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  • Brett Hatfield

How not to prepare your car for auction

Having covered many auctions for various publications, I have seen and gotten to learn numerous tips for preparing your car for sale. A thorough detailing, making sure the battery is strong and will hold a full charge, having a full tank of quality gas, touching up any chips or nicks are things one would want to do before any sale. Every now and then, you see a car at auction that is the epitome of how not to present your car. The following exemplifies that notion.

The car in question is a 2012 FIAT 500 Sport that had apparently been hammered every day of its miserable life. At just seven years old, this little red blister had clocked nearly 85,000 miles.

From the appearance, every one of those miles had been with the roll-back roof open, as the red leather seats were heavily faded.

Dirt and crumbs were plentiful throughout the interior, as was grime and wear. The seats were worn, the chrome on the plastic shift knob had flaked away, and the shift boot was adorned with multiple elastic hair ties. Alongside the seats were more crumbs than the floor of Chinese buffet at closing time.

The only thing that was more prevalent than the crumbs was the dead leaf debris. The engine compartment was filthy and also littered with many seasons of dead leaves. There's no telling what may have taken up residence in that engine bay. Working on this one would probably have earned you a scorching case of hantavirus.

The paint showed heavy road pepper, with so many pock marks and rock chips only a full repaint would suffice. The black paint at the top of the windshield was missing large chunks. The factory aluminum wheels had been curbed repeatedly, and the clear coat had begun to flake away. The saddest part of all? This car was at a well-known collector car auction next to one of the most glorious Bentleys I have seen. I felt bad for the poor FIAT.

Conversely, the following car was at the same sale. Yes, they are quite different vehicles, but the presentation on the hot rod was first rate, and showed the care and preparation necessary to do well at auction.

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