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Reasons that you didn't buy a car.

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On 11/9/2020 at 10:00 PM, ProgRocker said:

I always thought that it was bad form to offer on a car that was up for auction on eBay. 

It's inconsistent. 

I bought a 740 GLE in 2017 that kept being badly listed on eBay in Bury. £800 start, one week auction, hardly any pics.  Managed to sleuth about and found it on Gumtree as well. More pics, looked ok. 

I messaged them, went to view it, it turned out to be much closer to home in Stockport, and was a bloody minter, giffer owned car with masses of history for its whole life, he'd had it for 20 years. Offered £650 and the guy took it. 
The chap I bought my MX5 from was a really nice seller, knew the car well, amiable etc. It was well described and super honest, no nasty surprises at all. He had it up for 1k start bid and said he definitely didn't want to take less than that, I asked if he'd take an offer and he said no, he wanted it to find its own value by letting the auction run, but I managed to get him to admit he wanted £1300-1500 for it, despite that being my budget he wouldn't take an offer. 

I won it for £1550 and he told me he was glad I was the one that had got it! 


I walked away from a 1990 Accord on an eBay classified. The owner was a mechanic and claimed it to be rust free etc. 
Took a magnet and it was fucked in all the standard Honda places. 
The cruise control didn't work (I was looking for a car with cruise).
The steering wheel and gearknob were absolutely covered in congealed oil, and part of the centre console was held together with tigerseal/sikaflex where the 12v socket had fallen out and melted it (?). 
The rocker cover gasket was hanging down on the exhaust manifold and it looked like it hadn't been touched under the bonnet in years. 

Seller was adamant it was a great car... 

Also walked from an 850 2.5 GLT in a dodgy dealer in Chesham. First of all there was nobody in at the dealer so had to go and find a phone box as o2 was down that day and get someone to show up.
Described as something like 76k and mint with history, it was covered in moss and the inside was full of concrete and plaster dust. It wasn't on 76k, the sodding odometer had broken. Started it and it smoked like fuck, it'd dropped a liner and was burning oil.  Dealer was surprised we didn't want to test drive it. Walked away, bought my T5 a couple of weeks later. 


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18 hours ago, stripped fred said:

Wow! I remember that day well, can't believe it was over 8 years ago. I wasn't in Hinckley, but other random areas across Leicestershire also had it, my company Astra got hit, but it wasn't very noticeable.   A few colleagues with private cars had to claim on their insurance. 

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A jaunt up to the attic earlier this evening provided me with the opportunity to flick through some of my photo albums, which in turn jogged a few more memories of cars I inspected but didn't buy...

I went to look at this fantastically gopping heap back in January 1996, if the scribble on the back of the print is to be believed.

I think it was advertised in the local rag, at the alluringly cheap price of £100. So one Saturday morning I rocked up to a yard off the Hamilton Road in Bangor to find this:


An early (1972?) FE series Victor 1800, which had plainly been in storage for many, many years.

Dry storage?


It's not really possible to tell from these pics of pics, but the bodywork had gone soft.


The paint was gently bubbling and lifting, while the metalwork behind had turned to a weird mush, not unlike wet cardboard.

I just stood there, gently poking my fingers through the soggy front wing, entranced.

If you've ever handled that gritty green block of stuff that's used for flower arrangements - Oasis, I think it's called - then you may have some concept of what this car felt like.

I mean, it was plainly fucked - even I could see that it was beyond help, and I'm the most over-optimistic of idiots. How it hadn't folded up on itself, I'll never know. It must have been held together by the paint.

The seller, in fairness, was totally upfront and was in no way blinded to the fact he was selling a large Vauxhall-shaped marshmallow. He'd inherited it, and just needed it gone. He told me that it had originally been owned by the Guinness family, of brewing fame, as a company car but hadn't been on the road since the early 80s. The 60k on the clock was believed correct.

It started and ran, surprisingly, though the brakes were seized so a test drive wasn't really feasible.


I got the impression that he knew all too well it was a scrapper, but couldn't bring himself to ring the yard. True enough, as well as the running gear it would also have supplied trim, glazing and the plastic bits of the interior (though the smell of damp inside would have knocked you out) were all in good enough nick, so maybe it ended up being some use to someone?

The fella was more than happy to chat, but I knew that I wouldn't be buying it, even when he let slip that he could be flexible on price. Despite being an idiot teenager who'd been mainlining Jalopy magazine for several years, I knew this could not possibly end well.

So I thanked him for his time, said my regretful goodbyes, and sloped off. I never did see GOI 5015 again, not even in Bobby Shaw's scrappie (though there was an equally rotten black FE VX4/90 in there, that I nicked the badges off).

But then a few nights later, with the snow all deep and crisp and even, what did I spy parked down a side-street...


I was not done with shit Vauxhalls, not by a long chalk...

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on the subject of hanging vauxhalls. 

mid 2009 i had a new missus (now ex-wife) and i needed wheels. id had an itch for a tigra MTV edition for ages. i found one in deepest nottingham. lady owner, on ebay b.i.n for $250. it had mot for a week but she had bought a yellow new beetle and wanted it gone. the battery light was on but it ran. on the phone she described it as clean tidy had some service history and never crashed. she was obviously a fucking liar. 

me and ex mrs sloth got in her celica gt4, , (why i liked her) and headed off from Hull. we hit roadworks on the m1, and sat for 2 hrs. finally arriving to find a moss covered, flat tyred tigra that wouldnt start. the seller came out in her slippers and robe looking like a corrie extra. she gusheds at how good it was and that she only bought the bug as its cute.  i popped the bonnet to find the alt belt had snapped. and the slam panel looked like a curly wurly.  i ignored that and i jumped it off the celica and it fired up and ran on 3. number 4 joined in and thats when it started leaking fuel and smoking. badly. i shut it off, and had a look around it. it had obv been in multiple accidents, as the lh wing was orig silver, and the rear slam panel red. the trim smelt of old birds perfume and b.o

my missus at that point scurried over, tapped me on the shoulder and said "its shit, and she just felt my arse, lets gtfo!"  i shut the boot and "Debs" as i found out asked if i was gonna buy it. i explained it was " in need of major repairs" and she offered to knock $50 off and "show us a good time, as your birds cute"

i declined and jumped in the celica and fucked off. she text 12 times in the next hour asking if we were keen and how she could show us things and people.


i came home to Hull and bought a e36 328 ise tourer for $500 with tax and test off an indian doctor who had had it form new.  a totally surreal day....


cliffs - orl tigruhz ar shit, and der ownaz iz cock hungry m9+6

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On 4/19/2019 at 3:25 PM, Datsuncog said:

I do recall an odd sort of reverse-sales situation, where I once went to look at a hopeless old shed of a 2-dr Viva GLS.

I'd stumbled across it parked outside a shop locally (in the dark, and in the snow - great conditions to properly assess things, you'll agree), been awed by its quad lights and metallic copper paintwork, and in a fit of stupid optimism had hastily scrawled an 'if you're interested in selling this...'  note for the windscreen. 

I heard no more, and thought that maybe the snow had made the note unreadable. But a few weeks later I was astonished to receive a call from the owner stating that he might be induced to part with his pride and joy. I was jubilant.

This warm fuzzy feeling lasted until I actually went to look at it on a freezing February morning in quite a posh and leafy part of Bangor West. There, I made the unhappy discover that it was chock-full of wob on the outside, slopping with semi-frozen water on the inside, and only had half a boot floor. The spare wheel well just wasn't there - but there was excellent ventilation, on the plus side.

The fella selling it - also a spotty teenager in a German army surplus shirt, as was I at the time - wanted £250 for the delight of driving it away. Not that I could have even driven it away - I wasn't even old enough to apply for my provisional license. Given the general two and eight of it, I considered it really wasn't worth much over £100 - it was actually shit, even I could tell that. My own father (who'd driven me over to the address) looked substantially relieved when I made my offer and the owner refused to drop his price - since I couldn't afford to raise mine.

So, at stalemate, we thanked the lank-haired owner for his time and went on home to warm up, sans the rotting, leaky example of Ellesmere Port's finest. I'm sure my face was a very picture of sullen teenage anguish.

Then, about half an hour later, the phone rang. My dad answered. I could only hear him say, "no... that's very kind of you, but we've had a think about it and the car's not for us, thank you anyway."

It was the Viva owner's father, calling to say "He will take £100 for it, so he will! When can you come and get it?"

I could only make frantic gesticulations as both paterfamilias conducted a bizarre reverse auction by phone, with Dad#1 making ever-decreasing counter offers to be fended off by Dad#2.

I could hear the conversation, and also the howling complaints of the Viva's owner who, just like me, was evidently going full-Harry Enfield's Kevin the Teenager: "Ah, God, this is so unfair, I hate you, why did you even have me if you just want to ruin my life?"

As the wailing from both offspring rose to a pitch, I just heard "He'll take £50 for it, then... come on, fifty pounds! Just come and take it away!" , as my own father thanked him and hung up.

