I’m a self-confessed car guy. I love everything about cars, the looks, the features, the drive, the technology (or lack thereof) and the various brands and their associations. Just about everyone I know is pretty much the same too, car guys and girls involved in the motoring scene in one way or another, both OEM and aftermarket.
One thing about a car guy is his choice of car; it’s basically a mechanical extension of his personality. I’ve met guys who are so attached to the car they have that you’re likely to get bitten in the face if you insult it in any way. You can pass a cocky comment about their wife/girlfriend/mother/dog and you’ll probably get a cocky comment back or even a simply hairy eyeball stare, but mention that you think his car has the wrong style wheels on and you’ll be instantly removed from the Christmas card list and put on ignore on social media sites. It sounds quite silly when I say it, but as silly as it sounds, I identify with it 100%.
My last car I owned was just amazing, a 2003 Ford Focus ST. I bought her in 2005 as a demo model with just 33000km on the odo. Ok, it was a hard 33k, she was the first one in SA and because of this she was a press car, then she was handed to local racer Clint Weston who was going to campaign one on track, then she went to racing and power boating legend Peter Lindenberg who at the time ran Wesbank Raceway, and then she became a pace car leading racecars on track before their races. I didn’t care. She was black, shiny, different and MINE! I named her Allanah, after that Allanah Myles song, Black Velvet. Allanah and myself had a long run with many ups and downs before I sold her in 2015. It’s been a year since we parted ways and I still miss her, I’ve even started to forget the bad times, which is a good thing because that means all the great times are staying with me. Allanah was a well-known car thanks to us being seen together at many events over those ten years; even now people send me pics of “my” car when they see her on the streets at the hands of the new, new owner (who also keeps me updated on how she’s doing – car guys understand).
I had her up for sale for a few months, I fitted a new body kit, had all the little niggles sorted, and had her polished up to perfection. I was ok with her sitting at the end of the driveway with for sale signs on. I was ok when the new buyer came to see her and we discussed the price. I was ok when I was standing next to her waiting for my FNB notification to say the money had cleared. I was ok when she started up and headed to the tarmac. I was a total blubbering wreck when I watched her drive away…
I felt like a teenager again, experiencing my first heartbreak. I wanted to break stuff, I wanted to hurt someone, I wanted to call the guy and tell him I changed my mind and he could have his money back. Car guys have too much emotion when it comes time to flip a car, so this got me thinking about ways to sell your pride and joy without any emotion messing with your head, well too much.
* Stop referring to your car by name. Call the car an ‘it’ or ‘The Ford’. Remove the anthropomorphism (Google it) from the equation.
* Don’t drive your car anywhere for a while before you sell it. Use an equation like when you leave a company and you get paid out – a week’s pay for every year worked. In my case that would have worked out to 10 weeks. This should be just enough to keep you from standing on the pavement crying like fat kid who just dropped his first double-flake ice cream of summer.
* Add up everything you’ve spent on the car since you’ve owned it and compare that to other things you’d like to have bought with that money. That 65-inch UHD LED TV would have been nice to own. So would that house…
* Test drive prospective replacements. Actually, test drive cars way above your budget that are packed with features. Do this a lot and then drive your car again to see how old it feels and how many features its missing. You know, like pointing out the flaws of an ex-girlfriend.
* Make the sale as fast as possible, like ripping off a Band-Aid. Post it on a site like www.gumtree.co.za where thousands of people will have access to your advert. The more that see it, the quicker the sale, the less it will hurt.
* If you really need to have some sort of attachment to the car, sell her it to someone in your circle of friends. Be careful though, undisclosed problems can lose you a friend. That said if they’re willing to steal your pride and joy then maybe they’re not really a friend anyway.
* Screen the prospective buyers, don’t let the car go to just anyone. If you’re not in a hurry to sell you can wait until you find someone as enthusiastic about the car and brand. That way you know it will be taken care of.
* Some people only have pics of their car on their mobile phones, if you really want lasting memories have a small professional shoot done on the car so that you have amazing pictures that you can print and frame and share on social media. I know someone who does this for you…
* If your car is modified (let’s face it, if the car is an extension of your personality you would have made at least a few changes to it) remove everything you’ve done. Selling a stock car will feel like less of a piece of you driving down the road.
* My favourite one, and one I will always make sure to do when (if) I sell a car that I love again – CALL DIBS!
Make it clear that when the new owner gets tired of the car and wants to sell it on again, that he/she MUST contact you and give you the first option to buy it back. That way it will feel like someone is borrowing the car and lent you a lot of money to do it. It will still be “yours” forever…
If all of the above doesn’t work for you when you have to sell that mechanical piece of your soul, then there’s only one option – keep the car and buy another one to keep it company. Yeah, I know, most people need to sell and replace, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to keep and maintain two cars. Keep on playing the lotto and scanning Gumtree – the sooner you replace your car the better you’ll feel. You know that saying about getting over someone being easier by getting under someone – cars are no different.