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Thread: Due Diligence

  1. #1

    Due Diligence

    I've posted a similar thread on Pelican after uncovering facts on a couple of cars I was interested in.

    While there is no reason not to take someone at their word, it is always in your best interest to "verify".

    It's become pretty common to use Carfax or Autocheck these days and I for one am a proponent for these services IF you are dealing with a 17 digit VIN.

    Not all of the cars I've been poking around are Porsches. Yes, Virginia, I am a back-slider when it comes to sticking with one brand. There are a lot of cars
    that I haven't owned but have been on the radar for many years. And I still like Corvettes.

    Over on Pelican and Rennlist,where you will find more modern cars for sale, imagine my surprise when I uncovered 3 cars in 2 days, 2 of which had salvage history and one had a honest to goodness salvage/rebuilt title. Before you take up for the cars (which are innocent) you should know that one was claimed to be "minor" and the other one (a Rennlist sponsor) made no mention of it at all.

    As for "salvage title/rebuilt title," understand that an insurance company has determined the damage to the car to exceed roughly 75% of value. For example, a car worth $53,800 would take $40,000 damage to total it. This would seem to involve more than "a fender, door and bumper" as described by one of these sellers. Another interesting fact about that car was that it was involved in a second accident as well.

    Note: Once a car makes it into the category of a roughly 90% loss it is marked as "Parts Only". It is not to be rebuilt.

    Not wanting to start a fire, I politely PM'd the owner regarding the issue, as I did have a genuine interest in the car. I mentioned the data that I had discovered and got a very cryptic note stating "SOLD". I followed up the "for sale" thread on the car and the seller thanked Pelican for the exposure (I guess) and nothing more came from him. I saved his ad and the Carfax and Autocheck in PDF format. I'm guessing this car will be seen again.

    As for "where to buy", Pelican is a free for all and anybody and his brother can sell a car there. I expected a little more from Rennlist but one figures that a bad apple might slip by every now and then. Can't say for sure that the seller there knows, but he should if he's done his homework. Nothing worse than an unearned reputation for hawking bad wares. I contacted him and await his reply.

    On a good note, I did uncover a Carfax clerical error for one gentleman. He's attempting to fix what I found and hopefully CarFax will do the right thing and take care of it. His original Carfax (of which I have a copy) had no mention of the issue regarding the odometer reading. He ordered the original report before he bought the car a few years ago. At $53,000 I wouldn't think anybody would miss out on the opportunity to use any and all means to "vet" a car. I received an e-mail from him with his letter to Carfax and his original documents. Without getting into too much detail, the car was brand new when the odometer foul up, which was clerical in nature, occurred.

    Keep your guard up folks.

    Tom
    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

    Early S Registry #235
    rgruppe #111

  2. #2
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    Amazing, yet tragic, and sadly believable stories Tom. As a guy who does diligence in my professional life, clients making $20B bets on average, I am not sure which phrase resonates stronger, "Caveat Emptor", or the beloved Ronnie quote of "Trust, but Verify" - but every thing for sale has a story, and every story has a nuance, and every nuance comes with issues, and every issue has a price tag - it's generally all about the magnitude. The sad aspect of these stories, I am certain a proxy for many other circumstances, is that this "market" is already complex, with export versus domestic, original versus frankenstein, etc. This adds a layer of uncertainty. As a long time enthusiast of this brand (since childhood), relatively newer actual owner (a few venture investments got in the way over the years), and neophyte in terms of the learning curve and knowledge (I think I already pissed off one member, unintentionally, with my growing but insufficient knowledge, and a potential parts transaction - apologies), it makes the "hunt" more interesting on one level, and less fun on another. Thanks for sharing, good solid reminder for all of us in the "market".

  3. #3
    UPDATE:

    It appears that the 2nd car in question is another "bad data-in bad data-out" situation. Unfortunate for the seller as he/she has little recourse other than to contact the folks who screwed up in the first place.

