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What Happens When You Scrap a Car?

These days it is easier to scrap a car than ever before. With the escalating price of scrap metal, breakers yards are positively crying out for business. Their adverts line the highways and flood the classified sections of local papers and magazines, offering ever more lucrative means of disposing of your unwanted vehicle. These offers do not just extend to free collection of the car, they also guarantee varying amounts of cash, depending on their ever changing offers. It’s fair to assume that, considering this state of affairs, the Council have not had much call for their fee charging service for the removal of unwanted vehicles in quite a while. But, in some ways, this is a shame.

The Council is subject to environmental targets, and disposing of household waste is scrupulously monitored to ensure that it meets EEC directives. The disposal of TV’s, white goods and motor vehicles is consequently handled in the most cost efficient way, deploying the most environmentally sound methods. Eco-economics is set to become an increasingly important means of generating revenue, as well as ensuring that we live our lives in a more sustainable fashion.

Commercial breakers yards, whilst subject to the same EEC legislation, often don’t dispose of unwanted vehicles to the same exacting standards. Stacks of corroding cars, heaped in haphazard lines, forming mass vehicular graveyards, are a common sight throughout the UK’s industrial estates. With vehicles left exposed to the elements for years, the integrity of the bodywork becomes susceptible to rust, devaluing the stock from a recycling viewpoint. Private operators are geared up to make a profit, and are therefore more likely to put commercial interest before green considerations. Public services, whilst optimising the commercial value of the scrap, place their full focus on ensuring that waste is handled ethically.

This places people in a difficult position. They have to weigh up the pros and cons of either dealing with an organisation that will charge them money for the disposal of their car, but will do so to very high standards, or they can opt to go with the private sector, earn a bit of cash, and enter the sustainability lottery.

That was until the recent creation of interfacing agencies. Luckily, there is now another means of disposing of unwanted vehicles ethically without incurring a charge for the service. Social enterprises have been set up to capitalise on the increased value of scrap, and will tow away unwanted vehicles and process them using the most ecologically sound facilities, without levying a charge. In addition, they will donate a proportion of the proceeds to a charity of the donor’s choice, offering users the chance to appease their conscience in more ways than one!

eBay – Selling a Porsche (Or Other Make) on eBay Automotive

ebay is a wonder. Fascinating, rewarding, dangerous…for both buyers and sellers. As a long time buyer, and a fanatical watcher of auctions I’ve come to glean a few tips that, I hope, will be useful for those contemplating or currently selling cars in eBay Motors. I’d like to cover listings, display and description, successes and failures, caveats, dangers and scams, and finally, alternatives. And while it is mostly geared to 911′s and other Porsche’s, the basic points apply to all cars.

Personally, I don’t care what software you use to list on eBay. Whether you use eBay’s own tools, or a third party offering such as GarageSale (on the Mac). They mostly do the same thing… get your car exposed to thousands of buyers. And that’s the point. You want to expose your car in the most appealing, open way. We’re not talking about attic junk, inexpensive merchandise, or the like. We’re talking about a relatively expensive item. And in a medium that is fraught with dangers, both on the selling and buying ends. You need to keep in mind that the buyer needs the assurance that they are dealing with an honest seller, who will make every effort to present their offering in a way that is clear and open. If anything I say is meaningful, this is probably it.

But let me put it even more bluntly. Clarity means money. I’ve seen dozens of cars go for way under the money because the seller didn’t have a clue. Poor title, bad pictures, descriptions that are either lacking or deceptive. These are all pocketbook killers. And time wasters. Your time, especially.

Let’s start…

The Listing Title

Of course, the basics are Year and Model. But you need to add some sizzle to drum up interest. 2002 Carrera 996 is ok, but perhaps adding words relating to options, warranty, location (especially in a road salt free area), etc. provide a more concise opening to your listing.

On the other hand, one listing I thought was terrible had the title “Clean Title, No liens”. I would hope so already. Don’t state the obvious. And if the title wasn’t clean, and/or there were liens better to mention that in the body of the listing. Buyers will find out eventually.

The eBay stuff

Under the main head lies the basic info on the car…VIN, mileage, color, options, etc. Most things are automatic but make sure you list options. If you don’t have the ‘option’ to check off, include it in the body copy. You want to sell the car, don’t you?

