Cars Humor

CCC Part 1

My Craigslist Crapshoot Car search continues.

This is the story of a guy selling a 2006 IS350 for $11K. He lives about 45 mins away from me, so some planning must go into travelling to see the car. Yesterday as I was driving to see the car, he cancelled the meet while I was half way there. Later that day, he tried to reschedule for 8pm in a dark shopping center parking lot, which I declined. So late last night we finally agreed on a meeting this morning at 10am. I decided to arrive early this time, and again he emailed me about a half hour before the meeting asking to reschedule. I told him no, I was already there waiting. So about 10 minutes after we were supposed to meet, and after his second attempt to skip it, he finally showed up.

As soon as the car rolls up, I think I can see why his preferred meeting times are after the sun sets. The car is not in the same shape as the photos. If I had to guess, the photos were from when he first purchased the car a few years ago. The car before me has many more miles of wear and tear than the photos that were posted showed.

There are many visible scratches on the driver, passenger, front and rear of the car. They mostly appear to be rubbing or car vs object rashes of some kind. Fine, it’s got some wear, so I’ll do the walkaround check out anyway.

I notice that the car is still running, so I asked him to shut it off. He refuses and muttered some kind of excuse that I didn’t catch. I start asking about service history, fluid changes, that sort of thing. He says he *thinks* the oil was changed recently but can’t be sure. He has no service records he can show. He says he’s the second owner and did no mods to the car, but I can see several of them.

The front bumper is falling off on the passenger side of the car. I ask about an accident. He says its probably from parking scuffs. Right, because light taps on a curb rip screws out of things.

The wheels are some kind of oversized aftermarket thing, and they are scraped up on all four corners. I ask if he has the originals, he says no, and that he also asked for them from the original owner, who changed them.

He mentions something about the tires being too big, which looks odd to me because the sidewall profile looks right. Then I look past the tires and see that most of the wheel well cladding is missing from both front wheel wells, and some is missing from both rear wells. I ask about this and he gives me a shrug and says that the original owner said that the wheels were rubbing, so his fix was to rip out the material it was rubbing on… not to change the wheels back.

I keep investigating, looking for leaks, oil stains, etc. Coming to the driver side I find the rear wheel and the front wheel are both missing one lug nut each. I ask about this and again get some kind of muttering about the car occasionally shakes, but that’s just how it is. He then remarks that he had a flat and had to change it, so that’s probably why the lug nuts are gone.

Finally, I come to the interior of the car. In place of the top of the dash, there’s some kind of cloth cushion cover thing, spanning the entire dash area. I ask about this and inquire about the melting dash, which is a known Lexus thing. He says no, he doesn’t have this problem, but this was put on for protection. I can take the cover off, he says. I try, but find that there’s a giant strip of Velcro that spans the entire front top of the dash, door to door, to hold onto this cover.

At this point I’d had enough, packed up my stuff, and got back in the truck. He asked if we were going to take a test drive and I said no, I wouldn’t drive a car in the condition that this one is in. He wanted to know if I would make an offer on it. I said I’d think about it.

I did think about it, for about 15 seconds. There’s no way I would buy a car that is that poorly maintained with that little care given to it. I now understand why it’s on Craigslist and not AutoTrader or

Cars General

3 Cars to 1 Car

It has been an interesting 24 hour period when it comes to vehicles.

Starting on 4/25, I sold the 2005 Infiniti FX45, my treasured commuting and skiing companion during the end of my California tenure.

Then on 4/26, I sold the 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 coupe, my first true, new from the factory car and my weekend fun vehicle. It was my occasional valley carver and fun day toy.

Now I’m down to the current company vehicle, a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT truck.  It possesses neither of the FX’s or C6’s charms, but is a useful hauler of people and stuff.

I enjoyed my time with both the FX45 and C6, but I hope that I have helped them find good, new homes. Both will be missed.


IMG_4683 IMG_4655


Cars Travel

A track day at Laguna Seca

On March 9 I was fortunate enough to get some track time at the famed Laguna Seca Raceway in Salinas, CA.  It was an interesting experience to say the least, and very different from driving at Thunderhill for past events. As a key point, it was remarkably cold at the track, never getting warmer than about 55 F, making the car develop as close to full horsepower as I’ve experienced but also making the tires a bit slippery for the first few laps.

As for the actual track, it seemed, well, small.  At Thunderhill there are over 3 miles of ground to cover but at Laguna Seca it is just a bit over 2 miles. That might not seem like much, but when the course is constrained and there are 25 cars on it each session, that’s not much room to move around. The biggest challenge I had was trying to find enough open road to actually hit the throttle and go.  Every few turns I caught up with the crowd and was stuck at the slowest speeds I’ve ever experienced on a track.

The car variety was fairly good: lots of Corvettes and 911’s as usual. The poorest example of a track car was the Toyota Prius that showed up in my group.  It drove a scorching 48 MPH on most of the course and seemed to give up after the first session, thankfully.  There were some Mini Coopers, again, not the fastest thing on the track. A good collection of Audi A/RS 4’s and BMW 3’s and 5’s were also around. Some older vehicles like a Ford Mustang Mach I, some kind of strange Lotus car and some older RX7’s and vintage racers were also around. There were also two race setup Dodge Vipers in attendance.  The three unique cars this day were the Ferrarri F430, the Lamborghini Gallardo and a “D” spec racer with a Kawasaki motorcycle engine in it that just tore up the track.

All in all, it was a good experience to learn the lines of a new track, get into new driving situations and generally get to feel a new track setup. The bummers were that there were way to many slow drivers in my group and the sessions were much shorter (15 mins) than they are at Thunderhill. I would probably go again but I’d want to move to a faster group. A quick view of some of the sights and sounds of Laguna Seca can be found in this short video I put together, so take a look.

Quick update: for pictures of that day that I didn’t take (or purchase) look here.

Laguna Seca: typical cars from Micah Stroud on Vimeo.