When buying a Classic Air-Cooled Porsche online the maxim of “Let the Buyer Beware” is truer than ever. During my search for an Air-Cooled Porsche RS America driver for my mountain runs, I regularly scour the Internet.
One Friday afternoon I got a text from Will, an Air Brigade member alerting me to what looked like a really nice 1994 Porsche RS America on Cars.com. I was shocked at the idea that someone was selling such a collectible Porsche on Cars.com. This is not the place to effectively market such a vehicle.
I was really looking for a 1993 RS America as opposed to a 1994 but this was a clean car, low miles at 9,877, only 49 miles from home and was being offered at an unrealistic price of $84,000. A RS America this clean and with this low of miles is a $120,000+ Porsche all day long. Odd, that it was in my area and I was not aware of the car, plus it advertised a grey interior. RS Americas all have black interiors.
After “Buyer Beware”, what is the next rule of buying on the Internet: “If it is too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.” I approached this Porsche cautiously but felt I had to run it down to make sure I wasn’t missing an opportunity.
The first step was to click on the Cars.com button to connect with the seller, Jack Daniels*. No response. I waited several days, and clicked again. Finally after a week, a response came back from an individual with an entirely different name. Odd, the ad said the seller’s name was Jack Daniels* but that was not who the email response came from. Here was the response:
Hi, The car has 9,877 miles. I am the 3rd owner. I was planning on keeping this car for a long, long time. However, circumstances have changed and I'm looking to sell my beloved 911. The car drives 100% straight and perfect. Engine is powerful and transmission shifts smooth as silk. Also, this car has never been in any fender bender and has no stories. It's a zero excuse car in every way. I have clean title in my name.
Additional photos and video of the Porsche were sent and the car continued to look and sound very strong so I requested to come view and drive the car. I mentioned that I was in Asheville so it should be easy to see based on the ad location. To my surprise that even though the ad said the Porsche was only 49 miles away the seller responded that he was located in Bullhead City, Arizona.
Unbelievable offer, change in seller name, and change in location. Three strikes and you’re out, but I had to play this out to understand what was happening with the purported sale.
I was not familiar with the location of Bullhead City, Arizona so I requested how close was the nearest Porsche dealer for a PPI? The response came back that Las Vegas had the nearest dealer and was over two hours away and the seller was unwilling to take the car to a dealer. The response was “Someone can come to my driveway to inspect the car.” Ok, this is not someone who has a Porsche collectible $100,000 car.
The next step on my part was to do a search of the seller’s name in Bullhead City, Arizona. Yes, the Internet returned a hit for an individual with the seller’s name living in Bullhead City in a Mobile Home valued at $30,000. Now some people value cars more than their home but adding in the other red flags on top of the seller’s home indicated that the likelihood of this being a legitimate sale was low.
The next step for my own curiosity was to conduct an image search of the photos through Google to see it the photos have appeared elsewhere on the Internet. To no surprise it came back that the photos were appearing in ads in twelve different cities across the country. All the ads stated the car was within a reason distance from the city where the ad appeared with the same seller name and description from the ad that I saw.
That was the end, time to move on and continue my search. I entered the potential transaction with caution and it was the right approach. I am not sure what the ultimate goal was; perhaps looking for a buyer that was willing to wire the money without an inspection, but I wasn’t going to find out.
Buying on the Internet: “Let the Buyer Beware.” There are good offers and good deals, but be smart, be diligent and be careful.
*Seller name changed from original Cars ad and email responses.
Tags: Porsche RSA for Sale, Porsche RSA Internet Sale