Main Copy

You’re selling two things. The car and yourself. You’re asking a person to spend thousands of dollars. If you aren’t a dealer with a nationwide reputation, you need to reassure the buyer that you are a caring owner who has treated your Porsche like your baby. In the UK, service history and where the car was maintained is of supreme importance. To me, it is too. If you kept records, and hopefully you have, state it. If some specialist did the servicing, state it.

Offer a chance for interested buyers to get a Pre-Purchase inspection. Platz (dot) com has a list of good service centers for this.

I always recommend an inspection. It’s a good investment. It also shows that you have faith in your car. Remember, the more you put into the selling of your car, the more you’ll get in the end. Of course, not everyone has the time. But try. Also try to be available for personal visits.

Another good thing to mention is any Porsche affiliation. PCA members, this is a big plus. Don’t be shy. Hey, and if the car won any awards at shows, don’t be modest.

Of course, try to be honest about the car. Is it a salvage title? Well, you should mention that. If they order a CarFax they are going to find out anyway. Same for bad accidents. A small dent, well. Body work that was cosmetic and repaired. I leave that up to you.

Conversely, talk about condition, especially if it is a plus point. Lack of road chips, scratches, original paintwork, etc. Pluses.

But don’t lie. You’re going to back it up with photos!

Also, if you use one of those checklists which have all the points and a grading range, excellent to poor, don’t check off excellent if that area leaves much to be desired. One dealer has been listing the same car for months now. His pictures are good. But they also reveal leather seats with pronounced cracking. It’s obvious. But he has ‘Excellent’ checked off under condition for the seats. Hey, if he’s stretching the truth on that, what else is he hiding. Now I emailed him with links to leather products that could fix them up. But rather than spend twenty or so bucks fixing them, he keeps on listing the car. Oh yeah, his engine bay is dirty. And this is a dealer! So far he’s gotten bids up to $24,000. He’s asking $32,500. He relisted twice with an opening bid of $27,000. No takers. Is this an IQ test?


I’m a firm believer in the value of good photography in selling cars. And I’ve seen hundreds of cars not selling because the pictures were few, overexposed, too small, etc. I don’t know if the seller is uncaring, hiding something, or just lazy. Do I want to spend tens of thousands on a car that I can’t see in person or at least photos. Simply put, Good Photos sell Good Cars.

The more photos (within reason) the more likely you’ll sell your car. And that’s what you want to do, isn’t it?

What do I hate? Out of focus pictures. Overexposed, lack of contrast, no shots of the engine bay or boot, the wheels and tires, etc. Need I go on? Think of it this way. Your photographs are a substitute for the buyers doing a personal inspection of the car. Would you want to inspect a car in the dark? Have a one minute time limit? I don’t think so.

Take your pictures either earlier in the day or later, but not at night. The sunlight can wash out details. A bleached out look to the car will make the buyer have second thoughts.

Remember this point. At major auctions, the sellers that stay by their cars, answering questions, allowing punters to examine their cars, etc. achieve significantly higher prices. Treat your auction the same. Show off your car in pictures. Answer questions quickly and thoroughly. Make more money.

Know Your Car (Model Selling Points)

For each model, even each year there are points that you can make that sell you car. Here’s a few:

356 range — Obviously the most important things are a rust-free body (or repair work to make it such), originality, matching numbers, etc.

Early 911′s — Probably one of the hottest areas in the market. Again, body integrity, matching numbers. The earliest cars are more eligible for historic events. Later, ‘long chassis’ cars are better handling.

1974-1989 — Again, body condition for non-galvanized cars is important. 1988-89 cars, the G50 transmission. Engine modifications like hydraulic tensioners should be noted.

964′s — As this line went on, major improvements occurred. Mention all updates such as breather hose on distributors, or dual belt changes also for distributor failure.

993′s — 1995′s (Non-Variocams) don’t have the carbon buildup that the later engines had, so longer life without top end rebuild. Later cars have more power. Of course, these are the last air-cooled cars. “S” cars carry a premium, don’t underprice your cars.

996′s — 3.6 engine more powerful. State if your 3.4 or 3.6 engine has any updates such as RMS work. 2002 onwards more creature comforts. 1999 – 2001 good value. Tiptronics have less RMS problems.

997′s — Well, great cars but depreciation is hard to gauge. But the buyers here are looking for the cleanest, newest looking car.

914′s — Getting hotter. Personally I prefer the 2.0′s or the 6′s. Upgraded shifters,, other upgrades or improvements…talk it up.

