I am twenty-three years old, and this weekend, I became a man.
Is that a little dramatic? Yes, and who cares. I have now bought, titled, and sold an Audi!
Figure 1.3: Pictured: Audi-os, Amigos!
I bought a 2006 Audi A4 1.8T Cabriolet S-Line on eBay back in December for $7600. The car had 99k miles, and was purported to be in good shape, and run and drive great. After checking market values and KBB, and of course my bank account, I determined I wasn't in dire need of the liquid money just then, and saw an opportunity to flip a car and make just a smidge of cash. I reckoned the dealer stepped out onto his lot, felt his boots crunch in the snow, and asked himself, "Which of these cars do I need to get rid of?" A convertible in NJ in December? Low market value = Bingo.
God bless my girlfriend, she drove with me from our hometown in Northern Virginia to the "dealer" in Trenton, NJ. When I arrived, it was raining a cold, hard, gray rain, and the lot was one of those that offers "FINANCING WITH NO CREDIT CHECK!!!!" - copious exclamation points included and bolded.
I didn't know what the hell I was looking at, or what I was doing. I opened the hood: "Yep, there's an engine in there." I looked through the cabin: "Yep, doesn't look like butt." I looked at the tires: "Yep, rubber, none of that busch league gum tree root. Vulcanized, yessirrreeeee, the good stuff."
I felt savvy, getting them to agree to knock of $50 from the price here, $50 from the price there for imperfections I found. I had no idea that a dealer like that is more than happy to knock down the price to get this car off their hands and onto yours.
I had just made it back to the NJ turnpike when I realized the brights didn't work - they would flash, but pushing the stalk forward would not close the circuit. Also, the AM/FM radio did not work, a problem I have in my own B6 A4.
After getting the car home, I was minus a brake light, a reverse light, my brights, the radio, and the center console lid. But, I did pick up something on the way! A nice, fat Check Engine Light.
The good folks at CoHo Automotive in Manassas took a look at it, and determined that when the timing belt had been changed (can you believe it, they had actually had the timing belt changed?), the tensioners had not been tightened and timed correctly, and the camshaft was "travelling" a little bit.
My camshaft was travelling, and my car was not.
Several new bulbs, valve cover gaskets, spark plugs, and labor later, I was about $750 in the hole.
But, the car now ran as good as it looked, and I had something I could sell. The weather was warm, rich kids were graduating, and I was sitting on a cherry '06 Audi 1.8T Cabriolet.
So back onto eBay the car went, like Homer's Odysseus or Achilleus, seeking to return whence it came. I set the reserve at $8000, and the Buy-It-Now at $9000. Several people bid and bit, and eventually the car went to a gentleman in Florida for $8800.
A week of phone calls and travel arrangements went by between myself and the buyer. He was scheduled to arrive to see/buy the car at 8am on a Saturday. At 9pm on Friday night, he called to tell me he was passing.
SO, again to eBay the car went!
The same reserve, the same Buy-It-Now price, and the just about the same level of interest. With ten minutes left in the auction, the previous deadbeat was the highest bidder.
But with just two seconds left in the auction, a gentleman from NY swooped in and won the car for $8900.
He drove down with his wife on a Sunday. I washed and waxed the car, as well as vacuumed the interior and tire-shined the...well, tires. Dang if "my" car wasn't pretty sitting there, waiting for her suitor to come courting.
The buyer was very nice, and very forthright, which I appreciated immensely. He was thorough, checking panel gaps, throttle bodies, electrical circuit boxes, the whole nine yards. He found some things he didn't like - but hell, he had driven 6 hours to be there.
I offered $250 off our agreed-upon price of $8.9k. He balked, saying, "Well these repairs to the interior are going to cost....," etc, etc. I told him, empathetically but firmly, "I will take that into account and adjust the price accordingly, but I am not paying for your entire repairs." I offered him $400 off the price - $8500 - and he agreed.
We shook hands, his wife handed me an envelope with eighty-five $100 bills inside, I counted it, and I signed the title over.
I went straight to my bank that night and put eighty-five hundreds into the ATM.
I would have been the plushest mugging target in the city.
So, what's the final ledger? Well, I spent $7600 for the car, about $750 for the repairs (which, were I a Wrench God like yourselves, would have been much less), and about $400 in sales tax.
All told, I spent roughly $8750 for a car that I sold for $8500.
BUT, my Oppo friends - I BOUGHT AND SOLD A CAR. I gained tons of valuable experience on how to do both things better next time, I learned what to look for and what processes to improve, and I got to feel the pride of looking out at my driveway and seeing a vehicle that I own, in my name.
Was it worth it?
You better goddamn believe it was.