My Car Quest

April 19, 2024

Classic Car Selling Schemes And Scams

by Mike –

We have read on My Car Quest recently about a couple of classic car selling scams. They have both been Ferraris (a Dino 246 GT and a Ferrari 330 GTC). This is a coincidence because I saw these same type of schemes many years ago on eBay for non-Ferrari classic cars.

1965 Shelby GT350

Aston Martin DB5

Once there was a beautiful Aston Martin DB5 listed on eBay that looked liked it would be welcome at any Concours d’Elegance with a buy it now price of $10,000. The wheels were worth more than that.

I reported this to eBay and the listing was soon removed but eBay never let me know what happened, it is their policy. They do not want the bad publicity that goes with having a selling scam.

1965 Shelby GT350

In another eBay listing there was a beautiful 1965 Shelby GT350, chassis number 5S 046. Wow, I thought a “double digit” 1965 GT350!

1965 Shelby GT350

The seller insisted that all bidders send an email to him first and get his permission to bid. I thought this was odd so I ignored this request and placed a bid.

As he had promised he deleted all bids, even though there was one $500,000 bid. Someone else had figured out that this was not a real seller and now I was sure too because $500,000 was well above what this GT350 was worth.

1965 Shelby GT350

I sent him an email and received a story similar to the stories we have seen in the two bargain Ferrari ads. It went like this:

“I bought the car in the US and had it shipped to Germany to use as my daily driver because I am in the US military and I moved to Germany. Now that I am here I have decided to sell the car and it is best to sell it to someone in the US.”

1965 Shelby GT350

I asked “can you send me copies of any documents, like the title?”

“No, the car is locked in a shipping container and all of the documents are with the car”.

This is a clear sign of a hustle.

So, naturally I started bidding and won the bid at $110,000 which is close to one-third what this car was worth at that time.

I then received elaborate instructions on how to pay for the car and how there would be a guarantee and return privileges if I did not like the car and so on.

I reported this to eBay and this listing was soon removed.

The real Shelby GT 350 No. 5S 046

About two weeks later I went to the Palo Alto Concours d’Elegance where there were several Shelby GT350s on display. I looked at all of them as usual and I always look at the VIN tag if the hood is up.

1965 Shelby GT350 VIN tag

1965 Shelby GT350 5S 046 VIN Tag

Maybe you have guessed by now that Shelby GT350 No. 5S 046 was at this event and the photos here are of 5S 046 taken on that day. What are the odds?

I had a talk with the wife of the owner and told her that I just bought this car on eBay, although I had not yet paid for it. I would be happy to pay the $110,000 now and drive the GT350 home, she laughed.

She then said that a friend had told her that this car was listed on eBay but they did not know what to do.

What can we do?

Report these scams to the owners of the listing site as I did with eBay and the recent Dino 246 GT listing. They want to know if there is anything improper on their sites.

Remember if the deal seems too good to be true it likely is, be careful out there and buyer beware. And oh, don’t be stupid, I don’t know what else to say.

If you have seen a classic car scam or been caught up in one let us know about it in the Comments.

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Shelby GT350 poster


  1. Hello Mike,
    here´s another one (seems to be the same “seller” that offers the 1967 330 GTC):
    Ferrari 250, 05/1959, GT California Spider
    Caserta – Nero, 240 cv, Manuale, Benzina, trazione anteriore,
    89.700 Km
    Euro 22.500,-

  2. ScuderiaPacNW says

    Mike, what ever happened with the two mysterious mega-millions Ferrari 250 GTO ads that you discovered and posted….was the true background story behind those ever revealed? (Sorry if the answers were already posted…lots of international travel for work in the past 6 mos with some emails falling through the cracks.)

  3. Here’s another form of ebay scam: Last year I placed a 1991 MB 300SL (R129) on ebay auction with an option of “buy it now” price. Auction was not bringing in promising results. With 3-4 days into a 10 day auction I wake up to find that my car sold for “buy it now” price. Excited, I sent a buyer a thank you note and my contact email. I get a response that the buyer is a naval officer currently deployed at sea. He wants the car as a surprise purchase for his dad and that he will send me the money if I provide him with my paypal information. I asked him to fullfill his obligation and pay me the deposit. His response was that he has no way to do this as he is deployed. When I suggested the Navy Federal CU, he (maybe a she) kept insisting that the only way I can get paid for the car is to give my account information. I ended up reporting him to eBay. I received refund from ebay for “buy it now” commission, but lost the listing monies.

