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How far have you traveled to purchase a car?


Xander Wildeisen
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May of 2014 I flew from Raleigh, NC to Saint Louis, Missouri on a one way ticket to look at a 1999 Corvette coupe that I had found on the internet after casually looking for about 2 years. I decided to buy it and drove it back approximately 900 miles. I still have the car and plan to keep it for some time to come, Nassau blue with Gray interior, just a nice car to drive. Okay, I know it's not an antique but I have had Corvettes most of my adult life; and, it shares the garage with a 1938 Chevrolet pickup that is an A.A.C.A. vehicle.

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Without any specific car in mind or sight, flew 13+ hrs to another continent I had never been before, then spent about a week or so to find one (a 26 year old vintage car*) for $2500.- (my maximum budget, although went way over it because I ended up also buying a parts car, which I disassembled and packed most of into the primary car over two day period).

Then, couple of weeks or so later, drove it nearly 3000 miles in four days, before shipping it across the ocean to the continent I lived in at the time. 

After making shipping arrangements, spend couple of days sightseeing before flying +/- 10 hrs back to home.

While I've done numerous other long travel distance acquisitions of vintage cars since, this was my first and longest distance and did it when I was 21 (almost 40 years ago) with a bank loan** (just on my word and no collateral, manager apparently believed in me enough and took a chance).

 

* After hearing our ongoing trip itenirary at the time, including our plans to drive 3 vintage cars we've just bought within past two weeks, the guy (a two tour Vietnam combat Veteran) I bought mine from proclaimed we definitely weren't any pu**ies, gave us map book and long list of phone numbers of his friends along our intended route, all whom he assured will assist us "without a doubt or questions" along the way should we need any (while we did experienced some car troubles, didn't call anyone). 

 

** Didn't have enough*** money to do it without borrowing more than half of the dough, but what an experience and well worth it (eventually sold the car and paid off the note early).

 

*** I was born into and grew up with almost nothing and proudly still have most of it.

 

 

 

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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I bought one car one time sight unseen. I had bought a ticket to fly out to look at the car, but there was a heavy snow and flights were canceled. I bought the car anyway.

 

I will never, ever, do that again. You shouldn't either.

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5 hours ago, 5219 said:

I bought one car one time sight unseen. I had bought a ticket to fly out to look at the car, but there was a heavy snow and flights were canceled. I bought the car anyway.

 

I will never, ever, do that again. You shouldn't either.

I imported my car from the states... as it turned out it had issues but there is no way I would have been able to tell even if I had inspected it 

 

 

Pretty damn certain they knew about it though

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I guess it is probably a given that I would "Go Get" my own purchases being that I transport everybody elses' all over the country!

 

Three of the last 4 I have added to my collection were long distance purchases : 64 Grand Prix from Lancaster, Ca. (2300 miles one way) I saw it at a gentleman's shop while picking up a customers car. I fell in love with it so I had to book something the following week back out to California. While on the way home with the GP on my open trailer, I saw one of my 66 Ambassadors for sale on Old Rt 66 just west of Kingman, Az (2000 miles one way) , looked at it, left a deposit & booked another one the following week to Arizona to get it. The 3rd was my 67 Toronado Kuna, Id. (2000 miles one way). Once or twice a year I lose a transport due to a customer whose word is not his bond or due to unforeseen circumstances. That was the case with this one. I had been looking at it on Facebook Marketplace & ended up only 300 miles from it, I called the gentleman, drove up & loaded it in the enclosed trailer the same day & drove home.

 

God Bless

Bill

https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/nationwide-single-car-transport-hauling-open-or-enclosed.614419/

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Drove 1,500 miles in 1999 to pickup our 1929 Chandler sedan that we bought on eBay. At that point I was not aware that many of these cars had survived and this was the first one I had seen for sale. We only had a 1999 Ford Explorer as a tow vehicle at the time and rented a heavy U-Haul trailer. The poor Explorer was loaded to the MAX and was riding on the Bridgestone tires that would be recalled a few month later. Glad we did not know about the tire issue at the time. Made this trip with my wife, infant son, and in-laws. A trip we will remember fro a long time, quite a fun adventure.

 

Drove 1,800 miles to deliver a 1909 Model T and pickup our 1914 Chandler a few years ago. This time I had an enclosed trailer and a bigger pickup to make the trip. Another trip of a lifetime. Picked up an incredible car and had a great road trip with a friend.

