Curbside Cynic & Curmudgeon: How Hard Is It To Sell A Car?

Well, the answer to that question is obviously not “easy” or I wouldn’t be writing up this soap operatic diatribe.

Somebody once said something along the lines of “it’s the thrill of the hunt” or some such garbage.  However, the closest I’ve got to a hunt with trying to sell my Galaxie is hunting for a buyer.  The car is not perfect, nor have I ever insinuated as such, but it would seem its a rolling source of lockjaw, scabies, and the mange given my (distinct lack of) success thus far.

I first put the Galaxie up for sale in August 2018.  Yes, you read that right – it was twenty-three months ago.  It seems about as recent as 1994 given the abundance of utter crap that has happened in every respect of life since then.

But I digress.

I have advertised it in a variety of arenas – arenas in which I should know better but, hey, it seems I’ve discovered a masochistic streak within myself.  That really shouldn’t have surprised me any as the acronym for my job title at work is “D.M.E.” – which I recently told a cohort stands for “Damned Masochistic Engineer”.

Yes, I have a job in which the unwritten parts of the job description are the fun and rewarding parts – its the yin and yang of developing people’s latent talent along with periodic disciplinary issues and other tawdry and unsavory things one is never warned about as a youngster.

But I digress.  Again.

In a profound moment (okay, era) of mental unclarity, I placed ads for the Galaxie on both List of Craig and the Book of Face.  Really, I should know better.  But I did it anyway.  The ads were cheap.

Perhaps my mistake was using proper English in lieu of some quasi-English-esque prose in which any true meaning is as murky as the bowels of a septic tank.

For instance, my ad stated roughly the following:

Ready for new adventures?  This 1963 Ford Galaxie is ready to provide them.  With an engine remanufactured in 2013, I’ve twice driven this Galaxie on multi-state trips, covering over 1,000 miles each time.  It’s fun for the whole family.  I’ve owned it for 32 years and it’s time for new adventures.  Sorry, I’m not interested in any trades.

There are countless ways to write ads but I was aiming for something with a little catchiness, a splash of panache, and memorability.  So much for that.  The verbiage for my ad, based upon the queries I received, should have been:

Yo.  Got a bad ass 63 Galaxy.  Make it your, its the shit.  Lots new and u r reddy to go.  Ca$h talks, bull$hit walks.  I know what I got.

The first response was somebody who wanted to evenly trade me his 1937 Chevrolet rat rod for the Galaxie.  Uh, no.  Any rat rod is a loving creation by the owner and there is no way on this earth I will buy someone else’s love child.  Rat rods are a creative assemblage of parts in which I have absolutely no interest.

It also seems trading people your undesired treasures for their treasures of equal unwanted-ness is a cottage industry of some variety.  Another prospective buyer wanted to trade me three sundry motorcycles plus some cash for the Galaxie.  Uh, no.  I have as much use and interest for any motorcycle as I do a third nipple.  Just ain’t happening.

Along the way I have also discovered the CEO of Book of Face has gotten his platform very good about informing me of all manner of nonsense that yearns to lower my IQ but this same platform doesn’t bother to let me know a prospective buyer has contacted me.  For instance, this past winter a message sprang up on my phone.  Then there was notification about some unknown person having messaged me…nine months prior.

Talk about awkward.  Setting all awkwardness aside, I messaged the person and explained what happened.  He immediately wanted to talk.

We subsequently had a forty-five minute phone call at midnight.  Apparently, his dream car is a 1963 Ford Galaxie sedan (check) with an FE series engine (check) bolted to a three-speed with overdrive (check and check).  We corresponded, we talked again.  I learned he was in the Carolinas, which satisfied my desire for it to be a Galaxie far, far away.

Then…nothing.  No call backs, no responses to messages.  Nothing.

Other inquiries are just silly.  One person asked what a three-speed with overdrive was.  Somebody else wanted to know where I was located – despite saying so in the ad.

One person approached me with a simple:  Take $x,xxx?

Two words with a low-ball offer.  Demonstrating my typical charm and charisma, my response was a simple “Is there anything you would like to know about the car?”.  It seems this person only had so much and was shooting the moon with their offer.  I have to respect that.

Then this past March rolled around.  I had advertised the Galaxie (yet again) figuring people would want to spend their tax returns and it would be wise to be opportunistic.  On March 11 I got two separate inquiries.

Person One was near me.  We corresponded and I gave him a call.  He wanted to come see the car but his demeanor was, we shall say, curious.  But he had money and I had a car for him.

Person Two was in the Northeast and is friends with the no call-back guy from the Carolinas.  Like his buddy, he said my Galaxie is equipped exactly the way he wanted.  Great.  Let’s talk some more.

Remember, these two messages were on Thursday, March 11, the day the World Health Organization declared a pandemic.  The following Monday, when I’m still conversing with both of these gentlemen, it is highly recommended I work from home indefinitely.  That same day the first case of the virus is diagnosed in a county just north of me, the same county where Person One is coming from, plus the governor announced the State of Missouri was shutting down.

Person Two is somewhat close to New York City, in an adjacent state, and the virus was rapidly spreading in his state.

This presented a moral and ethical dilemma.  I wanted the Galaxie to go to a happy new home but was it worth potentially exposing my family and myself to unknown forces?  It was not.

My conversation with both of them disclosed the state shutting down and my working from home.  With both I suggested we wait things out a bit to see what happened with the pandemic and to go from there.  Both were aware of the other person.  In both cases we agreed to stay in contact.

Neither has ever attempted any contact.  Neither has returned any messages or emails.  It appears as if neither was very serious.

Shortly thereafter I got this message, reminding me I had not deleted my ads:

Uh, no.

I figured this person was also shooting for the moon, which I respect.  But when did people’s reading comprehension skills go down the toilet?  Poor reading skills have become a more pervasive and infected more people worldwide than a certain virus.  When a person states they are not interested in a trade why offer a trade?  Don’t waste my time.  I deleted my ads.

Back in April, I started the Galaxie.  It fired right up and it was the first time it had been started in four or five months.  After letting it run for about ten to fifteen minutes, I pulled it back into the garage.  It sat until today, July 5.  Just like last time, it fired right up.

Today I drove it around the neighborhood for about thirty minutes.  It runs great but it is coughing a little when pulling hills.  I’ve been suspecting the accelerator pump is going kaput as I mistakenly filled it with fuel having 10% ethanol a few years ago.  And a few years ago was the last time I put fuel in it.

Looking at my mileage book, I’ve put roughly 60 miles on the Galaxie in the past year.  Frankly, I’m surprised it’s that many.  It has only traveled around 600 miles since I last changed the oil – three years ago.

In a sense, my life has outgrown my Galaxie.  But I still have it.  As I told my wife earlier today, nobody is beating down the door to buy the Galaxie so I may as well drive it.

For a while, I have been wanting to make the 200 mile trip to Cape Girardeau to visit my parents.  The desire has many reasons but it occurred to me a few days ago to simply drive the Galaxie down there.  On the highway I have achieved 19 to 21 miles per gallon thanks to its overdrive.  That’s better fuel mileage than I would realize in my Ford Econoline and the Galaxie is not as vulnerable to crosswinds.  If I leave early enough in the morning, I’ll never miss having air conditioning.  Open the floor and wing vents and drive off into the sunrise….