Journal: Have You Ever Sold A Car And Then Regretted It?

Have You Ever Sold A Car And Then Regretted It?

By Benjamin Shahrabani
April 3, 2014
52 comments

Photography by David Marvier for Petrolicious

Has anyone thought that selling their car was a good idea, only to really regret it straight or soon after to the point where you’ve tried getting the car back or went and bought the exact same model of car? Oftentimes, a while before you earned your car-guy stripes, there’s a very good chance that many of you had interesting, or even great cars that you had to get rid of for whatever reason.

That fateful decision may have left many of you permanently scarred with sadness, shame or regret. A select few hold on to a car forever – that’s how a collection or perhaps a virtual junkyard full of cars begins sometimes, but that is exceedingly rare. For the rest of us, there came a time when we said “good-bye” to our automotive steed, and moved on to something else…only to miss it later.

I have had a couple of cars that I spent countless hours fussing over. Polishing them, installing a new suspension, searching out rare upgrade parts on the internet, and obsessing over them until they were “just right.” Then in the blink of an eye, sold them. Only later did I wistfully remember and appreciate them. Why did I just sell that fully sorted out (and paid off) car? It drove so well, I had some many good memories in it, and all that time and energy lavished on it? Was it restlessness? Or just some type of hubris?

You only appreciate something after you lose it. Anyone have any interesting stories about the car that got away?

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dmojahed
dmojahed
4 years ago

My father had a 1970 Pontiac Firebird Esprit that he sold before I could drive. I loved that car and had dreamed it would be mine but he sold it. I’m still on the hunt to find it and have the VIN. It looks much like the pic attached of a 1971 model but same color and Rally wheels.

Kyle Miller
Kyle Miller
4 years ago
Reply to  dmojahed

If you would like to send me the VIN, I may be able to help. I’m an insurance agent for a specialty company and can see when, or even if it’s ever been on our books.

Tim Renzoni
Tim Renzoni
4 years ago

A 93 Formula (like a trans an without the gaudy plastic body cladding) with a hardtop and a 6 speed. Learned how to auto cross and took my regions f stock 1 yr with it when I was in college 29 yr ago .Would’ve made a great track car… had to ‘settle’ for a 97 m3 🙂

Scott Edwards
Scott Edwards
4 years ago

I almost sold my S2000 (AKA: “The Beast) once, but luckily my brain kicked in and asked me “WTF are you doing??”

I would have regretted it forever.

Andrew
Andrew
4 years ago

88 Saleen mustang. Used the money to pay off bills and finish paying my M3. Did the responsible thing. I hate having to sell it.

Manos Stefanakos
Manos Stefanakos
4 years ago

Mark 1 VW Scirocco.

At the time I was in my twenties, at a low paying job, and needed something reliable. Unfortunately, this needed a lot of help and was anything but.

I wish that I had kept it, until I had the kind of money it would have taken to fix the holes in the floors, the overheating problem, the bad pranks in the windows, Etc.

I wish I’d kept it…

Ray
Ray
4 years ago

A guy I worked with gave me 1975 BMW 2002 when he lost his storage space. It needed everything, and hadn’t moved in over 10 years. I didn’t have a garage, I could do a little work on it on weekends at the metal fabrication shop I worked at, but no place at all to work at home. I still managed to replace all the rubber, the rear end, upgrade to a 5 speed, added a header and had the exhaust rebuilt, put in sport seats, had the radiator recored, all new shocks and struts, had the head rebuilt, and other things I’m sure I’m forgetting. At the time I also had 2 fiat spiders, and two spitfires. I had too many cars for where I was living I had to pick one and sell the rest. I had recently picked up he blue 73 Fiat spider which ran great, had an original hardtop, and was my daily driver. The BMW which I loved, but was smoking like a steam engine, and needed the bottom end rebuilt. It also leaked in the rain, the headliner was trashed, needed a lot of body work, but was more or less rust-free. I needed a daily driver, so I sold all the other cars, and kept the 73 Fiat spider (6 years later I do still have the spider and still love to drive it). About a year later I gained access to a garage, and now have a nice shop space, and hardly day goes by that I don’t regret selling that BMW.

Scott Alan Smith
Scott Alan Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Ray

Wow I’m glad I read this because although I may only be 18 I have a strong bond with my 1976 BMW 2002 which I had been eyeing over for years. Sadly I’m afraid I will have to give it up for college as it is just completely inpractical for that situation and even though I have maintained a well paying job for a year I might not be able to keep it due to financials because.. College is a a bitch and a half money wise. I know that I will be able to buy/maintain a 2002 in the future with my desires occupation, but I’d hate to give up such a beautiful machine now. Any advice others can give?
P.S- I appreciate your story.