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Drove from Detroit to Idaho to buy a dilapidated 1916 Kissel roadster. Parts car stuff. Three days with trailer.

Drove from Detroit to Amarillo Texas for a 1927 Kissel 8-75 chassis. Two long days with trailer.

Drove from Detroit to Ft. Meyers Florida to get my wonderful 1923 Kissel Brougham Sedan

Drove twice Detroit to mid Kansas to get my 1924 Kissel 6-55 Victoria Coupe. Two long days each trip.

Drove five times from Detroit to Bath New York to retrieve chassis and parts from five Kissel cars. Many days.

Drove Detroit to Prescott Arizona to get remnants of three Kissel 6-38 models. Good rare buy.

Drove Detroit to Minneapolis several times to retrieve chassis. Engines, and parts from four Kissel 6-55 cars. 

Drove Detroit to North Carolina to buy my 1925 Kissel 6-55 Sedan. Pretty areas..

Drove Detroit to mid Ontario Canada to but my 1919 Kissel 6-45 Gibraltar seven passenger. In winter.
My car trekking days are finished as I think I’ve grabbed every Kissel remnant in North America.

My Ford Expedition and two trailers gave me great service. Comfortable cruising at 60 fully loaded .

Ron Hausmann


 

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I am hour north of Baltimore. Drove to Ocala FLA to get my Trans Am. I made a deal with the guy, sent him a deposit, and was planning to be there casually within a couple of weeks for pickup. He called and said a local guy was interested and I had to get it right away or he was going to let it go. I scrambled, borrowed a buddies trailer and left the house 3 pm wednesday. Got to central FLA Thursday morning, made the deal loaded the car and was back in MD Friday morning by 10am. Stopped at a truck stop along the way for some sleep in the back seat of the truck.

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1 hour ago, TAKerry said:

I made a deal with the guy, sent him a deposit, and was planning to be there casually within a couple of weeks for pickup. He called and said a local guy was interested and I had to get it right away or he was going to let it go.

Actually, that seller would have been liable for

breach of contract, once money had changed hands.

 

But you got a good car, no doubt, and had a good trip!

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In 2007 I and my family drove from north of Chicago to Cincinnati(about 325 miles) to get my 1980. Plymouth Volare. It had 8400 original miles on it. We drove it home the next day without any problems except flat spotted tires that kept us under 60 mph.  I still have the car and it now has 32,000 miles on it.  650 miles round trip.  My 52 Plymouth was purchased in Naperville, Il and was about a 100 mile round trip. That one was towed.

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I suppose I should add some conversation to this topic which may be of interest . we Flew to Harrisburg for the Hershey swap meet which was 13940 Kms from home no suitable car to purchase at the time so flew to Seattle  4385 kms and Ferried to Victoria BC  where we purchased  our Auburn 898 Cabriolet , then flew home again , then drove the car out the container about 480 kms to my home on NZ roads .

this might sound boastful but a good example i thought for the topic ..not particularily  unusual amongst some of my car buddies here in NZ    

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Not me, but my parents - 1500 miles each way to bring back the 64 Dodge D300 from Wyoming - a $500 Ebay find.  

 

For me - 1300 miles each way from Woodstock, Ontario to Winnipeg, Man, not for a car, but for all the parts from a 1930 Dodge that a fellow was rodding and not going to use, drive train, seats etc.  2600 miles round trip in 4 days - got the same hotel room in Minneapolis/St Paul going both ways and discovered Carver Burgers!   

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6 minutes ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

Does everyone figure the travel expenses in the total cost of the car? If you buy a car for $10,000, and travel expenses are $1,300. Are you in the car $11,300? Or is the $1,300 just looked as money spent on the trip, and not the car.  

I look at the travel cost as just part of the adventure - usually the tales from the road are worth way more than the dollar value

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There have been two memorable long distance over the road purchases. The first goes back to 1976 and it reminds me of what a different world we live in today. I found a 1933 Pierce Arrow that interested me in Utica NY. While the PNW has more than it's share of survivor cars, cars like the PA are scarce. I negotiated the purchase sight unseen. The process sounds pretty stupid today, but again things were so different, on so many levels back then. Trustworthiness was a feature of the hobby in those days. The purchase was agreed upon, now how to get the car home? In those days there were plenty of options but a friend who was a business owner (transmission shop) needed to get out of town because of some domestic issues. I'm afraid that if I detailed the adventure it would not come off as being very PC, so I'll leave the details to the bar stool. Suffice it to say that the friend was the kind of guy who always had the raincloud over his head. What started out to be a two week trip ended up taking a month and a half. 