I'm sure I sulked for the rest of the day, but in hindsight it was probably the right move.

But the knackered GLS then passed on to a fella I later worked with, who blew the head gasket on it, and then the remains went to some other lad who worked in a body shop.

This fella spent two years putting about £5000's worth of work (his estimate) bringing it up to show standard - and not long after it was done, I called over to see the restored OIA 2317. Athough the work certainly was of good quality - not to Triplerich standards, but pretty tidy - I hated what he'd done with it. 

It was now painted a particularly unappealing shade of dark metallic green, possibly an Astra shade, with oversize springs on the front that gave it a strange kinda gasser stance, black limo-tint on the rear windows but plain glass on the door windows, all coupled with huge blingy alloys that looked all sorts of wrong. And a big-bore exhaust, for no real reason - it was still fitted with its old 1265cc lump complete with piddly Zenith carb, though did boast a dopey pancake-type air filter.

I was driving my own Viva by this the time, and so gracefully declined his generous offer to let me take it off his hands for £2500 ("though not the wheels, it's £3k if you want the wheels too"). 

It later resurfaced in a public car park, beside one of those hand car wash places - and then just sat there for about six years, never moving, getting scabbier and rustier. And then, one day it was gone. Hmmph.

I knew I'd related this one somewhere on the forum previously - gather round, kids, and I'll tell you about why I didn't buy the same fucked Viva GLS on two separate occasions.


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I had an Alfa 156, the doors on the near side had a weird crease between them. I spotted another 156 for sale in the same colour about an hours drive away at a dealer. It was cheap but still quite a drive away. My plan was to buy it, swap the doors round and then either sell it or scrap it. 

I called the dealer and asked about the body work, to be told it was ‘mint’. I set off and an hour later I found a sad car with rust along all four door bottoms. The enthusiastic dealer started it off a jump pack and went on how it was the previous owner’s pride and joy. I almost laughed out loud when he told me how all the belts had been done despite there being obvious chunks missing off the aux belt. 

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k reg cavalier written off, saved few pennies arranged to go to medway towns to view mk3 m plate LS cavalier, directions awful , finally found the bungalow no answer, but neighbour comes out and throws keys to me saying hes gone out for the day, funny landline number id been calling, car looked great on one side, ruff on passenger's side, but i was still keen, started it up and it smelt funky, pop the bonnet to signs of rusty water and suspected head gasket failure, and further evidence that there was a house light switch wired up to override the rad fan .. decided its too dog ruff, as i walk up to house to give back keys an old lady neighbour came out and she said it was smoking lastnight and the old boy was pouring water into it, also the car was actually parked in her allocated space, the other residents had complained about him always selling cars there as they was warden control bungalows,  and it was the old boy whom was pretending to be man left with the keys was said seller...


sadly as i wanted a cavalier in this colour too..


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34 minutes ago, stuboy said:

k reg cavalier written off, saved few pennies arranged to go to medway towns to view mk3 m plate LS cavalier, directions awful , finally found the bungalow no answer, but neighbour comes out and throws keys to me saying hes gone out for the day, funny landline number id been calling, car looked great on one side, ruff on passenger's side, but i was still keen, started it up and it smelt funky, pop the bonnet to signs of rusty water and suspected head gasket failure, and further evidence that there was a house light switch wired up to override the rad fan .. decided its too dog ruff, as i walk up to house to give back keys an old lady neighbour came out and she said it was smoking lastnight and the old boy was pouring water into it, also the car was actually parked in her allocated space, the other residents had complained about him always selling cars there as they was warden control bungalows,  and it was the old boy whom was pretending to be man left with the keys was said seller...


sadly as i wanted a cavalier in this colour too..


Clearly there you could not teach an old dog any new tricks. Pretending the car is not his...now thats an idea!

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I’ve walked away from a few cars, but two spring to mind;

In about February this year, I went for a look at an MX5. It was a rather lovely and very early (possibly a G-Reg) one in red. It was fairly high mileage, and didn’t come with much paperwork, but it was rock solid and hadn’t been modified at all. I was a few hundred quid short of the (very reasonable) asking price at the time, so I had to hold off. The day before I got paid, it sold. That’s one I still regret now.


On the other hand, in mid 2018, I was looking for something cheap to run and relatively dependable to press into daily duties and potter about in until I could afford to insure something a little more exciting. By this point, I’d pretty much decided that I wanted either a Lupo or an Arosa. I’d found what seemed to be a nice Arosa on Facebook nearby. It had only done 50,000 miles, came with a full years MOT and looked pretty great in the photos. According to the seller, other than a small scrape along the passengers side arch, it was perfect....