928′s — Later models have more improvements generally, and the prices reflect that. Unfortunately, this is a very expensive car to deal with. Any remedial work should be mentioned…engine work, electrical, etc. It’s scary what it costs to fix the most minor thing. But they are good cars when running.

Front Engined Porsches — Well, not as knowledgeable here. 924′s actually finally getting some respect. 944′s and 968′s selling and good value for dollar. I’ll get to this eventually.

Cayenne’s — Do you bother reading about Porsche’s?

Pricing your Baby

Here is a grey area. A good start is the pricing sites. NADA and Kelley Blue Book are two.

Excellence magazine is a fantastic resource. Bruce Anderson has both Market Reports talking about ac†ual sales, and his Market Update covering a section of the marketplace (for 993′s, 914′s, Early 911′s, Turbo’s, etc.) with very up-to-date pricing in varying degrees of condition. I can’t recommend it more. And his brother Steve’s illustration work is superb!

Also, see what price COMPLETED sales achieve. An overoptimistic opening bid is not indicative of an actual price. Ebay does give a market range but I find it useless. Also, unsold auctions can teach us a lot about listing. Is the reserve price too high? See what bids DIDN’T meet the reserve. And remember that dealers usually achieve a premium for their cars, especially when they are specialists or authorized.

IMPORTANT — Remember that eBay gets phony bids. Try not to encourage friends to submit bids to drive up the price. You’re probably not going to sell the car. Also, if unsuccessful in your listing, eBay will probably offer you a free relisting. Well, maybe the relisting is free but some extras are still optional.

EVEN MORE IMPORTANT — Today, we are still in very unstable economic environment. I see a softening of the market in lesser than top-tier cars. It either is going to take longer to sell your car, or a readjustment of your expectations. Don’t be discouraged. Good cars sell.

How Options affect value

Got to be honest. Aftermarket kits, especially updated body kits, $20,000 stereos, etc. are great fun. But don’t expect them to make their initial investment back. I saw a guy who had a 911SC updated to a 964 bodykit, expensive stereo, tasteless interior installed, etc. He was asking $69,000 for it. Guess what? He eventually relisted it $20,000 less. Guess what? I’m sure he still owns the beast. A 911SC is a 911SC. The car was worth in the teens. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, as they say.

If you want to improve/customise your car….fantastic! But do it for yourself, not in expectation of a big reward later. There are exceptions. Getting a RUF upgrade from their USA place might be an interesting idea. But you still won’t get back your money. Most cars are just used cars. Unless there is a particular demand for the model, say a 356 or early 911, some collectibles such as factory Speedsters, etc. your car probably isn’t worth more than you paid for it.

International Opportunities

If you are comfortable with shipping, and with dealing with overseas buyers you can consider some of the eBay Motors foreign markets. With the weakness of the dollar, overseas buyers can achieve a significant savings even with import tax and shipping. Especially with 356′s and early 911′s. The market is quite crazy there, especially in the UK. But be careful. Yes, be very careful! I wouldn’t sell anything without the money in the bank, and verified. Scams abound. I’ll cover that later.

Alternatives to Ebay

Say you’re not successful on eBay. Well, don’t give up hope. There are some other cost-effective methods to get your car out there. Firstly, the time-honored auto classifieds, Hemmings. I’ve always worried about the lead time, especially in monthlies but now Hemmings is placing their classifieds on their website so that answers that. It does seem that the asking prices are higher in Hemmings but that could be indicative of a more focused clientele than just wishful seller thinking. Worth a try.

Lists are a good resource. Pelican Parts and Rennlist are two that cater to sports cars, and Porsches. They might be better for manual transmission cars than Tiptronics due to the readership, but the price is right.

There are general listings such as Cars (dot) com and AutoTrader. Worth checking out even as a supplement to your listings.

Seller Beware

Remember, scams abound on eBay, both buying and selling. Be sure to add language to protect yourself. Unless you sell warrantees state whether anything is covered and the time period. Or state, “AS IS”. People are buying used cars and both parties must make an effort to do the right research to protect themselves.

Also, sellers must be extremely careful who they sell to. Low feedback can indicate either a newbie to eBay, or someone who changed their identity to hide negative feedback. Negative feedback should be a warning sign. Too much of that and you might consider canceling their bids. Some people ask for a higher deposit from these buyers.

