Parts car or Project car?
Awhile back, I drove to New York in hopes of buying a Datsun 240z that was ‘rough around the edges’. A well-meaning guy put his Datsun 280z on Craigslist as a near-complete project car, but when I arrived I found that the entire floorpan was gone, the fenders were swiss cheese, and there really wasn’t anything worth re-using. It was described on the phone as a solid shell with some rust and some fiberglass filler, but that description was completely inaccurate.
I was led to believe that the shell was repairable, with a turbocharged l28e motor. The motor was a bonus add-on since I had other plans for the engine bay of this, but it turned out to be a complete hack-job anyway.
So, on to the point of the article: What are you selling?
If it’s trustworthy, registered, and legal, it’s a daily driver. They’re pretty straightforward to buy and sell. This is the kind of car you’d recommend to a non-mechanical person (someone who may know how to check their tire pressure, but that’s the extent of their maintenance abilities).
A project car has a clean title and is in running condition, but is not entirely ready to be a daily driver. A project car typically has several modifications, several of which are incomplete. Project cars generally sell for roughly half what they would sell for as a Daily Driver. In many cases, a project car can be registered and driven away. In most cases, it’ll need a new battery or fresh tires, or possibly even a brake job to make it roadworthy. If there are more un-installed parts than there are installed parts, it falls into the next category.
Parts cars almost always fall into one of two categories. Either it’s a solid shell or it’s a donor vehicle. To make use of a parts car, you’ll need a matching shell.
If you need lots of parts from a particular model, you may scavenge the donor vehicle and sell what’s left on a site like Parting Out.
Please be clear when you post vehicles, whether they’re on Craigslist, eBay, or online forums. Take good pictures, be factual in your descriptions (your opinions are irrelevant to the buyer), and always be willing to negotiate. Show pictures of typical rust areas, get a picture of the major components (engine, transmission, and rear differential if applicable), and gather up as many receipts as you own for documentation.