Caveat Tempter: Seduced by a faraway Craigslist RX-7


Yeah! You did way better than I did. I recently hired a third party to inspect another car. Wasn’t perfect, but it helped.


Wow, that’s an interesting pair to choose from. Did you enjoy the Benz? That Vette would have been a rough and tumble kind of machine.


Since we’re having so much fun I guess I’ll add my eBay experience. I had practically learned to drive on my grandpa’s ‘65 Dodge pickup in the late ‘70’s. 318 poly, 4 speed and 3:55 gears, I ricky-raced that truck all over town and as a result learned how to change a clutch and rebuild an engine…
So more than twenty years and scores of muscle cars later I start to reminisce about the old Dodge, telling my wife how much fun I’d had with that old truck and wished I’d kept it. Well I’m scanning old cars on eBay one night and up pops this ‘64 power wagon! It’s got a fresh plum crazy paint job, nice interior and the 318 poly/4 spd combination I was looking for, great rebuild of course! To top it off it’s 4 wheel drive so it will be so practical since we were living in Southern Missouri now and occasionally saw snow.
So I’m the winning bidder on this cream puff for I believe $3500. The seller was near Des Moines Iowa but he would meet me near the Missouri border. I made sure there wouldn’t be any issues driving this well restored truck the few hundred miles home and was assured by the seller that it could be driven anywhere!
So the wife and I make the long journey to Iowa and pull into the agreed to meeting spot. There she is, sitting on the back of a flatbed trailer, I start getting excited!
I hop out of the car and climb up onto the trailer looking her over. Paint was pretty decent, quite what was described but nice. Actually looked pretty good! Started her up, sounded good. No obvious leaks, seemed like a good truck! So I’m getting ready to pay the guy and at the last minute thought I’d better look over the title first. Seller fumbles around his truck and finally brings it back. It’s a title for a ‘71 Dodge. The truck is obviously a ‘64 and of course the vin doesn’t match in anyway, shape or form.
So the seller comes up with this story that he must have grabbed the wrong title but he’d send me the right one once he got home (and after he was paid of course). This guy want getting shadier by the minute and I was just getting madder so I finally told him to forget it, I was no longer interested and drove the 300 mile return trip home.
Now about two weeks go by and I get a phone call from this guy explaining that he didn’t realize that the truck had actually been modified. It had the ‘64 cab and engine swapped onto a ‘71 chassis and the title was to the chassis, numbers match. I’m pretty done at this point and tell him I’m not interested. Another week goes by and he calls again. He’s practically begging me to buy this truck. He just keeps dropping the price, all the way down to $1500 and then offers to deliver it to me!
Couldn’t pass that deal up. He meets me at a truck stop a few miles from my house and we make the deal and he drives off. I hop in and drive home, only to find out it has little to no brakes. I owned that miserable pile of scrap for nearly ten years, rebuilding practically every part of it including the “rebuilt engine”. I dumped more money into that heap than I’d ever put into three cars! My wife despised that truck to the point that she would not ride in it, she named it Christine, of Stephen King’s evil car fame.
I finally unloaded that evil pile of grease and rust on a young man who drove 3hrs to see it and just had to have it, and yes I advertised it honestly, painfully honest…


My long-distance purchase experience was, coincidentally, for the same car as the author…a 3rd Gen. RX7. But the outcome was much different. I still have that car 15+ years and about 80k miles later. It’s never left me on the side of the road but I did rebuild the engine for a failed coolant seal about 10 years ago. The rough equivalent to a head gasket, the failed seal had little to do with how well the car ran short term. But unlike a head gasket it requires disassembly of the engine. Purchased the car from the DFW area, about 10 hours away. Networked with a local car club guy before going down to verify everything in the ad. He didn’t “inspect it” beyond making sure the car was as advertised, but then it only cost me $75. Flew down, drove it home. I still think of the car as automotive crack cocaine.


Crank(shaft) er UP! I’ve had bad experiences with long distance inspectors!


you think you lost 8K, however, where can you buy 10 years of entertainment for 8K??


You are right about that, thanks, that makes me feel better. That’s less than a 1K a year, and I did enjoy the car.


Ah, yes. Five or six long distance internet deals buying and waiting for the car to show up have all been positive. But there was the one time when I had to drive my rental car back to the airport with $9000 in cash in a briefcase to stand at the ticket counter and figure out how I was going to get home, rather than the buy-and-drive I was planning…