premier carriers (e.g. Passport) that ship enclosed and virtually worry-free... but at a higher price. Last move I used: https://www.aacrossusa.com/ and all went well. I expect they would be willing to give you a quote based on 'what if' just to get you an idea of what to factor into the cost of a purchasing a car from the southwest (but know that a lot of the cars - and people - in the southwest began life somewhere else).