Some perspective might be in order?
Regarding eBay and other sales tools:
I think it is important to resist the temptation to place a single event in an overly important context ... particularly when we do not yet know all the details of the event.
A classified ad in a paper, whether local, national or international, is simply a tool. There can be exceptions, but generally an ad is placed by someone who has a genuine desire to part with something ... for whatever reason. Maybe money is needed? Maybe space is needed? Maybe the seller is simply wanting to "move on" for any number of reasons?
If there is not a genuine desire or need to sell, maybe the "seller" wants to determine a value for insurance purposes or to establish a value so as to use the object as collateral for some other purpose? There could be other reasons for placing an ad.
From the start, we have to acknowledge that, simply because an object is advertised, we don't know for sure that someone really wants to sell the object that has been advertised. Only when the object actually sells do we know something about the value of the item ... at that moment ... to the audience that was aware that it was for sale. A sales event that is completed successfully and is reported accurately is a snapshot in time ... but perhaps only for that unique set of circumstances?
An ad on eBay is not dissimilar from a simple classified ad. It is an advertising event, plain and simple. All the same simple and complex possibilities exist as to motivations that have already been listed above. And perhaps more. There is enhanced visibility worldwide when an ad is placed through the medium of any auction, but particularly on eBay. The seller has chosen to place the object "for sale" in front of a larger audience and has chosen to make the "sales" event competitive. Although taking the car to auction makes the sale seem transparent to a worldwide audience these days, the reality may not be as transparent as it seems. Additionally, there are potential buyers and sellers who may not wish to play by the rules of any auction. They may simply decline to "play". And there can be more complex acts (or intent) for which a "sales" event, true or not, might be deemed desirable by a seller or buyer so as to set the stage for some other event that has not yet happened? This is somewhat obtuse, I know, but no matter how creative we might try to be in order to get into the minds of other sellers and buyers, there is the possibility of just not getting it all figured out. And then, sometimes people change their minds and confuse the whole picture!
Although it is tempting to try to figure out the motivations of others, it is probably a needless complication. It is far simpler to sit back and determine what an object is worth to you personally (if you have an interest in it at all) and stick to your perceptions, wants and abilities. If you allow your acts to be motivated by what others are doing ... or seem to be doing ... there is the risk of being unhappy with the outcome.
Not all rare objects are the same, but any time a rare object sells (or does not sell) there is always the chance that it could have done "better" yesterday or tomorrow. Plain and simple!
In this case, the Siata Gran Sport SL*0217 was not absolutely "original". That was clear from the engine and transmission fitted. Other "originality" details might seem to become a bit moot at that point? Any originality issues can be fixed, but it will take time, research and patience to determine what is original for this particular car. Some details will be easy. Some details not so easy. That's just the way it is.
If someone actually bought SL*0217 for the money stated, only time will tell if it was a "bargain" or if it will become a labor of love ... or perhaps a financial loss. Hopefully, there will be some good grins in the meantime? If we really care enough to keep paying attention, we might get to know.
As an aside, I've always considered an auction, whatever kind it is, to be an unlikely way to begin a lifelong love affair with any object. If you already know the object being offered and are already in love with it, then all bets are off. Otherwise, there probably are better ways to meet and get to know the car you think you want ... before you spend money that came from other sacrifices that have either already been made or which will have to be made.
John de Boer
The Italian Car Registry