 

I learned some valuable lessons from that experience. Those lessons along with the aforementioned strong supply of good local cars, made it mostly unnecessary to travel to feed my passion. Cars began to find me so looking for cars became mostly a tire kicking exercise.

 

About 15 years ago I neglected to heed the lessons that I had learned years earlier. There is nothing I like better than a road trip. One day I spied a 1985 Jaguar on eBay. I had been wanting to take Mary down the Coast Hwy, but she could not spare two weeks from work. The car was advertised as prepared and ready for a vacation. I saw the purchase as a chance to buy a decent driver car and take the trip up the coast that we had been discussing. So I bought it and we flew down to San Diego to pick it up. The car turned out to be mostly as advertised, but heat checked tires and a leaky master cylinder left much to be desired. There was also the auxiliary radiator fan that didn't shut off, causing the battery to go dead over night. Once I understood the situation, disconnecting the battery became nightly ritual. Fourteen hundred miles from home and no time to prepare the car properly. We threw caution to the wind and made the trip with the car as it was. It turned out to be a great trip, not the least of which was the adventure of getting to know a used car on the fly. God looks out for fools and babies!

  

Edited by Buffalowed Bill (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, auburnal said:

I suppose I should add some conversation to this topic which may be of interest . we Flew to Harrisburg for the Hershey swap meet which was 13940 Kms from home no suitable car to purchase at the time so flew to Seattle  4385 kms and Ferried to Victoria BC  where we purchased  our Auburn 898 Cabriolet , then flew home again , then drove the car out the container about 480 kms to my home on NZ roads .

this might sound boastful but a good example i thought for the topic ..not particularily  unusual amongst some of my car buddies here in NZ    

Similar but different experience, from Sydney Australia to Boise Idaho is about 12700kms. Bought a '41 120 Packard Club Coupe off eBay after asking for more pictures and details from the seller. It was a driver, but only just as I found out later. Worked a deal with the seller that I'd pay a "small" non-refundable deposit and if the car didn't measure up on inspection that's all I'd be out. Also arranged through Uship to have the car transported to LA for the trip to the far side of the Pacific. To start with, all went well. Made various arrangements then finished up my job on Friday and on a plane to the US on Monday. The inspection went well but timing was critical if my travel plans were to be adhered to, then ....the Ushipper failed to show up on the appointed day. Frantic phone calls later learned the Ushipper would be there the next day, which was still within my travel parameters. The Ushippers delay being caused by trailer tire failures also worked for him because the guy I was buying the Packard from worked for an RV company and was able to source replacement wheels and tires at a good price. Eventually, the Ushipper showed up the next day, late again, as the sun was setting. Ushippers were a man and wife "hillbilly" types with an open trailer. The seller of the Packard said it was not too late not to use them, he being somewhat leery that they could do the job. I, on the other hand, felt somewhat trapped, having no alternate source of transporting the Packard from Boise to LA. I was more concerned about the security of the Packard during its land journey and voiced my concerns to the Ushipper, whereupon he tapped his belt area, saying "Mr S & W will take care of that". Not really feeling my concerns were assuaged, I nevertheless entrusted the Packard to them for its journey to LA. I did however say I didn't want any bullet holes in the Packard!! Seeing it was my first US trip, and wanting to see more of the country, I then flew to Detroit, Wahington DC, Florida then back to LA where I visited the Packard in the yard of the guy who was shipping it to Oz for me. Flew home, and a couple of months later the Packard arrived in Newcastle, about 200 kms north of Sydney, from where it went on a flat bed and delivered to my door a couple of weeks later.

Pic is of the Packard in LA, no bullet holes!

41 in LA.JPG

Edited by Ozstatman
punctuation and spelling (see edit history)
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My tastes run to cars that you're unlikely to find locally, so I usually go to look at cars a plane-flight away -- I can think of 4 flights about 1/2 way off the country but I would guess there are more that were unsuccessful and I forgot about.  Once in a while you luck out and there's something local.  That happened to me once when I was the newsletter editor of the local Packard Club chapter and a member e-mailed me to place an ad selling his car.  I ended up buying the car before the newsletter went out. :)

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9 hours ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

Does everyone figure the travel expenses in the total cost of the car? If you buy a car for $10,000, and travel expenses are $1,300. Are you in the car $11,300? Or is the $1,300 just looked as money spent on the trip, and not the car.  

