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Can I drive it every day?


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Look, you guys know I'm a big proponent of driving your cars and using them as intended. I do drive my old cars daily whenever possible. However, I don't think I'm being a hypocrite here. This latest example of adults without brains is exactly why my patience is shot and my energy is gone and my interest in cars is plummeting. Yes, I frequently get the question, "Can I drive it daily?" on cars we're selling, which I typically take to mean, "Is it reliable?" I usually say yes with the caveat that it's an old car and will require commensurately more maintenance and tinkering than a modern car. That's why there were full-service gas stations and why tune-ups, valve jobs, ring jobs, and other labor-intensive processes were part of a regular car's life cycle. Go in with your eyes open, but yes, old cars can be made to be daily-driver reliable.

 

So we recently sold this car:

 

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A relatively normal transaction, although the guy used some kind of farm equipment bank to lend him the money to buy it. Whatever. He did ask about daily driver reliability, and I told him it was probably as good as such cars could be, but there's certainly a reason why MGs (and other British cars) have the reputation they do.

 

Today he calls and says he likes the car but he can't get insurance for it. What?!? How about Hagerty? JC Taylor? Grundy? State Farm? Literally any insurance company that insures old cars should have no problem with an MG TD.

 

Ah, here's the rub: this guy really does intend to drive this car every day. In Rhode Island. In January. And no, he doesn't have any other cars. This will be his only car. Seriously? If someone asked me to name the worst possible cars that you could still technically drive every day, I'd probably get to an MG before I was out of fingers on my first hand. No windows, no heater, no defroster, marginal wipers, marginal lighting, tiny taillights, and 60 horsepower with tepid performance, never mind the total lack of safety equipment and the Impale-O-Matic steering column. Oh, and it's small enough to become little more than bug splatter on the front of a modern Dodge Ram, which will plow through an MG without even scratching the bumper. Are you INSANE? Hell, three days of driving that thing in high-speed commuter traffic on sunny days would make me give it up, but trying to make it work in a New England winter?!? WTF dude? Like, the BIGGEST of WTF?s for you.

 

I have to take the car back and refund his money, right? That's what he's asking me to do. I can't leave him out there like that. Even a light fender bender in this car could be fatal. No mainline insurance company in the world would insure that. It's like trying to get them to issue life insurance when you tell them your full-time hobby is sticking your head in the oven and inhaling the fumes.

 

This is only the latest edition of how we have to constantly protect grown adults from their own stupidity and it's friggin' exhausting. This waterhead just cost me a bunch of money and hurt the marketability of the car, all because he was so stupid as to think this would be a good way to get around town in today's world.

 

Am I being unreasonable? Is this even remotely a sane choice for winter transportation? I hear all kinds of stories about MGs in awful weather, but it's usually connected to "The worst driving experience I ever had," and remembered with fondness only because it's over, the way I tell amusing anecdotes about remembering getting my wisdom teeth yanked out of my head with pliers because it was 35 years ago.


Feh.

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I wouldn't take the car back. You can't fix stupid but you can teach it  a lesson. 

 

Sorry you have to go through this. 99 percent of car collectors are great, logical people. Unfortunately, the 1 percent that fall into the category of your MG buyer stand out.

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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Back in my misspent youth I was sports car crazy.  And of course dead broke. This lead to a progression of Triumphs, Sunbeams, Fiats, including a TR-3 that I drove for a while in a Chicago winter.  I spent more time outside in the snow and cold trying to keep them running so I could go to work the next day than I did anything else.  And this was when they were 10-15 years old.   I cannot even imagine the trials of keeping one going year round today. And just the handling differences might get the guy killed in the first snowfall. If you do buy it back you might keep the guy alive thus making the inevitable Darwinian selection later in the persons life  

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18 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:


A relatively normal transaction, although the guy used some kind of farm equipment bank to lend him the money to buy it.

⬆️‘s the part that caught my eye. When things are financed situations like this almost never happen because the lender does their due diligence and thus weeds out 99% of the ‘stupid’.

This outfit flatly didn’t do it. At all. Him being out of state and that lender being out of state... I don’t see pinning it on them as any kind of cost effective remedy though.

 

This is the dumbest purchase I’ve ever heard of in my life though - if that makes you feel any better.

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OTOH I had a MG 1100 that was my DD for about a year in Indiana working at Delco Remy after my '70 GS was T-boned. Great little car. Also had a RHD MGA that was my "beater" while in college.

 

Do agree that the TD was the worst of the "T"s. Lacked the charisma of the TC and the modernity of the TF.

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Buy it back?

Not "NO", 

but "HELL NO"  !!

 

As a good faith gesture despite his rediculous decision,

you might offer to represent the car for resale on his behalf, where he is responsible for any and all costs, as well as for any profit or loss,

and we probably know where this will go.

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I have this car insured, and drive it all the time. It is not insured as a classic, or stated value. It is insured as a old car. Photos are taken. Inside and out. Payment is low, because book value is low. Can't say it got scratched. It has scratches everywhere. If it  got in a wreck, would not be hard to go over the value. Chance you take. I do laugh when people are surprised that you can drive a old car everyday. In 1949 did the cars only run till 1950? Everybody drove a old car in 1929, 1935, 1946 and 1958. British cars kept England moving. Some cars make for better daily driver's. Just choices people make. Not being able to service your own cars, causes most of the problems for people.

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Edited by Xander Wildeisen (see edit history)
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I give the guy kuddos for wanting to have a classic car as his daily driver. Agree it may not be the best choice.

Matt, I think you are going way over and beyond what your obligation should be. Maybe you can work out a deal and offer him a trade, a model A may be just what he would like to have. How old is the guy? Seems like something someone young and inexperienced in the whole car ownership thing would do. Maybe he works out of his home and his daily driving is 100 miles a year?

Please keep us informed on the outcome of this one.........

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I personally wouldn't drive a TD year round, more for the sake of keeping it away from salt in the winter than any other reason. I did drive my MGA { a bit more modern than a TD but really not all that much } 7 - 8 months a year for about 10 years. I have owned it for over 40 years now and although it is getting close to needing a restoration it still is a good driver as is.  A winter beater Corolla or similar is way cheaper / easier than a body restoration.  I rarely give it much use in snow , but rain , rain , rain. Vancouver B.C area { Raincouver to the locals }.

I can't imagine why insurance would be a problem. It's a post war MG , not a Curved Dash Old's after all. People have put hundreds of thousands of miles on them. My MGA { a number of mechanical rebuilds along the way } is getting close to 150,000 miles , almost 100,000 in my ownership.

 Advise your buyer to pick up a low mile , 10 year old Hyundai Accent and use that over the worst 4 months of the winter. Dirt cheap, dead reliable. Save the MG for the " better " months of the year. 

 

Greg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Matt, sorry for the stress and annoying dilemma. The guy is crazy to have thought this was a good idea. 
 

“This latest example of adults without brains is exactly why my patience is shot and my energy is gone and my interest in cars is plummeting. “

 

I totally get this comment of yours. We all love this stuff which is why we are here.   You wouldn’t be the first guy I know if the decision to make this your business instead of your hobby wrecked it for you.   Hopefully the next 100 buyers are reasonable people who become a fun productive part of your network and business. 
 

Don’t let this guys poor judgement bring you down and don’t feel obligated to take it back. 

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Insurance isn’t a problem. Geico insures my 1917 White as an every day driver at state minimum levels, no questions asked. Most states in New England will insure any car regardless of year by statute. He is probably trying to get full coverage on it because of the loan, and most old car companies won’t insure it as an every day driver.

 

As far as taking it back.......that’s asinine. It’s his car, let him sell it. You can’t fix stupid. 

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I owned and ran a retail business until just recently. My experience is probably like yours in that the vast majority of customers are very decent.

Unfortunately, there's always the handful that prove the adage "when you think something is idiot proof, they build a better idiot."

When you're feeling the pain from this guy, try remembering the scores of great customer interactions you have.

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

I have to take the car back and refund his money, right? 

 

Matt,  I have to ask, where, exactly does your responsibility as a seller end?

Do you normally offer a return policy as broad as Walmart's?

I'd bet a finger that you use a pretty solid sales agreement.  How can anything as extraneous as a buyer's insurance choice be covered in any dealer's contract?

I'm with BiB on this one, the car is certainly insurable, he just doesn't like the rates he's being quoted.

 

                          Reggie would show him the door.

 

Reggie.jpg.77b65cfb28536b3f9881179f95f69c5c.jpg

 

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Tell him to read the comments made here by people who have collected and driven cars for more decades than the fellow has probably been alive.

Stand your ground my friend, don't go crazy , just say NO, followed by some choice words that I can not type here or I will be banned from the forums.

Walt

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Real question is "does the purchaser have a right of rescission  "? If not "Do you want it back" ? Go from there.

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Unless for whatever reason there is a reasonable expectation to lose in a lawsuit as a dealer, I wouldn’t. How bad would you feel if a customer from Dubai wanted to buy a vintage armored truck with no AC to drive back in the homeland daily. Surprise catastrophic mechanical failure a day after delivery? Maybe. But you can’t fix or save stupid. 

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Although I have a different type of business I would make the refund, absorb any expenses, and try to part on good terms. If you don't you will get riled up every time you think of the deal. Give him the money back and life will move on and you will forget it.

 

I think on another topic I wrote that if I was Buick you would have a new car already.

 

Around 30 years ago I was making somewhat moral and ethical decisions on a regular basis. Pondering this I created a gauge for myself. My Dad died when I was young and he was a good guy. I decided my decisions would be based on how comfortable I would be to tell my Dad at dinner that night. That has worked well.

I am certainly not a saint but I don't think I would have hear him say "You shouldn't have done that" any of the times.

 

And I have the scars from being punished for good deeds.

 

Bernie

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Matt,

 

For your client to say that he "could not get insurance" on his TD is a crock.  I have owned a 1950 TD for about eight years. I drive it nearly every day, except when it is raining or the temps go over 90F (really does not like the heat).  It has been insured for liability, since day 1, with a major national insurer, no questions asked. They have offered, from time to time to insure the TD itself on a stated value policy but, so far, I have not taken them up on the offer.  I may do it in the spring, however, as we move into wildfire season here.  My wife and I can only evacuate two cars and the TD will be left behind.

 

Good luck with your client.

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The guy is an idiot but I understand why you might buy it back... minus your expenses.

 

Being a dealer with a good reputation is not easy but this is one of those things that separates the hood guys from the mercenaries.

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Why didn't you tell the customer the truth?

 

That car was not a good daily driver when it was brand new, and it passed its Best Before date during the Eisenhower administration. It is a collector's item, a fair weather car to be enjoyed on nice days, on lightly traveled roads, at speeds of 50 MPH and under.

 

If you told the customer that, he probably would not have bought it but you might have sold him something more suitable like a Mustang.

 

Under the circumstances you did the right thing to give him his money back. I have done similar deals when the customer was not satisfied. It's a pain in the neck but it's the right thing to do. You deserve credit for going the extra mile to protect your customer, I hope he appreciates it.

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Sorry you're going through this, Matt. 

 

Unfortunately, in nearly all the cases I have seen go to court here in Ohio, a "dealer" generally loses vs a "poor customer" who will suffer much more financially than the dealer would, if he were to lose the case. Courts see dealers as being wealthy and prosperous, and consumers as "victims..." even when they are victimized by their own decisions and/or actions. 

 

I totally understand your frustration. It just isn't fair. But I'm guessing you'll end up returning most of his purchase price, minus any damage or wear/tear the MG has experienced. We feel your pain! 


 

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Buy it back at the exact same price you bought it for originally, which gives you your profit and teaches him his lesson.  You spent your time and energy on this and made a fair sale: You deserve your profit.  Alternatively, tell him he can sell it on the market and get what he can get.  His odd choice is not your problem. 

 

I had a friend who had hilarious stories about driving an MG as a daily driver year round in Chicago back in the 70s.  Funny stuff.  But not recommended.

 

 

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One of my uncles drove an MG TF as his daily driver for well over 10 years back in the 70's.

It was his only car in the San Francisco Bay Area during that time.

He loved the car but even he would admit it wasn't the most reliable car around.

He sold the car in the 80's but always thought about it so he bought another about 10 years ago.

After driving it for a year or so he sold it so he could buy another Franklin.

 

I would only take the car back if the customer was hit was all the shipping charges and a hefty restocking fee.

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Matt: Shortly after I got married my wife and I bought a 55 MGTD. man I thought had died and went to Heavytill the day we went to the grocery store bath boy brought out our grocery's. Ask where did I want to put them in the car whoops. Took my wife home came back loaded the grocery's in the front seat and drove back home after that we went too the local Chrysler/ Pplymouth Dealer and bought a CAR.   

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Matt,

You sold the car. Now you are being asked to buy the car back. It is your prerogative what you pay for it. It has to fit your business model. You cannot be expected to buy it back for the same amount you sold it for. You are in the business of selling cars. You have to be able to buy wholesale in order to make a profit on each sale. The guy will not understand that of course.

 

 

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Matt you seem to be a decent person and would feel better doing what you could for someone that stupid. Why not take it back on consignment and charge him a percentage of the sale when it sells. Admittedly it may be a bit of a hassle but you may feel better in the long run and the plus is he can’t bad mouth you for selling him a car he can’t use after being so honest about what he wanted to do with it ( like that was the case, right ). Good luck but it’s not going to be easy getting this right. 
dave s 

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I also agree with some others.  I would take the car back LESS a 're-stock' fee with one exception.  You did not state how long ago he purchased it, but if it was me, I would offer 65-90% of his purchase price from you depending when, and how many miles he has put on it in his possession. 

 

Here is the exception: if it turns out he hasn't turned a wheel since the purchase, and it still remains in just as nice of condition the day you sold it to him, encourage him to put it on the market for 10% more than what he purchased it for since Springtime is not too terribly far off when there is a market for this type of car.   You and him could be in for a surprise and both parties will be happy, but if it doesn't sell in 6 months, then make him a buyback offer.   

 

The only reason I would maybe offer a refund in the first place is only to save this nice example of a TD from imminent destruction, which is what will become of it driving it year-round in all kinds of weather in that part of the country.

 

Craig

 

 

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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Matt you not only can't fix stupid it isn't good business to kowtow to it. I understand your wanting to go the extra steps for your customer but this guy is dragging you through a mud hole. . 

This guy needs to be smacked upside of the head not compassion. I hope there's more to this story than we know.

Like He's 85 years old and when he got home with the car his mother told him he couldn't have it. 

Your a very honorable man! 

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I looked the detailed pics on that MG a few times.  Love the color combo and, while a tad higher price than the average TDs seem to command now, the car certainly seems well above average.  The thought of it being destroyed in a couple NE winters is a bummer.  Maybe, if you live on Block Island or MV you could get away with it but otherwise, well idiotic on so many levels.  I would hesitate to buy a car from someone like that, as God knows what damage could be done in very short order in such hands..

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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I don't see the slightest reason to buy the car back.  Did you not have one of the sheets that tell the buyer that the can't rely in anything the dealer tells them?  If the guy keeps the car, I doubt that he will live very long.

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I understand wanting to do a good thing, but as said above...  You can not fix stupid!!  If you choose to buy the car back you should NOT accept any expense loss, period.  You can be extremely fair and go back to even, but the idiot needs to learn a lesson and the only way for someone like that to learn is to feel it in the pocket.  You must do what allows you to sleep nights, but you must not feel obligated to pay for his poor decisions.

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Wow Matt! I've dealt with many, many morons in the car business but this guy is the winner. My 1st instinct is to hang him out to dry for awhile and offer to buy it back at a 25% discount. But l now realize life is very short and these type of a$$hats make it shorter. A reasonable re-stocking fee is more than generous from anyone's point of view.

A full refund ROBS Mr. Moron of a valuable life lesson. Education isn't cheap!

 

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What kind of guarantee went with the car? 

 

You have no control over what someone does with the car.  Ok, so you knew he wanted to drive it regularly, but how were you to know he was incapable of maintaining it properly?   We drive the heck out of our MGs.  The MGBGT has over 50K on it since it won it's AACA Senior.  We work hard to keep it up, and yes, we've been in New Jersey traffic with it, looking at the hubcaps of passing semis.  Sure not my favorite thing to do!  Would never think about using one of these as a daily driver, and we maintain them carefully.   The 1948 TC has been on tours and we've driven it to most shows locally (back when we actually had shows).   No experience with a TD but I'm sure it wouldn't be at all suitable as a daily driver-the B hardly is and it has heat and defrost (sort of).  It handles nicely and my wife loves straightening out lonely, twisty mountain roads.  She is a multiple Tail-of-the Dragon MG veteran!  But-it's just a fun old car-NOT a daily driver in today's world.

 

Unless you had some kind of odd-ball guarantee I don't see any reason you should feel obligated to take it back.  On the other hand - I sense you don't want to see the poor car ruined, and probably want to do the best you can for a customer -even if that customer is not playing with a fully-inflated brain. 


Regardless of what you do, you should not end up out-of-pocket. 

 

Let us know what you decide and how things work out.

Terry

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Matt,  

 

Commenting with my lawyer hat on (but from general principles since I am licensed in California, not Ohio), on the facts stated I don't think you have any legal obligation to take back the TD.  It is not your job as seller to assess the buyer's planned use for the car, and whether it fits their purpose (just as it is not your job to figure out whether they can really afford it, fix it, etc.).  I would only be worried if you made some clear statement to the buyer that it would be a fine daily driver in modern traffic, capable of safely getting them to work on time and in comfort, etc.  And apparently that is not what you said.  Even so, as a matter of business goodwill, maybe you will want to make some accommodation to the buyer, as mentioned in other posts.  Even so, the buyer should be the guy who loses money on this deal, not you.

 

I myself had a TD back in the '70s, while in college -- and even then it was a fun car, never a daily driver.  I saw the photos of this one on your website a couple weeks ago, and it seemed like a nifty little car for the money.

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