It all started with a phone call. "How would you like to do a project car with eBay?" the editor asked. Well sure. After having owned eight different Mustangs over the years, I had learned that eBay Motors was definitely a car lover's dream. Not only could one find almost any kind of vintage or late-model 'Stang or part across the country, but it's also open for business 24/7, 365 days a year. I'd already bought tons of stuff including two low-mileage Mustangs, one of which is still in the family. Getting the chance to spend someone else's money sounded like a lot of fun.
Introducing The Challenge
Our challenge was to find a Mustang and then modify it as part of a competition with other Primedia automotive magazines in a winner-take-all affair. The battle would take place on the road course and drag strip at Fontana Raceway in California. Each team was given a budget of $25,000. The vehicle and all of the parts would have to be purchased on eBay Motors while the progress of each team would be posted for readers to follow on www.editorscharity challenge.com. Each team was allowed just a handful of sponsors with a maximum contribution of no more than $500 each. Once the challenge was done, the cars would be displayed and then auctioned off with the proceeds going to Charity Cars, Inc.
The teams were split up as follows; PHR would anchor Team Mustang with 5.0 Mustang, Car Craft, Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords providing a vast wealth of experience and knowledge. The other teams would go to war with a 1997 Chevy standard cab pick-up, 1994 Acura Integra (rice is nice), a '72 Nova (old school - snore!), a nostalgia front-engine dragster (can't wait for the road course!), a '92 Harley FXR (where's the leather chaps?), an '00 Dodge 2500 (a 4x4?), a '95 BMW M3 (here comes another turbo!) and a '00 VW Golf (snore!).
With movers and shakers like Johnny Hunkins, Steve Turner and Jim Campisano on board, we knew Team Mustang would be a formidable force with this field of competitors.
Looking The Gift Horse In The Mouth
The first order of business was to figure out what kind of steed Team Mustang should have. With nearly 2.6 million Fox body Mustangs made between 1979-93, there was no doubt this car would have a ton of different high performance and restoration parts on eBay Motors. The 1987-93 fuel-injected models have always been the most desirable and, with just over a million made during that time span, we felt pretty comfortable about having a good selection to choose from.
We were amazed at the wide...
We were amazed at the wide variety of cars on eBay Motors. This 1993 coupe came with a 4-point roll cage and a 347 stroker with a race-ready C4. The owner said this car had gone a 9.89/133 on motor alone. There were 33 bids that went up to $14,000, but the car did not meet reserve.
Aside from the very limited production Cobra R (just 107 made), we knew that the 1993 Cobra represented the high water mark for these cars. While the regular production 5.0 HO had been downgraded to 205-hp, the Cobra model had 235 ponies under the hood, thanks to the higher-flowing GT40 heads and intake. Along with a revised suspension, 17-inch rims and 4-wheel disc brakes came standard, which was a first for any Fox-bodied car. Only 4,993 of these cars were built, but a quick look on eBay Motors showed there were almost always several cars to choose from. After a brief discussion, everybody was in agreement that this was the car to get.
Our second consideration concerned how far should we go in modifying the car. Five-liter Mustangs are well known for being very responsive to even simple bolt-ons, but we weren't sure if we had the heart to do a lot of wholesale changes to a hard-to-find, unmodified, low-mileage car. Our hope was to find a vehicle that had already had some of the major mods we desired already done to the car. Going in, we already knew that modified cars tend to be undervalued; most buyers like a fresh, unmodified cars, so it's possible to get a lot of stuff you want for 50 cents on the dollar. In picking a Cobra, we'd already be a few steps ahead because these cars came with four-wheel disc brakes, GT40 heads and intake, bigger injectors and upgraded suspension right from the factory. We weren't sure if we would find it, but the Search tools on eBay Motors helped a lot in finding our prize.
After checking the listings daily, we found a lot of time could be saved by simply sorting them to show the newest listings first. There we found a 1993 Cobra in Vibrant Red with just 13,000 miles. The car had already undergone some major modifications with the addition of a Cartech turbo kit, aluminum radiator, a 4-bolt roll bar, relocated battery, upper/lower control arms and a Kenny Brown Matrix subframe connector system. Jackpot! The car fit the bill perfectly.
The seller made it easy for us by posting plenty of photos. The seller was e-mailed and later contacted by phone so we could talk to him about the history of the car and to get more info on the modifications that had been done. Everything sounded like it was on base. The 'Stang looked sweet enough and we knew that most of the major work was done. In just about a week, the deal was done and the car was ours.
There are always a number...
There are always a number of clues to help authenticate a low-mileage car. Pulling the cover from the center of the wheel showed there was virtually no dirt or grime. Wheel weights mounted on the outside of the rim are consistent with how wheels were balanced years ago. Additional research later proved that the Goodyear Gatorbacks were what originally came on the car.
