Feb 19, 2011

Guys like these are why you go to dealerships.

You thought it was annoying selling your car online didn’t you? Well, now you’ve got some cash and you’re going to shop online. Good, you’re about to get a taste of your own medicine. Don’t look for advice here. I’m not advising as much as complaining for my own amusement. If you learn something, it’s not my fault.

Shopping at a used car dealers makes me want to barf.  But not every private seller is a pleasure either.   If you are patient and wise, then purchase from someone  in your car club. It will be worth the wait.  Sadly, I've never been able to wait very long for anything, ever.  So I'm stuck with all the irritations described below.

The less time or money it takes for someone to post online the more annoying a purchase will be. When it's really easy to post an add you’re going to get all sorts of lame sellers. Heck, you can post an add on Craigslist from your phone! For free!  So brace yourself for some real ass-hats. The more excited you get finding a car online, the more odd the situation will be.  Heck, half of them won't even really be for sale. The "Craigslister" is just getting a "temperature check" on a car’s value. A cruel practice indeed, but more common than I can bare to tell you.  Take a Xanax and read on.

Regardless of the source, you’ll run into some of these Guys:

Price Dreamer Guy
This guy is asking for some insane price for his own amusement. He’s not really motivated to sell. He’s just motivated to make obscene money if he gets lucky.  He thinks free web posting is like Lotto.  He pics a number that is crazy and lists it, “what the heck it’s only the internet”. The next legitimate seller comes along and sees what Price Dreamer Guy is asking, so he asks for an obscene price too. Two dreamers do not make a market price. Actual sales do that. I know, it’s crazy.

2004 C4S Tiptronic shouldn't be priced like a 6 speed '98 Carrera 4S. 
I'm not telling what they were asking, but it was way high.
Not every Carrera is an  investment car.  RMS, IMS and ugly headlights, yuk.

No Photo Guy
You think you’re onto a barn find here don’t you. Well a car with hockey sticks stacked on top of it isn’t always a barn find now is it? Dream on.

When I find a car with no photo I think maybe I’ve found something special. I’ve got a opportunity to buy before people with less imagination get involved. Usually I’m dead wrong and it’s just another BS listing from someone not willing to make any effort. Or better yet, my hasty inquiry gets him thinking others will soon follow in droves. I wait for days on a response. Perhaps the reply will come about 12 hours after I buy something else. Those are fun.

Seriously you have to have a photo. What the heck are you thinking? You can’t find a camera? Bull! If you aren’t ready to wash your can and take a decent photos just burn it for the insurance money and don’t tease me.

No photo, SanFran California Newspaper ad.   Condition, unbelievable! 
This car was sourced by my wife in one day after I'd been looking for 4 weeks.
The seller then held it for us until we flew down to drive it home 
This is the only car I've ever made money selling.  Ever. 

Bad photo guy
You’re not as bad as No Photo Guy. Or maybe you are. Bad Photo Guy took a crappy picture with his phone through his kitchen window. Did I mention it was raining when he took the photo? It was. Usually a picture with any level of effort will look good.  Real effort will look amazing.  I personally often think Bad Photo Guy is a car guy too stupid to take a good photo. I’m usually wrong.

Couldn't tell you if this is a good car or not.  Photo's too poor. 
I would suggest buying from a guy w/a cleaner garage if I were you.
Hopefully I’ve convinced everyone to take a snapshot or two by now. Now let’s criticize that picture you just took with your camera. You haven’t paid any consignment fees, you haven’t paid a photographer either, you’re probably posting a free add too. You can afford to take 10 minutes and read about how to take a decent picture. If you can’t read, okay, then look at some pictures from an add that doesn’t stink like yours.

This poor picture captures this Porsche quite accurately.  Dissapointment in abundance.

If you pride yourself on your car, you’ll already want to take a good photo. Go to cobracountry.com find the article and learn. It is specific to Cobras, but the premises are sound for any car. People buy cars sight unseen from that website any pay as much as $100,000. The author has something figured out.

This seller had excellent pictures, very compelling.  http://www.sportscarguyspeaks.com/2011/01/picture-says-1000-words-but-i-might-say.html

No Contact Info Guy
This guy can’t be bothered with people contacting him. He lists few or difficult contact methods to weed out only the most motivated buyers.  How annoying: people actually  interested in your car.

