The eBay Report

If have been to the popular internet auction website eBay, you have seen big numbers flash across your monitor. Is eBay a good place to buy a 1968 Shelby ? How about to sell one ? I tracked 1968 Shelby auctions for six months and here is what I found....

Between June 1 and December 31, 2005 there were exactly 100 separate auctions for 1968 Shelbys. I only looked at cars being represented as originals by the sellers. There were 61 unique cars for auction. Several cars were listed multiple times during the six month period. One car being relisted six times !

According to the final results only 14 cars were sold. Cars that were "sold" and relisted were not counted. You are probably thinking that number seems a bit low. Certainly, some cars were sold "off-line". I know of several of these cars. Out of 100 auctions, most end without the vehicle being sold.

Putting your car on eBay will get you some attention
I can tell you, I personally know of several of these 1968 Shelbys that were listed and never intended to sell. The owner's were simply testing the market. Several of the auctions, during this time, were for unrestored, high dollar cars. Thirteen cars were listed as "unrestored". Listing your car may also bring some attention you don't want. At least one car was revealed as a total fabrication. The car actually carried one original Shelby tag. Unfortunately, the rest of the car was long gone. One tag does not a Shelby make. I counted 10 of the 61 cars as having missing or reproduction tags. This could have been one or more tags on the car.

Scam Auctions
eBay continues to struggle with auction scams. Usually a thief hijacks someone's eBay account, takes pictures from the internet, an starts their own auction listing. They don't have the car, just the pictures. These can usually be spotted because the thief does not want you to use the eBay contact services, but instead supplies an alternate email. They may also have a ridiculously low "Buy it Now" price. Many of these auctions have elaborate stories. These stories usually share common threads, like an ill or dead relative, a foreign country, a willingness to ship the car for free, preapproved bidder status or a short duration auction. ....I did not track any of the scam auctions.

So why don't most cars sell?
Most cars do not sell because the owner's have unrealistic expectations of the value of the automobile. Cars listed with a high reserve or a high "Buy it Now" price were more likely to be relisted. People who list their cars with a low reserve or a low starting price are more likely to complete the auction. I refer to this as letting the market determine the price, not setting market prices. I also noted several of the sellers used a technique called "shill" bidding. The shill or fake bids were used to make the car appear to have a higher value than the market determined. At least one dealer set high starting bids and high "Buy it Now" prices on his auctions. The cars appeared to have been sold, only to reappear days or weeks later. When confronted, the seller stated he received bids that were not valid or people backed out of the transaction. I will fall for that once, but after several listings, there is a problem with integrity. Ten of the eBay auctions ended early. I would say in most cases, these cars were probably sold off line.

What about the prices ?
It was no surprise to me that cars fell in line with the price guide I have posted on the website. Of the fourteen cars that sold, all were on the chart. The exception is the GT500KR convertibles. I have adjusted the prices slightly upward to account for this change.

In summary, you are probably not going to get a raging deal. eBay is a good way to contact a seller and see many cars. Keep in contact with sellers after the auction ends. Study the listing carefully and don't buy a car sight unseen.