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«Nothing sells in Spain»

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T hat´s how a vendor answered my question, when I asked why his very well-priced and very desirable classic had been on sale since December. On the other hand, when we made an appointment to go back to see the car again ( a very solid selling signal), the vendor didn´t turn up.  It was probably a mistake, and I wanted the car so had no trouble in going back another day to buy. However in the last 15 days, this was by far the most positive of my 3 attempts to buy a classic car.

There was the ultra-rare Lombardi in Pamplona. Again, no problem with the price, Whatsapp photos seemed ok, history was brilliant. In the same ownership for 27 years, correctly documented, completely restored before it was parked up and left. So, obviously, a 1000km round trip to visit Navarra and to buy the car was required. The vendor met me as planned, told me his father had been the mechanic of choice for Franco´s Rolls-Royces, had bought the car for his mother, who didn´t have a licence and couldn´t learn the art. Hence the Lombardi had been parked and left. Etc,

Sounds great, exotic and rare Italian GT with simple Fiat 850  mechanics, dormant, needs re-commisioning, what could be wrong? I didn´t buy the car, no problem with the price, but it simply wasn´t as described. The car needed a total rebuild. The doors had dropped (rust in the A posts), had parking damage in various places, so had not been restored and parked. It had been badly repaired, damaged again and then parked. The interior was complete, but the headlining was hanging down and made a simple job look terrible. I don´t want to get involved with a total rebuild, so we all wasted our time on that one. The cost to me was about 300€ in fuel and accommodation, plus a wasted weekend. Navarra is nice, however.

Up and here the very rare Lombardi (By John Lloyd)
Up and here the very rare Lombardi (By John Lloyd)

The Frenchman

The third car was a rare 1990s Alfa I had tried to buy last year, but had to give up on because the vendor decided he had under-priced the car and wanted to rethink. Despite his excuse, the car had remained advertised for months, but no-one ever answered the phone. Finally, I gave up. Ten days ago, the car re-appeared, advertised at precisely 100€ more than the previous year. So much for getting the price wrong…

This time, the car was advertised with a description so fantastic, we have to be generous and recognise that the vendor was totally ignorant of his car. This was not, as described, a short wheelbase version of a 1990s Alfa saloon, it was not made from aluminium. In fact, the car was described wrongly in every possible detail. The photos were the same as last year, not very big or detailed, but at least this time the phone was answered and it would be possible to see the car the next week, as the vendor was away for the puente. Communication re-established post-puente as planned, we would be able to see the car the next day.

Alfa-Romeo 155 Q4, with Lancia Delta Integrale mechanics (By Serge77 y Christian Bier)
Alfa-Romeo 155 Q4, with Lancia Delta Integrale mechanics (By Serge77 and Christian Bier)

Enter the Frenchman. We all know that a favourite activity in France, in the early stages of the World Cup, is to trawl through Milanuncios.com just in case a rare 1990s Alfa is advertised 1600kms to the south. This Frenchman is obviously going to immediately put down a deposit, trusting implicitly in the integrity of his Iberian brother. And we would agree, that the only correct thing for the southern brother to do, in this case, would be to promise the car to the Frenchman, rather than wait for the guy up the road (and I actually do live in the same pueblo as this car) to arrive the next day, as previously arranged.

Maybe, just maybe, this Frenchman doesn´t exist. And maybe, just maybe, the car isn´t really for sale. Again. Or maybe, I´m an idiot, because that is how I felt treated in three attempts of buying a classic car, when  I was, in fact, a serious and informed cash buyer.

So why is it that «Nada se vende en España?»

Read this article in spanish →

 

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