Columns

2011.02.09 Grab your checkbook, and let’s go car shopping

on . Posted in Nowhere Road

By RICH FOLEY

Did you make it to any of the recent auto shows in Detroit, Toledo or Grand Rapids? If so, what did you buy? They don’t put on those extravaganzas merely to entertain you, you know. They’re hoping you end up buying something.

If you’ve decided you would prefer to buy a pre-owned vehicle, I’ve gathered up another bunch of actual ads for actual vehicles, some almost as good as new. If nothing else, the ads are entertaining.

Consider this one, for example: “1994 Buick Roadmaster...car is in showroom shape, never been smoked in or had a muddy boot in it. $6,500 OBO.” Not pristine enough for you? Then maybe you’d prefer this: “1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon Brougham...50,600 original miles...2 owners in 31 years...back seat never sat in...$4,500 OBO.” Yes, an over 30-year-old four door automobile and they claim no one has ever sat in the rear seat. My first question would be “Are the rear doors welded shut?”  

If you find those descriptions a bit hard to swallow, I have a worse one: “2006 Chevy Monte Carlo SS...Dale Earnhardt’s old car.” I guess I’d be more inclined to believe that claim if Earnhardt hadn’t died five years before this car was built.

A dealer fell for someone passing along a story like this, but admitted it in the ad: “2004 Chevy Colorado. The guy that traded it said ‘Used to belong to John Denver.’ Upon some investigation, we discovered that John Denver passed away in 1997. This truck is a 2004. The guy must have been Rocky Mountain High.”

Someone else is advertising a 1968 Ford Mustang with the claim “famous military general prior owner.” The asking price is $29,500 and they won’t even reveal what general owned it. Maybe it’s that cartoon general in the car insurance ads.

Finally, I found an ad that I believe for a “famous” car: “1984 Cadillac Eldorado, celebrity owned car, Pearl Bailey and husband Louie Bellson, I have the provenance...$4,000.” You almost have to trust this story. If they were going to lie, they would have come up with a bigger name than Pearl Bailey and ask more than $4,000.

Or how about two vehicles for the price of one? I’ve got several choices in this category. Maybe a pair of 1946 Dodge pickup trucks? The ad says: “Two to make one good rat rod or street rod material, both have engines, have title, $1,200.” Or would you prefer a pair of 1960 Chevrolets? An El Camino and a Bel Air, $11,500 for the duo.

Too much money? We also have “1962-1963 Chevy Corvair coupes. Both have engines and are mostly complete. Many parts, both for $900 OBO.”

My favorite in this category is the person who has two 1987 Buick Regal Grand Nationals: “Loaded, with t-tops, two cars, one price. $13,500 OBO.” Sounds like a deal to me. Drive a cool car and have a twin for a spare.

But if you’re  mechanically inclined and on a budget, how about five, count ’em, five Geo Metros, 1990s through 1992s: “enough parts to make two good running cars, $995 OBO.”

If you like the idea of driving a Geo Metro but don’t want to have to build your own, someone has a 1992 convertible with new top and interior for $1,600 or “trade for a golf cart.” This is your opportunity to get that old golf cart out of your garage and replace it with a car the size of a golf cart.

Someone else has a 1963 Chevy Corvair van they’re willing to trade for a “16‘ boat, motor, trailer or small farm tractor.” Or how about this swap? “1984 Rolls Royce Silver Spur. Drive anywhere, perfect inside and out, driven every day, $18,500. Possible trade for B-model motorhome.” 

 I’ll end this with a few ads that are just plain fun. For instance: “2002 VW GTI...like new in and out, this car is arrest me red w/give me a ticket black glass.” Or a 2006 Ford F150 Supercab 4x2: “Yes, 4x2. 4x2s are hard to find. They’re shorter and hide behind the 4x4s.”

I think the owner of this 1969 Olds Delta 88 is limiting his market: “Serious players, gangsters, pimps and collectors only, please.” Anyone interested in calling about a 1954 Corvette for $130,000 should heed this warning: “Voice mail has fake female voice.” I’m actually more scared by the price.

Lastly, there’s a 1984 Buick Regal, “owned by a little old church lady and then by her pastor...good hot rod project.” Hot rod? What would the pastor say?

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