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April 14 Weekly Open Thread: Selling cars - tips, tricks, and any wisdom you have

Honda Civic Caravan

Ever sold a car?  Had good luck with it?  I need your wisdom.  I find myself in the unique position of needing to sell not one, but two cars.  Neither are remarkable unfortunately.  I have a 1996 Honda Civic (wife's) and a 2001 Dodge Caravan (mine) that we've replaced with a 2001 Subaru Outback (wife's) and a 1995 Ford Ranger (mine).  We thought we'd sell them last Fall, but with an early winter, busy schedule, and my own general laziness, it didn't happen.  I asked about this to a degree this past Fall here on the blog, but was hoping for some new and perhaps final wisdom before I take the plunge and get in the market.

I've never sold a car. Or any vehicle.  I scrapped my last one - The Homer.  We sold the body of Bob the Impala for a demolition derby car, but still have the motor.  All of my other vehicles were work vehicles (I used to drive 45-55K a year for work) or vehicles that went to other family members, with the exception of my 1978 Corolla that was also scrapped.

Both of the vehicles are high mileage with some rust.  Interiors are clean, and I'm willing to be honest about their warts (insert oil every XXXX miles...).  We have a pretty good set of records on both, and both vehicles we were second owners on.  Both run just fine - particularly the Honda.  It might have another 200K in it mechanically if the body doesn't rust off the frame first.

Both vehicles have sat over the winter.  One at the end of my driveway, one in front of the garage at church. I've kept both batteries charged, and have run the motors for extended periods as well as cycled the transmissions through gear changes (primarily just in the parking lot) each month to keep the fluids moving.

I'm not asking a ton - probably $1200 for the Honda and a cool $1000 for the Caravan.  If I could squeeze a few hundred more out of each I'd be truly ecstatic.  The difference between $2200 and $2600 is pretty signficiant for our family budget.

Craigslist isn't really a good options, though I'll try it (we're a small, rural town in Southern Minnesota). We don't have a consignment lot in town.  Any "parking" place with traffic will require I move the vehicle(s) regularly so they don't get towed.

So what's the secret?  They'll be as clean as I can get them.  Carpets and seats have been scrubbed. Wording in advertisement?  Locations where they'll sell better?  Prayer?  What's it take?!?

And this is also the place for any other automotive words of wisdom that you may have.

--Big Chris

December 30 Weekly Open Thread--I got an Avanti for Christmas!

"Hawaiian Eye"....sponsored by Studebaker!I've wanted an Avanti ever since I first saw one in the parking lot of the shorthole golf course near my house sometime in the early seventies. It's been a running joke in the family for years: "What do you want for Christmas?" "An Avanti: R2 engine, four speed, turquoise." Every Christmas morning, I get teased: "Sorry, no Avanti this year."

So imagine the shock this Christmas when the kids led me into the garage...and there it was, under a car cover: an Avanti!

Not just any old Avanti, either, but a genuine Studebaker, 1963, with the supercharged engine, and a 4-speed stick shift.

As you'll see from the pictures after the jump, it's a bit of a project car and it's going to require a lot of work, but the upside is the pieces are all there and it came with a detailed set of instructions.

Continue reading "December 30 Weekly Open Thread--I got an Avanti for Christmas!" »

Car Lust Classic: Santa Claus' Sleigh

Santa's sleigh Car LustWhat an amazing vehicle! Used only once a year, this marvelous machine travels at infinite light speeds, delivering a massive quantity of packages unparalleled by any other transport device ever conceived by humankind. It's quite stealthy, too! No actual photos of the sleigh are known to exist--the image here on the right was compiled by an artist from dozens of witnesses' descriptions.

The owner of this airborne transcontinental transport device, a Mr. Santa Claus, registers it at his home at The North Pole. He lives there with his wife, and they tend to a small but talented herd of reindeer; a herd that not only has the ability to propel this craft and its contents through the nighttime sky, but also can achieve quick and safe take-offs and landings. One particular reindeer named "Rudolph" reportedly has a unique ability to brighten the evening skies with an illuminated proboscis. The herd stays in shape all 12 months of the year, as their annual one-night, global circumnavigational mission is quite physically taxing, to say the least.

Continue reading "Car Lust Classic: Santa Claus' Sleigh" »

Selling Used Cars

20131102_152638I find myself at a unique place in life, a first for me.  I have to sell a car.  Two in fact.  Well, one is a van, but you get the idea.

Thankfully, neither are lust worthy vehicles (in my mind at least).  I have a 1996 Honda Civic with 285K miles and a 2001 Dodge Caravan with 260K miles.  Both run well still, and the Honda in particular has had quite a bit of recent upkeep (new timing belt & water pump, new tires, some other stuff) because we thought we'd keep it another year. But the right car came along to replace it, so I now have to move something.

The question I raise to you today is what is the best way to sell a used vehicle (quickly for a high price!)?  I purchased a used truck once from a dealer.  That's the whole sum of my experience in this realm.  Craigslist is the obvious starter, but my dillema is that I live in a small town in Southern Minnesota where the nearest town (Mankato) with its own Craigslist is 30 miles away.  We don't have a consignment lot, and I'm not sure that either of these well used vehicles would do well there anyhow.  I'd consider donating them, but I don't need any more tax write-off (and it isn't close).

