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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone purchased a car long distance? I have found a car that I would like to purchase but its in Cali and im in Florida. The seller wants 6900 for it which is 3400 more than I originally wanted to spend. Ad to that 1000 in shipping plus a ticket to fly out to see it and now I am up to 8500. Whats the safest and cheapest way to do this?
 

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My experience....

I have bought cars long distance a few times with success. To make myself feel as good as I could I made sure that the seller had references that I could speak with. I asked the sellers to take it to a mechanic (that I had chosen) to give it a once over. (I paid of course) I also asked for any and all photographs I could think of. There are many quality shippers out there.

The safest way of doing this is making sure that the car is worth it to you. Are there other cars near you that might fit the bill? If you are paying a premium for a car that is long distance...perhaps there are other cars near you (that you can see ahead of time) that might benefit from a bit more of that money you might be paying for the long distance car.

At any rate....if the car is near me...I might be able to look at it or there may be others on the BB willing to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The only other cars near me are a 1981 in really nice shape for 5500 and a 1976 that needs work.

The 76 needs tranny work , seats and a paint job. I figure atleast 4000 for all that work but it like the 81 has no rust. I could probably get it for 2500.

The long distance car is a 1974 that had some small rust in the rocker but that has been repaired. The car is in Dublin California. The area code is 925.

I really would rather have a spider with the small bumpers. If anyone is close by and could take a look at it I could pay them.

If anyone has something closer please by all means call me 786-554-6803. I really want a nice spider to keep forever.
 

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My only experience with it was the CJ-7 I bought. I drove 900 miles to upstate NY pulling a tow dolly to get it.

The seller discounted the price from $1,500 to $500 if I'd agree to buy it when I showed up. I agreed so long as it cranked and ran when I got there.

The trip cost about $300 in gas, food & lodging so I consider $800 to be the base amount I have in the CJ.

As far as titling you should just need the title from the car's home state signed over to you. Take that to your DMV and turn it in for a title in your home state. If FL has inspections then you'll have to go through that as part of the process.
 

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1) Get a Carfax or other similar way of looking at the registration history.

2) Get a bazillion high res close-up photos (at least 1mb each)--and, then remember, the car will still look worse in real life.

3) Talk with owner to get "feel" for legitimacy of deal and the car.

4)Find an alfista and/or alfa mechanic in the area who will look at the car for you (use AROC or this board to help you locate someone).

5) Have seller e-mail or fax a copy of the registration so you can verify it (no liens, legit, etc, etc)

6) If none of the above bothers you, get your finances together, get the car insured (both you and seller should have a policy on it until you take possession (i.e. transport vehicle picks it up) and bring the dough with you to visit the car.

But, most important is to remember that when you get there it's becomes very difficult to back away from the deal after you've invested all the time and effort in in #1 - #5--though, be prepared to back out as it is easier to find another car then it is to come up to your standards with the one you shouldn't have bought.

P.S. Check online with AirTran as they are usually under $100 one-way to California where you can rent a car to go see the car (don't have the owner pick you up as you'll feel obligated and can fell like you're being held hostage if you don't like the car).

I've bought several cars long distance and found it to be very stressful because of all the fraud in today's world and as well as a pain in the posterior anatomy, but you may not find one closer. On the other hand, I've learned that unless you're looking for something real special, it may well exist within driving distance of your current home. For example, I looked for almost a year for a low mileage Spdider. I one I eventually found was bit of a long distance away, but I'm happy with the decision. And, against my better judgement, I drove it the 800 miles home without an incident, though-we bonded in that journey (thanks, again, AlfaTaso)

Aside: I did get a lot of wonderful help/advice from folks here:)
 

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That's why a car on ebay is worth a lot less to me personally, because of all the associated costs involved in physically getting the car, as well as the significant risk you take dealing with so many deadbeats on ebay motors. There are so many ads that are deceptive.

That said, I bought my Spider on ebay and had a relatively good experience (although there was surface rust in the floor despite the owner's claim to the contrary. After meeting him, I don't think he was dishonest, but just one of those clueless people. But, I paid about a $1000-1500 less than I would have if the car had been local.

My son's been looking for a 80-83 E-21 BMW 320i for the last year, but the reserves that some of these owners put on decent cars is unreasonable. The rest are run-out rust buckets.
 

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A bit far....

INFANTERENE...
The car is a bit too far for me to check out...but perhaps some people in the Walnut Creek/Concord area can help you. Good luck. There is some good advice here.

T
 

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My advice, aside from what was said above:

1) Definitely find a local Alfista to go check it out (as well as a mechanic). Someone who DOES NOT know the car or someone who is WELL respected in local clubs.

2) HOLD OUT for a local car if you have any reservations. There are a large number of Spiders running around Florida and a number in Atlanta. Occasionally one pops up on eBay in MS and AL, too. These will all have led a similar life, at least as far as weather is concerned. I really can't think of any reason why you have to buy an Alfa immediately... a '70s Alfa really makes a mediocre daily driver, so if it's your only car, buy something cheap for the interim (and something you can sell with minimal loss).

I bought my Spider about 350 miles away and had a local Alfista go check it out. That and the fact that it had been serviced its entire life at a respected Alfa racing shop was sufficient for me. Now that I've owned it for a few months, I'm noticing certain things that I wish I had looked at in more detail. Still, I felt that I got a good deal and I bought an Alfa that had no immediate needs.

I also liked the compliments I got at the Indy meet and greet yesterday. :)
 

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I bought one via Ebay, and based on that experience, I'll agree with the wisdom of what's posted here so far. In particular:
- Get lots of pictures, and be prepared for it to look worse in real life.
- Make sure to have a real alfa mechanic or alfisti look at it. I paid one of those generic auto inspection services and was really disappointed with it. They were really superficial.
- Buying it sight-unseen adds shipping and inspection costs, and is a pain in the butt. But most of all, it adds risk.

Good luck.
tt.
 
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