Hooniverse Asks (Bonus Edition): What Should Be In A Car Registry?

CIMG3046

Fellow hoons, I need your input. I am helping a fellow Phaeton owner start an online Phaeton registry. It may or may not be limited to just cars in North America between model years 2004 and 2006 (3,410 units total). The question is, what should be in the registry?

So far, I’ve got 1) picture of the car, 2) VIN, 3) model year, 4) engine (V8 or W12), 5) exterior color, 6) interior color, 7) 4- or 5-seater, 8) state or zip code, and 9) miscellaneous comments (like prior owners).

What am I missing? Feel free to be as smart alecky or as helpful as you want. Thanks in advance!

P.S. And for the three of you who are following my Phaeton ownership adventures, I found two buttons behind the steering wheel last weekend. One turns off the lights that illuminate the buttons on the steering wheel. The other one operates the heated steering wheel.

Image source: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Jim Yu

33 Comments

  1. Condition. Is it complete? Operable? A parts car? Confirmed destroyed? This should be specifically requested information, not relegated to the miscellaneous comments. In particular, cars that are known to have been destroyed should be included in the registry as such.
    This may seem like less of an issue for cars that are only a few years old but it will become important over the long run.

  2. Speed in which the ash trays open?
    Agree to 'destroyed?'
    I registered my Bullitt with the IMBOC and when I sold it as-was after a major wreck the registry reflected it.
    I was under the impression the car was going to be rebuilt. If any new owner checked the registry against Bullitt Number they would see it had been severely damaged and repaired.

    1. I'm going to second this. However, it should be a multiple choice text field, with entries like: "grr", "the baby jesus has cried", "☭©°☢∞☠ you guys", "gallons of baby jesus tears", "seriously, ☭€°©☠☢ you guys" and so on.

  3. Maybe add mileage at a certain date, most of the info you would find on a CarFax search.
    Amount spent on repairs? Recalls completed? Weird electrical faults observed?

    1. Amount spent on repairs should be measured in something more interesting than dollars. Example: "Amount spent on transmission rebuild: 4 Jettas"

  4. Precious days left in factory warranty? Sorry, but after hearing what the (thankfully covered) transmission repair cost was to my brother's W8 Phaeton was, people need to know!

    1. Or possibly have the actual DB entry be 'date of warranty expiry' and then have the registry automatically calculate days until expiration. This number should be displayed as a negative after it's out of warranty.

  5. I run the Saab 9-2x registry after being gifted a nearly complete VIN list from a fellow owner. These cars were '05-'06 only, came in two trim levels and equipped with just a handful of options packages, 7 colors/year and one interior color, so there are only so many combinations to be had. I have nearly 1,000 cars tracked at this point, which is about 10% of the total production amount. More than enough to make certain statistical analyses of color/option/trim breakdowns.
    Tracking location is not necessarily useful, nor a metric that is helpful on a registry. Destroyed or rebuilt cars are also next to impossible to keep up with, as they fall off the radar quickly and occasionally the owner's guilt over wrecking the car prevents it from being reported to the registry at all. Pictures are a 'nice-to-have' feature, but again, the data you collect will tell you just as much as the 18th picture of a Black Phaeton.
    I'd personally stick to the basics – VIN, model year, engine, int/ext color, seat count. I don't know enough about the Phaeton to say if there are other 'standards' that can or should be tracked. Keep it impersonal (i.e. no names or locations). Use MS Excel for the data storage as well – there are lots of powerful tools and functions that will allow you to data mine once your sample set is big enough.
    I can tell you this, however – getting vehicle information out of owners (no matter how rabidly obsessed they are with the car) is like pulling teeth. An open request for registry submissions is often met with tin foil hat conspiracy theories and thoughts that I will steal their lives via their VIN.

    1. Tell them that you want the information in order to help preserve a complete record of "the last real Saab." That approach already seems to work well for the owners of every other model in the company's history.

          1. Yup, the owner of that sticker would really get a bee in his bonnet if you called a 9-2x a "real Saab."
            Sorry, I'm getting really abstruse. I'll knock it off.

    2. latecomer to thread, but where is said registry hosted? i have an '05 9-2x myself.
      debates about real 'saabiness' aside, it does encompass many of the brand's great qualities, but in a slightly more economical/reliable/useful package….now if only i could find one of those trollhattan stickers.

