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6-17-09 - Selling a piece of junk

My car can be yours.- dc

This link originally went to this notice I put up on Craig's List:

1996 Toyota Camry fixerupper $350

That's 350 or best offer. Beat Pick n Pull's offer of $251. Body in bad shape - was hit several times - front right fender missing, front bumper held on with bungee cords - some small dents on the sides. No radio. Water pump went out. I've driven it without the water pump a few times - just stop to rest when it starts getting hot. It's at the top of a mountain so it's all downhill to Santa Rosa via Grange Rd. to Bennett Valley Rd. or Cotati or Rohnert Park via Crane Canyon Rd. to Petaluma Hill Rd. It's gone 218,000 miles. The hinge on the little console between the seats is broken and I stole the oil cap for another Camry. Other than that the interior is fine. The tires and spare are good. All lights working. Brakes fine. Was running fine when the water pump went out. It can be fixed up or used as parts. And you come get it. Free tea or orange juice with purchase. I'll try to get some cell phone photos up tomorrow. - David

Originally I'd put it up for $252. I immediately got several responses. One from "Go Hard Like Viagra" who asked for my phone number. I didn't give it, asked if this was a sales gimmick and said that name didn't inspire confidence. No response. Then Darlene's brother David Cohen suggested I ask for 350 cause you can always go down. He also told me to look out for offers that looked too good to be true.

A while back I was gonna let a junk yard take my car from a shop I use - they said if I did it I'd have to pay $75 but they'd do it for free - just have to give them a signed pink slip. But I kept it for a while cause there was some hope then someone suggested Pick n Pull would by it and when they offered 251 I put it on Craig's List  with what I thought of as full disclosure. No wonder the shop was being so kind.

I put those interested on hold to see what happened and then got an email from a mechanic offering $400 cash. I remembered what David had said and reviewed Craig's List's warnings - mainly to deal with local people and take no cashier's checks or money orders. So I called the guy and he said he'd be right out with a tow truck. Later he called and said a friend was coming. That sent up a 2nd red flag - change of plan is a common part of a scam - the first red flag was offering more than I'd asked for.

I had some time so I washed the car and cleaned out the interior and put the Toyota manuals etc in the glove box and since it was dark turned on plenty of lights. I had a moment of sentimentality. I'd always wanted one of these gold Camrys. Then my neighbor bought one. I told her husband one day that I didn't covet my neighbor's wife, just his wife's car. One day when it was just a few years old, he walked over and told me he'd give it to me for $9200. I checked Blue Book and they listed it as worth at least $13,000. (This guy was always so good to me. Gotta tell about him someday.) I called up Discovery Card and they immediately gave me $10,000 at a permanent low interest rate. I sold my 1985 Toyota for $400 worth of antique Indian jewelry that lasted as Xmas and other gifts for years. I had that great car for nine years and hardly anything ever went wrong. At the time the water pump went out it was mainly Clay's. Like it says in the add, I could drive it without water, just had to stop and let the engine cool off after ten minutes (less going uphill). I'm readying Don Quixote and have fantasized about writing a Don Quixote like story where the protagonist drives a car like this across the country, or intends to, and there would be all sorts of adventures at the frequent stops.

A nice young couple from China drove up and looked my dear Camry over. He was a mechanic. He gave me 4 x 100 dollar bills with differing serial numbers (David had told me to look for that), I signed and gave him the pink slip and the sole surviving key. He said he'd come back today with a tow truck and that I didn't have to be here.

It was not longer mine. It took two days to sell. Great. I had $11 in the bank. I didn't realize what I had in the carport. I learned something about cars that seem worthless and thought it might be helpful to you someday.

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