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mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 1:12 p.m.

Big shoutout to ScottyB, Javelin, Bmw88rider for keeping me sane during this process. Appreciate your friendships, and enabling, and alll the help.

 

 

This will be very long. You have been warned

I was looking for another car to take to the track, to mix it up, with the current track cars. More honestly, most of my car sales, I reinvest into my inventory. However, my Bronco did such a fantastic number, wanted to take a nice chunk from there, and reward myself.  Thus the search began.

As usual, ScottyB is largely responsible for this.  I was adamant on getting a 10-11 Civic Si Sedan again. Really great car, cheap consumables. The search began all over the USA.  As usual, given my desire for clean, no accident, all records, hopefully decently low miles, prices were all over the map. The junk were $7-$9k. Decent were $12-$14k, and there were some perfect ones for $20k.  Well most are ruined by kids, and modded hard, neither are desireable to me. After a few weeks, of almost coming close to pull the trigger, to find out last minute something is wrong with the car, or it sold, I started looking at something else.

Decided to look for a S54 Z3M coupe (Clown shoe). Had a S52 Dakar Yellow new almost 20 years ago, but wanted the S54 this time around.  Didn’t want to pay the $70k.  Found one, on one of the auction sites, that was priced pretty low. Pursued it for a while, and literally lost it by $1200! Ugh.

Now it was time to re-assess.  If I am going from a $15K Civic Si to a $50K Bmw Z3M coupe, then I can get something else as well. I really wanted a 4 door. Given I have too many 2 seater cars, with a family/kids, I like a car I can take to school in the morning and then banzai on Angeles Crest for a few hours. So I started to go back to my original sedan proposition.  I had a 2016 WRX brand new. Kept it 29 days and 750 miles. Hated that car.

So started looking everywhere for everything. Revisiting my old 2012 Mazdaspeed3, buy a Honda Fit and do a K24 swap, M3 Sedan, Chevy SS, Evo, etc.  What I really wanted was a driver’s car.  I don’t want a current CTR (2019/2020 are very good priced local). I have a deposit on a GR Corolla, but I won’t see that for at least 2 years I am pretty sure.

Enter, another GRM enabler, bmw88rider. He had some creative ideas.  So chatting with him and ScottyB, found something few states away.  1 owner, low miles, immaculate car. Right deal. Time to pursue.

Now begins the worst purchase experience of my career – that lasted 2 weeks, 30 hours of phone calls, 100s of texts… which at  the end led me to thinking of taking up drugs and drinking.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 1:13 p.m.

I initially make contact with the owner.  The ad wasn’t very clear, the pics were pretty terrible. He/She was in the middle of nowhere. 

I have done 17 distance purchases during Covid – and many more prior. I wasn’t new to this.  I asked him the standard questions, if its been repainted, can he show me a pic of title, any accidents, maintenance records, etc.

RESPONSE: I told you I am original owner. Car is perfect. Come see it.

SIGH.
I again nicely said, it is a lot of money. I am a distance buyer, please send some additional information. 

He responds, that “you send me your driver license. You buy a plane ticket, show me proof. After that, I will send you what you want.  I have many other people wanting the car (he sends me copies of emails), and at the price I want.”

Given the deal, and the right car, and few opinions of people who owned similar cars prior, I decided what the heck. Enter GRM Javelin. I speak to him about it. He sends me couple of local shops who should know the car (if it is original owner), and really helped me out offering to check it out and hanging out etc. So I bought a refundable one way plane ticket.  I send the photo of the ticket to the owner.

At this point I understand, owner doesn’t really do text, doesn’t like the internet, doesn’t like distance buyers. But after he saw my plane ticket, he got his neighbor to do a video of the car inside his garage, showing me all VIN and condition (perfect).  However, he won’t show me title still.

I start the investigation.  Carfax is mint – BUT shows a lien on the car 2021 (we will come back to this later).  The 2 big local shops, have never heard of this car or the owner. Gives me a little pause.

Then randomly midnight, he calls me “Sorry I don’t think I can sell you the car.  I don’t believe you will come. I will sell local, BYE.”

I am pretty baffled at this point. I offered him deposit day 1, which he doesn’t want to take, because he has to reveal his personal info on zelle/paypal etc, if I send him deposit.  With his email, I already know where he lives, etc, but of course he is being overprotective.  I offered that I can wire $, IF he delivers the car to the shop that JAVELIN recommended. He tells me, he will not deliver car anywhere, and not to any “race shops that will ruin my car.” SIGH.

Plans are still on. He sends me random voicemails through out the day.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 1:14 p.m.

Then I said, lets schedule a call. I can’t do these games daily He tells me, “if you don’t want to buy it, I will keep it.” SIGH.

We do a 3 way facetime call. He wants his wife on the phone.  We do a 40 minute facetime. Go over the history of the car, etc.  They want to talk about money. 

Wife is insisting I send them money first. They won’t show me title, much less mail it to me. They will not allow inspection, no PPI. They will not drop the car off at inspection store. 

I said, let me be clear, you want me to send you money, you will have title, and you will have car?

They said “yes, you have to trust us!”

I have shared most of their texts with Javelin, ScottyB, and Bmw88rider, and they can all attest to how crazy these people are. 

I said, if you won’t take deposit. You won’t do inspection. Let me come up and meet you.  Well they said, change your flight to Fri Nov 4th. That is the ONLY day we can do it. 

SIGH again. I change all my plans and get a new flight. 

PAYMENT ISSUE:
 They have Bank of America and I have Wells Fargo.  They initially said they will take payment in front of me and teller in Cashier Check. I said ok.  2 days later they said cashier checks are fraud – and they want wire only.  They will not take cash. 

I called our Bank- they said 2-24 hours. Their bank said 4-24 hours. My Business Banker came up an idea, they can open wells fargo account, money goes straight from me to them, and they can transfer to BofA and close their account.  The wife yelled at me “WE ARE NOT OPENING ANOTHER ACCOUNT.”

I said, Sigh, it is just a suggestion from Banker. Not me.   They said, I will have to sit in Oregon, till wire clears – which I was prepared to do, just to get them to agree. 

There are lots of painful details, texts, calls, changing their mind, constant belittling me, calling me scammer, and 3 separate calls “Why do you want this car? Why do you travel to get t his car? Why can’t you buy locally? Why won’t you finance? Why are paying cash?

REMEMBER: They have my ID, my plane ticket, I have done all they asked. But I don’t have anyting from them, except few terrible photos. 

All my friends and family are saying, this is a complete scam and don’t do it. 
 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 1:24 p.m.

LIEN

 

Day before my flight leaves, I come back to the Lien question. They say they paid off the car in 2011.  

However, Carfax shows lien even now. I asked them to correct, or show me title. They won’t.  They tell me to trust them.  They don’t of course trust me.   I asked them for address where we meet when I land. They won’t tell me. They say, land, send us photo from airport (include photo of carpet – as this airport has a distinct carpet), they will know I am here, and they will send e address to meet them. 

The Lien has me really worried.  In CA, if you pay off lien, DMV sends you title, with nothing on it.   

This is when I finally put my foot down. I told them, yes your car is what I want. Yes, everything is perfect. I appreciate you holding it for me (they didn’t really) without a deposit. They dictated dates of my trip. 

THIS WAS one of the weirdest texts they sent, and I am copying it here: “Ryan, can I ask you something, cuz I don’t know, we are thining something is wrong and something is going on here. If you want the car so bad, you know all the maintenance history, you know car is legal, you see the tile, I don’t understand, I want to think you are not scam, you send your driver license and flight, but you ask too many questions. I already told you evetythign I said is truth. Are you stalling? Something is not right. Most people don’t care about title. Hopefully you are not waisting my time.”

I have spent SO much time on the phone, facetime, texts, that I am tired, and at wits end. They finally saw I am frustrated, and sent me the photo of the title. 

Sure enough title shows LIEN released on it 2011, but they never told the state, and they never provided a new title, thus Carfax has been showing lien on it. I talked to Javelin – he says ok.  I go to CA DMV/AAA to verify, they say they will accept. 

FINALLY a glimmer of hope.
 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 1:25 p.m.

Javelin says - they are cuckoo

 

Scottyb- I don't know man - these people weird

 

Wife - this is nuts - just walk away

bmw88rider - what a effin bunch of idiots

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 1:27 p.m.

I am a glutton for punishment. I figure I have come so far. I missed the boat on NSX. These are appreciating. Clean 1 owner, no mods, no paintwork, fully garaged all its life, 3 layers of carpet to protect OEM carpet, seats are all plastic. Windows have never been rolled down, so no dirt comes in. Dealer serviced.   The last few BaT sales have been big, and they will appreciate.

I really want a 4 door version of my Elise. Let's take the chance.  I cross all my fingers and toes, and against everyone's advice, I get on the flight at 4am. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 1:30 p.m.

time to board one way ticket 

 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 1:31 p.m.

it was the most turbulent flight i have been on

huge NW rainstorm

Land at the infamous carpet 

 

Slippery
Slippery GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/8/22 1:37 p.m.

You really wanted this car. I would have told them thanks and gone on my way to find another one. 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
11/8/22 1:39 p.m.

This car better come with a hooker and a key of blow.

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
11/8/22 1:40 p.m.

I woulda ended any and all contact well before the loon called me a MIDNIGHT. I really hope this works. 

wae
wae PowerDork
11/8/22 1:42 p.m.

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/8/22 1:46 p.m.

Looks like Portland Airport carpet lol

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 1:49 p.m.

Of course, I think everyone will think I really wanted the car. It definitely is something I wanted. Deal was excellent, and ticked all the boxes for what I want background wise of the car. 

So I land, and I call them. No response. Now I am thinking I definitely did get scammed. Huge storm happening outside. 

One thing “wrong” with the car was the timing belt hadn’t been changed. Usually I am pretty confident buying lots of sight unseen used cars, but I usually buy what I know.

This was a new platform for me. Many said use my trailer and trailer it back. I had made an appointment at English Racing at 1pm for an inspection. For those of you know, they hold the record for fastest Integra, EVO, GTR etc. They have been around a long time.  

However, the seller’s were adamant they wouldn’t let the car out of sight, till the wire cleared. Given the shop is closed on weekend, I imagine, I may have to stay the night for the wire to clear. 

Owner kept telling me , car is perfect. No inspection needed. Mechanic want to waste my money etc. I just heard a lot, didn’t say anything back. 

I wait at airport 20 minute, searching for return flight home, or I was going to call Javelin to have lunch. 

Well the wife calls me (they are in their late 60s), and she says “Sorry, we missed your call, we took our 5 gallon jug to get fuel in our van, so that the fuel would be topped off in the car for you.”

I said, please give me an address to meet, so I can get on the way.  They finally gave me their home address (which of course I had since day 1). I got on the way. 
 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 1:52 p.m.

 I arrive at the house. They won’t let me in the house. They said, let’s go across the street. We walk down, in pourin rain/storm, as the car is stored in their neighbors garage, in case, I was a thief (they said that out loud).

We go in neighbors garage. It is detailed, it is clean. It is (visually), everything owner said it was. Not a ding, no dent. PPF on the car. I ask to see the motor, I look underneath, check the oil, all is well. 

I said can we go for a test drive. Gentleman says, we can’t drive in the rain. I am thinking WTF, it will rain for next 3 days. I said, look I have come all this way. I did all you ask, I need to drive the car, feel the clutch, listen for diff whine if it has it. 

Wife and him whisper to each other. They say, if I sit in the back, they both sit in front, they will drive around the block.   So we drive around their neighborhood shifting at 2K RPM puttering along for 15 min. 

I said I need to see on the highway if diff is whining. They reluctantly take me there and all is well. 

I said, I would like to feel the clutch, wife says “this is only the 2nd time he ever let me sit in the car, I am not sure he will let you drive.”
 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 2:00 p.m.

I said, let me show you funds are in the bank, you can verify. You already have my license photo, here it is in person.  At this time, we are back in their driveway. 

They again discuss, and this time they go inside, leaving me in garage, to discuss with their other neighbor who is a ex LEO (retired for 20 years). 

I take the chance, to give the car another look – I am 100% in – IF I can make it work with the crazy people. 

I text my wife, I am not dead. I let Javelin, ScottyB, bmw88rider know all is well. 

They come back, and agree they will let me test drive, if all 3 go with me. I said ok, we all pile in.  I do the highway drive. I get on the boost, I feel the clutch. All works as it should. No problems that I could decipher. 

I say let’s go to the Bank.

BANK:

---------

The car is parked is parked in the garage. We take seller’s other car to Bank.

I had spoken to the Banker the day before, to give him a heads up (out of state, good amount of $ transfer and the weird owner).  As we come into the bank, only gentleman in the back (we have an appointment) – I say hi to him, and introduce the sellers.   He goes “Hey Ryan, nice to see you.”  

UHOH

Seller’s wife says “I think you guys know each other. Is this a scam?”  I am thinking YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!

They picked the location of the bank!  I tell the Banker – turn the screen, show them my bank balance. They can choose wire, cash, cashier check, whatever they want. Seller not saying a word, WIFE sitting next to me NOT happy. 

We go over the 1 hour to 24 hour for wire to clear. I assure them, I am not taking car while the wire doesn’t clear. 

They agree, but they make comment to banker he is my friend. Banker didn’t like that and gave slight attitude to the seller. 

We then finish the wire.  After the wire, we return to their house. I say let’s do the paperwork. 

They give me bill of sale, title, we do all the paperwork. However, she won’t let me keep it. Till wire clears, she goes and puts it in her safe. 

 

----

So I am in THEIR house, they have the car, the keys, the title, and my money. 

I said listen I have done EVERYTHING you asked. I have kept my word from DAY ONE. It is now 12pm. It has been 1 hour since wire, can we go to my inspection shop (English racing), and do the T belt inspection? You can come with me. Without inspection, I don’t  want to drive it home and blow the motor in the middle of the mountains. 

They call their child on the East Coast. He wants to FACETIME and see my face and match to my DL. SIGH. We do it. He tells the parents, BOTH have to go with me. 

We get on the road. Owner is unhappy car is wet. First time its seen rain. Pouring rain, we go to inspection. He wont let me drive. HE HAS TO DRIVE. 
 

10001110101
10001110101 Reader
11/8/22 2:05 p.m.

I'm about to break the F5 button here...

automotiveflux
automotiveflux New Reader
11/8/22 2:06 p.m.

I keep refreshing for more

jimbob_racing
jimbob_racing SuperDork
11/8/22 2:09 p.m.

Wow. Just wow. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 2:10 p.m.

We arrive at English Racing. They were top notch. I told them thanks for squeezing me in for an inspection. I explained to them owner is crazy. They said that is fine. 

We tell owners to sit in waiting room. The place is in the middle of nowhere – but once you are there all you see is a large building with nothing in site. Its pouring rain middle of woods. Perfect murder scenario. 

The wife had mentioned a few times where I am taking them. This is crazy. I said, you guys are driving. I am in the back.  The car ride was HORRENDOUS. 

English racing opens it up, 1.5 hour inspection. Green light all. T- belt like new. No cracks. They kept telling me, if I want to sell it, where did I find it, it is immaculate. 3 techs back there, just lusting after it. 

Owner calls me it is taking too long. I go up front, and HUGE smile on owner’s wifes face, WIRE HAS CLEARED. WOOHOOO. 

Well I jokingly said, now I don’t need you – I will leave you guys here. They didn’t laugh. 

To break the ICE, English Racing took all 3 of us back to the back lot. THEN owners finally smiled together. There were probably 3 STi, 10 GTR, 50+ EVO.  Owner says, I wish I knew about this place before. He started chatting with them, and finally I could breathe a sigh of relief, that I don’t have to stay overnight here. 

I pay English racing, we want to get on the way, I will drop owners off, take my paperwork from their safe, and get on the road

Now owner says “can I ask a favor, can I drive my car one last time.” I am thinking MUTHA F – you haven’t let me drive at all. But I keep shut, I said sure. We go to their house, 1.5 hours, traffic, granny shifting, at least they let me sit in the front seat. 

Once we get to their house, they give me all paperwork. Owner now gives me all receipts, dirty air filters he changed. Original old oil filters he changed. One set of rotors/pads he replaced. He kept EVERYTHING . I said just put them in the trunk I will get on the way.   

Then they said NO STAY AT OUR HOUSE TONIGHT – Too dangerous to drive. HAVE DINNER WITH US!!

I am like WHO are these people?!?!
 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 2:18 p.m.

Now that wire has cleared, inspection is amazing, and I know I don’t have to stay there, I tell Javelin, I will get on the road. Home is 1250 miles away. 

While away from home, my eldest broke his wrist playing basketball – car purchase doesn’t sound that fun anymore, I want to go home. 

I haven’t eaten since night before. 1 coffee at 4:30 AM at LAX.  Now it is 5Pm.  I have dinner with them. Now they are telling me how the car was a dream of his when he was stationed abroad. Where they would rally.  He was waiting for the right color, when it came out, the perfect model. 

He has never parked it outside. Wrapped the car in PPF, mats, plastic seats, it is his baby. Due to health concerns he hasn’t been driving at all. Even though previously he was putting 2500-3,000 miles a year. Blah blah.  I chow down my food. 

I say bye to them. I assure them, I will be careful. They are unhappy car will be driven in rain. NOW they tell me, we could have shipped it through English Racing. Yes we could have delivered it there. But we thught you were a scam. They keep thanking me for keeping my word. 

I get in the driver seat as my car, for the first real time. Slip into the Recaros. Steering wheel on hand. Perfect fit. Start it up, HID on, back it up, not a scratch on the metal shifter (no idea how he managed that), I am backing out of garage, go to the end, husband says “STOP STOP STOP”

I think what happened! I roll down the windows, but he opens the door FAST, and comes inside, and LITERALLY bear hugs me AS I am in fastened in the seat. 

Starts sobbing on my shoulder, then loudly – saying “I NEVER WANT TO SELL> PLEASE PLEASE TAKE CARE OF HER.

Grown man – sobbing and holding me…. I didn’t know what to say. 

His wife comes and pulls him off me. She says, it really is his baby. It was his dream. 

I promised, come visit me in LA, I will take care of her, trust me it is going to a good owner and I get on my way. 
 

automotiveflux
automotiveflux New Reader
11/8/22 2:24 p.m.

Guessing this is an EVO 10?

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 2:24 p.m.

I go to Walmart, get a phone charger. Tell my friends on GRM, wife, family, that al is well I am on the way.  Now I don’t have time to hang out with Javelin – but he is cool and understands. 

Worst storm I have been in over 20 years. Last one like this was Boston to NYC on NYE 20 years ago. 

Visiblity is poor. 30-40mph. For 7 hours. After that, I pull over into hotel in Medford, as I can’t drive anymore, down to 10mph. HUGE noise as I pull into the parking lot. I am too tired to check. 

I go to sleep – get about 5 hours. Think to myself, WHAT A CRAZY STORY… and the car isn’t even THAT special! 

Wake up in the morning one of the mudflaps interior screw has come off. I go to OReailly, gentleman is nice, pouring rain still,  borrow a screwdriver, and take the rear mudflap off. Get on the road. 

As I am driving, rain lessons, and the OEM rain visors annoy the heck out of me. With the windshield ghetto 80s tint strip + rain visors = visibility is crap. 

He also to PROTECT the mirrors/door caps has put fake CF covers, ON TOP OF PPF that already protects it.  I decided to take it all off in the hotel parking lot. 

Next gas stop, I rip the rain visors off. 

I feel like a 17 year old kid on promp date, slowly undressing my date as we go through the night…. 
 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 2:28 p.m.

Even as I crisscross Shasta National /beautiful redwoods, can’t see any of it (have been here many times before), fog and terrible visibility and rain.  Drive like this till Sacramento, when it FINALLY lets up. 

Get to play with a BRZ Milf (you will see plate) and a Cayman WA plates, for 4 hours. It was as good as it can be given the weather. 

Car was returning 24mpg. Humming along. 

Suddenly as I approach SAC – owner calls me “RYAN, forgot to tell you, car has had CHEVRON 92 all its life. PLEASE do not put other brands.”  

Of course I have stopped at many other stations and did what I could on the drive (some mobil, shell, no name, chevron).  

He also asked how the car did being parked outside all night, and all the rain. I told him about the loss of the mudflap, and he said he was really sorry he didn’t check the bolts. 
 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/8/22 2:31 p.m.

I pull into my own driveway at 450 pm. Check on my son – full cast on his dominant hand. 

Wife/kids check out the car. One kid LOVES the wing. He always hated the WRX – since we didn’t get the STI at that time, and we didn’t have a cool wing. 

Broken hand son – loves the BBS and the seats. Wife (appreciates it) but not for what I paid for it. 

They insist on going on a ride. We go on a ride for a while (40 min). Finally get on some good boost, they absolutely love it. I got a smile, really feels like a 4 door usable Elise for me. It ticked all the right boxes. Love how tossable it is. Doors are light. Car is narrow. 

I requested that the owner let me use his plates to drive him – he did provide that. I do appreciate it. 

Put the car in garage and go to bed. (NOT THE END).  

Will add some pics now.  
 

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