2015-11-06, 12:56p – Craigslist Alert
At 12:56p on Friday, November 6, 2015, I’m sitting at my desk at Sony and see the Craigslist alert pop up with the subject “alert: delorean”. I always click on those right away, in the hopes that I’ll get lucky and find “the” right car.
The email opens and shows this:
1 new result for delorean, as of 2015-11-06 12:56:46 PM PST
DeLorean 1982 5 speed – $16000 (Torrance) – $16000 (Torrance)
View all the results.
Unsubscribe from this alert.
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Thank you for using craigslist.
I click the link to see the page below, but there are no photos and no VIN number.
I immediately send email…
2015-11-06, 1:01p – First email to ad poster
On 11/6/2015 at 1:01 PM, “Dave Tavres” <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I’m in Culver City and would love to come take a look today if you have time.
Also, can you tell me the VIN #?
Will you be posting pics, or will you send some via email?
Dave – (949) XXX-XXXX
2015-11-06, 2:13p – First response from ad poster
On Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 2:13 PM, craigslist 5303651719 <email@example.com> wrote:
Yes, call me 310-XXX-XXXX and I can give you directions. In Torrance, near Hickory Park.
Leave me a message in case I’m outside.
Vin is SCEDT26T3CDD1515
Mileage is 15,980.
Bought it in 1983 from the dealer, original owner.
Pics are up.
2015-11-06, 2:22p – Call to Arnie Brandon
Arnie was the President of the Pacific Northwest DeLorean Club in Seattle when I was a member in the 1990s, when I lived in Redmond. I was one of the few non-owner members. I had contacted Arnie in previous years when cars would come up for sale, but things never worked out. I even talked to Arnie in October about a car, but that car got bought before I could even see it.
So, I called Arnie again to ask about “1515”.
Arnie Brandon (425) XXX-XXXX – home – 11/6/15 2:22 PM – 10 minutes long
I forwarded the first email response from the ad poster to Arnie, then immediately emailed the ad poster back.
2015-11-06, 2:33p – Second reply to ad poster
On 11/6/2015 at 2:33 PM, “Dave Tavres” <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Hi… (don’t know your name),
I’ll come down now and take a look… I hope it’s okay if I take some pics also. That VIN doesn’t look right, but it should be easy enough to check it out.
I’ll give you a call in about 15 minutes.
I leave work
Luckily, it’s Friday and most people in my office work from home on Fridays. Plus, we had just finished PSI planning a few days earlier, so it wasn’t hectic at work.
At 2:33p, I send this message below to my team via Slack:
[2:33 PM] 🙁 I need to run to Torrance… there’s a very high chance I’ll be back in the next 2 hours. You can ping me on here and I’ll try to keep an eye out.
I immediately head to my car and head to Hickory Park.
I call the ad poster a few times while sitting in traffic, but I get a busy signal and answering machine. I leave a few messages, all the while thinking that someone else is already there and he’s not answering because they are closing the deal right now.
I arrive at Hickory Park in Torrance and park, then try calling again. But again, no response. I’m going to wait a little bit, so I check my email and find that the ad poster has responded to my email shortly after I sent it.
2015-11-06, 2:42p – Response from ad poster
On Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 2:42 PM, craigslist 5303651719 <email@example.com> wrote:
No problem have a guy from Hermosa coming so I’ll let you know after he leaves. He should be here shortly and be gone in 20 minutes or so.
The vin is off the paperwork but I’ll go out and check it on the vin plate(s).
At this point, having seen the few (small) pictures “John” has uploaded to Craigslist, and knowing the price of the car, I think it’s not worth waiting around, as the “Hermosa Beach guy” is going to buy the car. It isn’t the first time I’ve wanted to look at a DeLorean, just to have it sold before I even get to it.
The traffic to Torrance was bad, so it took me about 40 minutes to get there. And I sat at Hickory Park for another 20 minutes. I’m close to giving up, as I’m picturing they are busy closing the deal.