Disconnected Phone Guy
This guy changed his name to No Proof Reading Guy.

File Photo Guy.
File Photo Guy pasted an image he found on the web into his add. We want to see your car. We all know what a Viper looks like dumb ass.

1977 Tran Am.  Low miles.  Only driven to Texarkana and back a few times.

Annoyed Guy
"Why do these people keep bothering me with questions?"  Because you posted an add stupid.  That's what we do when you are selling something we want, we contact you!   That's how the process works, you post a crappy add with little to no information, we call with many questions, you fake like we're not bothering you and tolerate the stupid questions because......  get ready for this:   You're trying to sell your car!

Suspicious Guy
Can't you tell the difference between a Nigerian scam email and a car guy from Seattle?  Take a chance and reply.  If you think I'm going to rob or murder you via email, it might be safer to just keep your car.
I sent a picture of  my cash to get this island dwelling hermit to finally take me seriously.  
That convinced him to meet me via ferryboat at Friday Harbor to see the bike.  
When I got there, he'd forgotten to bring all the paperwork that made the bike so compelling in the first place.  
I took a chance and bought it anyway.  A great bike. 

Old Photo Guy
Old Photo Guy is only slightly better than File Photo Guy. “This is what it looked like when I bought it. Now its red, has turbo-twist wheels and 50,000 more miles.”  Perhaps you should meet No Photo Guy.

Firm Guy, or Infirm Guy
This whole thing annoys me.  If you're firm say firm, if you don't say firm expect me to attempt to negotiate..  If you are offended, tell me.  If you want to continue negotiation suggest something.  We aren't face to face so communicate.  Don't be an ass.

Slow Reply Guy
Come on, do you really think I believe you only check your email/voicemail every 48 hours? Even astronauts have access to email. Whatever game you’re playing, I’d like to not to.

30K original miles.  Seller on Bainbridge Island took 48hrs for each response
 to my emails and kept rescheduling my appointment.  He kept saying he was
 out of town or whatever.   He forgot to remove the salutation
 from his emails that said "sent via IPhone."  I hope his next car spins a rod
 bearing.   (similar, but not actual car in photo)

Invariably everyone I call claims to be away on a trip when selling a car, why is that? “So sorry, I’m not available to respond to the add I placed 3 hours ago, please leave a message and I’ll get back to you after I return from California where they have no phones or internet”

No Reply Guy
I’ll get back to you on him.

I've sometimes been Price Dreamer Guy and frequently Annoyed Guy too.
Joy Ride Guy.  That's who I want to be.

Any you wonder why people go to the dealership.

Feb 13, 2011

Selling your car online, or how to meet really annoying people.

The sale of the Cobra took over 18 months. It was appraised at $75,000 and cost much more. I clearly
missed the golden opportunity to sell it to some rich athlete back some years ago. Hind sight is 20/20 they say. Then the economic downturn took it’s toll on my selling price as well. In the end, I sold it for about the cost of the engine and paint job. The good news is I was happy to sell it to the buyer, he was a true car guy. That’s good enough for me. But let’s review some of the joys of selling shall we?

Should have sold it 5 years ago.  Listed on Cobracountry , Facebook, and this blog.
  Buyer was a perfect match, knowledgable, good communication, respectful.   
I try not to think about it to much or I'll cry.  You've got to sell one if you want to buy one. 
We can't all be Jay Leno. 

As a seller I can tell you it ain’t easy keeping positive when morons are bothering you constantly. You post in the usual places: the forums, Autotrader, Craigslist or perhaps some specialty websites. The emails and calls come.

For Sale: 1998 BMW M3 Convertible, triple black. 25K miles, excellent condition, no dents or flaws of any kind in body work and interior. Engine in perfect working order. 30K mile service complete. Factory options include optional comp wheels, 3 spoke steering wheel and cold weather package. All 100% original $25K firm. No emails, no trades, no car buddies, no low-ballers, no dealers. Here’s a thought: if you are shopping for an M3 and can afford this one, then get off your ass and call. Adam 206-555-1212

I recall giving a 2 hour test drive to some lady looking at this car.
She gave me a deposit that I returned to her then next day.
 She just wasn't worth it.  That's Craigslist for you. 

