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Thread: Purchase methods and consideration

  1. #1
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    Default Purchase methods and consideration

    This subject if for general purchasing & searching topics. DO NOT post specific pricing or model questions. Thank you.
    -- Capt. Mike

    Is selling price seasonal?

    Hello,

    I'm just wondering if Camper selling prices are seasonal? I live in southern California and have made up my mind to buy a VW camper. Is the camper market pricing about the same all year 'round or do the prices actually go down in winter? If they're pretty much the same price all year 'round I'll go ahead and find a nice one now instead of waiting. I've wanted a VW camper since I was a kid in '72. Now I'm going to get one.

    Thank you for your help,

    Joe
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 08-02-2008 at 05:17 AM.

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  3. #2
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    This is a totally unscientific opinion, but I'd say yes, seasonal. For the average ones! Those excellent or restored originals will sell on the "antique" market which is less sensative.

    When I got the '90 in January that year, I had an excellent '79 -- all original with a full set of bells & whistles. I tried advertising in the usual markets -- Car Trader, paper, etc. I had a good healthy price on it, but I was amazed at the literally insulting people expecting a cheap camper.

    "It can't be worth that." "I can get one for half that price." "For a VW?" And this is all sight unseen!!! I basically came to the conclusion that people that shop Spring are looking for the Summer bargain. I'm sure many people selling can't wait until Summer, so prices should be a little lower in Winter.

    What I did was pull it off the market and spent the rest of the Winter & Spring detailing it. Nothing expensive, just touching up engine paint, spit & polish, repaint exhaust, etc. I then entered it in the IVWA Spring Nationals and took a National 1st. I jacked the price up another grand, advertised in Hemmings Motor News and Hot VWs and the phone rang off the hook. I could have sold half-a-dozen at even more.

    My conclusion is that people are more likely to pay top dollar when they NEED the camper quickly -- Summer. But again, I figure this is true only of average condition units sold in the regular used car market. The premium Class 1 & Class 2 (show quality) units in Old Car Price Guide don't seem to vary during the year. Just climbing!
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 08-02-2008 at 05:19 AM.

  4. #3
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    Transferred from other posts to consolidate similar topics.

    Private seller or Dealership - is either better?

    Joe Member # 91 posted 06-19-2000 11:11 PM

    Hello,

    Would anyone care to share with me their experience on whether it is generally better to buy from a private individual or a dealership? I realize that it's possible to get either a gem or a lemon from either seller.

    I've just never really trusted dealerships but, I don't know if they are really all that bad or all that good. I'm always expecting them to try to trick me. It seem's like the dealership ads I see generally are quite a bit higher than private parties to cover overhead and make as much profit as they can.

    So, is one better than another? Your experience and advice are appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Joe

    Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 06-20-2000 08:43 AM

    Westies have reached a cult status (not necessarily bad) where they no longer follow the usual rules of resale. Show condition all original Westies typically draw more than they cost new.

    Dealers basically buy wholesale and sell retail. It may be disguised under new car discounts, but the used car lot is expected to make that profit to operate. With a dealer, you gain certain consumer protection by law and the dealer's reputation for what it's worth.

    Individuals expect to KEEP that profit margin. There MAY be an individual seller that didn't research the Westies market value and will sell based on 'depreciation' from what they paid, but they are few & far between.

    Buying from an individual or dealer is not the question; the question is your knowledge of value, condition and history. And then your confidence in the shop or expert you take it to for PRE-SALE inspection and testing.

    I'd never consider buying a Westy, dealer or individual, that I hadn't been independently examined. The money spent on engine diagnosis (compression/leak-down tests, coolant system tests, alignment/suspension exams) is worth it in the long run.

    Last, consider your source. A VW dealer? Is the car local and its history traceable? Is it a Westy fan that maybe upgraded? An antique or classic aficionado that took care of his Westy to the standards of his other classics? (Along that vein, you can search the antique specialty markets like Hemmings Motor News.)

    So it would be impossible to categorize either source. I know dealers I wouldn't buy a NEW car from, yet am blessed with a 'waiting list' for our used cars of people that know me and our history. I've turned down $25K for my '90 4x4 Westy; my '79 sold at well above market, but had an IVWA National 1st behind it. On the other end, my neighbor bought a $500 'parts bus' with blown engine. About $4,000 later he had a reman engined and almost completely refurbished bus that has performed admirably for several years and thousands of hard camping miles! It's worth a good half-again what he's got into it!

    Your best option is KNOWLEDGE and inspection.

    Finding A Gem

    9XI Junior Member # 811 posted 05-16-2001 01:52 PM

    I am looking for a low mileage 2.1 liter Westy with a standard tranny. I think that the year range was 87 to 92 -- I'm just getting started at this....

    The trick is that I want it as close to showroom condition as possible -- for example, garaged with 20,000 miles. Any tips on finding one?

    I'm willing to pay what it's worth, maybe even more than it's worth, but I haven't found a single one. I'd buy one today if I could find one. Other than your board, what resources can you point me to?

    Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 05-17-2001 06:37 AM

    Yea, dream on! Finding such a vehicle is like hunting for someone that doesn't want to be found. I don't doubt one exists -- maybe even two -- but that they do indicates the owner isn't interested in selling. To entice one YOU have to do the search and advertising. You can start by advertising in the appropriate car wanted sections on the VW sites and in Hemmings Motor News (Thread posted under suppliers.) where you will reach the antique & collector market.
    But the other thing I suggest is you ask yourself just what you're willing to pay for this "gem?" I've turned down $25K for my over 100K mile '90 Syncro. It's in very good condition all around, but hardly your 'gem'. 2WD versions will also draw healthy premiums when low mileage and mint. "Blue Book" and similar pricing guides are dominated by banks, auctions and insurance companies wanting to keep values down. Don't count on finding one for those prices. In today's market, I doubt anyone would sell such a vehicle for less than they cost new and probably a lot more.