Then the phone rings:
John (310) XXX-XXXX – home – 11/6/15 3:39 PM – 3 minutes long
John says the other guys have left, and if I still want to look at the car, I can come over. (WHOA?!?! They didn’t buy the car?!) I tell him I’m parked in front of Hickory Park, so he gives me the address and I’m a block over, so I get to his house in 2 minutes.
I park and walk up his driveway. There’s the DeLorean, in the corner of the garage. It’s sitting on wheel dollies, as the tires are flat – FLAT flat – and the rubber of the tires had started to disintegrate.
The body looks fantastic, other than the expected dust and dirt. I check the front of the car, no damage, in fact, the headlights look oddly clean and bright. I check the back of the car and notice that the taillights are also vibrant! I ask to open the engine compartment and John pops the latch from inside. The engine looks good – nothing appears to be missing. The plastic coolant tank hasn’t been replaced. All looks good.
I open the passenger door and see fluffy covers on both seats. I pull back the cover to see a clean, smooth, undamaged leather seat. Then I notice the dash… NICE! No cracking of the dashboard. The original radio is still there. The shifter knob is still in place. Other than a dirty driver side floor and some scuffs on the interior driver door, this car looks amazing!
I’m BLOWN AWAY! How did the first guys NOT take this car?! Even if the engine was blown… even with four flat tires… even if… it doesn’t matter. I’ve been there for 2 minutes and I turn to John and quickly say “I’ll take it – unless you’ve already got an offer or there’s something else going on.” He says no, the other guys didn’t give him any money to hold the car and I was the second person there looking.
I’m sincerely feeling like this isn’t real. I expect a catch… like “oh, by the way, you’ll have to pay old fines on the car” or “$16,000 is only for the car – the engine is extra”… something crazy.
I ask John what he wants to hold the car until we can do a bank transfer.
He says “Give me a $1,000”.
I tell him that I’ve got $100 in my wallet and I can head to the ATM, but I’m likely only able to get another $300 out per day.
He asks if I can give him the remainder the next day, and I say absolutely.
We shake hands, I say thank you, and I tell him I’ll be right back.
It’s coming up on 4p and the traffic is HORENDOUS. It takes me 20 minutes to get to the ATM and back. I was able to get $500 out, so I return to give him $600 cash. He’s out front with a simple contract he printed from the web. We both fill out our names and contact info and I give him the cash.
I’m afraid of saying ‘thank you’ to him too many times. I can’t believe, after wanting a DeLorean since the early 1990s, that I just agreed to buy one. A NICE one. For $16,000!!!
I go back to the car and snap a few pictures. I get inside and snap pics of the odometer and the dash. I get out and snap some pics of the old vehicle registration papers he has with the owner’s manual.
We start chatting about how to do the full funds transfer. My cash is in Partners Federal Credit Union (Disney Employees Credit Union), so I call them and wait on hold for 19 minutes (Partners Federal Credit Union (800) 948-6677 – work | 11/6/15 3:52 PM – 21 minutes long). The operator can’t understand my simple questions about doing a bank-to-bank transfer. I hang up, frustrated, but John is on the phone with his credit union. He finds out that his CU can draw funds from my CU since they are connected through the CU system.
Being that it’s 4:30 on Friday, we don’t expect to get things done until early the next week, and agree to revisit on Monday – but I would stop by on Saturday with the remainder of the holding cash.
My plan has always been that if I ever got a DeLorean, I’d have the new DeLorean Motor Company do the repairs and get it going. As it turns out, DMC California is 18 miles away from Torrance, CA.
It’s 4:30, so I call DMC California to get some details about getting to them for maintenance and some basic restoration.
DMC California (714) 842-0040 – work – 11/6/15, 4:44 PM – 1 minute long. (Voicemail)
DMC California (714) 842-0040 – work – 11/6/15, 4:57 PM – 1 minute long (Voicemail)
Bummer… they went home early today.
