After that icky experience, I re-worded a few things in my craigslist ad, adding- in addition to what I thought was full disclosure already- some totally upfront but perhaps trivial details that might keep any more lowballers away, such as “The leather shift knob and steering wheel are worn” and “There are scuff marks on the headliner over the cargo area- it’s station wagon, after all” and “There is a broken area on one speaker in the driver’s side door.”
Cosmetically, Blaze was nearly in what might be called “excellent” condition- I would certainly give her B plus because that Blaze was a darned handsome car that stopped traffic when she had the “For Sale” sign in her windows. Of course, I listed in the ad her other excellent attributes, such as the turbo (which I will assure you I miss), heated seats (you haven’t lived until you’ve had heated seats), automatic seats with lumbar support, a fairly recent timing belt change, pretty good tires (though Debbie Downer said that they were worn- I guess because they weren’t brand-new, bless her heart), luggage rack, sun roof, etc, etc, etc.
But just to be clear, the last statement in the ad read, “This is a good-looking, comfortable car that has aged well and I recognize that it has some needed maintenance. It is being sold ‘as is.’ I don’t want to investigate or fix anything and I already know that this lovely 13 year-old car is not perfect. Just come and see if you like the car and make an offer. I’ve loved this car, but she’s ready to move on. I am willing to look at your offer- just don’t be ridiculous.” I figured that would keep the riff-raff away.
And it did. Early the next morning, I received an e-mail that said something like, “I have the cash for what you’re asking for the car. When can I come look at the car? I work between 10 and 7.” He came by at 8:15, I tried to explain Blaze’s cosmetic flaws, he thanked me for my honesty, said he didn’t care about the cosmetic issues, that the car was obviously in great shape and that he wanted to take her for a ride because that was the exact kind of car he used to have and was looking for. In listening to her idle, he asked if I had added any fuel injection cleaner, but I had not. He said that would certainly help the idle. He drove her, said her loved her, asked to take her by the Auto Zone to run a diagnostic test on that blasted “check engine” light that had come back on, to which I said, “Of course,” and then I waited.
He came back with two sheets of paper listing two parts that needed to be replaced, totalling $250 and asked “Would you be willing to take that off the price?” I replied, “Yes,” we rode to his bank together, he withdrew the cash and gave it to me, we had the title notarized, came back to my house, I took the tags off of Blaze and gave her new owner the keys, and he made it to work by ten.
Now this was the buyer we were looking for, a practical person with a good eye, not an alarmist, smitten yet still in possession of realism. He had the energy and his own set of mechanical skills to put that TLC back into the relationship. I know that Blaze will be happy and I will wave from my little nameless sedan, lounging in my air-conditioned, nothing-to-shift, no-heavy-clutch-to-wear-out-my-left-knee living room of a driver’s seat.
Oh, we’ll miss each other, alright. Truthfully, I know I’ll miss her more than she’ll miss me because she’ll be getting all that attention, but like I said, who knows what the house dress of a car will turn out like? What with a little paint, and all…