Responders annoy in so many  creative ways:

I’d like to buy the “item” guy.
This ridiculous form letter scam crap is for the birds. I guess they must work on occasion. There are in fact just as many morons selling as buying, so the Nigerian royal consulate might as well send you a check for $10,000 above your asking price. Not suspicious at all right? I’d love to get these guys to send me as many checks as possible, keep them busy for kicks. But antagonizing them might be ill advised, so I restrain myself.

Bought as a total pile, spent a fortune, sold cheap. 
 Ducati Monster Forum.  Buyer road it home to CA
I hope he made it.

The price dreamer.
If you can’t afford my car don’t contact me. If I say firm, don’t bother me with an offer. Also, don’t ask me my lowest price. I said firm precisely because I was tired of people like you. Oh, and one more thing, the fact that you’re considering cheaper cars doesn’t affect me. If I wanted to sell my car to Camry shoppers, I would have priced it like a Camry in the add.

I tried to sell this for over year.  $16,000 in restoration and asking something like $7,000 I think.
  KompackKarKorner sold the car in 2 hours. More info on this build.

The car buddy
I don’t know why you even called. I just spent 30 minutes sharing all kinds of details about by car and nothing seems to end this conversation. It has become apparent you are not getting around to deciding anything. Why did you call? If I wanted a new friend I would have listed a personal add.

Free advice guy
Free advice guy sees you’ve built what he’s interested in buying or building. Your specific car is not of interest to him. He would however, like to learn all you learned during the 3 year build process and has no compunction about asking these questions while you’re trying to have dinner.

Premature negotiation guy
I hate when negotiation begins before anything else. I prefer to have my car  insulted after getting to know you better. If it’s not close to what you want to pay and you haven’t even seen it yet, then we’ve got a problem. My all time favorite is when they email an offer and don’t even mention what they are offering to buy. It’s possible I’m also selling other things and yes, I will take $37,000 for my ‘99 Ducati Monster.

Guy on Craigslist wanted to pay me $300/mo for this.  Wife and I  later delivered this to a car to OR. 
The final drive is often the best one.  Buyer paid asking price, but  I still feel I sold this car too cheap. 
Car's this good should be kept in the PCA family.
Swap meet guy
This fellow wants to trade up and has something uninteresting to offer. Perhaps he wants me to wait while he sells his car. Go to a dealer if you need a trade! Go to a pawn shop if you want to use your table saw for a down payment. Why are you shopping if you aren’t ready to buy? I’ll tell you why... Because you’re a passive online loser, that’s why. Emailing stupid offers and bothering people is your specialty.  Why not, it’s only the internet.

Painted matte black, wasp exhaust, etc etc Craigslist helped me to sell before dying of annoyance.
But of course not before I received 100 messaged from people who were "tire kickers"
Oh, and  NO, I don't want to trade for your baseball card collection or your dualsport.

Brokers. If I wanted your services I'd have contacted you.  No I don’t want to sell my car for half price either. I also don’t want cancer or herpes.

Screwed on my trade at Kirkland's Rairdon Dodge.  They got me at a weak moment.
I really needed a SUV and they had a cool SRT-8 Cherokee that seemed a good choice.
I was screwed in other ways,I take full responsibility.  Because  I'm stupid.
(a ZCP should be sold to people who understand, clearly a BMW forum car)

People shoot off emails way too quickly with no respect for your time. Heck, often they email and ask questions that you have already answered in your listing. They are never local, and don’t ask smart questions. Some smart questions I’d like to hear once in a while would be “when can I come see it,” or “what’s your mechanic’s phone number.” Even requests for documentation of some sort might be nice. Many of them can’t communicate well in person or in writing, which is suspicious. Although I cannot spell myself, I still find grammar and spelling errors suspicious when I receive them. I assume that I’m being emailed by a 15 year old from his room which is covered with car posters. All he really wants is larger pictures emailed to him for new wallpaper on his laptop. Who knows if this is accurate or not, it’s the internet. If my car really interests you perhaps you should try contacting me in the manor that won’t make you look like a lazy ass. Better yet, just email and call. If it doesn’t compel you enough to take serious action in contacting me, why do you want it? After all I’m not talking about a Ford Taurus, I’m talking about your last sports car.