So, John and I start talking more about the car.
It turns out that his mother bought the car in 1983 from the dealer. The car was “her baby”. His dad didn’t drive it. While he was getting the car ready to list online, he found several speeding tickets in the glove compartment – including one from 1988 that was written for expired tags. In 1988. The tags that are still on the plate show June 1987, so it’s very unlikely she drove it after that. It looks like she drove the car home, they put the car cover on it, and it sat in the garage in Torrance since 1988. That’s 27 years that the car has been there. Covered. In a garage. In California – where the average temperature is 56.1°F (and the average low temperature in Torrance is 46.4°F).
He also tells me that the guys from Hermosa that came to look at the car before me, showed up in a Porche and mentioned that they were ‘flippers’ – people who buy a car, clean it up, then re-sell it. So, they brought cameras and took a huge number of photos, inside, outside, UNDER the car. They had some kind of laser measuring tool that they took measurements of the car with. They kept debating back and forth and John finally said he’d wait out by the street so they could talk it over privately. They talked more and came back to him saying they’d think about it, and they left. That’s when he called me.
He then told me that while I was at the ATM, he went in the house to take down the Craigslist listing and saw there were more than 40 emails about the car. Then, the Hermosa guys called back to tell him they wanted the car – but, he told him it was already sold. He said they were not happy.
I asked a bit more about how he came up with the price of the car, and he said he did some research online and wanted to price it to sell, so he didn’t have to hold it for very long and could get rid of it. I sincerely thanked him for not making it a bidding war with the Hermosa guys. I would have been out very quickly. He told me he was very happy that the car was going to someone who was passionate about it and its history and to someone who would love it and take care of it.
He got the neighbor from across the street (Roger) to come over and witness the sale agreement, and Roger joined us for some car talk,then went home.
Just as I was saying bye to John, my phone rang – Debra Rostrom (206) XXX-XXXX – mobile, 11/6/15 5:20 PM. Debra was calling me to wish me a Happy Birthday. Oh yeah. November 6th is my birthday. Here’s her message.
So, let’s look at the life of this car – a 1982 DeLorean DMC-12, (correct) VIN # SCEDT26T3CD010515:
- Purchased at the DeLorean Dealership in Irvine, California in 1983.
- Driven – in California – until 1988.
- 15,980 miles on the odometer.
- In 1988, the car is parked in the garage and eventually has the car cover put on it – in California.
This is a California DeLorean that likely never saw snow or ice, and probably saw very little rain. It didn’t sit out in the sun, cooking the interior. It didn’t get parked in a barn to be eaten and nested with mice. It wasn’t subjected to salted and icy roads. It has 16,000 miles on it. (Although it appears the the first owner did get several speeding tickets – but she had fun doing it!)
Often, DeLoreans from the eastern United States don’t hold up that great. While the body panels are stainless steel and the body is fiberglass and composite materials, the frame is steel and other exposed parts are metal. They don’t handle snow and ice and salt well. And it’s worse when they sit for years.
I would call #10515 a “barn find”. Especially being in such good condition and ESPECIALLY for such an amazing price! I guess my luck finally caught up with me in a big way. If I had waited to read that email… or wasn’t able to leave work early early that Friday… or if I’d waited until he called me back before I drove down there… or even if I just didn’t see that email alert at that moment, I’d still just be someone who wants a DeLorean, but could probably never find one.
Monday, November 9, 2015
On Sunday I sent email to DMC via their website, with a few details about the car and what I was looking to have done. On Monday morning at 9:18am, DMC California replied:
On Mon, Nov 9, 2015 at 9:18 AM, Cameron Wynne <cameron.wynne@> wrote:
What is a good phone number to call you and talk about the Delorean Restoration?