    This gentleman is a stand up guy and I applaud his handling of the matter. I had all my concerns taken care of with a couple of e-mails before I got tired and called him. We had a great conversation too and unfortunately share similar tastes in cars! Good for him, not necessarily for me.


    Tom
    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

    Early S Registry #235
    rgruppe #111

  4. #4
    aka techweenie Eminence Gris's Avatar
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    Salvage titles don't mean much. Insurance companies will brand titles on cars with very little damage as a way to avoid potential future liability, and cars that have been damaged to 75% of value slip through as "clean titles."
    techweenie.com

    My parts fetcher: 2018 Chevy Volt | My 'other car' '04 Turbo | My project: 1972 911 hot rod

  5. #5
    Luft gekuhlt Bummler's Avatar
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    Well stated Tom...

    In a nutshell "Caveat Emptor". More so now in this rapidly accelerating market than ever before!
    Stefan Josef Koch
    RGruppe #194/SRegistry #1063
    1969 Porsche 911E, Light Ivory (35 years and counting)
    2015 Porsche Cayman S
    2012 BMW R1200GS, 1973 BMW R75/5
    I ride BMW's... Porsche doesn't make a motorcycle!


    An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools. -E. Hemingway

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Eminence Gris View Post
    Salvage titles don't mean much. Insurance companies will brand titles on cars with very little damage as a way to avoid potential future liability, and cars that have been damaged to 75% of value slip through as "clean titles."
    Yes, I am sure it happens all the time. Didn't take me 15 minutes to find one on Pelican! This car it was definitely wrecked twice.
    Salvage titles mean a lot in my opinion unless you are the one riding around with one in the glove box. They are diminished value cars. Just because it was a fender or door or bumper doesn't mean the chassis isn't twisted. Getting to see this operation on a regular basis has taught me one thing. Beauty is only skin deep. These cars DO bend in minor accidents. Most body shops are "in and out" operations and the health of the alignment is often overlooked or hastily repaired. There is only one shop I'll use around here because that's where the owner earned his claim to fame (on FRAMES).

    Tom
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    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

    Early S Registry #235
    rgruppe #111

  7. #7
    Tom,

    Does the "rebuilt title" mean its re-registered without the salvage tag or will the paperwork always show salvage?

    Marco
    1971 911S Silver Metallic
    1970 911E Conda Green
    1974 MFI Carrera

    S Reg #1245

  8. #8
    It will stay with the vehicle forever. The laws in many states require disclosure of a salvage title.


    http://www.dmv.ny.gov/salvage.htm

    http://www.lemonlawclaims.com/automo...vage_title.htm
    "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

    Early S Registry #235
    rgruppe #111

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eminence Gris View Post
    Salvage titles don't mean much. Insurance companies will brand titles on cars with very little damage as a way to avoid potential future liability, and cars that have been damaged to 75% of value slip through as "clean titles."
    I completely disagree. A Salvage Title means a lot and they usually tell a story that none of us want to hear. It effects the value and sticks with that car for life. There's a reason Salvage Title vehicles sell for less money. It's only the seller who tells you that it doesn't mean much and they down play the reason for it.

  10. #10
    Tom,

    I can do you one better- I had my bead drawn on a 993 TT that showed up on the pano site, nice car, good price, very interested. Guy admits car had had a fender bender which is in autocheck, has repair documentation, no big deal. I schedule PPI at a porsche dealership, they call me after micing paint to say the passenger side has been completely repainted along with areas I already knew about, I say go ahead and finish PPI which includes a very expensive leak down test. PPI goes OK and I'm just dropping a deposit check into an envelope and figure I should pull a carfax, which documents a second "car hit a guardrail accident", explains paint work on side of car. So I call owner (a lawyer) and he tells oh I forgot my brother in law crashed car no big deal, I'll knock $5k off of price. I said I'd consider it if he can produce repair records, he said no dice, I said C ya.

    Phil
    Early S Junkie # 658

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