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Buying a car long distance

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  • Buying a car long distance

    I've never purchased a car long distance so not sure of the procedure. We would fly out to where car is to check it out and if I want it then what? When & how do we exchange $ and title? Then? Then have a transport pick it up later? Use an escrow service? Who? How do you all do it?

    Thank you,

  • #2
    I bought my Hawk on Ebay in California 2 years ago ( I live in Toledo). I flew out and inspected car before I gave him the certified check. Next he gave me the title which I had to take it and car to a car dealer so they could noterize that the serial number or VIN was correct. I had made arrangments for a car hauler to bring it home. Car hadn't been driven in years. Some sellers will insist that you inspect car before you bid on Ebay.



    • #3
      First, be certain what your State requires for legal transfer; some require notarized signatures, some don't.
      Ideally, you could have someone in the area who knows what they are looking at advise you as to its condition. Could save money unless you have a lot of frequent flier miles accrued.
      You want it but are not ready to drive it home? A deposit with written/signed sales agreement should hold it for an agreed period. I would never make full payment without having legal title in hand. NEVER! You want it, he has the title, you have the money? Fine. Then, he has the money and you have the title. Just make certain there are no liens.
      Then, we recommend you drive it home or call Peg Trucking.
      Last edited by rockne10; 08-24-2010, 07:21 PM.
      Brad Johnson,
      SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
      '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight. '53 Commander Starlight
      '56 Sky Hawk in process


      • #4
        I've bought several this way. Some I've had someone I knew in the area look, one I got a paid appraiser, sometimes I go myself. Mostly I ask for specific pictures, and the seller's phone number. If the pictures are sent and look OK, I call the seller. I can get a pretty accurate feel from a 5-10 minute conversation. If that goes well, I wire the money, call Peg to arrange shipping, and wait for the car. Haven't been hurt yet.

        Most expensive car I bought from eBay was my 35K mile 65 Lincoln convertible. Luckily that one was only about 4 1/2 hrs. away; I saw it on Sunday, drove to see it on Tuesday, and sniped it on Sunday. Got a Cashier's Check Monday morning and went and drove her home. Again, a big factor was the conversation/in-person talk with the seller. (Boy, do
        I miss that car...) When I sold it the first buyer flew in from TX to see it, was in love, gave me a check, and planned to arrange shipping as soon as I called to tell him the payment had cleared. Well, the check bounced; it was written on his Home Equity LOC, which had been closed by his bank without his knowledge. Before he could get it straightened out, another buyer wired me the money.

        A number of years back I almost bought a 69 Camaro Indy Pace Car off eBay. I was high bidder/no sale. Called seller and came to a price pending my inspection. Got beat out by someone not arranging a flight, just trusted the seller and pulled the trigger.

        To this day I am a proponent of acting quickly if I really want it. Mostly depends on the individual situation.
        Last edited by Bob Andrews; 08-24-2010, 07:25 PM.
        Proud NON-CASO

        I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of is a symbol of despair. ~ William McKinley

        If it is decreed that I should go down, then let me go down linked with the truth - let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.- Lincoln


        Ephesians 6:10-17
        Romans 15:13
        Deuteronomy 31:6
        Proverbs 28:1

        Illegitimi non carborundum


        • #5
          J.D., you had to have the pink slip (title from California) with you and then have an out of state inspection done here in Ohio, then they notarized that out of state inspection slip, not the title, when you got back with the car, right? I have had two cars brought back here from California within a year and neither of them had to be notarized before they left California; just signed over.

          Diane, every state has different rules, procedures & laws with which to contend. It's best to get on the internet for the state from which you are purchasing the car (and get on the correct state site, many non-official sites are on there now with other motives) and read through their expectations. Don't listen to just the state's actual laws and rules.

          If you don't want to spend the cash to fly out, get a good SDC member here with years of experience (and not an ulterior motive of their own) whom lives nearby and have them check it out before you blow your money. I'm super careful- re:near paranoid. If you are already sure of the purchase, just be smart and don't just show up with cash. Maybe just meet them first, or meet at a neutral site like a police station. If they won't go there, red flag!
          If you aren't sure of its worth yet, find a place close on your own with a hydraulic lift to get it up in the air and look underneath. Pay them for the time and their objective expertise; money well spent.

          Once you have your decision, don't give them a check, or anything, without checking out the title to see if it matches the car's serial numbers. I request all of the exchange be done after that at their bank..that way it's on cameras, safe and documented.

          We know of good transportation companies here and can guide you (Peg's Trucking) can call them ahead of time and set it up for pick up while you're there and not worry about anything missing on the car after the transaction, or take your chances and wait for a truck to pick it up on their route one day. Most auto transportation companies run east to west, north to south, every two weeks, or so. Open trailers are cheaper than the safer enclosed versions for obvious reasons. Pop for the enclosed trucks for less worries. It's worth it. Good luck.

          99% of people with Studebakers are honest people and can be trusted, but not all of them. Let's start with where are you taking it and where are you possibly buying it?
          Last edited by barnlark; 08-24-2010, 07:56 PM.