Delorean Motor Company
I was in the shower when he emailed – and I’m glad I checked it before I headed to work. I called him back right away:
DMC California (714) 842-0040 – work – 11/9/15, 9:35 AM – 17 minutes long
Cameron was very friendly and knowledgeable and gave me some pricing and information. He said “Don’t worry, these engines come back to life pretty quick.”
He explained that they have a “make run” deal for $1,700 where they replace all the belts, hoses, fuel lines, fuel pump and whatever is needed to get the engine running again.
I asked what they charge for tires, as I was afraid they would be outrageous because of the nature of the car and their shop. Nope… the fronts are $150 each and the rears are $200 each. Not too bad, considering what they could charge.
I had a fear that they would be back-logged for some time and wouldn’t be able to look at the car for a while – and, that they wouldn’t let me drop the car off until they could work on it. I thought I might have to do temporary storage somewhere, or ask the old owner about renting their garage for a few more weeks. Cameron said they were backed up a couple weeks, but they could get take the car this week.
In my email, I had asked if they had a preferred vendor for towing the car to the shop. When I asked again, he said they have a trailer and would pick it up for $150. Wow… that’s exactly what the tow companies I called said they would charge.
Cameron said he would contact me later in the day for a pick-up time. He did, and the day was Wednesday, November 11th at noon.
That evening, I called Terry Spahr, a friend from the Los Angeles Live Steamers who I knew lived in El Segundo (near me) to see if he might have an extra spot in his garage that I could rent monthly. He said he didn’t, but we ended up talking about the car and I told him the entire story.
I learned that he use to buy and restore old fire trucks and other vehicles. So, we talked more about the DeLorean, I gave him some of the history of DMC and finally asked if he’d like to go with me on Wednesday to move the car to the DMC shop. He said sure, so we had a plan.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
I picked up Terry at about 11:06am and then selected the previously entered address to John’s house. We got on the freeway and headed to Torrance.
At about 11:45a, Terry asked if we were going to Torrance and I said yes. He thought we had passed all the exits that take us to Torrance. I zoomed out on the map and quickly realized that I had accidentally put in the address for DMC California in Huntington Beach, rather than the house in Torrance.
I got off the freeway and headed back – but the GPS showed we were now 34 minutes away from the house. ARGH! I hoped that DMC would be running late so I could get there and setup the 3 cameras and tripods I brought to capture the initial move out of the garage.
Being that Terry works for the CHP, I decided not to speed (much).
We pulled up at 12:03p and #10515 was already on the flatbed trailer. Several neighbors in the cul-de-sac were there with John, visiting and had been taking pictures of the big move.
I was sad (and embarrassed) that I didn’t get there on time, but it’s not the end of the world…
The DMC mechanic was loading the flat tires into his truck, as he had brought along four space tires and put them on the car to roll it onto the trailer. He was basically finished by the time I got there and was ready to pull out within 10 minutes.
Several neighbors had turned out to see the DeLorean leaving its original home. I chatted with John and the neighbors. Everyone was friendly and happy for me being so excited about getting the car. John told me that his parents had left him the wrong keys, so he didn’t have keys for the car, so I’d need to stop back by once his parents got home.
As I talked to everyone, I did ask if I could get copies of the pictures and everyone said they would. Roger (the neighbor who signed the sale agreement) said he’d like to see the car running again and hoped that I’d bring it by for a show. I agreed and said I’d call John’s parents to setup a Saturday – and be sure to have them tell Roger.
The DMC mechanic left and we left shortly thereafter, headed to DMC California.
We got off the freeway at 1:01pm and just as we turned the curved around the street, there was MY car, on the trailer… We followed him to DMC and watched him back the trailer into their lot.
We spent about 30 minutes there, doing a quick form and talking about the maintenance, then touring the shop to look at all the other DeLoreans they had and were working on. I asked if it it would be possible to be driving before the Christmas holiday, and he said most likely that will be possible.
The car now begins its second life. Owner: Dave Tavres