What have you done, or if you haven't sold, what experience do you have on the purchasing side?

Further, what ways do you need to prep the vehicle(s)?  I hand shampooed the carpets in the Honda as they had never been done.  I hit a few spots on the seats as well.  Everything was shined up and I've washed the car.  I'd consider wax, but wax is wasted on this paint.  It's a black car, so should I spray paint some of the rear wheel rust spots that every Honda develops?

Words of advice?  Recommendations?  I'd like to sell them sooner rather than later, so I'm motivated.  Because the snow is coming.

--Big Chris

"Study Hall" Drawings (Episode Three, Part One)

Folks, are we in for a treat today! Loyal Car Lust reader and commentor Bill Thompson sent in so many amazing "study hall" sketches that, to do them justice, we'll do two posts. And incredibly, he did all of these sketches freehand! 

He said they were all done in high school, from 1984-1987. And Mr. Thompson's tastes seem to focus on classic designs and construction, but with a modern flavor. Though they would have probably been built in the Decade Of Conspicuous Consumption, many of these vehicles would have looked right at home during the Roaring Twenties.

He also was kind enough to write a narrative about each submission, which is included under each sketch. So without any further "to do," please feast upon the magnificence of Mr. Thompson's delicious drawings:


BT 7

Continue reading ""Study Hall" Drawings (Episode Three, Part One)" »

"Study Hall" Drawings (Episode Two)

Car Lust continues its series on "study hall" drawings, following a superb submission from Tigerstrypes. Another post with similar sketches is coming soon, and if anybody else has some to contribute, we'll gladly put a post together with your designs as well.

This time, we're featuring the artwork of Paulo Rebordão. He says the first two renderings were from 1983-84; the rest are from 1990. From cars to specialty vehicles to a two-wheeler, he has covered the automotive spectrum quite nicely:


I see a French influence here, maybe leaning toward Renault.

Continue reading ""Study Hall" Drawings (Episode Two)" »

"Study Hall" Drawings (Episode One)

(Submitted by Car Lust occasional contributor Tigerstrypes)

As soon as I saw That Car Guy (Chuck)’s post on High School "Study Hall" Drawings, I knew I was gonna like it. I liked it even more when he said that we were able to submit some of our own pieces. Being that I’ve used some of my old work to highlight and personalize my posts –not to mention that Chuck used some two of them for his announcements for this theme, which I’m grateful, BTW-, I knew I had to contribute.

Also, being that Chuck stated that the ‘High School’ in High School "Study Hall" Drawings was a general term, this meant that there was some searching to do for righteous candidates from not only High School, but also Middle School and Elementary School, too. Here’s some:


Continue reading ""Study Hall" Drawings (Episode One)" »

June 17 Weekly Open Thread: More "Study Hall" Drawings

GMC Safari VanLast week, we Car Lust automotive designers doodlers presented a couple of high school "Study Hall" drawings for your amusal and perusal. We're hoping to do a presentation with a bunch of these in an upcoming post, and need your help with this historic deed.

Any vehicular rendering is welcome. Planes, trains, trucks, wheelbarrows, rickshaws, whatever. Also, something was said about customized erasers, and they are invited as well.

So please forward any artwork images to the office at:, or send them on to me at Maybe we can put something together for a post around the 4th of July.

Batmobile in Franklin 2On an unrelated note, somebody in my home town has purchased one of the original TV Batmobiles. It has been seen driving around town and was also spotted at a local car show. I hope to see the car in person soon, meet the new Bat-owner, and do a follow-up story.

And as usual, this is also the place for any fair discussions on anything else even remotely automotive related.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credits: The "Study Hall" drawing is courtesy of Tigerstrypes; the Batmobile Bat-picture was taken by my friend Kelly Harwood on his Bat-cell phone.

June 10 Weekly Open Thread: High School "Study Hall" Drawings

006We've all done it. Let's admit it.

And while cleaning out the attic a few days ago, I found some of mine... the old high school study hall car and truck drawings. Survivors of decades of heat, cold, arid air, and neglect.

They weren't plentiful... I'm sure more are around somewhere. In fact I remember at least two more sheets of these developmental designs. And they do give a period insight, having been scribbled in the early to mid 1970s.

004My car was called the Targa Cheetah, being the fastest car on the planet, and it had electrically-operated sliding roof panels. The car was available in either the 2-Door Sport Model or a 4-Door Luxury Landau. I was later quite saddened when I found out Lamborghini was going to use my car's name on a truck.

The Targa roof style always had me enamored, but it took almost 40 years to write about it. And when Aston Martin copied my straight-lined beauties for their Lagonda... well, the case was gonna be in court for years.

Continue reading "June 10 Weekly Open Thread: High School "Study Hall" Drawings" »

Pictured above: This is a forlorn Chevy Vega photographed by reader Gary Sinar. (Share yours)

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