Senna
Senna
4 years ago

I have two of them, and always missed it. The first one was a 2005 Lexus IS200 with the manual Gearbox. Buy it with 150’000 km and sold it with 240’000 and I never have a solid and trustfully car like this one.

The second one was a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V (5) from 1998 and I sold it after the cops always stop me for everything. So i sell it with profit, but this Evo are still in my heart.

wertyu
wertyu
4 years ago

2006 Wrangler Sahara 4.0. I had so much fun with that car. It was cheap strong and pure fun. I have never driven anything else where I felt like I could do anything with it.

FH944
FH944
5 years ago

Long story, but in short, I grew up with my dad having a 1979 924. We loved that car. It was the a member of the family. On my 13th birthday, my father bought a 1986 944 for me to have and sort all the bugs out together as a team. At 18, my father and I decided to open our own machine shop and I couldn’t contribute financially what my father could, so I took it upon myself to contribute a heavy duty diesel truck for towing our jobs. You see it coming. Yes, I traded my 944 to a man hours away for a dodge 3500 that wasn’t nearly in as good knick as described. My friend and I delivered my car to him and immediately I regretted my decision. I threw up. I was dizzy. I was depressed. On my arrival home with my ‘business contribution’ , my father’s reaction was much the same. It took 2 and a half years, but I found my car, 6 hours away on Craigslist. I had searched the entire time after to find it and the next morning, I was in route, cash in hand to buy her back. I’m now 22 and appreciate my car more than ever. I was the 2nd owner of a mint, low milage 944 and now I’m the 5th owner of the same car that needed much sorting, but is now near the shape she left me in.

Dimitri De Fraeye
Dimitri De Fraeye
8 years ago

A while ago I’ve sold my BMW e30 316i because I was in need of some extra money to buy a Renault Mégane RS. The BMW was in a really good shape and I’ve really regretted my decision. After 8 months, I found out that my e30 (I’ve always seen him as ‘my e30’) was for sale again and I bought it back (for more money ;)). That day, I decided I will never sell it again in my life. After this, I even came to the conclusion that I will never sell a car again and start a collection. I hope, one day, I also will be able to buy my BMW z3 coupé 2.8 back…

Jay Harris
Jay Harris
8 years ago

Sorry it was a 1987 Monte Carlo SS not a 1989. But it got me looking and now I am really ticked. Almost positive my old SS sold at Mecum auction Feb 2014 for 13K. Will post link later when I settle down 🙁

Jacob Simon
Jacob Simon
8 years ago

Glad you asked Petrolicious!

Few years back I had in my possession a nicely restored 65 Ford Mustang coupe.
I owned the car a few years before I began to dailey drive the car, for 2 1/2 years to be exact
weekend cruising Just wasn’t enough I wanted the nostalgia that classic Americana in my
every day life from what I wore, to what I drove. I shared long rides with old flames family and
friends. And today all that remains is car parts, oil stains in my garage and pictures.
I parted with it much to soon and long for another just like it.

– Jacob Simon

Jay Harris
Jay Harris
8 years ago

Around 1994 I was working for a blimp company and travelling extensively throughout the country. NASCAR was really starting to get big and I decided I wanted a late 80’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. Think Dale Earnhart in the Wrangler car. I started learning about them and began checking around every time I hit a new locale. After about six months of looking we were at Teterboro Airport in Eastern New Jersey. I found a 1989 model in East Orange and took off to take a look. The car had spent its whole life in New Mexico and was silver on silver with no T tops. Condition was near perfect but the mileage was a little high at 64,000. The original owner wanted $4500 and I got her down to $4300. I had my mom do a wire transfer and the SS was mine.

These cars weren’t anything special nor were they fast, but it looked good and was sporty. Only mod I did was to run straight pipes. After about ten years of constant travel with the blimp job I threw in the towel and decided to move from Orlando to St Augustine, FL. I sold the car to a guy in the Orlando area for $4800. I was quite proud of myself for turning a profit. I only put about 10K miles on the car during 3 to 4 years of ownership.

About three years later I was in the Melbourne area and spotted a car that looked just like my old SS, just nicer. You guessed it! It was my old car. The guy remembered me and pulled over. He was real excited to show me my old car. He had it resprayed with the original color and decals with beautiful clear coat. Then he pops the hood and shows me the L-82 motor he had dropped in. He did what I would have liked to do to that car and that was the first time I wished I had never sold that car.

kieran lee
kieran lee
8 years ago

i had an mk 2.5 mx5 when i was 19 and did it up with better brakes, stiffer and lower suspension, full exhaust system, intakes ect and seriously regret selling it

walt
walt
8 years ago

68 mecurey cyclone GT 390 hp also a 65 buick skylark 355 wild cat motor

Ted Uziel
Ted Uziel
8 years ago

My 1990 E30 M3.
Alpine White/Black Leather and the most incredible machine I have ever owned or driven.
Kicking myself 21 years later.

