Question of the Week: Do you vet the buyer of your vehicle?


Watching a beloved car leave your garage, for the last time, with someone else driving it, can be a trying time in an enthusiast’s life. How can we be sure that vehicle is going to receive the same love that was belabored upon it during our time as its caretaker?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/02/09/do-you-vet-the-buyer


I have reluctantly parted with one of my classics. It took four years, but I reunited myself with my first car, the very one I sold, my 1959 rambler cross country station wagon.
I Have always loved this car and reluctantly sold it for much needed money to move away to college. After begging my buyer to offer me the first chance to buy it back should he decide to sell it, I handed him the keys and watched it drive away. It was two years later, I was done with school and contacted my car’s buyer to check up on it. He said he had enjoyed a few car shows with it, but didn’t drive it much. As a firm believer that cars are meant to be driven for full enjoyment, it saddened me. He said he wasn’t ready to sell it, but would let me know if he changed his mind. Another year later, the phone rang. It was the proud new owner of my car. What!? He found my journal in the glove box. All the records of every loving thing I had done to keep the car running perfect was meticulously recorded. He wanted history on the car. I asked that I be the first person he called should he decide to sell it. Another year passed and this time I called him. “I sold the car two weeks ago” he exclaimed. I couldn’t believe it. He had no contact information for the new buyer… only the name of the street the guy lived on… a 7 mile long residential street that winds through a major city. I had no choice. I spent the next weekend driving up and down this street. With no expectations, my heart skipped a beat when a car cover caught my eye. Down the side of a small house, wedged tightly between a fence, the dusty cover was draped over that perfectly shaped tail fin. I knew it was my car. In a bad neighborhood, I bravely knocked on the door with no rehearsed introduction. The door opened slowly, I stammered and finally blurted out, “I used to own your ‘59 Rambler. I want to buy it back.”

Quickly, he said “No, I just got it.” Just then, I heard his wife in the back of the house yell, “SELL THAT CAR!” I smiled, handed him my business card and left. The next morning I was getting ready for work and my phone rang. “The car is yours, bring the money and pick it up tonight.” Four year’s and three owners later, I bought the car back and continue to drive it regularly.
After this experience, I will never sell this car again. And I think it has shaped me to never want to sell ANY of my classics… only expand my shop space to accommodate more.
But if I do decide to sell one, it is more important to me than ever to vet the buyer.


Very much So! Had an E30 BMW, granted just a 325e but still. Someone wanted her to be a loaner car for friends from out of town. Now, she was a rust free southern car, excellent paint, ran like a top. But a loaner?? No way! Finally after sitting on her for a few years, a young fellow saw her and knew she was a car to take care of, not modify, and save her from a day to day commuter life. He knew all the right questions, right things to look at. I knew then, she was going to the RIGHT home…


I once owned a '73 Plymouth Roadrunner , in excellent condition. I sold it to a younger man, and one week later he put it in the ditch, hit a pole and totaled it. I wish I had maybe vetted the new owner a bit better!


Sorry but I call that nonsense, If you are that passionate about a car you keep it. When you sell a car, house, pet, favorite anything it now belongs to the new owner and he or she can do what they like. When I sell anything, hopefully I get a fair price. That all I care about.


I’ve been lucky and the cars I sold went to a good home. When I bought my 94 MK VIII, I was given the 3rd degree. Found out I was the third buyer, they wouldn’t sell it to the other buyers. When I first looked at it, I drove my 95 MK VIII, and after we made the deal, I drove my CE. They knew it was going to a good home. When I drove away, following the flatbed, I saw the mom, and daughter in the window with tears in their eyes. When I got home I felt really bad, and I sent them flowers. We stay in touch still.


When I purchased my 71 Corvette roadster a couple of years ago my brother and I drove 3.5 hours on a stormy day to see the car. After spending plenty of time talking to the then current owner on the phone and working out a deal I was invited to take a look. We all got along very well and he allowed a test drive on a stormy day. We spent a couple of hours talking and I assured him that it was going to a good home. When I picked up the car we spent a couple more hours talking and when he loaded it on the flatbed he just broke into tears. So did I, a moment I will never forget. He had that car for 12 years and it was very special to him. We have kept in touch occasionally through email and as a steward of that car I will definitely vet the next owner if and when that day comes to move it. In the end you hope for the best and work toward it but ultimately it’s care is in the hands of the new owner.


I had a 1957 T-Bird for about 35 years. Over that time, I put about 250,000 miles worth of road trips on it, criss crossing North America. My main concern was keeping it mechanically sound. I was comforted knowing there was always someone along the way that could fix an old ford. After a few years I was doing it myself. I never wanted to do much cosmetic work on it because it was a highway car and I just want interested in show-and-shines. The last time I decided the 312 needed an a overhaul (in 2005) I decided to go ahead and do a complete restoration. I took a year and a half in a small garage with a wood plank floor. I finished it in time for a 50th anniversary roadtrip. After that I was reluctant to drive it because I wanted it to retain its value. After that, I thought I had all the fun I could have with that car and couldn’t bear to see it just sit in the garage except for a couple of short jaunts each summer. I finally sold it to a couple who had it shipped home 1500 miles away. It was bitter sweet and I thought my fun had come to an end. It was just a couple months later that I received a text from the buyer with pictures of the car at a show where they had won best in class! I was thrilled. They are having a blast driving and showing the car and sending me pictures. So, even after parting with the car I am still enjoying it thanks to a buyer who has the same appreciation for it that I did.


Many years ago, I was selling my beloved 1969 Jaguar E-Type and, perhaps not surprisingly, had to deal with a large number of tire-kickers and time-wasters. (One guy admitted up front that he didn’t have the money, but he’d never driven a Jag so he wanted to take it for a test drive.)

Finally I spoke to a serious buyer on the phone, and he came out to look over the car. After checking it out carefully and taking it for a ride, he said he was interested. At that point, I began asking him a few questions about his previous vehicles, experience with sports/collector cars, and his plans for the Jag.

He said, essentially, "What do you care?"
I told him I wanted to be sure it was going to a good home, and he responded:
“Bull****! You’ll sell it to the first guy who shows up with the money.”

I threw him out.