I’m sure you can tell where this is heading

The seller said to meet me at the garage it was at for its MOT. This was the pokiest little backstreet place I think I’ve ever been to. It was sandwiched between two terraces of houses, and had enough space in it for two cars, maybe three at a pinch. It didn’t have any signs at all, and unless you lived along that street, you’d never have any idea it was there. The guy selling it was a lad in his early 20’s, probably not much older than me. He turned up at least half an hour late, in an Impreza on trade plates. This should have been my first warning sign, as until now, I was under the impression it was a private sale, but I suppose that’s much easier to say in hindsight. 

Now, onto the car itself. Remember that ‘small’ scrape? It was massive. Probably two feet from one end to the other, and down to the bare metal, which was starting to rust. The rest of the car wasn’t much better either; it had so many scratches it looked like it had been polished with an orbital sander. Add in the fact that it had obviously been sat under a tree for weeks without being washed and it looked a right old mess. Stepping inside was a similar story too, the whole thing reeked of cigarettes. By this point, I’d pretty much decided I didn’t want it, but I took it for a test drive anyway, only to find that the gearbox was making a total racket, and was pretty clearly on its way out. I mentioned this and was told ‘oh they all do that mate’ yeah, sure. From memory, he wanted £995 for it, which was at least twice as much as I thought it was worth. In the end, I bought a Polo instead. If I could find a good/cheap one, I still wouldn’t mind an Arosa, just not that one.

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Over a decade ago, in the summer of 2006, when I was significantly younger and less married, I had concluded my illustrious career as a BMW salesman and planned to spend the next six months burning through the cash I had earned. I decided that I wanted a small motorhome in which I could patrol the country at my leisure for the rest of the year.

I figured I could justify about six grand and had dreams of glittering wheeled palaces. Pretty soon, I realised that I needed to aspire more towards Holdsworth-converted Talbots and Fiat Ducatos, and — depressingly — even these were tending to head rather North of my budget. Nevertheless, I scoured the various classifieds in the hope of spotting a hidden gem, perhaps something woefully undervalued by its vendor. In the pages of the Motorhome Auto Trader (or something like that), with a grainy black and white image, I finally found what I was looking for.

It was a beauty. Coachbuilt class b Talbot Express with a substantial Rapido six-berth body. Description seemed promising apart from the bit about "needs TLC", but I figured that a man of my enterprise could manage some nominal tweaks and repairs. Just to be on the safe side, though, I phoned the vendor. He mentioned that some of the kitchen doors were loose on their hinges and that the roof ladder needed re-attaching, but the general vibe was that it was a fabulous beast that had never let him down. Plus, it was only £2,750.

At that bargain price, it was pretty clear that I was going to buy it. On the journey down to (fucking) Poole (from the top of Essex) I was mentally planning the trips I'd be making, and deciding what stereo equipment to buy (I'd clearly be upgrading it) and what books to put in the cupboards. I was pleased that it was coming from Poole, too, because Poole is posh, and the kind of people who lived there would obviously take great pride in their motorhomes and look after them accordingly.

So, I cruised the 9000 down the M3 and gradually homed in on the postcode using my TomTom. I passed a great many substantial houses towards the end of my journey, encouraging me greatly. But then the lane grew even more rural and when the nice girl announced that I had reached my destination, I was presented with a pair of black wrought iron gates that opened onto a blockpaved compound with a static caravan in one corner. In the centre of it there sat on a rickety chair a tanned, topless gentleman of advancing years, smoking a dog-end.

Fuck. Somehow I hadn't accounted for the possibility of pikeys.

But hey, equal opportunities, books and their covers and all that, a bargain is a bargain. I stepped out of the 9000 and locked it as hard as I could. I approached the man, walking the walk of a naive and enthusiastic cretin with three thousand quid's cash in his back pocket, and introduced myself. The chap was barely alive but acknowledged me, rose and shuffled with me towards my quarry.

Turns out that the fuzzy monochrome image in the magazine had been quite kind to its subject. For starters, the pic was of the rear three quarters, and didn't betray that the bonnet was in an advanced state of decomposition. But hey, bonnets aren't structural, so no matter. What was structural, though, was the structure, and rather a lot of that was somewhat dicey.

