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Sell Your Classic Car on Ebay

Updated on May 17, 2013

People want a bargain

I've sold several vintage cars in various shapes of "go-ability" shall we say...and, to the person, the buyer wants twice as much car for half as much money. It's like they know it's "old" and want to pay "old car" prices, but want the gem that comes from it being a rarity.

Your job is to make your gem as irresistible as possible; something that no self-respecting Car Guy or Gal could possibly pass up.

INSULT the buyer

It seems counter intuitive, but you want the buyer to believe that he's the biggest idiot in the world for passing on your car. For instance, I sold a beautiful '66 Mustang - fully restored and growled like the world was ending. I told a potential buyer that I could completely understand if this was too much car to be seen in. I told him "you can't hide from the cops, you can't pick your nose; you have to have your hair just right. If you want something a bit more tame, I can fully respect that". He bought the car. It was a challenge he couldn't pass up.

Be 100% HONEST

There's no such thing as a car that "needs nothing". Many of these cars are older than your parents. There's going to be a flaw. Maybe there's a paint chip. Maybe the radio is shot. Maybe the speedo isn't accurate. My Kustom had a virtual laundry list of things that needed to be completed, and I included that with every email correspondence.

First off, you never want to meet up with the buyer down the road and have him call you a liar. Yes, it's buyer beware, but the vintage car circuit is a small community. Never make a bad name for yourself.

Second, a buyer that sees that you are upfront with the "Bad" will be more inclined to trust that the "Good" is the truth.

Be sure the darn thing RUNS

I was once very embarrassed when a buyer came by my house and I had a dead battery. I forgot to plug in the trickle charger and was late coming home from work so I couldn't get her running before the guy arrived. It made me look like an amateur and I wasted everyone's time. That only happened ONCE!

Be sure the car is running. If that means a new battery, so be it. Is the fuel filter clean/new? Are all the fluids topped off? By the way, that means gas, too. I bought a car with almost no gas in it and was pretty pissed that the seller nickeled and dimed me out of at least half a tank!

Get that car running and let it warm up. Take it around the block a bit so any test drive is done on a warm engine.

The Ebay Ad

The Ebay ad has to stand out from everyone else. I combine all the elements from above and add in a twist...I give some info on the car, but save the goodies for "serious buyers only". Here's the example:

FOR SALE: 1966 Mustang RestoMod. Beautiful mild metal flake blue, white racing stripe cleared over (done right!). Original 289 (still has the ford blue paint on the block). Glass pack pipes that wake the neighbors and scare the Civics at the stop light. I parked this thing next to a Viper and the owner told me "Nice car, Brother". Gentlemen, this car will make skirts rise and panties drop.

This ride isn't for everyone, though. Make sure that you are the right buyer. There's no hiding in this car. If you want something simple, maybe you should look for a nice Mini Cooper (I hear the glove box is just big enough to store your balls inside).

The engine has a lot of Go Fast parts in it, but I'm not here to give you a "How to build your own lesson". SERIOUS BUYERS only may email me for the page-long list of goodies.


No matter what, people will want to beat you up on the price, especially with the economy sucking as it does. Your classic or vintage car may go a few rounds before it sells. Here are a couple of hints though:

1. NEVER relist for less than the original listing. You're only training buyers to wait for the next price drop

2. DO offer a Buy It Now at 30% over your "go no lower price". This leads to...

3. Start the bidding at 1/3 the "go no lower price" and put in the Reserve at your "go no lower price"

4. ADD THIS LINE: MUST SELL THIS WEEK DUE TO FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS. This tells buyers that there's a bargain to be had (even though there really isn't). They will tend to negotiate far down from the Buy It Now (like, say, oh...30%).

Now, there you have it. You have a buyer that feels that they got a bargain; you got your asking price and everyone is a winner!

While this may not work all the time, I've had a lot of luck with these tactics and I wish you the best!


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