My Car Quest

May 15, 2021

Selling Your Classic Car On The Internet

by Mike Gulett –

Owning a classic car is a lot of fun but when the time comes selling one can be a challenge. Finding the right buyer and the right price for your car can take some work.

There are many options for selling your collector car and in this article we are focusing on selling on the Internet, which has become popular in recent years and has the advantage that your car stays in your garage until it is sold and paid for. This is different than an in-person auction or dealer consignment where you will have to deliver your car to the auction or dealer location and retrieve it at your expense if it does not sell.

Used Cars - Kurt Russel

Online Auction

Buyers who bid for your vintage car will likely have already made up their mind that they want it and in trying to win the auction, hopefully, they will increasingly offer more in order to win in competition with other bidders.

The auction company will provide information that includes how to value the car you are auctioning as well as the cost to you and to the buyer. Remember if the buyers fees are high then that may reduce the amount the buyer is willing to bid for your car.

Bring a Trailer (BaT) is a true on-line auction site and a pioneer in the field of on-line collector car auctions. They are listing a few hundred cars per week and each car remains up for auction for 7 days or longer under their Premium Listings. The seller can set a reserve price, to be agreed to with BaT, that is not disclosed to the bidders.

Aston Martin DB 4 Zagato

Aston Martin DB 4 Zagato Advertisement

The bids are made public in real time so all interested parties can follow along. But they do not announce when the reserve price has been met.

They also have a soft close where bids placed in the last 2 minutes will delay the ending time by 2 minutes until there are no more bids so all bidders have a chance to get their best and final bid in.

eBay is a big seller of cars both new and old. It is, however, not a real auction for cars. The seller has options on how to sell and the auction option for cars is not really a committed auction even though there are sellers who would have bidders think they are committed to buying if they win the auction.

Some eBay listings will have language like this,

Your bid constitutes a legally binding contract to purchase this vehicle.

This is not really true because there is not a firm commitment by the seller to sell.

For example, some listing will also have language similar to this,

We reserve the right to cancel bids at anytime for any reasonable reason.

and/or this,

We have this vehicle listed locally and reserve the right to cancel this listing.

Under eBay’s User Agreement, Section 7 (Purchase Conditions) it says,

For motor vehicles and real estate, a bid or offer initiates a non-binding transaction representing a buyer’s serious expression of interest in buying the seller’s item and does not create a formal contract between the buyer and the seller,

We do not transfer legal ownership of items from the seller to you,

This above eBay language contradicts what some sellers write in their own Terms & Conditions.

Other eBay listing are merely classified ads with an opportunity to make an offer.

Other on-line auction sites are: Hemmings, RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Gooding, Cars & Bids, Classic Promenade and PCarMarket.

Some of these sites are dedicated to on-line auctions and others are leaders in the in-person collector car auctions that moved into on-line auctions because of the coronavirus pandemic, which caused many in-person auctions to be canceled.

Classified Advertisement Sites Specifically for Classic Cars

It’s easy to get lost in the crowd when you post on general marketplaces that sell just about everything. Sites whose target audiences are shopping for classic cars will connect you to buyers who aren’t as distracted and are more motivated to buy the make and year of car you’re selling.

Ferrari 250 GTO Road & Track Ad

Ferrari 250 GTO Road & Track Ad

You’ll see how other sellers are positioning their vintage vehicles and you can pick up tips to make your car stand out. Better yet, you’ll become more knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the sales process.

Hemmings, Classic Cars and Craig’s List are three of the most popular classified listings services. Craig’s List is free and the other two change a fee for listing a car for sale.

It can be helpful to visit these sites and search for cars similar to yours to get a feeling for pricing and availability.

Social Media

Sites such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook aren’t just where we go to share photos of our kids or post our opinions on the latest news. They can be used to advertise your vintage car to those actively searching hashtags that lead them to one. The advantage of using interactive selling strategies such as social media platforms is that they let you go back and forth with others who have photos of your vintage car and want to talk about it via private message where you can answer their questions.

In the event that they’re not interested, they may have friends who also collect classic cars and they can easily share information about your car with them.

Summary

No matter which route you choose when selling on the Internet many great photos along with a detailed description of the car and a good video are very helpful. Some of these sites have a focus on certain makes and years, so picking the best one for your car is important. Explore them before you make a final decision.

And set the price right – one of the major reasons why a classic car takes a long time to sell is that the asking price is too high.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

 

 

Triumph TR6

This is an update of an article originally posted in November 2018.
Summary
Selling Your Classic Car On The Internet
Article Name
Selling Your Classic Car On The Internet
Description
Owning a classic car is a lot of fun but when the time comes selling one can be a challenge. Finding the right buyer and the right price for your car can take some work.
Author

Comments

  1. Another option is the classic car section of Autotrader.com if you don’t like the pressure of an auction. I think BAT has been bringing fantastic prices!

  2. My experience with BaT has been great for the past 8 years. I love that site, esp. as a potential buyer.
    However, when I tried to auction a classic car with them in late 2017 they replied that my reserve price of $80k was too high and would I consider $55-60K as a reserve price. I responded that I would consider $75K but no way would I commit to that low of a reserve. They declined to increse the reserve and so I listed it on eBay. I sold the car 3 weeks later to a classic car broker for $75K. He kept the car for his own use for 5 months and then sold the car in mid 2018 for $90k.

    I was quite disappointed with BaT and now assume that many of their reserve prices are lower than what might be reasonable. It’s not to say that many sellers aren’t happy with their sale prices but for BaT it assures them of a high sell rate. They probably receive so many requests from sellers that they can afford to require low reserves.

    • Philip,

      What you describe is, I believe, standard procedure for all auction companies (in-person and on-line) because they want a sale and the final price is not really important to them as long as they collect their fee, which requires a sale.

      They especially love the no reserve auctions because the sale is guaranteed.

  3. Wayne Watkins says

    Any more GTO Ferraris for 8 and a half grand , please contact me and I’ll pay a $500 spotter’s fee !

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