    Just this weekend I was looking at a 78 Spider up in the Seattle area. Beautiful car but with a top asking price. I spoke with the seller and confirmed that it would not pass California smog. The very next day the car sold for the “buy it now” price, although the bidding was less than 1/2 of that. It rang very true of my personal experience. I really hope the seller found a genuine buyer, but given the circumstances I strongly doubt it.

    • I am amazed at how many people stuck at sea are buying and selling cars – this was also the case with the Ferrari Dino 246 GT.

      • Yes, I remember that case. I commented on that one, too. What amazes me is that unlike the nigerian bank letters that went out to just everyone regardless of their social status or education, this scam is aimed at people with a certain level of education and financial standing.

  4. ~ don’t ever give up. this is a fight worth winning. screw the thieves.

  5. Here’s another one. I responded to an ad on Pomona Car Swap Meet website. Beautiful 280SL with about 80 views. Ever so leary (cars look good from afar, but far from a good), I sent the seller a short list of questions. Here’s what I got back:

    “Hi, the car is still available for sale. the price is $9,800. I’m forced to sell for personal reasons under market value. I don’t want to offend you but the car is priced for a fast sale so please if you intend to apply for a loan or financing do not reply.

    few words about the car: second owner, 1968 Mercedes Benz 280SL, 6 Cyl engine, Automatic Transmission. the car has only 69,567 miles. in great shape . The car has always been stored inside, non-smoking vehicle. I have a clear title for it. Here you have the pics:

    Anyway, I want to tell you that I am currently on a on a oil platform where I work as an engineer in the oil extraction for Chevron. I’m selling the car only because my nephew has a medical problem and my sister needs urgently money for an operation. All my family and friends contributed for the surgery but she still needs some money and I decided to sell my car to help her. I didn’t hesitate when I decided to sell it because the life of my nephew is more important than any good I have. I hope you will empathize with my situation and understand that I urgently need to sell it.

    Thank you,
    David Taylor”

    Oil platforms are becoming the new “Banks of Nigeria” ;-))

  6. YES…This guy Dave Taylor from Arizona is playing it up as of Feb 10, 2013 for a 1955 Buick which he claims he is the second owner, has had the car for the last 25 yrs…..the car is Mint and he only wants $ 9,500 but he works for chevron oil on a rig but can not call me due to it is expensive for phone calls…and his nephew.. needs an operation………….I am so glad I found your site before I sent this Scam a penny .
    Bob ( my E mail is )

  7. I am happy that you avoided a bad situation too. I suspect his name is not really Dave Taylor.

    The “seller” of the Ferrari 246 GT is Susie Taylors.

    • Hi Mike, thanks for your response on This Dave Taylor guy…..I wrote back to him and Said ” You know where I come from ( South Philly”) you get a good beating for selling me a bad Cheese Steak, let alone $ 9,500 car. I will let you know if he writes back. Thanks Again

  8. On a positive note, I came across an ad today for a 2004 BMW Boxer Cup Replika (only 300 built) with 8400 miles, one owner, never down, etc.etc. asking $7500 but willing to take an offer. These are rare bikes and in this condition its at least $9000. I thought – fishy, but sent the guy a low ball at $6500. To make the long story short, the ad was legit, the bike was legit and now I own it. Good thing I went down the first day the ad was out, otherwise it would have been gone before the weekend.

    • The sad part is that now I have to part with my 04 BMW Rockster Edition 80, also a limited produciton bike but not as rare as the Replika…

    • Good for you George, So shines a good deed in a weary world.

      • This the case when the price was good, very good, but not too good to be true. The price was low which made me concerned more about the condition of the bike. After meeting the owners (father and son), all my doubts were alleviated. I think that this bike was listed for $3000, I doubht I would’ve even bothered with an inquiry.

  9. Of course you right, Mike. Unfortunately in my neck of the woods caveat emptor is more a rule rather than exception. If you like to start a thread on an approach to buying a used vehicle, I’d gladly participate. I would also like to hear other people’s approaches, items they pay attention to, things that make them go hot or cold… Would be a good piece considering you are selling your Bizzarrini and as far as I understood, you are also in a market to buy another great car (the shelby??)

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