My Car Quest

December 6, 2023

How To Promote A Fake Car As Genuine

by Mike –

Like in the traditional art world collector cars have appreciated in value and developed a large enough following that it is profitable for unscrupulous people to create fake cars and sell them as real cars.

Assuming you are inclined to pass off a fake collector car as a genuine real car, you have a fake car that looks close to real and you have created documentation that supports the story you want to tell – here are some methods to promote and help create a false history and sense of security for the unsuspecting buyer.

Dr. Evil

Naturally, I am not suggesting this be done by anyone, I am trying to help honest buyers be aware of how they might be fooled.

How To Promote A Fake Car As If It Were Genuine

Create a fake history that seems plausible.

Publicize the fake history in publications like classic car web sites and car magazines that in the future will provide some “credibility” for the fake car.

Write your own book and include the fake car.

List the fake car at an auction company that does not check the history very closely and even if the car doesn’t sell you have the auction catalog with your history written down (anything in an official publication adds credibility to the story).

Have the fake car shown at a well known Concours d’Elegance – the more prestigious the better. No need to win a prize – just be there with a description and photo in the catalog. I call this “laundering” the fake car. It is being authenticated by a prestigious organization.

Advertise the fake car in broadly read publications like Hemmings, or many of the classic car magazines – not for the purpose of selling but for creating a history trail.

Advertise the fake on eBay with a very high reserve and pull the ad before the auction ends. This helps create a “buzz” around the fake car.

Create a YouTube video publicizing how important this fake car is and work to have it published by collector car web sites.

Comment in popular classic car forums and blogs and mention your fake car and have some way of identifying your car and use this many times so when the car comes to market it will be remembered. Something like “this car was found many years ago on Cyprus”.

Find a way to have your fake car featured on a television show. This is not easy but certainly adds credibility.

Advertise your fake car at a price that is 30% to 40% less than a real version is worth which will be much more than the fake car is really worth.

Advertise a car for sale that you don’t really have but is close to the fake you do want to sell. When prospective buyers call tell them the car has sold but you have another one they may like (known as bait and switch).

OK smart readers what did I miss? Let me know in the Comments.

bag of money

How To Promote A Fake Car As Genuine
Article Name
How To Promote A Fake Car As Genuine
There are many ways to promote and build credibility for a fake collector car.


  1. All very good points, Mike. But, because we’ve been dealing with such tricks for a few decades now, the scammer doesn’t get the credibility he is after that well anymore. So, the way it’s done now is create several identities (mostly from all over the world) with whom you “discuss” your own “barn find” or the “heritage” of your fake car. You inform the board you found such an incredible rare car and immediately chime in with your other identities to tell yourself how fantastic that is; that they remember that car was left somewhere out there and how expensive that car must be once sold!! That way, the comments of REAL board members are diminished and the car just became more credible. Luckily there are some board members who see what’s going on, I feel bad for the buyers who get caught in the (often elaborate) web.

    And yes, of course we all speak from real life experiences and I had personally three cases where I was able to prove the offered car was a fake (or duplicate of a real car). Thanks for bringing up the subject Mike, I hope some people will get some more insight in this matter and don’t think internet board members are always who they are……

  2. Jeremiah R. says

    That fake Iso that sold at auction recently? Maybe?

    • Jeremiah, That car was described here:

      Questions buyers should ask: why was is it a 7-Liter Prototype in 2003 and just a 7-Liter now. Why was the chassis number changed and the year changed? Why didn’t the auction company say it originally had a Ford engine and a series 2 front end. It also could not be a real 7-Liter because that is an Iso model designation not just a description of the engine. Otherwise anyone with a series 1 Grifo could turn it into a more valuable 7-Liter by changing the engine.

  3. Use parts off of real cars to make your fake look real

    Use copies of fake documentation to make your car appear legitimate

    Get well known people to sign documents describing the fake car.

  4. Jeremiah R. says

    Sad situation with that Iso Grifo, despite the buyer not doing enough homework on it, I feel very bad for them. Any news regarding what they plan to do about it? Is there much they CAN do?

  5. I don’t feel bad for the new owner of Grifo 413, the car is not a mystery to the Iso club members. It was always welcome to all Iso Bizzarrini events, it is maybe one of the best looking Iso cars on the road and it’s the last Grifo stamped by the Iso factory, so it has a lot of great things going for it! Grifo 413 is a very drivable car too!

    I think Mikes article applies more to Bizzarrini’s or rare Alfa’s and Fiats.

  6. The buyer of Grifo 413/223 could have done due diligence, it was his choice not to and as a grown up he is responsible for his own decisions. A short call to anyone with Iso knowledge could have changed his mind. On the other hand, I have been in deals where clients paid extraordinary amounts of money for cars I did not recommend. In the end it is about how much a car is worth in the buyers eyes. You might be surprised by what “value” means to some people.

    He got what he paid for and hopefully gets $440,000 of fun out of it!

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