My 1986 Jaguar XJ6 was a fun car to own. I think it’s one of the all-time great sedan designs. The interior was comfortable. And having a Chevy V8 under the hood certainly didn’t hurt the ownership experience. Still, during my few years with the car, I only put a few thousand miles on it. Rather than have it sit around, I figured the time was right to move it on to the next owner, and to get it there I wanted to test out one of the online auction houses. So I sold my car on CarsandBids.com.
Before we dive into the process, I want to say that nothing about this was sponsored. I never spoke to Doug Demuro (owner of C&B) before listing my car or anything like that. The reason I chose Cars and Bids is that I like the engagement of the comment section on the listings, my car seemed to fit the mold for the type of car that would do well enough over there, and there’s no cost to a seller to list your vehicle.
To kick start the process, I reached out to a photographer friend named Mike Villa. He typically shoots weddings but I know he has a good eye and is skilled at what he does, and he also likes things that go vroom. We set a day and time, I cleaned up the car, and he set to work snapping the pics.
Once I had my photos, I went to C&B and clicked on the Sell a Car button at the top of the page. Once you do that, you have to enter some basic info on the car, provide a few photos, and then submit your vehicle for review. I got an answer back fairly quickly, which I believe is because the car is somewhat interesting. Cars and Bids said they’d be happy to list the car, which means I then needed to fill out more information, provide a lot more photos, and also provide some video clips if I could.
Cars and Bids assign someone to your account for the duration of the listing. You can interact with them via a chat window on the C&B site. The response times are great. And within a week, they had a draft of my listing ready for me to review. From there, it’s a matter of approving your listing, making sure all your stuff is uploaded, and then C&B works to figure out a day and time to start your listing. Typically these roll out in the morning in half-hour increments and then the auction runs for a week. And it’s a good idea to be available to answer and any all questions that arise in the comments.
I’ll be honest in that I was incredibly nervous to sell this car via an auction. Not because I put it out there with No Reserve price or anything like that, but because I wanted to make sure I listed the car as accurately as possible. It’s easy to walk through every bit of the good and bad with a buyer when you do it in person. Over the Internet though? I had a bit of anxiety that I would miss something.
Interestingly, though, I did have someone reach out and say they were local and would love to see the car in person. I was happy to oblige. And not long after, a father and his son were eyeballing the Jag up close. We fired it up and they drove it up and down the block. When they came out, I could tell them that the antenna for the radio doesn’t work, which is something I forgot to mention in the listing since I only play music through my phone. I could talk about the scratches a foster dog put into a fender when he got scared in the garage. And I could more easily talk about all of my personal joys and frustrations with this machine. It was great to see them smile when giving the car a closer look.
The real action, of course, happens on that final day and often in that final hour of your listing. Going into the last day, I was already sitting at a number I could be fine with in terms of dollar amount. I paid $6,000 for the car, originally. Right away I had to fix an issue with the cooling fans not turning on and then I had the AC system fixed. I swapped on the BBS wheels, which cost me about $1,200 if I remember correctly and then I also put on fresh Vredestein tires which were given to me for free. So with the auction sitting north of $5,000, I felt ok with losing a bit but not seeing the car sell for $1,000 or something like that.
Then it started to rise.
Bids get coming in and soon the Jag was sitting around $10k. I couldn’t believe it. My wife asked why I was yelling at no one here at my desk in my garage. I tried to explain what was happening. But the bids continued to climb. Eventually, the bidding stopped… at $14,000. My jaw was on the floor.
Behind the scenes, C&B quickly provides you with the contact information for the winning bidder and they provide a checklist for next steps. I was a bit surprised but rather happy to find that the listed contact number was the same one of the father who came along with his son to look at the car. And the car is for the son, who is excited about the adventure that comes with owning a Jaguar. Never has a sentence been more bang on, yet also gives me a happy feeling that they know what they’re in for.
They asked if they could pick the car up later in the week with a cashier’s check in hand. I said that would be perfect. So when the day arrived, I wiped down any dust, pulled the car into the driveway, and had the keys, original wheels, all of the paperwork from the engine swap, and anything else I could think of, ready to go.
I waved goodbye to the new owner… and immediately started typing various terms into the search bar on Craigslist and FB marketplace. I haven’t purchased anything yet. But I’m definitely looking.
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