You Never Know What You'll Get
While we already knew that life is like a box of chocolates, our previous experience from having bought several cars sight unseen had taught us a lot. Buying sight unseen sounds kinda intimidating because you don't know what you get, but it's like this anyway with any used car purchase whether it's off eBay Motors or not. Potential buyers should always ask about the history of the car, get a detailed list of what is wrong and ask the seller what they would get first. It never hurts to get a list of problems at the beginning of the conversation and then ask about those things in another way later on to help verify how truthful the seller really is.
In the case of our 1993 Cobra, the car was definitely in primo shape. The first surprise, however, came when we first started the car up after delivery. The thing had no exhaust! We remembered how the owner said he loved how the car sounded like a big-block, but we sure didn't anticipate there was no exhaust, especially since the area the car was purchased from had mandatory emissions inspections. A quick look under the car showed all of the gases were free flowing out of the downpipe from the turbo, which was located up in the front of the car. Open exhausts may sound cool to some, but these cars actually need a bit of backpressure to run well. With a bright red musclecar that was loud as hell (and constantly backfiring to boot), we knew we'd be nothing but a magnet for the local law enforcement.
Other than that, there were no other major surprises. The car had some typical Fox Mustang problems with a broken ashtray cover and door lock actuators that didn't work. The car also had a problem with cutting off and blowing off the intercooler tube. On the outside, the Nitto drag radials on the rear had seem better days and the fog lights were missing. (They were found inside a plastic garbage bag laying behind the driver's seat.)
Fortunately, eBay Motors takes steps for potential buyers to avoid bigger problems than these with their Assurance Program. Buyers are protected from misrepresentations, unknown liens, salvage titles and there's even a Guarantee by Seller program and Money Back Guarantee. Both Buyers and Sellers should take the time to familiarize themselves by going online at: http://pages.ebay.com/ebaymotors/services/overview.html.
Fox-body Mustangs were known...
Fox-body Mustangs were known for having headlights that yellowed, but a close examination of the headlight covers showed these were the original Ford units. The owner had removed the original fog lamps and kept them. The intercooler can be seen through the lower grille opening.
Planning the Work / Working the Plan
Once we had assessed the condition of the car, Team Mustang put together a plan of action. Our first order of business was to locate an exhaust system for the car, which proved to be a rather formidable task as we needed a system that would work with our turbo's downpipe. It took nearly a month of looking, but we found a used ATR stainless steel 3-inch exhaust that was complete from end-to-end after doing a word search on "Mustang Exhaust." While it came off an older 1984-86 Mustang SVO, a little research proved it would be a perfect fit.We wanted to get the exhaust system on the car so we could then adjust the tune-up with a little backpressure in the system. At the same time the exhaust was being installed, we used our discretionary funds to install a high-flow catalytic converter, driveshaft safety loop and battery disconnect switch. Noted sport compact and turbo specialist Sound Performance in Bloomingdale, Ill., became our first sponsor and did a kick-ass job on doing the installation work.
The next step in our plan was to go with a replacement engine management system in order to optimize the tune-up on our vehicle. Once again, it took a little searching, but time and patience gave us a number of choices specific to the Mustang. Our final choice was the new Big Stuff 3 setup, which we found under the "Engine Management" heading. Precision Turbo in Hebron, Ind., put together a wiring harness and did the installation and tuning for that.
Once that was done, our plan was to set up the car's brake and suspension for dominance on both the road course and drag strip. Kenny Brown Performance in Indianapolis, Indiana., agreed to come on board to do a conversion to the larger 13-inch front disc brakes found on the later model Cobras. We also made plans for them to install a set of Tokico 5-way adjustable struts/shocks with matching springs, caster/camber plates and a panhard bar. All of the necessary parts were easily found in either new or used condition on eBay Motors with a minimum of hassle.
We knew that doing the brake conversion, however, would necessitate switching from the stock 4-lug wheels to 5-lug rims. We also needed new tires. Discount Tire Direct came on board as another partial sponsor by helping with a set of used 2003 SVT Cobra wheels with some great looking 245/45ZR-17 Falken tires which we bought on their online store. Should funds allow, we will also look for an extra set of wheels which we'll mount with a set of drag radial tires for use on the drag strip.
Knowing whether or not a car...
Knowing whether or not a car has been wrecked is a big concern for many buyers. Checking the OEM Vehicle ID labels against the car's VIN showed us that all of the fenders, doors, bumper covers and radiator support were original.
Our fifth and final $500 sponsorship came from Sticker Dude Designs. Our plans were to have not only the best performing, but also the best looking car, too. Getting the graphics on the car along with the names of our sponsors would be our final step as we prepared to show the other teams the way up to the top of the food chain.
