When do you pounce on a car? Follow your gut


After 35 years of buying cars, I realize there are three basic ways of responding to an ad or a tip on a car for sale. The first is gathering information (talking with the seller, getting a description, asking for additional photos, etc). The second is going to see the car yourself, perhaps culminating in an agreement to buy the car and leaving a deposit. The third is what I call the full pounce. This is where you drop everything and drive directly there—with cash in your pocket and a trailer behind your truck—leaving no chance for someone else to buy it. Which option you choose depends heavily on the car in question and how badly you want it, plus your personal situation at the time.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/12/03/when-to-buy-a-car


My wife always tells me that “There’s always a good deal” and she’s right. I determine what I want first, plan what I’m willing to spend on it, then go find one, which could take years. If I looked for random good deals, my backyard would be filled with cars. That said, I always go for the full pounce. Anything less means I don’t really want it. Once your standing there, with cash in hand, you must also be willing to walk away if you’re not going to be happy buying the car. Thanks for the article!


@drm101 - I fall in the same camp as you. I have a check list and if the car checks all the boxes it is full pounce right away. If it leaves a box or two open, I wait. I have only had to kick myself once or twice, which is livable.


Great story Rob. Thanks for sharing. I will use this advice in the future I’m sure…


Great article Rob. There’s a fourth though. The crazy car guy way. You speak to the owner, you see photos, and on that basis, buy the car sight unseen, sending money directly into the sellers bank account. Yes, it takes trust. Did this a few times for cars that were to far to go visit or that I really really wanted. So far, only one bad surprise, and one I can live with.


Great read! Rob I have my :eye: on a automatic 2002 74
And I’m ready to pounce . My left clutch/hip/foot says yes. My Boston SoWa lifestyle says run.
Besides I feel Grizelda will start acting up again…when I bring another car :red_car: home. :woozy_face:Dez.


One note of caution should probably be added. When you get that ‘‘hinkey’’ feeling, walk away. If it’s something the seller says or something about the vehicle that leaves you wondering if it’s REALLY the right deal, walk away. Nine out of ten times your feeling is on the money, but your brain just says, “I want it!” Listen to your gut. You won’t lose anything by walking away, but you gain the freedom to make a better choice on another day. You also get to shop some more, and isn’t that most of the fun?!


More often than not, that burning urge to pounce on a car nets me a car I regret owning, and invariably end up taking a loss on. But, I get the experience, and as I’ve heard stated “I’m not interested in collecting classic cars; I’m interested in collecting classic car EXPERIENCES”. The recent '77 Toronado is one I wish I’d pounced on. Butt-ugly yes, but so weird and funky I think it would have been fun.


@gottaroll32 - Solid advice there. Did you learn that from experience like me? Wish I would have taken the advice from someone rather than having to learn it with my own money.


Wow, so I am in great company then! See an ad, just test the water, guy doesn’t do emails and I do not get anywhere with his phone # . End up chasing down his son who puts me onto Dad. Talk for 45mins, great guy who also is into bikes as well. He lives 2 hrs from me so set up the following tuesday to check it out. Calls me back Saturday with news of a hot to trot buyer (in full pounce ). I have already a car waiting but this 55 Tbird could go to my kids space. Built a garage but it’s full of motorcycles and the Model A. Stick to the plan my brain says. Maybe I could ride down on Sunday to check it out- the guy says I can have first refusal. Sunday is full of promises to do everything else except buy another car. I stick to the plan (the other car that is waiting at the border). I tell the seller to sell it to the first guy with the money. If it is still there on Tuesday I will be there. On Monday coming home from work I see the 55 Tbird at an intersection, bright red with the top down- driver with a big smile it seemed. Somebody got a great deal. Maybe next Saturday…:slight_smile: