- Image: BMW

Opinion: Low Mileage car auctions are a bad deal

In reality, they're not worth anything

5w ago


It seems like one of the only things that car journalistic outlets can talk about these days is x old car selling for a stupendous amount of money on an online auction site of some sorts.

They're everywhere now; you can even come here onto DriveTribe and some weeks are fulfilled with such stories. The general theme consists of two things: 1. the cars are usually modern classics (or youngtimers, as some people refer to them as) and 2. they always have a ridiculously low mileage reading.

But what almost nobody seems to be talking about is what the case would be like after purchase. It's all fun and games when you've been notified as the winning bidder, but what about the aftermath?

Today, I'll do my best to explain why these auctions are mostly a bad deal - and ultimately - a bit pointless.

Image: Honda

Image: Honda

Let's deal with one of the larger elephants in the room: the mileage of the subject car.

This to me, is pivotal to why these auctions are not a great thing. You will always find people commenting clich├ęs like "it's a proper driver's car, manual gearbox, N.A engine etc." but just how much of those aspects can the new owner embrace?

Some cars have had as little as 30 miles on the clock. Who the hell is going to drive it if that was the main reason for its worth? If the subject cars were driven as intended, the values would plummet to the point of every other example in average condition. So, you have to ask yourself: what's the point of buying a driver's car that you can't... well, drive?

Image: Audi

Image: Audi

Realistically speaking, these mint examples are only of any worth to a museum of some sort. Usually, the cars don't cover a lot of miles and are maintained purely for display purposes.

And let's be real for a minute: a car with such little miles won't have had the same quality of maintenance as a well-used example. A car with such little miles could be a mechanical nightmare. This begs the question: how is the car in (realistically) worse condition than an average car way more expensive?

So, for anyone who would reasonably enjoy a good drive on occasions, they're just not worth it. Which neatly brings me onto the next point.

Image: Mazda

Image: Mazda

If you sit back and think about these auctions for a minute, you may realise that they may have a detrimental effect on the market for normal examples of such cars.

Of course, if thousands of people suddenly flock to Autotrader thinking about the same car, then that's fine. That's how the market is behaving and has done since forever.

But in some, if not a lot of cases, sellers of cars will use the low-mileage story as an excuse to ask an extortionate amount of money for their rough, scratched-up example of a subject car. These are the cases that do infuriate me personally as no evidence of maturity, sense or logic is evident in that person's mind. It flows perfectly with the 'I know what I've got' stereotype. A number of dealers are particularly guilty of this, but I won't mention which ones.

I won't mention which car it is, but since sales consisting of silly money for mint examples did their rounds, some average examples have been on the market for literally years... and are still for sale! At this point, you have to ask yourself: just how much are people really willing to pay for them?

Image credit: Jeep

Image credit: Jeep

To sum up then, I strongly believe these low-mileage auctions are a bit of a scam. The cars can be mechanically poor and can't realistically be enjoyed as they should, yet they inflate the egos of some owners of average examples, thus creating difficulty in the market for honest enthusiasts.

Of course, you could argue that these sales inflate the market in general. But that's part of the classic car market; you'll suddenly have more people thinking about the same thing, thus an increase in demand.

But while an increase in demand is normal, I wholeheartedly wish some people would go back to being collectively sensible rather than silly and ambitious. Low-mileage cars do more harm than good to the car community.

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Comments (21)

  • they're for collectors - not driving. You buy these as if you are buying a piece of art you hope will appreciate.

      1 month ago
    • Pretty much

        1 month ago
    • Isn't the whole reason of buying low mileage cars that they will break later? If you have a car in collection just sitting, who cares when it's going to break?

        1 month ago
  • Gr8 article.And Yes,all your points are correct.But still,there are some people who buy them just for show-off.And I know a few people

      1 month ago
    • Unfortunately, I know more than few people like that. No matter what I say, is not believed or taken seriously. But, as friend of mine once said, "Don't try to put a brain into monument"!

        1 month ago
    • My very friend's dad owns a 2nd Hand Nissan 370z,which has done abt just 75 miles overall.He uses it 'Once in a Blue Moon' and all he does is brag that he owns a 370z

        1 month ago
  • I wholeheartedly agree. Car has to be running for engine to be hot as often as possible. Otherwise, condensation collects in cylinders and causes rust. That is why removal of spark plugs is recommended for long storage. Those hole allows water condensation to escape. I really like BaT Auction site, but I can't believe how many car enthusiasts think low millage cars stored for years in climate controlled storages is a good idea and a buying such a car is a good deal.

      1 month ago
  • You do have a solid point from a PH point of view.

    I am a sort of man who would spend, let's say, 30 grand on a youngtimer for instance, Alfa 164, than a brand new Giulia. But I would buy a reasonably used car and invest all the money in making it my perfect youngtimer weapon of choice. Mileage is irrelevant. So, I agree that these two digit mileage offerings are kind of unreasonable.

    From a investment POV, they are great... But I think I wouldn't be able to restrain myself from driving it, once bought.

      1 month ago
  • False as whatever makes you smile is worth it

      1 month ago


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