My Car Quest

February 26, 2024

Did This BMW Isetta Sell On Ebay Or Not?

by Mike –

Maybe you saw the advertisement for the ebay auction of this red BMW Isetta recently. Below is an image of the end of the eBay auction (click on the image for a better view).

BMW Isetta on ebay

End of the auction for the red BMW Isetta on eBay

I followed the eBay auction and was surprised when the auction ended because,

“This listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available.”

This was a no reserve auction with a starting bid of $15,000.

On the image above you can see – “Starting bid:US $15,000.00 [ 0 bids ]”. Yet when I click on the “[ 0 bids ]: I see the image below. There were five bids with the high of $21,255. All of the bids were canceled by the seller (click on the image for a better view).

BMW Isetta on ebay

End of the auction for the red BMW Isetta on eBay


Sold on ebay

Sold on eBay


Ended on Ebay – not sold

If this Isetta would have sold through the eBay auction the banner on the lower right of the main car image would have said “SOLD” instead of “ENDED”.




Terms Of This Auction – As written by the seller on the eBay listing

– The sale is final and placing a bid on the vehicle means you agree to purchase the car as-is without a warranty on the car or parts. John will be happy to field any questions after purchase. In general, you are responsible for maintaining this vehicle to the best of your abilities. This is a special car and we hope you’ll take good care of it.

The eBay “auction” process is really not an auction at all when the seller can cancel all bids and remove the car. I have seen a few cases where the seller uses eBay to advertise the car with no intention to actually sell it on eBay. The same car may be re-listed again in the future with the same result – it gets removed by the seller without a sale.

I have bought two cars on eBay with a 50% happiness rating. Both cars were 2-3,000 miles away and I did not commission a pre-purchase inspection (I know I should follow my own advice). One of the cars was exactly as described by the seller over the phone and the other was not as described by the seller in the eBay ad nor over the telephone.

Next up – my wife’s experience with a Bring a Trailer auction.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

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Did This BMW Isetta Sell On Ebay Or Not?
Article Name
Did This BMW Isetta Sell On Ebay Or Not?
Are the eBay car auctions really auctions?


  1. Simon Vels says

    Hi Mike,
    Maybe the seller sell this to somebody who pay the price the seller is looking for.
    I also ask always for a buy it now price when it’s not in the ad.
    Or the seller relisted the car for a higher starting price ,I see this several times when there is no sale .
    Only I dont understand why they relist the items whit a higher asking price several times.
    Is this a new tactic?

  2. eBay is for someone that might want to sell or buy a car. While a lot of cars get sold through eBay it isn’t binding on either side of the transaction. Last year I hit Buy It Now on a Countach only to have the seller back out of the deal hours later. It’s a nice tool, but both parties need to be committed or it could leave you very frustrated.

  3. Georgeg20 says

    Keep in mind that ebay may not be the only venue that is used by sellers to offer their vehicles. This car could have been listed elsewhere and the seller received a satisfactory offer.

    Several years back, I was selling an 82 Alfa Spider. I had originally listed it on Craigslist. I was contacted by an interested party but we ended up waltzing around the price. In the meantime, I decided to lust the car on ebay where the same party saw the car. When the buyer from Craigslust saw the interest and price generated on ebay, he called and quickly agreed to my original asking price. I pulled the ebay listing before ending the auction.

  4. Simple explanation his friends bid it up to 21,255.00 and he never got a real bidder, so he canceled. Thats how Ebay works.

  5. Dan Rinker says

    I have an explaination — I once offered to trade my airplane for a car listed on eBay because the car was on my list and I noticed a hangar in the background of the photos. The seller definitely ended the eBay auction and it disappeared in a similar fashion. I remember an Arnolt-Mg listed as kind of an unfinished project and I listed it on my “watched” items to see how it did on the market. The bids were already hideously climbing when it disappeared! Like the Arnolt-MG, I lusted after a BMW 700 Sport (look that one up!) languishing in a local side yard. It finally sold to someone able to convince its owner that it would be well taken care of. I am happy to have seen it heading towards Seattle on a flatbed. All I can do now is wait, watchful, and hope that I get to see these cars reappear after a sorting out and being made presentable again. And there better not be any patina!

  6. I agree with all of the above comments and I have some reasonable experience with buying and selling on ebay (cars and other items). The ebay rules for cars are different than other items and their rules are complex. I could not find anywhere where ebay said the seller has to sell the car.

    One car selling rule is. “You can also choose to end a listing early to sell your item to your current high bidder or to another eBay member with whom you’ve negotiated a price.”

    So, ebay is not really an auction but a glorified classified ad listing and in my experience it is where bargain hunters go to shop.

    It also seems unfair to the buyers who do not know the unwritten code; if you really want the car don’t waste time bidding instead contact the seller directly and make a deal one on one.

  7. The owner has posted about this topic on the car’s Web page. The situation is not as underhanded as it would seem.

    • Bob,

      Thank you for the information. This situation demonstrates my point that eBay is for car bargain hunters and may not be the best place for classic car sellers.

  8. Julian Jensen says

    Hi everyone, I am the original eBay seller. If anyone is interested in this Isetta 300, please let me know! We are taking offers on a case-by-case basis instead of an auction-style listing. Thanks for being so interested in this special car.

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