          • #6
            I bought a '54 Kaiser from Seattle (I live in southern ILLinois). I got the studebaker roster out & called a chapter out there & the contact set me up with member who was old car savvy & willing to help. He went & looked at the car & took addtional pictures to go with the ones the owner had sent to me. Based on his opinion & the photos, I pulled the trigger. I took the train all the way out there & the memberpicked me up at the station in his '52 Commander. He let me sleep on his couch while we spruced up the brakes & odds & ends so I could drive the car all the way home (i figured the worst that could happen is if I had problems, I'd have to rent a truck & trailer....but it would have still been cheaper than hiring a moving company).

            I also bought a J10 jeep truck from Kansas. I went to the full size jeep club roster & found a guy who was close who put eyeballs on the truck for me before I committed to buy. I took a grayhound bus out there & drove it home also.
            Mike sal


            • #7
              The 2 cars I am interested in are both in California and I am in Washington state. I did work as a title clerk at a car dealership for several years so I am familiar with alot of the title transfer procedures. I know Ca and Wa are not notarize states, but the Vin # will need to be verified here in Wa before titled (pain). I just worry about handing over $ and never seeing the car again. Ya know? I emailed the Stude researcher with info on both cars to verify serial and engine #'s and waiting on that. Not sure if I could buy a car sight unseen with my own eyes, that would be tough. Was hoping to go to the Bellingham meet with a new car but time is too short, plus I have my first grandbaby due that weekend and for some reason my daughter thinks it's more important. May stop by anyway for couple hours if I can get my hubby on board. I have the opposite problem as most of you; the wife is the Stude buff not the hubby.
              Thank you for all your replies,


              • #8
                Diane, where in California are these cars? I live in California and might be able to help, also I will be driving to Billingham Was. for the meet and could pull my trailer if needed, you can call me if you want Bob Peterson president of the Sequoia chapter here in the bay area 510-266-2522 time is getting short for the meet.....Bob
                Castro Valley,


                • #9
                  There you go, Diane. Can't get much better help than super Bob. Take him up on that if the car is close. Find him a quality place for a good meal in Bellingham when he gets there and you're golden!


                  • #10
                    Hi Diane,
                    I live in Australia,but can verify that for honesty and integrity, you can't go past Bob. I've had him collect and deliver cars and parts etc. for me over the last few years. Never had a problem and never will.That's Bob...true gentleman with a dry sense of humor. I love it!
                    As we Aussies say," If it can be sorted,Bob will sort it". I'm sure he can help make your purchase a pleasant experience.
                    Good luck with your purchase.


                    • #11
                      Thanks guys, just picked up a 57 golden hawk for some one in Australia and getting it to the shipper today in and out in one day...Bob
                      Castro Valley,


                      • #12

                        I'm not too sure if something has changed recently, but here's what I know~

                        Many years ago when I transfered 'Baby' to Washington- I had to get her VIN verified.
                        But last year when I transfered 'Cleo' to Washington- no inspection was required.
                        Good thing, because Cleo is still down in Cali!!!

                        Both cars had current tabs on California 'black plates' issued in 1963.
                        StudeDave '57
                        US Navy (retired)

                        3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
                        SDC Member since 1985

                        past President
                        Whatcom County Chapter SDC
                        San Diego Chapter SDC

                        past Vice President
                        San Diego Chapter SDC
                        North Florida Chapter SDC


                        • #13
                          Don't let emotion get the best of you. I saw my '64 on eBay last year and recognized it as a car I remembered from my hometown as a 'yout'. I always admired that car.

                          It was WAAAYYYYY up in upper WI, and it was winter of 2009 when it was (literally) 15 below zero up there. I couldn't find anyone in the SDC roster within 50 miles of there. I trusted photos the seller sent, although many stopped just shy of showing problem areas. Carpeting was glued down and one photo showed pulled back on driver's side, revealing only surface rust and the seller wrote, "Looks worse than it is". I bit and bought the car.

                          When I got it home, I gently pulled the carpeting back maybe two inches more than what was shown in the photo and there was significant driver's floor rust. The seller, who claimed to be a body man, later said, "I wasn't aware of that". Took me a few minutes to see that (and I'm not a body man!).

                          I still enjoy the car, but feel I was snookered on price.

                          Even if I had someone look at the car, I don't know how much laying on the floor, etc,. they'd have done in subzero weather!

                          In hindsight, I would always try to get there and look at the car myself, or at worst, get somebody in the SDC roster to go look and pay them for their time and effort.

                          Getting the car to my home was pretty easy. I googled transport cos. in WI and got a good, reliable transporter who kept me apprised of where he was, trailered the car in the correct fashion and was reasonably priced.

                          Good luck!
                          Bill Pressler
                          Kent, OH
                          (formerly Greenville, PA)
                          Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
                          Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
                          1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
                          1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
                          All are in Australia now


                          • #14
                            If "you" don't look at the car...accept any short comings the best of intentions sought to advise.....


                            • #15
                              I was interested in a 1937 Chrysler Airflow located in Oregan. I contacted JJ Auto Inspection service. They have inspectors all over the country. I retained them to do the inspection for a $275 fee. I was extremely impressed with the service. They kept me informed daily as to weather conditins to make the inspection as I wanted them to test drive the car. Thier inspection report was extensiviely detailed, over 100 close-up photographs and an appraisal of the condition and value. They valued the car at $18,000 and the seller was asking $27,000.

                              I would be happy to share the report with anyone interested to see the detail they provided.

                              Contact me if interested.