I spend too much of my free time sifting through used car posts looking for some car, any car interesting enough, clean (if I’m lucky) enough, fairly priced, or even halfway decently priced to post to @Cheap_Classics. I do this far more than any average, healthy, and/or occupied individual ever should or would. More often than even I’d like to. For example, right now, I’d rather be drinking a beer poolside. My feet dangling in cool, blue, chlorinated water. I don’t have a pool, or beer, or any friends with pools or beer. So, here I am, in front of the screen, writing a guide no one will ever reference when selling their ‘93 Prelude, or ‘88 Rolls, or their aunts Subaru. But here it goes anyway.
First things first, your photography sucks. At times, scrolling through ads, I have laughed at some of the photos. Others, an audible “Oof” punches out of my gut and I move on. Maybe it’s not your photography specifically, but the third person uhh, conjugation …superlative… um… the general sense of “you”, the “they” of “you”, those people, not you …maybe. Their photography really needs work. I am not saying be Ansel Adams or Steve McCurry. We aren’t capturing the quintessence of man here. Just get the whole car in frame. Somehow, preteen kids innately understand concepts like composition better than adults do. I find this inherent acclimation to technology they are born into weirdly off putting. Secondly, the commentary in your post. It’s not quite as big a deal as the photography but it’ll be good to go over a few key points. You don’t want to come off the wrong way. Lastly, your asking price. Luckily, you’ve got me to help you catch up! And because there is no pool, no beer, no chaise lounge, here are some do’s and don’ts that I’ve been subjected to since being a part of the awesome @Cheap_Classics crew.
- How to photograph your classic like generation tiktok.
- As emphatically stated previously, the subjects background is important. But more important, is getting your entire car in frame. The car is your subject and how you compose the subject in the frame is composition. You need to pull your classic out of the garage expressly for this purpose if nothing else. The buyer has to see the whole rig at once. You cannot expect someone scrolling around your local online auto page to know your car as intimately as you might. Why make them piece the car together in their mind from weirdly fragmented, oddly and contrasting angles? Let them see the whole thing, as god made it and as you drove it.
- If you can, get your classic out of your garage. In fact, if it drives at all, drive it somewhere. Somewhere nice. Somewhere pleasant. A parking lot at the beach. A dirt road next to a field. Across from a mountain view like it’s a palomino ready to bolt. If you can do that, you’ll give the car a fancy story the buyer can build in their brain. You’ll allow them to imagine your car can take them on magical journeys and never run out of gas. But if your car doesn’t drive, pull that hunk of shit out of the garage and get it on the street if you can. You are going to need the space to walk around your car.
- One thing Gen Tiktok uses on their phone is a ring light. That’s right, they already understand the importance of lighting. Let’s say that you’ve got a driving classic, let’s say it’s a nice and sunny day. You’re out there on the road. You are driving to your favorite location to get those romantic photos of your darling classic. What time of day is it? If it’s lunch time, drive your car through whatever drive-thru you prefer and go back to work. Go straight back and wait. Wait for the shift change horn. That’s when the sun gets lower in the sky, the light isn’t so harsh, and the shadows start to get long. You don’t have a ring light for your car, but you do have the sun. Midday sun sucks. It sits over us like an ember, basting harsh light all over your car. It’s worth it to hold off to quitting time or get up early and get the early light. Lighting is important. Midday sun is oppressive. Soft light is your friend.
- It is unlikely that you have a camera body with interchangeable prime lenses. It is more likely that you might be, like many others, using your cell phone as your main digital camera. That means, instead of zooming in or swapping lenses, you are going to have to walk toward and away from your subject to get the composition correct. Remember, you need to get the whole car in frame. Try walking back 45 degrees from each of the four corners, crouching down to a high relative to the height of the top of the corner of your car for each shot of the body.
- We need to see the interior and hopefully, if you’re up for it, the engine compartment. At the very least, pick the tools up off the passenger floorboard. A socket wrench and a Philips head with some gaskets tells everyone that your classic is an unreliable and increasingly worsening pit of despair. While we are on the subject of cleaning the car, running it through the wash. Lift the hood, spray out the engine compartment. Hit it with the vacuum. Pretend your car is going out on a date. This is a good way to let buyers feel that you took care of the classic, enjoy the classic, and want someone else to feel the same joy you did driving the classic. Open the front doors of the car. On the driver’s side, get a shot that includes the dash, the instrument panel, and the seat. Do the same on the passenger. Back seat is up to you. The engine compartment tells a big part your classics’ story, try not to skip it.
- The Description
- Unlike the photography, this is generally not as egregious. The first issue I feel the need to address is, in my experience, sellers can sometimes seem defensive. As though they don’t even want to sell their car. It is typically uncommon to start off a sales pitch with “Don’t call me unless you’re serious.” Or “I know what I have! I won’t budge on price.” Maybe that’s like, “your truth” or whatever. But this is my advice, take it or leave it. Most importantly, be honest. If your car has problems, be transparent.
- The Asking Price
- I get it, we all do, you want to maximize your profits. I can’t tell you what your car is worth. However, I can tell you no one is going to pay for your sentimentality. So be objective. Use KBB or market research as evaluative tools when deciding your asking price. It is common that seller’s factor in some wiggle room in their price for hagglers. But if you didn’t, let the buyers know your firm on the price in the description.
Good luck selling your car. If you can’t, don’t blame me. Check out CheapClassics.com for all the latest what-have-yous.