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Find Classic Cars on Craigslist

Craigslist is a car classifieds powerhouse, it holds a sweet spot on my list of best places to find affordable classic cars. If you’re patient and review the site, you’re liable to see some of the best deals on affordable classic cars that are close to home. So you can go look at them, buy them and not have to worry about shipping your new acquisition. After all, shipping just adds to the ultimate price of your car.

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I firmly believe that if you’re in a major city in the US, there must be one example of just about every car within a few hundred miles of you. It might take a long time for a Euro-spec Mercedes-Benz 500SL with manual transmission from the mid-80s to appear for sale, but when it does, it will probably show up on Craigslist first.

Craigslist is easy and free for people trying to sell a car. When someone passes away, and a family member has to clean out the garage, that old 1962 MGA MKII that’s been under the painting tarp with years worth of cardboard boxes stacked on top of it will probably end up on the local Craigslist site. A lot of cars that show up on Craigslist are uncovered, non-running, borderline barn finds that someone is just looking to get rid of. It’s these sorts of opportunities I like to watch for.

If you can buy the car cheap enough, you can put some work into it and have a friendly little driver, but be careful! If too much work is needed, or if the work is beyond your expertise or budget you should walk away, or buy the car cheap enough so you can part it out if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Don’t think buying a $700 car and spending every night for the next 2 months picking parts off of it and putting them on eBay is a significant revenue stream.

In most cases, depending upon what you’re parting out, you will end up earning far less than minimum wage after you calculate the hours you’ve put into the project. At some point, you’ll have to have whatever’s left hauled away to the junkyard if you can’t sell a car that’s been picked clean of all the good bits.

Craigslist makes it very easy to list cars for sale, they don’t ask for a lot of specs or details. This makes it somewhat challenging to search for specific vehicles, years, or models you might be interested in. You’re pretty much at the mercy of the titles people create for their ads.

I end up using as few words as I can when I search for classic cars on eBay. If I want to look at Porsche 911s from 1978 – 1983 range, the 3-liter SC cars, I only type “Porsche 911” in the search box. Of course, I have to sift through all the Porsche 911 ads from all the years, and here in the twin cities, there are pages of them, but I won’t miss any listings.

If I’m looking for an MGB, I am going to search using the keyword “MG” and see what comes up. Sure, there will be some MGAs and maybe even one of those hideous MG TD replicas built from a Volkswagen Beetle, but at least you’ll see what’s out there in your area. You’ll probably get hits on a couple of Triumphs from those folks who list their Spitfire like this; ”1974 Triumph Spitfire, excellent condition, not MGB, not Alfa Romeo”. A listing like this will show up for anyone searching for Triumphs, MGBs, or Alfa Romeos because the listing title includes all of those words. A little annoying to people seeking for MGBs, I guess, but the seller will get more search hits on their listings as a result. Maybe the guy who had his heart set on an MGB might actually buy his Triumph.

I live in a place where cars rust a lot where it’s cold for 6-7 months out of the year. There are fewer fun convertibles in this part of the country. Indeed, fewer rust-free cars in the upper midwest, that’s why I often visit other Craigslist markets if I ‘m looking for a perfect vehicle or one I’m willing to pay to ship.

Craigslist Los Angeles and San Francisco are both excellent. There are often rare cars for sale on these sites, and they always seem to be more listings for specialty classic cars. California has always been a car lover’s paradise with a significant population. A lot of new vehicles were sent out to California in the 50s and 60s, so when a garage in southern California is cleaned out, there is a good chance there could be something cool lurking in the shadows.

While it might take a little extra effort, the pictures aren’t always the best, and it’s impossible to carry out a surgical search like you can do on eBay, Craigslist is a great place to find your next affordable classic car. You can usually find good cars close to home for sale by motivated sellers. If the stars align and you do your due diligence, it’s probably one of the best places to find your next affordable classic car.
Ryan Daniel
Ryan Daniel Ryan Daniel is a car enthusiast. Since owning his first BMW at a young age, he has loved the automotive world even more.