1977 
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ALWAYS have a car inspected when buying sight unseen (Read 824 times)
Mar 8th, 2013 at 9:20am

77vetteguy   Offline
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things in the mirror are
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iowa

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(I am not saying this is a bad place to buy a car or that they didn't tell me about the problems on purpose. Things like this happen with cars and I just happened to be the person that got it. I'm just sharing my experience with buying a car sight unseen. Feel free to make your own conclusions though.)

This is rather long so I hope you have some free time. Or just skip to the bottom for the list of problems with the car that went unnoticed by the dealership.

I found a 1977 corvette on ebay being sold by Holt auto sales in Lansing Michigan. They sell classic cars and specialize in corvettes with 30 years experience. It was listed for $9,000 and offered $8,000. It on the ad the only thing listed as not working was the a/c. The description of the exterior and interior were described correctly. They also told me that there were some small cracks in the paint on the front and rear bumpers. You can't really even see them unless your looking for them so that's not a big deal.

The day it was loaded onto a trailer I received a call from the salesman. He told me that as much as he had looked it over he missed that the interior t-top panels were missing and it looked like someone had pulled forward too much and had made contact with the left rear bumper pad.

Fast forward to when I received the car. Right away the transport driver told me that the blower motor isn't working. Ok no problem. I get into the car to leave and try to turn on the radio. No sound....I get on my way and head out to the highway to drive it a bit. As I turn onto the highway I put the pedal to the floor. It ran perfectly. At that point I knew I was going faster than 60 so I check the speedometer. It says 60 mph. I let off the gas to check it and the needle didn't move. I glance over at the temp gauge and by now it should be at normal operating temp. The needle was still below 100 degrees (outside temp was about 35 degrees). That didn't work either. The gas gauge showed that it was pretty much running on fumes so I stopped to put some gas in it. Open the fuel door and the gas cap is moved back half way under the fiberglass. I was just barely able to get the cap off.

The next day I give it a look over. What I found was not good. To save time I put what I found at the bottom of this post. Next I checked the oil and coolant. The oil was black and at the add line. Then the coolant....There wasn't anything in the overflow tank so I look in the radiator. Completely empty. I fill it up and it looked like chunky chocolate milk. I start it up and let it run to see if the temp gauge works. Still nothing on the temp gauge. After about 10 minutes I heard a splash. There was a puddle of coolant under the engine.

After that I took it to a shop to have them look at the gas tank. Turns out the vent hose was routed incorrectly making it so the tank couldn't be in the correct position. I look around under the car for a minute and noticed that they undercoated it. Unfortunately they didn't do a good job. They had undercoated the drive shaft as well. Most of it anyway. Only half of the shaft was coated. There isn't any vibration so it must not weigh enough to throw off the drive shafts balance. Then I get to the oil pan. Someone siliconed the oil drain plug shut.

Now that I found all of these problems I give them a call about this. His excuse was that he has seen hundreds of cars over the years and doesn't really see small problems anymore (I thought he said he looked it over?) and of coarse I'm going to see them since I bought the car. Then why did the transport driver notice the blower motor wasn't working? He didn't have any money into it. The salesman also made sure to say "It's a 35 year old car" as many times as he could. Which was about every other sentence that came out of his mouth. At this point he starts studdering and his voice started to sound a bit frantic. I wasn't even yelling or giving him an attitude.

Now I ask him to talk to the owner. He immediately Starts giving me the run around and doing his best to try and get me to change my mind about that.

The owner called me the next day surprisingly. I tell him whats going on and he tries to say the same thing. Yea I get it, it's a 35 year old car....He then tells me that they don't look over the less expensive cars that they get in. Apparently they are too busy to take a quick look at it. I did finally manage to get enough money to fix the large problems.

The first thing I went to get fixed was the oil pan and have them look for the coolant leak. Shortly after I drop the car off the mechanic calls me and says the oil pan I bought was the wrong one. I knew I ordered the correct one so I had him check the numbers on the engine. Turns out the engine is out of an 86 corvette. He also told me where the leak was. The block must have cracked at some point and someone tried to weld it shut but it sprung a leak. The rear left caliper is shot as well.

I call them back again and tried to get them to fix it. No luck on that.

That's pretty much where I am currently. He did agree to trade the car for another if something comes in. Better than nothing I guess.

Here are the problems I found

1.  blower motor does not work
2.  headlight brights do not work (brights on all the time and won't shut off)
3.  rear window trim missing
4.  speedometer does not work
5.  temp gauge does not work
6.  windows roll up painfully slow
7.  neither door locks work
8.  filler neck not center (barely able to remove cap)
9.  radio turns on but no sound from the speakers (no speakers)
10. seats not completely bolted down
11. oil drain plug sealed shut with unknown substance --
12. head gasket most likely blown
13. possible power steering leak
14. Rear-drivers side brake caliper bad
15. leak in engine block.
16. passenger door, passenger headlight and hood out of alignment. (headlight barely opens and the bottom of the door panel rubs on the door sill)
17. missing hazard light button missing
18. Ring around the horn emblem broke off (only honked it once and apparently all 3 rivets broke. It was probably just glued on.)

other
1. radiator fluid COMPLETELY empty
2. Oil was black and at the add line
3. many missing screws and rivets
4. interior put together sloppily

Over all the problems arn't too bad other than the engine. They should have noticed half of those things just by sitting in the car. We will see if any other problems show up but hopefully that is everything.

link to ebay listing
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1977-Corvette-Coupe-350-V8-Automatic-Transmission...