 

 

 This is an interesting question for me,

 

     On the one hand as a business, I have to figure that by transporting a car for myself lets say from California to Home (at current transport prices) I lose $5K!  On the other hand as a heavily addicted car guy, I love to buy them/build them & enjoy them! Money isn't everything & tomorrow is not guaranteed.

 

God Bless

Bill

https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/nationwide-single-car-transport-hauling-open-or-enclosed.614419/

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12 hours ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

Does everyone figure the travel expenses in the total cost of the car? If you buy a car for $10,000, and travel expenses are $1,300. Are you in the car $11,300? Or is the $1,300 just looked as money spent on the trip, and not the car.  

Most enthusiasts probably don’t, unless they pay someone else to haul it.

Just like most enthusiasts/hobbyist who rebuild/restore a project car themselves, usually don’t figure in the cost of their own labor when evaluating the end result.

You know, buy a project for, let’s say $5,000, pay $1,000 to get it home, spend $30,000 on parts & subcontractors (body & paint, upholstery, etc) along with 10-20 hrs per week for few years in the garage laboring away, i.e. 500-1000 hrs/year at $XX/hr = $?????.

So what is the total cost of a project car when all done ?

 

I have a dear friend who 30+ years ago, right after an early retirement, decided to build record breaking race car, which he did and eventually even got the record. 
Afterwards, he stated having accomplished it all with about $25,000, but failed to factor in that for the first 5-6 years of the project, he leased a shop space which he remodeled to his liking (spending time and money, bought a mill, lathe, numerous other equipment and tools and spent 40-50 hrs a week in that shop designing, fabricating/machining, etc parts and components for the car.
Then he took a break and spent couple of years to built another shop at house he bought and remodeled (while still making monthly lease payments for the first shop).

After moving to his new house and shop, he spent few more years for 40-50 hrs a week working on finishing the car.

So when I suggested him having spent several hundred thousand dollars on the car and to accomplish the record, he didn’t want to hear or view it in above fashion, but eventually admitted my logic. 

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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I recently acquired this 1948 Chrysler Saratoga. I did not make the 400 mile round trip to purchase it or pick it up. A friend of mine's brother had died and the car was parked in a distant relative's barn. My friend told me if I knew anyone who would transport it they could have it for the removal. Yeah, like the time another friend said he would bring a beagle puppy out to see if my kids liked it. Anyway, I bit and arranged transport. This was the first week in August.

The weekend after it arrived I was home alone and dozed off in the early afternoon. I woke up a little groggy and went out to the garage. Standing by the Chrysler I couldn't figure out where it came from. I couldn't recall purchasing it. I didn't remember getting it or bringing it home. I was having a real senior moment event over that one! Then the light came on. I didn't purchase it. The car was given to me. I didn't go anywhere for it and the person who delivered it was actually a stranger to me. Nothing was there to connect in my head. The car just came the previous Saturday. We even backed the trailer in the garage and set it down within a few feet of its location.

 

What a weird feeling. Kind of in line with the topic. But fresh in my mind.... at the moment.

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A bit over 5,900 miles, excluding side distances for meals, motels, fuel, friends, and just a bit of sightseeing along the way:

 

https://www.mapquest.com/directions/list/1/from/us/louisiana/metairie/70006-2120/4620-sonfield-st-30.021115,-90.197651/to/us/ky/bowling-green/to/us/mo/kansas-city/to/us/wy/cheyenne/to/us/wy/casper/to/us/utah/salt-lake-city-international-airport-slc-10303323/to/us/utah/logan-utah-temple-278976696/to/us/utah/salt-lake-city-international-airport-slc-10303323/to/us/wy/cheyenne/to/us/pa/windber/to/us/pa/hershey/to/us/louisiana/metairie/70006-2120/4620-sonfield-st-30.021115,-90.197651

 

Buying the yellow 1941 Cadillac convertible cabriolet (Convertible coupe), I drove my 2002 Suburban 2500 8.1L tow vehicle to Bowling Green, Kentucky to pick up my custom-ordered enclosed trailer. With a decent night's rest and the new trailer in tow, I continued to Kansas City, visited and shared dinner at the renovated train station with long time friends Linda and past-VMCCA President Bob Ehinger, and thoroughly enjoyed their amazing collection. Stayed over two nights, I next headed west to Cheyenne, Wyoming visiting Judy and the late past AACA President Howard Scotland. The following day I headed north to Casper, WY where I examined, fell head over heels with, and loaded up the 1941 Cadillac. It was time to head west with another overnight stop along the way, meeting my wife who flew from New Orleans to meet me at the Salt Lake City, Utah airport. From there, we headed north to Logan, Utah to drive the VMCCA Western National Tour in the "new" Caddy. Cleaning it up a bit following a day's touring north into Idaho, we displayed it the next morning and were awarded VMCCA's Silver Award of Excellence. At the completion of the western tour, we trailered back to Salt Lake City where my wife caught her flight home to New Orleans.