  6. Registries can present a bit of a conflict of interest for current owners, because in many cases you are asking them to provide details which would tend to lower the resale value. You also get a few tinfoil hat types who think someone will use their VIN to forge ownership documentation and then steal the car. It might make a difference which details you request if the registry is available for viewing by anybody with a web browser or if it has members-only access.
    If you are able to get the information, I'd suggest including:
    Original selling dealership & location
    Significant modifications (such as upgraded entertainment systems, performance parts, custom paint or interiors, etc.)
    Service history (be sure to leave a lot of room for answers)
    Date acquired by current owner, plus odometer reading at acquisition
    Current odometer reading (with date; this record might not be updated very frequently)
    A favorite personal story featuring the car (Something like "I bought this car after graduation and spent the next 3 months crisscrossing around the country until my job started" or "I met my wife because she worked at the VW dealer where I bring my car for its weekly repairs")
    Other vehicles in the owner's fleet.

  7. We've got a registry going for USDM Galant VR4s. I'm not actively part of it, but I appreciate the value.
    If you know how many vehicles were sold, you might be able to source a complete list of VINs. Start there. Also, encourage owners/participants to let you know when their cars are sold, stolen, or otherwise destroyed.
    I'd also suggest pressing people for purchase/sales price. When the mouth-breather in the 90s GM product with gaudy, chrome wheels and ricer tail lights clips your prized possession, and the we-don't-engage-in-value-setting (but-we-are-the-primary-source-of-income-for-the-"independent"-organizations-we-use-who-do) insurance carrier says your baby is worth third what it would take you to replace it, you'll want that data.
    I just sent a 1000+ word email to a fellow GVR4 owner advising him steps to take to prove his 1-of-only-3008 vehicle is worth more than the $800 estimate the other guy's insurance company got from a clueless used car sales manager who's never actually seen one.
    Kudos to you for stepping up to serve your gearhead community, sir. We need more enthusiasts with your level of dedication.

  8. for something like a Phaeton, unusual factory options like refrigerator would be worth tracking.

  9. I know personally of two 2004 W-12 models that have gone to the crusher. They were unsold 2004 models that were sent to us at UTI's Volkswagen Academy in late 2005. Both still had their MSRP stickers, one with a list of 95K the other, which had every concieveable option, listed at 125K. When the school closed the program, both of these and 29 other VW's went to the crusher. Heartbreaking….

      1. I dont know if there are any pictures or not. One of my co-workers was charged with photo-documenting the crushing of all the cars, and I know she has movies of a Touareg and a Routan being shredded posted on her Facebook account. I'll check with her and get back to you ASAP. Also, Im pretty sure the same thing happened at the UTI campus in Pennsylvania. They were supposed to have received a couple of Phaetons also. The story behind the cars was that they were unsold stock. As you know they were a sales failure, and VW had hundreds, if not thousands, left sitting in holding lots. They gave a couple to the UTI campus' just to get rid of them. When we received them, they had obviously been sitting for many months, as they were covered in dirt, leaves and spider webs.

  10. Are you willing to give out of town visitors rides in your awesome cut-rate Audi when they an a four hour layover in your city? I think that's a GREAT category to include…

  11. Looks like you've covered the basics. I'd probably be wary of including location information more specific than the state.
    A good example of how to do an online registry is one I found a few years ago at the MG Experience website – http://www.mgexperience.net/registry/ . It has a few interesting features, such as the ability to search by model or by date added to the registry, a 'Top 25' voted by visitors, a slideshow function, and a 'For Sale' section.

    1. I think state (or country if in Europe, if you are doing the international thing) is a good place to draw the line with location. I think having some detail there provides useful information- for the gee-whiz factor, if nothing else. And I would open it up for owners to provide city or zip code, if they felt comfortable and wanted to, but I'd definitely try and get the state at the very least.
      Also, be prepared for this to get frustrating and tiring. Not to get you down or anything, just so you go into it with an honest idea of what you'll be doing. My dad maintained a registry for 71-74 Javelin AMXs for a while, and he got absolutely sick of it after 4 or 5 years. I think it was just the time draw- he got tired of putting time into it. But he passed it off to another willing enthusiast, and as far as I know it's still going strong. So maybe keep in mind any owners who are particularly enthusiastic- peg them in the back of your mind as potential people to take over should you ever get tired of running it.

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