Consigned and then sold long distance.   Easy sale. 

The annoyances often stem from people shopping beyond the realm of feasibility. They start looking online for their dream car, they extend the search to cars they can’t afford: “what the heck, I’ll shoot an email and offer $8,0000 less.” Or maybe they can’t find one close, so they extend the search to the opposite coast. Buying a car $2500 away is very different, and yes I’m using dollars as a measure of distance. Lastly they often aren’t really looking for a car at all, but rather just looking. This is common, we all do it. Throw out an offer to see if it compels us to take further action. Try not to put a seller though your recreational Craigslist emails or calls for your amusement. No matter how charming or apologetic you might be, I’d prefer you contact me only if you mean business. After all, I’ve only got so much patience and will need it for the next guy who might even be for real.

Each time I post a free listing like on Craigslist or a forum, I expect some irritation. Heck it didn’t cost me anything to list the car, so a price has to be paid somehow. Conversely, If I’m paying for a listing, like on Autotrader, Vehix ,etc then time wasters might be much more annoying to me. After all I’m essentially paying to be bothered.

Not for sale.  Hehe.  Listed on Craigslist & Ebay, I owned it that evening. 

Eventually, I often decide the car isn’t worth selling at all and try to keep it. I might even try to consign it somewhere.  Then when too exhausted to talk about my car with anyone else, I'll trade it in.  I invariably end up taking even less than those insulting offers. But, at the dealer they don’t think I’m a con artist and they do all the paper work.  Most importantly I get free coffee while they screw me worse than I ever imagined.

I think I’m going to throw up now.

Next blogBuying online, and how annoying sellers can be.  It cuts both ways, what can I say.

Feb 10, 2011

Corvette Dreams

First a little back story...

Corvettes have had a soft spot in my heart for a long time.  The only Matchbox car I remember was a ’63 split window coupe.  The Corellian Corvettes in Star Wars didn’t escape my attention.  How could it?  I watched the movie 30 times.  I learned to draw by tracing Corvettes from the pages of CarToons magazine.  In high school I read everything printed about Corvettes.  I worshiped the collaborative genius of the 32 valved C4 ZR1.  My teens will give an honorable mention to both the movie "Corvette Summer" and the song "Little Red Corvette."   A very tired C3 almost took me off to college; luckily my Camaro was fast enough to take my license. Freshman year speech class was all about about Corvettes, at least for me. Somewhere in college my attention drifted to the brutal power of the Shelby Cobra.  After I built that Cobra, the C5 came out and immediately got my attention at the local track.  I’ve been watching them out of the corner of my eye ever since.  

Not my actual 1st Matchbox,  It might have been a HotWheels

So, when does cruising not require a car?  When it’s on a ship. I just returned from such an “anti-Cruise” through the Hawaiian islands. I know what you’re thinking, “didn’t he say he’s not interested in anything without wheels?” Yes, I did, but please, let me explain.
Every year the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green Kentucky raises money with a winter vacation cruise. Various contributors take the opportunity to park those Corvettes and cruise in a different way.  I attend periodically since my Mom and Aunt Dee own a couple of Corvettes.  It's an easy way to spend time with family while keeping conversation close to what's really important... cars.
Corvette owners settled for Jeeps and hit the road to Hana on Maui. 
Most of these attending museum contributors are die-hard Corvette fans. Singularity of their passion is quite evident. I wish I could stay in love with the same car for that long. I’m more the oversexed teenager type when it comes to cars:  I look, admire and desire them all.  Just days after buying a new vehicle my mind wanders. Being loyal to the Corvette moniker is often more than simple sports car enthusiasm, it’s also patriotism. The Corvette is America. Most of these “cruisers” are retiree’s as you might expect. Many are veterans as well.  It’s always an honor to be in the presence of individuals that have given so much to America, especially after visiting the Pearl Harbor memorial.

Memorial to the Arizona. Sunk at Pearl Harbor, but I hope you knew that.
The Arizona still leaks  2-9 quarts of oil daily. Sometimes called "black tears"
 How can it still be leaking?   Because It held 1.5 million gallons. 
Thats alot of oil changes.