 

My trip was far from over. Charles, one of my hometown Hershey buddies had completed a seminar in Minnesota, and instead of flying home, he caught a flight to meet me that night in Salt Lake City. We foolishly headed east late that evening, thinking that our way might later be block as a result of impending weather. As the night progressed, trailering across the Rockies, we all too soon were driving into a blinding snowstorm and were trapped overnight somewhere along the way. Picture us, freezing cold, wrapping ourselves in extra clothing, trying to sleep at a wide spot on the side of the highway in the Suburban with the trailer and '41 Caddy, wishing we had waited it out back in a warm, safe hotel room in Salt Lake City. The next day, firing up the Suburban (and that great heater), we continued on to Cheyenne, again enjoying the hospitality of Howard and Judy, and feasting at a great downtown restaurant right near the state capitol building. Another good night's sleep and we were off, taking nearly three more days to get to Windber, just outside of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. There, I dropped off the '41 Cadillac and retrieved my 1912 Oakland Touring which was subsequently displayed in VMCCA's Hershey tent and spaces for the duration of the Flea Market - the intent of which was to attract potential members into the booth to learn some of the benefits of "VMCCA - The Touring Club".  It seemed to work, based upon the increased response, compared to prior years,

 

After judging that Saturday's Eastern Fall Meet and enjoying looking at so many great brass cars, full classics, motorcycles, trucks, fire engines, and just about all the eye candy one could imagine, it was time to start the 2-day drive back to New Orleans, and thankfully all went smoothly.

 

I haven't missed a recent "HERSHEY".

The last one I missed was 1983, and since then, friends have found me in the Chocolate Field, almost under lamppost #58 at CG-32, 33, 34.

 

More than 5,900 miles and around three weeks, enjoying friends, countryside, collections, touring, Hershey, and life in general - what more could I ask for?

 

The Oakland has been passed along, my wife and I still tour together and judge, Charles still attends Hershey with me and judges, the Cadillac is still among our favorites, and memories of good times remain.

1941 Cadillac Rear Quarter Marty Roth 10-15-2017.jpg

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Edited by Marty Roth
typo, and additional note (see edit history)
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From Lexington KY to Dallas to Seattle Wa then drove to ferry crossing took the ferry to Van Couver to buy a Jaguar MK IX the owner sent about a hundred pictures of to me. The pics had to be 20 + years old as the car was junk. 
dave s 

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Got on a plane at 8:00 AM headed for Denver CO from Seattle to rent a car to drive to Ft Collins CO to see a 1931 Chrysler CD-8 Sedan. Made it to the cattle ranch/vinyard by 1:00 and spent a good hour driving it and laying under and around it. It was February and it was between 2 major snow storms but bought it and flew ihome by 9 PM. The research about what to look at and what to ask was done in the months before the trip and the closed transport was researched before as well. Not perfect but still happy with the purchase .

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

6492 Miles, back from my road trip to purchase a car. In 10 different States, crossing State lines 23 times. Way to far too drive, hire a shipper.:lol: There was only one car, that if I found one. I would shuffle everything around for. It had to be year, make and model. And a project car in decent condition, and not hacked up. Portland OR, to Boise to grab my flat bed trailer. And back into Oregon and Washington to grab a Parts car. Spotted this on craigslist, before purchasing my new project. A parts car is worth it's weight in gold if you have a project car. Snagged some other things along the way. Always a good idea to look at stuff listed for sale in areas you are driving through. Sold a car, and delivered it along the way as well. Parts car purchase and pick up completed.

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While in Boise I spotted a engine and transmission for sale on Craigslist in Montana. Purchased the item and made arrangements to pick it up when returning from the trip. Sold my 38 Chrysler project, and was able to deliver part way for the new owner. That was a tough one to let go. Nice project car, a clean slate for any build/restoration.

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