I've been doing this blog for around 3½ years. I have no idea how many car ads I've looked at. It's a huge number.
There is nothing more frustrating than doing a search, seeing a really cool car come up, only to find that the ad says "19xx _____ ____. Runs OK. Call ________." Sometimes there's one picture. Usually it's something out of date (i.e. trees with leaves, green grass in the background, in a January New England ad.), taken with a cheap cell phone. Sometimes there is no picture at all. I can't write about a car with so little info. I have to keep searching.
The other night I received an email from JaCG reader, "J M". The text read; "I don't know if it will pass your screening, but I'm selling my FIAT and am interested in it going to someone who will continue to improve it with time." There was a link to a Craigslist ad. I figured I'd check it out as Fiats are always interesting.
Pass my screening? Not only does the car pass my screening, but the Craigslist ad is how they all should be. I was blown away.
"J M" starts off his ad with a little history of the car. He purchased it in 2008 with 106,148 miles on it. He includes (along with other info) that it was built in 1976, but titled as a 1977 and that it had a clean title and no rust.
He then leaves a link to a Flicker album with "tons" of photos and "some video." There are 166 photos (!!) and 2 videos. You pretty much know the car inside and out by the time you're done looking at the pictures.
Pictures only tell you what everything looks like however, so "J M" goes on to write about each major area of the car in detail. The cooling system, body, electrical system, suspension, brakes, engine, transmission, interior and top all have separate headings, underneath which is a description. The description includes recent work done and (when applicable) work possibly needed. He also includes an itemized list of spare parts. Awesome.
This ad should be the template for every used car ad.
The bottom line here is this is a nice, very well taken care of Fiat Spider. It needs a little work to be perfect - rust has since popped up since "J M" bought this car - but with this ad at least you know that before you take the ride out to look at it.
As I mentioned in a earlier post, Spiders have slowly but surely been creeping up in price. Part of that may be due to Fiat's renewed presence in North America, but mostly I believe it's due to folks finally figuring out that a well sorted, well taken care of Spider is an incredibly fun - and yes, reliable - car.
Located in Allston, MA, click here to see the Craigslist ad.