Pay attention to the eBay warnings about scams. Foreign buyers can be a godsend with the dollar dropping. They can also be scam artists. Beware people who send a deposit higher than asked, and who request you to send back the difference in cash. You’re not that stupid, are you? Certified checks can be forged. It isn’t enough to deposit a check. The bank will credit your account for the funds. If the check is no good, they’ll just as quickly take out the funds. Remember, it can take weeks for a check to clear, especially if foreign. Go to your bank manager, ask them to find out that the check is real. There’s a system in place for this procedure. You don’t want to find out that you’re out tens of thousands AFTER you ship the car.

So the operative word is CHECK. Check the buyer. Check the check. When in doubt ask for cash or wired funds. Then give them the car. If the buyer is legit he or she won’t mind.

A Success Story

One car I was interested in was a 95 Cabriolet located in Florida. The listing was outstanding. His description of car, its’ features and add ons (Artec wheels, LoJack, Kicker Sub and associated amps, rear seat delete, factory option of locking storage, etc.), detailed notes on body structure, etc….as I said,outstanding. He offered his assistance in shipping, both domestic and foreign. Everything was clear. Then, the icing on the cake. The photos. A couple dozen clear photos on the listing page. AND a link to a Picassa web album containing dozens more pictures. Other than being there, it was a close second.

Now the interesting part was that the seller had the car listed on Autotrader at a decent price. But no buyers. So he listed on ebay. I had submitted a bid at book. I knew it was going to go higher. And I had seen the ad on Autotrader so I knew in general what he was looking to get. I had the winning bid till a few days before auction end. Then he started receiving questions…some from clueless buyers (what kind of coolant does it have?) and dealers who knew that the car was worth a nice bit more. And also queries from Europe. At the end of the auction it went for over two thousand more than it was listed for on Autotrader. While sad that I didn’t get it, was so happy for the seller (who I’ve had some great email conversations with…and knew that this was an upfront and honest guy).

The car wasn’t perfect (although was pretty close), but the listing was! And his return showed how a little effort, honest presentation, and clarity really pays off. By the way, he got over six thousand over book price! Just goes to show that people will pay for the right car!

This is just an overview of the process. Good luck with your sale!

copyright2011, William Sachs Gore

From a Magazine Ad to a New Philosophy of Life?

It sounds wacky, huh? Why would anyone – anyone who’s sane, that is – think that a few dozen words they discovered in a magazine ad could make a great philosophy to live by. The world already has more philosophers than it needs. And they’ve written millions of words describing or defending their varied theories. What great wisdom could possibly come from the mind of some nameless copywriter?

What if I were to suggest that his words – actually, they could be her words – would provide a wonderful way to live out the rest of our lives…perhaps even make amends for mistakes we’ve made in years past? Yes, folks, I mean the all-inclusive “we.” We as individuals, as a nation, even “we” as a world. The idea’s not that goofy when you take a closer look. Shall we?

Here are those words that got me thinking, unusual words, part of an ad meant to sell Saturn cars: “What if we took the time to rethink things? Forcing ourselves to look at how things are and imagining what they could be. Not waiting for change, but being the catalyst.” Just thirty-one words, but endless possibilities when you take a closer look.

Rethink. My, what a door-opener that word can be. If we’re going to rethink how we’ve done things – as individuals, as a nation, as a world – why not undo some of them – or at least make amends for the things we wish we’d done differently? Yes, we – individually and collectively.

People we’ve slighted, perhaps even deliberately hurt. Deeds we’ve done that no one but we as individuals know about. Wars we’ve fought, some of which we’ve won, others for which victory proved elusive. Were either worth the lives they ruined or destroyed?

Change. Another powerful word, not so much for what it is, but for the potential it holds. Change the future? Hopefully. Change what has resulted from the past? Not as easily done, but worth attempting.

Catalyst An interesting word. A means, a vehicle, a method. Hopefully for good.

You – or I – can become a catalyst for change. Then why not all of us? If each of us were to rethink who we are, what we do, how we do it now, then improve just one of those elements ever so slightly, what a tremendous impact that would have on the people around us, on the entire world.

Take a moment – yes, now – to look at your life as it is. Imagine what it could be if you were to rethink it – who you are, what you do, how you do it. But don’t stop at just imagining. Take that next step. Rethink – and become the catalyst that actually changes your life.