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« Last Edit: Mar 8th, 2013 at 9:22am by 77vetteguy »  

I don't always shift down. But when I do, it's next to a Prius so they can hear me hurt the environment.
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Reply #1 - Mar 8th, 2013 at 10:15am

Knotacare   Offline
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Seems to me this guy is a liar & a cheat. Not a driver quality car. I will say this that block might still be able to be welded correctly. I've seen it done many times, but you have to find a good welder. I think I will put a thread on here about places like this. For $8000.00 you should have  gotten a better car than you rec'vd. A lesson here for all is look it over yourself or pay to have it appraised by a pro or a friend you trust. It's to bad because we have a forum member that lives close to this clown & would have probably been happy to look over the car for you.
Alan Smiley
 

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Reply #2 - Mar 8th, 2013 at 10:29am

blue 77   Offline
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purchased new in 77
Abilene, Texas

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Wow with that many things wrong you would think the dealer would have noticed SOME of it.  Yes it is a 35 year old car, but that doesn't mean you don't look for things which are not working properly.  "Less expensive car" ($9000) Shocked to some people this is an expensive car.  As a reputable dealer shouldn't he treat all cars the same, even if it is a "less expensive car".  Maybe he is only interested in selling the MORE expensive ones so he makes more money. Roll Eyes

This is a lesson for people to learn from.  NEVER NEVER buy a vehicle without either seeing it yourself or having a trusted person or paid appraiser look at it, no matter who you are buying from.

I have already posted your experiences with Holt on a couple of other classic car forums just to alert people to this type issue.

Hoping for only the best for you with this vette.  May it work out for you.

Dale
 

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Reply #3 - Mar 8th, 2013 at 10:35am

77vetteguy   Offline
Senior Member
things in the mirror are
about to disapear
iowa

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Posts: 425
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Knotacare wrote on Mar 8th, 2013 at 10:15am:
. It's to bad because we have a forum member that lives close to this clown & would have probably been happy to look over the car for you.

I didn't even think about asking if there was anyone near there.

blue 77 wrote on Mar 8th, 2013 at 10:29am:
Hoping for only the best for you with this vette.  May it work out for you.

Dale

Me too
 

I don't always shift down. But when I do, it's next to a Prius so they can hear me hurt the environment.
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Reply #4 - Mar 8th, 2013 at 1:43pm

seventyate   Offline
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My C3 is a "76"
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When this guy says 30+ years selling Vettes, you know dam well he knew what he was selling.  They know what they are taking in, I wouldn't think for a minute that this guy knew the problems when he got the car or he was just too willing to take it so he could unload another disaster on someone else.
 

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Reply #5 - Mar 8th, 2013 at 4:26pm

wnmech   Offline
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I dont know if it would do you any good since most deals are as is but I would consult an attorney for some legal advice.
Rick
 
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Reply #6 - Mar 8th, 2013 at 6:12pm

77vetteguy   Offline
Senior Member
things in the mirror are
about to disapear
iowa

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Posts: 425
****
 
wnmech wrote on Mar 8th, 2013 at 4:26pm:
I dont know if it would do you any good since most deals are as is but I would consult an attorney for some legal advice.
Rick

I did. If I can't prove they knew about the problems I don't really have anything.
 

I don't always shift down. But when I do, it's next to a Prius so they can hear me hurt the environment.
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Reply #7 - Mar 9th, 2013 at 4:30am

olddiver   Offline
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1980 Red California Special
Lemoore, California

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It's sad when they have been selling Vettes for over 30 years and give you a car like that Sad some people will do anything for money. Hope your able to make something good come out of this.
.... Mark
 
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Reply #8 - Mar 17th, 2013 at 1:26am

77vetteguy   Offline
Senior Member
things in the mirror are
about to disapear
iowa

Gender: male
Posts: 425
****
 
I messaged another guy on ebay that bought a 75 from the same place. Sounds like he got off easy. The speedometer didn't work and the head lights won't come up. Once again easily noticeable problems yet the only problem listed was that the a/c doesn't work. In the description it says "it's ready to cruise anywhere". Unless it's dark though I guess.
 

I don't always shift down. But when I do, it's next to a Prius so they can hear me hurt the environment.
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Reply #9 - Mar 17th, 2013 at 12:43pm

blue 77   Offline
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purchased new in 77
Abilene, Texas

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Really looks like this is an ongoing issue for Holt. Shocked  Hard to believe they have been selling Vettes for over 30 years and
CAN'T
seem to notice issues the average driver can see without really looking. Angry

Dale
 

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Reply #10 - Mar 17th, 2013 at 10:13pm

77vetteguy   Offline
Senior Member
things in the mirror are
about to disapear
iowa

Gender: male
Posts: 425
****
 
When i talked to the salesman it sounded like this is a recurring problem. he made it sound like this happens quiet a bit with the "cheaper" cars.
 

I don't always shift down. But when I do, it's next to a Prius so they can hear me hurt the environment.
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