What Kind Of Car Buyer Are You?

I’ve bought a car before I’ve been to see it. Not actually physically bought it, paid for it or signed anything, but if I’m going to look at a car to purchase, I’ve already decided it’s going to be mine. I’ll turn up with cash and a trailer to take it away immediately.

It’s dangerous territory, being so eager. If you’re like me you’ll know how tricky it is to negotiate while exuding I’ll-take-it vibes with everything you do and say. But what’s even worse is that being too keen makes you blind to any defects. You’ll even be oblivious to signs screaming at you to back away.

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Photo 30-01-2018, 15 12 29

A car that had had its number plates stolen the night before. A car where the alarm wouldn’t stop going off and the dealer had no idea how to disarm it. A car where the gear stick came off in my hand, just while I was checking it was in neutral. A car that was being hit by the door of an outside toilet blowing uncontrollably in the wind. A car that’s paint had grown scales because, I assume, it had been close to a fire at some point. A car fitted with four different brands of tyre, none of them any good.

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These are all obvious clues that should deter a buyer, yet I am guilty of ignoring every single one of them. And they were all on the same car. A car I actually bought.

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I long to be the sort of person who can put aside their passion for cars when trying to buy one. Someone who can take out the emotion and focus purely on the transaction. It’s an incredible skill analysing the details, rationally weighing up whether its worth it or not, and then cooly and calmly bartering away to get a fair price. All while maintaining the perfect poker face, when deep inside they’re excitedly hopping away at the prospect of a new car. Let’s be honest – we all love that feeling.

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I know that sort of person exists, because that’s me when I am looking in the classifieds way before I’ve settled on the car I want to go and see. I’ll scourer through ads to find the exact specification I want, then look up its history and comb through the pictures in close detail.

When I am on a car hunt I’m like the tech bloke in a bad detective drama. I’ll spot a hint of a defect, something barely noticeable in a photo. There’ll be some furious typing on the keyboard, the picture will zoom in then I’ll ‘enhance’ it to reveal… a missing screw/a crack in the speaker cover/a knick in the wiring loom, and dismiss that car from my line-up. Or at least that’s how I imagine I look.

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Clearly, I didn’t use to be like this. The purchase I explained above demonstrates I haven’t always been so shrewd; many of its issues would have been spotted in pictures without the need of any zoom and enhance. Being burnt by that car changed me. You won’t be surprised to learn that just weeks after I’d taken it home it forcibly ejected one of its spark plug from the head. Yet try as I might, and no matter how calculating I am behind my computer, I just cannot control myself once I’m in front of a car.

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My ruthless classifieds technique is my coping mechanism. It’s the thing that stops me spending all, rather than 90 per cent, of my money on cars. It’s what stops me becoming one of those guys who’s owned 60-or-something cars even though they’re only 30. Don’t get me wrong, I long to be one of those serial car buyers, but unless you have space for dozens of motors, you need to be able to sell cars to achieve that. And if there’s anything I am worse at than buying cars, it’s selling them.

But that’s a whole different subject…

Will Beaumont
Instagram: will_beaumont88

Photography by Mark Riccioni
Instagram: mark_scenemedia
Twitter: markriccioni
mark@scene-media.com

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25 comments

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1

i pride myself on terrible, sight-unseen ebay purchases. well, sight-unseen purchases in general.

2

.....there isn't any shortage of shady car dealers in this world either.

3

I have yet to buy my first car but I’m pretty sure I’ll be the one analyzing every scratch and not be able to hide whether I really like it or not. Terrible poker face right here.

But why I really commented was to say how I love your photography in this set of photos!

4
Tryon Lippincott

We just bought a 1992 Rover Mini from Japan. We are waiting on shipping info on it right now. Thank you for the Mini pictures!

5

All those R34s remind me of the guy who debunks fake Navy SEALS.

I think he said once that according to his records, about 800 SEALS actually served in Vietnam...and he'd met all 20,000 of them.

Nissan only made like 12,000 R34 GT-Rs but according to the internet, MILLIONS of car guys around the world have one.

6

On one hand you might be right with the "fake" GT-R, but you don't have to forget on the other hand that you're living in a filter bubble. You're browsing, following and reading sites that center around these special cars and you might think they're everywhere, but it's just that you see a lot of those otherwise few cars in a small area (the internet).