Contributors give to the Corvette museum in various ways. Buying a cruise ticket starts the process. A portion of that ticket cost is donated to the museum. Many of the cars in the museum are actually donations also.  Commemorative bricks and benches (among other things) are sold as well. They commemorate the contributors and the particular year/cruise they attended. These folks stick together, that’s for sure. Many attend every single year, so they are a tight group.

On the big island the local turn out to meet our group was impressive.

Corvette talk fills the air at dinner time. Racing, modifications, speculation about the C7, members can talk endlessly about whichever model they appreciate best. Some of the cruisers are quite well connected, so if you can keep quiet and listen (not my best talent) you can learn a lot. The only conversation more passionate than Vettes was the wise cracking about my Porsche. I took considerable abuse for being a non-corvette owner. I might save up for one of those ZR1 raffle tickets.  Then, after winning I can put an end to the abuse.

Yes, the museum is raffling a whole package to Lemans 24hr!!  Poly vu francias?
Picture stolen without permission from my hero, Corvetteblogger.

Not all Corvette people are into stock cars with matching numbers.
Kind of refreshing.

Corvette cruisers, on land or sea, are quite easy to spot. Just look for the Corvette logo, it’s on them like white is on rice. It started with magnetic pictures on each cabin door, in case you forget your room number. Your car is much easier to remember after that third Mai Tai. Then it was followed up with name tags, hats, shirts and pins. I even saw some Corvette socks. It was easy to spot who was in our group, just follow the crossed flags.

Mustard isn't really my color. But I looked smashing anyway.

All this Corvette worship got me thinking more seriously about these cars. At times, Corvettes have been a bit big and heavy but not anymore. Are they too common? Well maybe, but many special option packages and unique models exist to please those exclusivity obsessed types, like myself.  Interior has been accused of being lackluster for a supercar, but look again. The optional leather interior brings the appearance up a notch. Don’t forget the economy of scale that benefits the buyer. Chevrolet is huge and they’ve spent more money than most companies can even earn to make the Corvette deliver reliable performance. Aston Martin, while very classy and cool, could never earn the kind of money that Chevy has spent developing this one car.

The 2011 Grandsport Coupe in particular has my attention. It’s got all the good looks and handling without an excessive power plant. I do fear, however, that Chevrolet would simply make a better and faster car as soon as I wrote my check.  Keeping my slower Porsche is safer as I’m confident the current Carrera quality level will never compare to my 1998 model. Dare I say it, Porsche quality is not improving as quickly as performance is.

My dentist's Corvette. Think I'll cut back to once/year cleanings.

One of my favorite years.
We must give the Corvette a fair shake here. It is a survivor since the 50’s. 60 years of development as a flagship for performance has paid off.  The raw statistics indicate any current Corvette is definitely an exceptional sports car. Let’s not even get into the performance of the Z06 or the ZR1 models. Toss in some more carbon and leather, then maybe upgrade the seats to some hard backs with Alcantara (hint hint). Now your competing head to head with Europe at a far lower price.

I love the color and the red headed gal in the driver seat too.  (Aunt Dee's Z06)

I forget what year this Vette was, but it was nice.
Oh, you need to check out the Corvete club of Hawaii
Ask yourself this, if the current ZO6 was built by someone in Europe, and cost $200K how would the magazines and the world regard it? Let’s take the Folgers switch with even an LS3 Corvette and give these cars a respectful nod.

Hey Chevy:
I'll take these colors, a spoler, manual 6spd and that black leather dash package.
Oh, and I'll pick it up at the Museum in Kentucky, so no need to ship it.

I can hear all the bar stool experts saying “why are you comparing European supercars to Corvettes?” To them I ask this:
Have you driven a Corvette lately?

Heck, my aunt’s Z06 scared the crap out of me! in a good way. When the C5’s rear- transmission was introduced handling reached a  new level. Anyone remember the 944?.  Balanced yes, but it's still an all American with a front engine feel. Even with the lowly 430hp LS3, one lap around the track will clear this up for you.  Anybody shooting his or her mouth off should get the picture by the 1st turn. No bar stool can thrill like this car.

