Thursday, August 2, 2012

There Are Still Good People in the World - in Des Moines, Iowa

Occasionally I hustle a few cars on eBay. I usually charge 10% to list and manage the sale. We have had some pretty wild stories over the years. There was the 1932 Ford Coupe that Grandpa John bought for $20,000 and we sold it for over $48,000. That was the closest I have ever come to him kissing me as an adult. When we found out he didn't have to pay taxes on it he cried (tears of joy).

There have been ups and downs with the economy so I have stopped listing stuff lately. Grandpa John turned up a 1963 LeMans recently that belonged to our friend Butch who died three years ago. I had seen the car when he was working on it, but had forgotten it was still in the garage of his widow Shirley.

So we agreed to sell it for Shirley. She had a local offer of $12,000 for it and I thought we could do better. Most people from KC are cheap (like us) and won't pay east coast or west coast prices. We wanted Shirley to get the most possible so we put it online.

It ended up selling for $16,900 to a man in Des Moines, Iowa. He came down to look at it and he was just the person we were looking for. He was the right age and had a nice vehicle and a Goodguys hat on. After a few years of doing this you learn to recognize the type of buyer you are looking for. If some is asking you if the air conditioner blows cold on an old car they are generally not the right person. That is a question for a late model used car purchase. Cold air conditioning is not a deciding factor on an antique car.

So the buyer came down after the auction ended and paid for the car. I kept $900 from the price and gave Shirley a discount on my usual commission. Butch was always nice to me since I was a kid and she is a good person. I went home and gave Grandpa John $100 and gave Abby $200 leaving me $600 for the Marlin 336 rifle I had been wanting.

A week later, as I was polishing my new stainless lever-action cowboy rifle, I got a call from Grandpa John. "You are never going to believe this. The man who bought the LeMans got it home and decided it was such a nice care he felt it was really worth $20,000. So he sent Shirley another $3,100 to make up the difference."

He was right, I couldn't believe it. That was like something out of a corny movie. I was really surprised. That is the first time that has ever happened in my 41 years of wheeling and dealing (Grandpa John made me bargain for my dinner as an infant. He claimed it built character).

So there are a few good people in the world. Not many, but one of them is in Des Moines, Iowa. I hope he enjoys the LeMans. It really is a nice old car. Butch would be happy to see it with the new owner.