Is it when they sell rare Ferrari crate engines for $40k? Nah - not like you can get an F40 engine for $40k. When they sell extremely rare cars that don’t run for a few grand? That’s the whole point of the site.
But these days, BaT doesn’t do anything even remotely like that. It is, to quote myself, “where reasonable valuations go to die a horrible death.” Recently they had a completely unsalvageable 240Z “project.” The floor pans were completely gone, every body panel was missing substantial metal, and the unibody itself had serious rot. There was no motor, no transmission, no driveline, no interior.
Bidding reached $10k last I looked at it.
In what world, exactly, is a body shell for a somewhat common Japanese sports car that cannot possibly be restored worth five digits?
And that’s far from the worst of BaT’s sins, these days. They recently listed a fake GTO Judge as though it was a real Judge. Despite the seller being extremely clear that it was NOT a Judge and the previous owner had made it a Judge clone. They sold a Porsche owner’s manual for $6,000. A set of common Ferrari wheels fetched over $7k despite still being available. Which is fine, because they probably cost that much. This, however, is not. And of course, there is far worse.
It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t just the beginning of their sins. If you’re in the market for a cheap supercar? There’s an insultingly undervalued ‘11 CTS-V wagon, with a 6 speed, a very mild tune by a respected and skilled shop, and complete service records. Hasn’t even hit $15k. The comments are chock-full of people making up problems with the car. I’m sorry, does this look like Pebble Beach? No. It’s Bring a Trailer. The cars on here are supposed to need some form of work.
It has turned into a complete madhouse. One car will be full of people insisting cars that aren’t concours level shouldn’t be there. The next will be a pile of people arguing their delusions to justify what is literally a pile of rust.
Need to dump your high mileage ticking time bomb of a BMW with zero service records? Throw it up on BaT. Watch people come up with justifications for why it’s worth thousands over KBB, even with that blown 5th gear synchro. Need to unload your Benz SL in need of convertible hydraulics? BaT will do double the trade-in value if it didn’t need any work.
Looking to sell the muscle car you have lovingly taken care of since it was restored 5 years ago? Watch a million armchair mechanics descend on it, insisting the factory correct orange peel in the paint is garbage, the numbers don’t match even though they’ve been verified, and demanding another 500 pictures before refusing to pay even half fair value. Presuming BaT doesn’t just say “nah, your car isn’t cool enough for us.”
At what point do people say “enough is enough”? BaT is, at the end of the day, a business. It’s their responsibility to ensure the business is profitable. But the way they are going about it at this point? It is increasingly at odds with people who are genuinely passionate about cars.
Anything with 4 wheels - or 2 for motorcycles - gets thrown up with a description written by someone who Googled ‘Pontiac Judge’ for 2 minutes. Genuine project cars with histories and stories get rejected outright as “not cool enough” or “not interesting enough.” But a bone stock Chevrolet SS no different from the one you could find at a Buy-Here-Pay-Here used lot? Step right up. High maintenance, low reliability BMW with no service records covering the past 14 years? Absolutely we’ll sell it for you - how’s a $125,000 reserve sound?One of more than 200,000 Porsche 997s made with a damaged body, thrashed paint, and an engine freshly grenaded by the IMS? Right past the ‘vetting’ process with an opening bid that was already well above FMV.
So at what point do we stop letting a site that has clearly lost the plot dictate the market? At what point do we stop letting them dictate what is ‘cool’ and ‘uncool’? At what point do we stop giving a company that is more interested in money than cars our business? At what point do we stop letting them inflate all these valuation bubbles?
I can hope it’s soon, for the sake of genuine car lovers everywhere. But I have a feeling we won’t see a change till those bubbles start popping, leaving their customers holding the bag.