Did I mention who won the Cruise's RC car  time trials?
That's because I'm so humble.  It's one of by best qualities.
Local enthusiasts can always be found wherever the Musuem
cruisers go and as usual they show us a really great time.
 Special thanks to the enthusiast owned Aikane Coffee Company
I packed up as much of this coffee as I could carry.  Good stuff.

So don’t let all those convertibles, automatics, and grey hair fool you. These are some serious sports cars. If you want performance and reliability over all else, look no further than a new Corvette. The fact that they are a bit more common is for good reason, they make great sense.   A lot of people love them for a lot of different reasons.  Many people have waited most of their lives to get one, so yes the hair may have greyed. But show the good old Corvette some car guy respect, or my mother may just to hand you your ass on her way to church.

Mom washes her C6 with distilled water to avoid water spots.
I'm so proud.  

Special thanks to Sheri Clarke for organizing all the travel for the Corvette Museum for many years. She and her husband David are true masters at managing large, loud, confused, and unruly groups like ours. http://www.cruiseholidays.com/  Next year I hear it's South America.

More random pics from our Hawaii trip...

View from hotel in Waikiki

Jeep tour allowed a few stops for swimming beneath water falls

Smart people, rent.  It's cheaper than shipping it over.
This one's for you Bill
Snorkeling and alcohol do mix.
Just a few friends that showed up to say hello.
Bet you don't find these at your airport on the mainland
The Ford ThunderChicken, has low horsepower. 

Ferrari, expensive cars, but great hats.
I have no idea who these women are.
Survivors of the invasion can be found at the memorial,
 but the numbers are dwindling.

Feb 3, 2011

The Morning After

After purchasing any used car comes some anxiety. Fear of finding all the things you might have missed lingers for a while.  Carfax has alleviated a good amount of that anxiety, but all incidents don't necessarily involve the police or insurance claims.  So Carfax is certainly not infallible, and not to mention it can even discourage the purchase of  great cars.  So clearly the first few weeks after getting a your dream car can be stressful, till you're reassured  of your brilliance.  

My garage is very cool during this transition.
The Cobra joins the Carrera for a short time while awaiting pickup.
Soon all that will be left is photos, magazine reprints & trophies.

I took the Carrera out for it's first real ride on Wednesday and I'm going to detail my discoveries here as I find them.  Do not despair, even the best used car is still used. 70K miles is not much for a Porsche, but the miles take still their toll somewhere. The good part is that I enjoy taking a car from good to great.  So assuming no major expenses, it will be fun.  My experience with Porsches is that DIY projects can be fulfilling because the quality is so good.  Nothing satisfies like a car that will actually go back together after you take it apart.  I think I made out well over all buying this car using my pharmacist's intuition.   I've sold narcotics to liars and addicts for 15 years.  A unique qualification for used car shopping I confess.

Keep in mind this is not a 993 buyers guide.  You can assume umentioned common problem areas are fine.  Plenty of buyers guides are out there if you're shopping.  Furthermore, I'll add to this list over the next 100 miles if relevant issues arise. I doubt I'll find much,  It's a great car.

Post Purchse Inspection
Not that I didn't look it over, but at home you see with different eyes.  Frankly, I was transformed somehow into a 14 yr old boy shopping for his first BMX bike after laying eyes on this car.  Next car I'll take a sedative.

Rear brakes squeak.  The pads look to be good, but sometimes the disks get glazed a little or the pad material is a  "low dust" variety which make more noise.  New pads or even some good old aggressive driving will often fix this.  I'll pull them and inspect soon.

Driver's door A-Pilar.  This is common in Carreras. A repair was attempted by an amateur welder in this case.  This looks like it will pull apart again soon (see crack). Figure $700-$1000 to fix properly and 2 or 3 days at a body shop.   Any educated, calm Porsche shopper should spot this prior to purchase. It is a good example of why you should keep your head when inspecting a car.  Or get a PPI if you cannot. This was a bummer. Even if I caught it I likely couldn't have used it in price negotiation.  I  had too much fear of loosing the car to dare.  Even if I'm gentle myself with the door a valet can mess it up pretty quick.   I doubt the previous owner was even aware of this situation.  He clearly loved this car.   I'll be opting  for the expensive fix eventually, so the car's quality is not tarnished by a chepo repair.  Nothing devalues a nice car worse than improper repairs.

