I don’t know why I am thinking and writing about this today. The son of my father’s chief mechanic was nicknamed Tick. He also worked at my dad’s gas/service station. He was a very nice person.
For some reason our greeting morphed into my saying, “Tick Tick Tick” and his responding, “Boom!” Very sadly, his younger brother became involved in gangs at a very young age. This led to the death by shooting of their mother when gang members stormed into their house looking for the youngest son.
Tick’s older brother served in the military and straightened out his life by doing so. Three sons with three different outcomes raised in the same family. In the nature vs. nurture debate I think the answer is unknowable because it varies from person to person and often can only be “answered” ex post facto. I do think both factors matter.
This CNBC article, written by the arrogant asshole Robert Frank, is about online car auction site Bring a Trailer having a record year with $1.35 billion in sales. Incredibly, that figure represents a 63% increase just from 2021.
I know Dirty Dingus McGee is less a fan of the site than he used to be, and the proportion of cars with manual transmissions is way out of sync with the car market in general, but as I have written, from my limited perspective it does seem that the number of active auctions at any time has increased dramatically just in the five years or so with which I have been familiar with the site. The world is changing for sure. I think that even at the beginning of this century many would have scoffed at the notion of buying a car via an online auction.
I can’t post photos of interesting cars from Bring a Trailer because the website admins are very aggressive at breaking picture links to their site. About a week ago, one of these sold there for a reasonable price.
From Fast Lane Cars is a picture of a 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. One of these hammered for $13,000 on December 21. On Bring a Trailer the buyer only pays 5% commission, meaning the car cost $13,650 all in. By the way, I believe that commission is capped at $5,000. If one buys a half-million dollar car, and vehicles have sold for that much on the site, then the de facto buyers premium is just 1%.
IF, and “If” might be the biggest word in the English language, we are successful in acquiring the “Goose Bumps” house, then given the relatively inexpensive price I might be buying one of these in the not too distant future. Of course, the outcome of our attempt is not completely under our control. Technically, we have five weeks to reach an agreement to sell our current house, but given the time of year I think our real time is less than that. Once again, I am not optimistic in the least. I would be very happy if I were wrong.
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2 thoughts on “Tick Tick Tick, Boom!”
“I know Dirty Dingus McGee is less a fan of the site than he used to be.”
Yes, I am less of a fan of BaT, mainly due to the vehicles being offered. To me, it is now less about lower cost and “odd” vehicles and now about high value and popular vehicles. And the preponderance of them seem to be German. There also seems to be less interaction with the enthusiast buyers who helped make the site what it became. In the past I attended a couple of their “BaT alumni gatherings,” but not in the last 4 years due to the lack of events. I understand the last couple of years some of that was due to the pandemic, but the events seemed to be getting scarce even before then. Most of the changes have occurred since Hearst bought a majority interest in the site, mainly the quantity of vehicles and the type offered.
I know it’s gone from a hobby to a business. I watched it happen having been registered there for about 10 years, and I have all the admiration in the world for the success they have had (wish I had thought of that business model). But for myself, I’m not into $100K and higher “investment” vehicles. One good thing about the site is the comment section. No matter the vehicle, there are commenters that are knowledgeable about that particular vehicle, and are happy to share that knowledge. I still bid on some I have interest in, but out of the 3000 or so per month I might bid on 3-4 per YEAR. A lot of the guys I know in the local “car scene” are in the same position. As you mentioned, I go to other sites, Hagerty, Hemmings, Barn Finds, etc which seem to have a better selection of vehicles for folks like me.
Thanks again, DDM. Yes, many of the vehicles offered seem to be German. Of course, just like brick and mortar auction companies, BaT is at the mercy of consignors and sellers. Also can’t blame the company for trying to go more upscale. Five percent of $80,000 is more than 5% of $20,000.
I do think that some segment of the potential car buying public is being left out, but I can’t say if it’s 60% or 10%. Years ago I used to daydream about starting my own auction company called either ATOC (for All The Other Cars) or 555, for five percent commission for buyer and seller and no more than five percent of the cars could be the same model. I am still a Corvette guy, but I don’t think having 10% of the lots at an auction being Corvettes, or 8% being Mustangs, makes for an interesting sale.
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