Hold The Presses--Here's The Other Project
If Steven is more of a risk taker by using eBay's online auction to buy his Fairlane sight-unseen, then I'm the cautious one, using classifieds and looking first-hand. OK, so I did use the Internet to find my '68 Chevelle, but I still used classifieds, like the ones I found at www.collectorcartraderonline.com. Like Steven, I'd been pounding the Internet for months, only I was looking at GM A-bodies. Hint: if you want a good deal, it pays to open up your mind to similar cars. Example, I wanted a '69 Chevelle, but would've settled for the right '65 Lemans or '72 Olds, just to name two other A-bodies. I ended up getting pretty close with a '68 Chevelle SS 396 clone.
I looked at hundreds of cars online, and once I felt confident about what was out there in my price range, I gradually transitioned from online trolling, to looking at the more appealing offerings in person. There were some stinkers out there, so when I laid eyes on Adam Polcyn's mint '68 Chevelle for $15,900, my radar locked on like a Sidewinder missile on a MIG-17. When Steven and I rolled up on it the first time, we knew it wasn't like the others we'd seen that day. For his part, Adam, the car's owner, was extremely forthright about every detail on the car, pointing out known problems and recent improvements.
I quickly realized this was a person I could trust to tell me the truth. After a short drive around the block, I offered Adam $12,000, figuring we'd end up somewhere in the middle. He thought about it for a few seconds, then to my surprise, said "yes." No endless days of playing silly auction games. Now I've got a Tripoli Turquoise metallic '68 Chevelle SS 396 clone with mile-deep paint and a 454 big-block. We'll roll out our plans for it soon, so if you want a say in it (you, too, Adam!), stroll over to the Team Chevelle Web site (www.chevelles.com) and throw in your two cents.--Johnny Hunkins
Getting Your New Ride Home
It's a big country, and chances are good that the ride you buy online is not local. This means you need to get it home from wherever it currently is. If you buy from a dealer, they generally have some recommendations in regards to transport. If you're buying from a private party, then you're on your own. Unless the car is local, your main choices are to drive to the car, and bring it home on a trailer, fly to where the car is, and drive it home, or hire a professional transport company to bring the car to you.
If you hire a transport company, you will need to decide if you want an enclosed or open trailer. Enclosed is the most expensive, but it also provides the most protection for your new ride. If it's clean when it leaves, it'll arrive to you in the same condition. An open transport can cost 50 percent of what an enclosed one would run, but your car is open to the elements during its trip. Open trailers typically chain down the vehicles, while an enclosed trailer uses soft straps. This is especially important on cars that are already nice. Both types of carriers will also have an additional charge if the vehicle doesn't run and has to be pushed or pulled onto the trailer.
Once you decide on open or closed, you will need to find the right company. You want someone who's been doing this for a while, and who is fully insured and bonded. Have the company prove its insurance and ask for referrals from other customers. Most of the larger companies have Web sites where you can check out their rigs and get an idea of how they do business. According to Dave Wilson, president of Intercity Lines, you should be wary of brokers. Dave told us, "There are so many brokers in this business. If something bad happens you are left stuck in the middle. If they ask for a deposit, then you're dealing with a broker and there's no telling who they will hire to transport your property." If your car is damaged in transit, a broker has almost no liability and you're left to deal with the carrier he hired. It can become a mess. According to Dave, you want to deal direct with a company that owns its trucks. He also says that unless you are transporting between countries, insurance is more important than being bonded. Dave recommends that the carrier have at least a million dollars in coverage for a larger trailer. This way you will be covered if the unthinkable happens. Intercity has been doing this for 25 years and all its trucks are GPS tracked, so you know right where your shipment is. Several companies offer this service, and it's nice to always know where your new pride and joy is on its journey.
There are several other things to look at when choosing a transport company. Does the company return your calls quickly? Do you get a human voice when you call? Has it been in business a long time? If so, then chances are the company will give you good service.
We had Intercity Lines transport our new Fairlane from Portland, Oregon, to Placentia, California. It arrived clean as a whistle in an enclosed truck. During transport, the car was protected by a car cover even though it was inside a trailer. This is the extra attention you get with a high-end transport company.--Steven Rupp