THERE are two kinds of car buyers in the world: those who are careful and those who are impulsive. I’ve been brought up in the careful camp and was shown all the tricks of the trade from a young age. From the simple ‘never buy a car in the dark’ rule, to the art of spotting hastily bogged panels, I drank it all in, with my old man as my guide.
Checking out the state of a bloke’s shed was always a pretty good indication of how he might look after his cars, but we’d go to the extent of jacking the car up and pulling some rims off to see what the brakes and suspension were like, and even doing compression tests if the seller would allow it.
This training has stood me in great stead ever since, and I’ve no doubt avoided buying some dungers as a result. The downside? It has turned car-hunting into a marathon to be endured, rather than a thrilling chase to be enjoyed. Even if I’m just shopping for a family wagon, I have to look at 10 family wagons, just to make sure I get the best one.
Sometimes I wish I was a bit more impulsive about these things – more like Scotty. He is always on the prowl for a project, and watches eBay, Gumtree, Unique Cars and Facebook Buy & Sell groups like a hawk. Even when neither of us are particularly in a position to start a new project, there is rarely a week that goes by where he doesn’t find some tempting piece of iron that someone needs to grab and grab fast.
And things have become worse since we’ve started our Carnage web series. With the Turbo Taxi project already half-finished, we knew we’d have to keep an eye out for the next victim – which resulted in a never-ending stream of texts, emails and phone calls as Scotty unearthed one likely candidate after the other.
My cautious ways held him at bay until one fateful Tuesday afternoon. Scotty and Aiden were out at Powerhouse filming the boys doing the machine work on Aiden’s RB30. That meant Scotty had plenty of downtime to cruise for cars online, and sure enough, he found The One.
It wasn’t the model we’d been looking for, but it was cheap and on a wholesale auction site.
And of course, the auction was ending in just a few hours. I was flat-out busy with work and home stuff, so there was no chance I was going to be able to go out and inspect The One.
I did, however, have the necessary amount of readies in my bank account and a tidal wave of enthusiasm from both Scotty and Aiden. As I juggled the mountain of tasks that needed tackling, I found myself in the middle of a family dinner with an hour to go on the auction. In between looking after my guests, I found how just how frighteningly easy it is to register for one of these online auction sites. I made my bid during dinner and was immediately outbid. I slung another $100 on top and by the time dessert was on the table, I owned The One – a car I never inspected in the flesh. This was against everything I’ve been taught, but it was strangely exhilarating. Scotty and Aiden were over the moon and are still giggling about it now.
We’ve since collected The One and it is sitting safely in our workshop, but we’ll keep its identity secret for now. Of course, none of this has slowed Scotty down; even as I type this, he’s found yet another unsuspecting beater, this time for another idea later in the year.
In the meantime, check out the second episode of Carnage, which should be online at streetmachine.com.au by the end of April.