    Would it be more realistic to find a very clean and well maintained version with high mileage and invest in the mechancial rebuilding necessary to bring it to that same degree of reliability as the near-new?

    ben Member # 671 posted 05-17-2001 07:48 AM

    There is one on this site!!!! Look in "Classifieds" and under "Quebec", the guys is willing to ship to USA. 19k / no rain (Snow?).

    9XI Junior Member # 811 posted 05-17-2001 11:11 AM

    Thank you, Ben, for the heads up. I saw that one listed in Quebec and asked a question on this board about importing into CA. I have learned that "gems" are there to be found -- it's just a matter of time.

  5. #4
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    Buying on the Internet

    A respected consumer awareness program, The Clark Howard Show, recently did a piece on buying cars via Internet, in particular eBay. The crux of his warning was to NEVER buy a car sight-unseen, without physically viewing a clean title, and using only "in the bank" financial transactions.

    He points out eBay and others have been very negligent in any sort of filtering and oversight to the point it is now a nationally embarrasing scam. Amongst the items he points out is that MANY do not have clear title, are stolen, or are being grossly misrepresented. That I can vouch for as a friend of mine dropped $20K on a used MBenz that couldn't be registered for safety defects even though it was a clean title. Many of the 'individuals' are in reality, buying junkers & auction cars to resell as a business, thus avoiding business licensing and legal oversight.

    If selling, another major warning is that there has been a proliferation of conterfeit cashiers and bank checks. Cars are paid for, some even with the audacity to overpay and ask for cash refund, on a check that is bogus.

    when buying, Howard recommends the final transaction, after the appropriate inspections, be done IN the seller's bank with the bank writing the check to you in your presence. They will also notorize the title transaction and bills of sale (2 copies -- one for each of you.) This also verifies his ID as an account holder.

    Yes, this involves you going to the buyer/seller in person and protecting your interests but we're not talking petty cash, so it is a necessary cost of doing business on the Internet.

    The program was very good. A copy is available at Be careful buying cars on line. If your buyer/seller balks at ANY of your inspection, clear title and payment requirements, you are better off with a "pass."

  6. #5
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    I would like to comment on where to buy a Westy. I will probably will never buy a Westy from a dealer again. I bought my first one ('82 Westy) from a VW dealer, and I got taken to the cleaners.

    I have bought two since then ('81 and '80 Westy) from private sells and have felt very good about the experience (both of which were on E-Bay, by the way).

  7. #6
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    I bought my '84 Westy on ebay in 2003. I Ran a carfax on it and had several email exchanges with the seller, and everything seemed "above board". Seller kept the Westy for me for 4 months until I could pick it up. I took a week off from work and made a family trip out of picking it up in Virginia. I must admit I was relieved when I finally set my eyes on it. The PO even replaced the leaking master cylinder that morning out of coutesy at no cost to me (I did not know it needed replacing). I'm glad I brought my tool box for minor roadside & campsite repairs, and realy glad I brough my Bentley and duct tape! All in all, I got a cherry Westy, had a great family experience, and have been a "happy camper" ever since. Just thought I would share my positive story about my ebay Westy purchase.
    Pascal
    '84 Westy

  8. #7

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    newby ? on $ needed to buy a camper up to 1980.

    greetings from atlanta. i want to fairly quickly buy a up to 80 camper and dont know squat. after reading the forum guidelines and many threads, im ALMOST reluctant to post anywhere for fear of moderators justice, but here goes anyway:

    i would like to buy a mid to late 70s flat-4 camper, and would lie to get some general advice as to what a "decent" example might cost. by decent i mean: mech sound, safe, camp worthy, cosmetically acceptable, and also to include a undeniable level of cool.

    by camp worthy i would prefer to be capable of immediately utilizing external elect and h2o, or being able to get repairs to gain those functions readily. having a sleeping area even if the pop needed future attention. extra batt with switching. refrig not req'd, but def a plus.

    i understand that prices flux widely, and it would be poss to spend from $2k to $25k, but im just asking those who know what might be expected to have to pay for a "decent" driveable example.

    any insights will be greatly appreciated.

    im fully expecting moderation. - ben

  9. #8
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    Get a copy of Old Car Price Guide available at most of the bigger newstands. Also Hemmings Motor News. On the latter, try to find the recent back-issues.

    Old Car Price Guide list market prices of all years of Type IIs in FIVE grades of condition. Since all Type IIs are now antiques, Hemmings Motor News is the buy/sell bible of classifieds for those vehicles.

    But . . . Guideline #9 . . . only you can decide if that price is appropriate. But with the above, you at least can search the classifieds with a basic knowledge of pricing. This topic is for "how to buy"; there is a separate topic for using "Pricing Guides . . ."

  10. #9
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    Default Catch the Bus?

    Hi folks, first let me appologize if this post is in the wrong place or if it breaks any posting protocol.... I was hoping someone could shed some light on catch the bus restorations for me.... They sell on ebay, but you basically pay them before they start on your restoration. has anybody had any experience with these guys? Im looking to buy another bus and this site seems like a good place for a trouble free start. I had alot of trouble with some of my other busses. I had a 73 ez camper and a 79 california but both of them required alot of mechanical work after I bought them....... I know that owning a westy is a commitment and a labor of love but I would like to start with a vehicle that is in as good as shape as possable... any light any of you could share would be great....... thanks in advance

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    Read site Guideline #9!:

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