Of course, I had absolutely no experience in motorhomes and consequently no clue as to what I ought to be looking for, so it's probably a bit of luck that this thing was so monumentally fucked that its many, many defficiencies were patently obvious. The way the floor bowed alarmingly when I stepped through the front door, for example. The floorboards were spongier than a Victoria, and the aluminium was delaminating from all the facing panels. Inside, there was the tragic atmosphere you get somewhere that used to be magnificent but was about to be demolished, like a war hero checking into Digitas.

Back outside, a cursory look beneath showed the chassis to be held together by the bodywork, its unintentionally articulated nature potentially giving superb ride characteristics until it snapped in half. The inner arches were absent, providing a clear view from wheel well through front grille, and when opened, the bonnet was only hinged on one side, the mount on the other side having parted from the bulkhead.

I was more than a little cross. This was a 300 mile round trip, and there was substantially more than TLC required here. What this thing needed was reincarnation. Unfortunately, when I protested that "it's not worth anything like what you're asking for", he mistook it for haggling. The price went into freefall. Eventually he asked "how much will you give me"

"No money at all. It's scrap. I'm sorry, but this isn't a saleable vehicle".

I finally motioned that the conversation was over and made my way back to the Saab, but he followed, eager to tell me that his sister had another, far better motorhome for sale that would suit me far better. A Mercedes that needed much less work. And only £2,750... seemingly the official figure that fucked motorhomes changed hands for these days. Once I was on my way, the phone rang with an immediate price drop on that one.

I drove away very quickly indeed, because I had three thousand quid in cash in my back pocket and hadn't bought anything. This is a terrible situation to be in, because it makes you prone to certain urges. Much in the way that when walking a cliff edge, part of you wonders what it would be like to jump off, I could sense myself turning the car around and going back to buy a shit old motorhome.

Several weeks later, on suddenly realising that I ran a real risk of spending the rest of the year miserable in a Scottish layby being leaked on in a disintegrating Talbot, I booked a flight to Japan, where I had a very nice time indeed.


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In the late Nineties I went to look at a 2.8 Capri to replace my MGBGT, the car seemed in pretty nice nick and at only a grand was a sensible price. Problem is I was  a tad disorganised, went to see it on a Friday evening, didn't have a deposit on me. So promised to come back on Saturday afternoon (after work) and buy it.

I didn't make it to work, my Appendix went critical and I wound up in Hospital instead, a week later I had recovered but the car was gone/sold. I think that is a fair reason to not buy a car! 

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13 minutes ago, Marina door handles said:

my Appendix went critical and I wound up in Hospital instead, a week later I had recovered but the car was gone/sold. I think that is a fair reason to not buy a car! 

Glad you recovered, I bet the vendor scratched his chin and thought "yeah right!" though. 

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1 hour ago, Timewaster said:

Glad you recovered, I bet the vendor scratched his chin and thought "yeah right!" though. 

Indeed I am glad I recovered as I have heard posting crap on the internet and buying old cars is tricky if you are dead! And yes I bet the vendor thought I was another lying tyre kicker. 

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In the late 80s I went with a mate who was looking to buy a Scirocco GTI (Type2). We had already looked at a couple tired example even though they could not have been that old then when we ventured into South Norwood to see a black one with all the tartan trim.

The owner was a Rasta with long locks and the obligatory woolly hat about our age (late 20s) , he let us have a good look at it and it wasn’t bad apart from smelling of smoke inside so he took us for a drive. I squeezed in the back and we set off with the first hundred yards or so being taken up with clouds of tyre smoke and not much movement. Once we got moving though, fuuuuuuuuuukkkkk, we hurtled down side roads of Streatham between parked cars and being in the back, I could see the speedo hit 80mph as he turned to us taking the joint out of his mouth to laugh and make encouraging noises ending in “not bad eh?” He hardly slowed below 60mph for junctions or anything really, most of the roads being narrow with cars on each side and room for only one car in the middle so it was pretty exciting! I think at one point we touched 100mph.

He was very surprised when we didn’t instantly offer the asking price after that fantastic demo...

My mate eventually bought an all white non GTI....

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There was a Sapphire Cosworth I went to view when they weren't worth much. (I say much, it was £3995, not the telephone numbers they sell for now). 

It was at a "sports specialist" in Suffolk which had sprung up like so many others at the time by putting a selection of rough Golf Gtis and XR3is in the showroom of a bankrupt dealer. 

Fortunately under the cheap spot lights in the ceiling tiles you could see the filler in the arches that had been lovingly rubbed with a house brick before the professional application of two coats of rattle can paint. 

Then close inspection showed more bodgery, overspray, scotchlocked wiring and all manner of other red flags. 

Run away.... 

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