I own a S1 Exige, there are only 600 of them and some days i think there must be thousands, because i see so many around the internet. Some are converted Elises, but most of them really are the same few cars shown over and over again. And with 12.000 GT-R, the likeliness of coming across them is much higher than in my case.

7

I tend to hate cars that need body work, or are boring silver. So I own two silver cars that need body work.

8

" What Kind Of Car Buyer Are You? "
me : YES

9

LOL!

10

What, no rotaries? Shame on you Will and Mark.

11

So, what did you buy? You showed about 59 different cars there, and I have a feeling one of them was the one you bought, but which one? Will you tell us?

12
Jason Dubreuil

I've also fancied the sight-unseen ebay purchases. Part of the reason why i'm not worried is probably because I have boats as well, and boat repair costs sort of de-sensitize you from the cost of fixing a car. Usually with a boat you need to add another zero to the cost for repairs. Before i purchase, i'll say to myself, "what if" bla bla part is broken. And then rationalize the additional cost. 9 times out of 10 it's a not issue and i'll move forward.

13

on my country bmw e39 530
is really nice car and I would try to do something in the style of khyzyl Saleem

14

Where's the location

15

I'm one of those!! At 30 I'd had over 90 cars.... I've slowed a little now... I'm 37 and list count but around 130 ish now

16

Jeez... I'm slow being 37 and only at car number 3, but boy, you're moving!

17

I'm a horrible buyer and seller. I buy too high and sell too low for the sake of either convenience or excitement.

18

I tend to often trade my cars for different ones. It's relatively convenient and seems to be mutually satisfying often.

19

I think you're speaking to the choir. I just bought a car (sight unseen off of bat) that I can't even drive because the dmvs are closed here.

20

I'm 100% in this boat. I think the main criteria for it is buying a fast car on a brand of tyre you've never heard of. 'Far Road' are a personal favourite. Also, see 'not being able to disguise how far you've travelled to see the car'. It's hard to be demure when you casually let the 300 mile round trip out of the bag...

21

Oh, man, so true! For me, there are two kinds of cars: daily drivers and projects. With projects, I'm all about perfection, learning and extra-long paths, for now, I'm learning that skill or another around a disassembled car for four years. Bought once stays for years. But a daily driver is a different thing. First I can't just get an Elantra and just drive it. So at a certain period, I'm excited about a model (that hopefully could be used for family needs), and at this point, I feel exactly like you, Will.

Once I wanted e39, I've been hunting for it for almost four months. But when I saw mine, I didn't give a shit that front wheels bearings are roaring louder than an engine, that it is registered in another country, that a rear door rusted out (yes it was a wagon), and a clutch pedal has 60% slack. It was my baby, my 530d e39 on a manual! In a year I sold it because the seals were rusty too and I had no space and time to repair its body.

Nevertheless, I haven't learned anything. This time I was so excited with Quattro! So I bought a damaged a4 b8 in the opposite corner of the world without any opportunity to take a look. And now I'm a happy owner of the Torsen Quattro.

Petrolhead is a mental disease that makes a person happy near to pieces of metal. The best thing about it, we are happy.

22

I'm absolutely reckless. I'll decide I must have it within the first 30 seconds and drive to buy it immediately and forgive it for how broken it is and deal with it later. It's not a very efficient process but it has got me first over the line on some rare and unusual bargains. It's also got me really deep into a world of pain on the odd occasion. It's part of the entertainment.

23

Exactly. If I want something, I will try to find the best one I can find, but I am also not stupid. Small defects give way to haggling down. if its what I want and mechanically sound, the looks of it come last and I can easily deal with defects down the road.

24

I have transcended ebay and moved onto facebook marketplace for my cars, there is always a gem just round the corner or half way up the country, if its not the same model I currently have and there's "something" about it, I'll buy it or do anything i can to make it happen, most recently bought an "accidental" rover 416 - automatic. Why? no idea, its not quick, good looking or in great nick, it was however, a bargain. £200. Most of my cars over the last 10 years have been sub £700 where possible so I can afford parts for my S30.

25

I'm the "I'm too scared to over pay a sh!t box with my hard earned and saved money, to buy a car I really crave, but don't really need, and for the love of me, how will I be able to cope with the expenses of this beautiful POS AND my daily driver" type of buyer.

ROFL

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