1 August 2013

Carini on Cars – When to say goodbye

Knowing when to buy a car is easy, but when should you sell it? If I buy a car as a last-minute decision with no research, it’s rarely going to be a long-term keeper.

Of course, there are those times when you have every intention of selling a car but can't. That’s what happened with my Bentley 3 Litre. I purchased it from an estate and couldn’t afford to keep it. I got it running, but the more I drove the car, the more I fell in love with it. Late one Saturday afternoon I asked my wife and kids to go out to dinner with me. As we got ready they said, “Let’s take the Bentley.” That was unusual, because they don’t like cars that much. They were laughing and the breeze was in their faces and we had the best time. At that moment, I knew I could never sell it.

At the same time, I had a Ferrari 275 GTS that was all original. I had decided to keep it, but a friend kept after me to sell him the car. Finally, I had to sell it to pay for my Bentley. With the values today, financially it was the wrong decision, but I’m glad I have the Bentley, which is a car I can share.

In other cases, there are cars you buy and you say to yourself, “I’ll keep this car a year and have some fun this summer and then sell it.” It’s a plan. You can almost mark a calendar with the date you’ll sell it.

Breakdowns are part of the adventure of owning an old car. But if you buy a car and it won’t start as it comes off the truck, it’s a bad beginning. If you can’t get over that, then it’s already time to sell. And if you live in fear of something failing, let the car go.

I wanted a solid-axle Corvette. I bought it and immediately didn’t like the car because it wasn’t the right example. We made a list of the things wrong with it and corrected them. But even when it was fixed I didn’t drive it, because my mind was made up.

There are lots of ways to tell it’s time to move on, but for me, if you take a car out and you’re not smiling, it’s definitely time. But most importantly, if you don’t turn back and take one last look after a drive, the love affair is over.

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