bringatrailer.com threatens productivity, wallet

28 02 2012

Strip away the romance and mystery surrounding the cult of the automobile, and you’ll begin to realize that classic cars are really just a hobby like any other. The unique challenge a passion for cars presents is that is that the damn things take up a lot of space once you manage to acquire them.

Other hobbies can be just as costly, but they tend to be a lot more compact. Think about it: Stamps go in a binder. Cigars get smoked. Dead animals get turned into rugs, wall hangings, and other bits of attractive home decor.

Cars are relatively large and durable; when they’re not sucking down gasoline, they sit around occupying valuable garage space, leaking transmission fluid, and succumbing to rust. And unless you’re Jay Leno or Ralph Lauren, you almost certainly can’t afford the massive garage and team of technicians necessary to maintain a fleet containing every rustbucket  that catches your eye.

Seriously, I see a lot of potential here! Look, the body is straight, and someone already stripped off the paint!

But it’s nice to dream about potential projects, if only because it distracts one from the actual projects at hand (I will get the Packard running by the Dream Cruise this year).

Enter bringatrailer.com.

Bring a Trailer (“BaT”) is designed to connect enthusiasts with rare, unusual, quirky, or just plain cool potential automotive finds from across the web. Some need work. Others promise a more turn-key experience. The site’s “Success Stories” section is full of heartwarming accounts from new owners who found their cars on BaT.

While BaT is nothing more than a dangerous distraction for me at the moment, it’s got a lot to offer other young enthusiasts who are currently car-less. The “Under $20k” section features a lot of oddball vehicles at a low price, like a 1966 Volvo 122S for just $2250.

"Under $20k" means "No 1957 Chevys," but the classic car world desperately needs some variety

Will the search for parts drive its next owner mad? Probably, but that’s part of the fun. I’d love it if more people my age got involved, and if sites like BaT help spark interest, more power to them.

So how did I find bringatrailer.com in the first place?

Well, I was looking–just looking, mind you–at Peugeot 404s for sale in the States. Back in 2010, BaT showcased a sharp, green 1969 model (with roof rack!) for sale in Maine.

Charming

The price? $4,000. No idea how reasonable that price was, as I know next to nothing about French cars. Despite the temptations presented by BaT, I should probably keep it that way for a good, long while.

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