With a turbo power-adder and matching exhaust, superior tuning capability, stronger brakes, optimized chassis and suspension, and performance tires, Team Mustang quickly became a serious object of affection. Finding love online took on a whole new meaning with eBay Motors--and we look forward to taking our trophy date to the prom!
TOP 10 TIPS FOR BUYINGAND SELLING PARTS AND ACCESSORIES ON eBAY MOTORS
The parts and accessories category on eBay Motors enables car enthusiasts and home car care consumers to find the parts they need and the brands they want in a marketplace that offers great value, superior selection and one-stop-shopping convenience.
While turbocharging may still...
While turbocharging may still seem like black magic to some people, we found that the Cartech turbo kit that came on the car was well made. Understanding the basic components and how they work in relation to each other is useful whenever you buy a car that's been modified.
eBay Motors features an enormous selection of automotive parts and accessories, with more than 1.4 million new and used parts available on the site each month. An automotive part or accessory is sold every two seconds, and over 500,000 parts and accessories are available for sale each day. The site offers a vast selection of parts and accessories for cars and trucks, from spark plugs and control knobs to transmissions and hoods.
1. Read the description thoroughly.
The description is the seller's chance to elaborate on all the details of the part or accessory - the condition, terms of sale, any guarantee, etc. Some descriptions are better than others, and the best sellers will be very thorough. If you have any question that isn't covered in the description, contact the seller.
One of the first problems...
One of the first problems we had with the car came was blowing off the tube between the discharge side of the turbo and the front-mount intercooler. Replacing the standard hose clamp with a heavier duty T-bolt clamp solved that problem right away.
2. Assume parts and accessories are sold in "as is" condition.
If not described as new/unused, make an independent assessment of the condition of the part or accessory. Contact the seller with any questions about condition before making an offer. Be realistic in your expectations of used or older parts - expect normal "wear and tear."
3. Make sure the part fits.
Utilize eBay Motors' Parts Finder feature if you're finding parts and accessories in the Car & Truck category. Find parts that fit your particular vehicle, including parts from other makes and models that may work. Utilizing an industry-leading parts catalog, Parts Finder will return search results of parts and accessories that match the specific year, make, model and engine of your vehicle.
4. Know your seller and review his/her feedback rating.
Our project car also came...
Our project car also came with a 4-point roll bar and a trunk-mounted battery. It turned out that this was not an NHRA-approved installation, so we added an Optima dry cell and a battery disconnect switch on our list of things to look for on eBay Motors.
Check the seller's feedback rating for positive comments and to see if the seller has sold similar items in the past. If you cannot reach your seller, or you seller is inaccessible by email and/or phone, do not buy the item. By eBay policy, if you are unable to reach the seller during the course of the auction, you may retract your bid once it has been placed.
5. Determine guidelines for what you are willing to pay.
All bids on eBay are binding so you should make sure you know how much you can afford first. Look at final prices on other eBay listings for similar items by looking at Completed Items from search results. If a part or accessory is selling at a price far below fair market price, use extra caution as to the nature of the transaction
Locating the battery disconnect...
Locating the battery disconnect switch here allowed us the option to either mount the license plate over this for street use or remove it altogether so it's clearly visible when we're at the track.
1. Photos and a complete description drive transactions.
Remember that many of your potential buyers will not see the part or accessory in person before taking action on your listing. Is the item new? Are there any signs of wear or important features that could help a potential buyer make his best offer? Your photos and description make the sale happen.
2. Pick a specific category when listing your item.
Sellers who list in specific categories rather than "other" usually find more success selling their items. Make sure you check the category structure on a regular basis to take advantage of enhancements/changes.
3. Be accessible to potential buyers.
A number of major companies...
A number of major companies also have virtual stores on eBay Motors, which we found was a major convenience. After winning the auction for a set of used 2003 SVT Cobra rims and a new set of Falken Azenis 245/45ZR17's from Discount Tire Direct, we were able to take these to a local branch to have them mounted and balanced.
Make sure your phone and e-mail address on your eBay account is accurate. The serious buyer will be more likely to engage in business with you if you are open and responsive to questions in a timely manner--both during the listing period and after the purchase when transactional details are being worked out.
4. Reach out to potential buyers.
If you have questions about the potential buyer's feedback rating, or have questions about bidding activity, contacting the person may help. In fact, it is likely the potential buyer has questions too.
5. Be realistic and determine the best price for your part or accessory.
Look at final prices achieved on other eBay listings for similar parts and accessories by looking at Completed Items from search results. In general, set the starting price low to attract bidder attention and drive market excitement. For further information about buying and selling Parts & Accessories on eBay Motors, please visit, www.ebaymotors.com.