Unmolested passenger side.  always less wear.

Poorly repaired drivers side already cracking

Curb rash.  Yes of course, but easily fixed.
Yellowing of one front indicator lense.   It's hard to look at this car and remember it is 13 years old.  These yellow with age.  Most likely the other clear and colorless one (not pictured) is a replacement or they'd match in discoloration.  I will use a $10 plastic polishing kit from Tap Plastics.

Interior bits and pieces.  A few little covers for bolts etc are missing here and there.  Pelican parts will be the answer.
Seat vinyl has tuned black somehow from friction perhaps.  It isn't dirt, but a loss of the vinyl's original tan dye. Most often Carrera's have the full leather option, which means this location would have been leather too.  But the standard setup, like mine, is leather fronts and vinyl sides. This is an easy fix with vinyl dye for about $10.  You've just got to buy a the right color or the wrong tan will look cheap.   This will will fix up perfectly once I find a supplier of the right color.

Driving impression

Nothing feels as substantial to me as a Porsche.  Looking at those gauges takes me back to the evolution of the brand.  Just like the video documentaries and magazines I've poured over for 20 years.   I love the bits that have remained unchanged for 30 years because they worked.   Few cars get allowed to evolve this way.

Other testimony to racing importance over luxury or convenience are apparent.  Like the fact that you can't even see the climate controls from the driver position.  Nor can you reach the radio very well either.   Cupholders?  Nein!  This is not to say it isn't somewhat luxurious.  Compared to the RS America, which came so close to a pole position in my garage,  it's quite luxurious.

It doesn't make a lot of commotion about going fast, which will take some getting used to.  Remember, last week I was driving a Cobra with side pipes.   It's quiet, the wheels rarely spin and the suspension is softer than my BMW E46 M3.   I was going through the gears and thinking to myself, "this is much slower than a few of my previous cars."   I then looked down at the speedo, which indicated I was already going 100mph!   The "power band" is there in the higher RPMs if you go looking for it, but the build-up you expect somewhat is hidden by the Varioram's flat, tall torque curve.  Big blocks have this in spades, but it's not common in a small displacement car like this.   Long story short, keep your eyes on the speedo if your darting about, you may be going faster than you think.

Don't shift!  I used to lug the Cobra around all the time.
 It kept it quiet and handled like a pussycat.  
With 6 gears and good low end grunt, it's easy to be in the wrong gear all the time.  I will learn to keep my rpm's up over 3000 as often as possible.  Don't want that Secondary Air Injection (SAI) to clog up.  People think lugging a car around is being gentle.  Not always the case.

My ride was only about an hour or two, but no handling or mechanical issues were apparent, which is always a relief when you boldly buy without a PPI..  

Best thing about owning cars for me is looking back at them after I've parked. 
I know, it's pretty simple.  But it makes me very happy. 

This is why I bought a Carrera S.
 I love the look.
Overall impression

Buying used is stressful but you can get a lot for your money.  So those of us on a Mustang budget with Porsche dreams must bridge that gap and take some chances.   That said, I think I did quite well, and acknowledge the risks I have taken. Owners don't always know what lies around the corner when selling so a read on them can only take you so far.   You must do your best to identify the risks that are immediate, by assessing both seller and the car to the best of your ability.  Perhaps to the best of an experts ability would be even better.

I'd say overall I couldn't be happier.  I got the exact car, mileage, color and interior I wanted.  I didn't have to spend money I didn't have on shipping from out of state.  That clearly increased my budget to afford this particular model.  I got to see my car in person and meet the owner, Kelly.  All for the price of a couple fixes that I think I can handle in my own time.

That's a win to me.

*oh, and one more thing... this car is clean.  I mean really clean.  It is so clean that if the hospital runs out of operating rooms I could volunteer my Carrera.  Special thanks for http://www.northwestautosalon.com/ - they detailed the car with a level of thoroughness I've never seen before.  Cheers guys.

(To see these guys convert a Ferrari to matte black watch this video in this link: http://bit.ly/gDagIA)