Adam Kellar
Adam Kellar
8 years ago

My mom sold my dad’s 73 Nova when he passed. I can’t really ever forgive her for that one.

Phil auldridge
8 years ago

Oh, don’t we all?
Here’s a list of cars I’ve owned that passed along to other owners, any one of which I’d take back in a heartbeat:

’65 Pontiac GTO 4-speed
’66 XKE series 1 coupe
’67 Lotus Elan roadster
’57 Porsche Speedster
’65 Porsche 356SC coupe
’67 Alfa Romeo GTV coupe
’67 Mercedes 300SEC 3.0 coupe (very rare)
’74 Porsche 914
’71 volvo P1800ES sports wagon
’89 Porsche Carrera Cabriolet

Still, I’ve managed to hang on to a few choice vehicles currently in the garage:
1940 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special
1951 Hudson Hornet Club Coupe (Twin H engine)
1953 Nash-Healey LeMans coupe
1959 MGA roadster
1959 Jaguar MK IX
1965 Stingray roadster 327/350
1970 Mercedes 280 SL “Pagoda”
1972 BMW 3.0 CS coupe (European version)

1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R
1979 BMW “airhead” R100/7
1980 Honda CBX 1000 6 cylinder.. fastest bike on the market in ’80
2003 Moto Guzzi California

Currently on my bucket list:
1991 Nissan Figaro retro coupe/convertible.. just waiting for 2016 (25 years) so I can import one!

Danny Espinoza
Danny Espinoza
8 years ago

Had a 1967 Datsun Roadster. I had taken it all apart. Got the parts in boxes while I worked on the frame and body. Lost my job and couldn’t pay to continue living in a big house. Put it up for sale but no one would buy it in pieces. So, I gave it away to a kid that was looking for a school project. Before having to move to a apartment. It’s been 5 years and 4 months ago I met the kid’s dad. He told me his kid never finished the car and sits in the back of his house. If only I had a place! I’d go get it.

Jono51
Jono51
8 years ago

I’ve never sold a car and regretted it [u]immediately[/u]. That doesn’t mean there aren’t one or two that I wish I still had – the 1964 Alfa Giulia TI saloon for example …

Bertram Wooster
Bertram Wooster
8 years ago

My ’74 GTV, which I sold in ’02, but the regret was missing until they regularly started fetching five figures.

In order to prevent future regret, I’ve stopped selling cars. I now have another problem: I’m out of room.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
8 years ago

Still can’t believe I sold my ’65 Mustang GT (289 Hi-Po, 4 speed) that got me through college. I had it hooked up and took that thing up and down the California coastline many a times. Windows down, backpack on the floor, haulin’ to nowhere on the open road. Sold it for $3500. Seemed like a good idea at the time. So easy to work on, and so much fun to drive.

The list that is truly painful, however, is the long list of cars my father parted with over the years. Does he regret selling them? Maybe some, but back in the day things were different. Do I regret that he sold them? Good question, but you can do the math. Here is a partial list, although there were many, many more:

1953 C1 Corvette (my parents drove it on their wedding)
1953 Porsche Pre-A Bent Window 356 Coupe (with original Okrasa)
1969 AMX 390 4 speed with limited edition Donahue dash (mom used to take me to elementary school in this one, while dad raced it at Riverside on weekends). What an amazing car! So fast.
Triumph Spitfire 1500 (F Production race car)
T1 23 Window VW Bus (I came home as a baby from the hospital in this one)
Datsun 510
Opel GT
Porsche 912
Lotus Cortina
Jaguar Mark 2
A pair of 1974 Jensen Healeys
1965 Chevrolet Suburban
1967 Buick California Grand Sport (Grandfather’s)
1965 El Camino (mine)
1966 El Camino
Oldsmobile Toronado
VW Baja Bug

If I could choose one now, it might be the ’53 Porsche. Although I have the most history with the AMX. Tough call. Bye bye to those days.

Sebastian Gaeta
Sebastian Gaeta
8 years ago

Christopher,

Right back at ya’. You, your dad and I have similar ideas as to what is cool!

Wouldn’t it be great to have a warehouse big enough to hold both lists. 😉

tom leong
tom leong
8 years ago

My 1990 Honda Civic Si most reliable & fun car I ever had!
The 1989 BMW 325 is (E30) best handling car & most fun I could afford.
I still get withdraws, now we have a BMW (E46) 330i Convertible with M-Sport package. Nice car, just not the same at the 325 is….

dale
dale
8 years ago

Oh yeah. 1961 Austin Healey 3000 that I bought in NC 1976. Ran it all over, since I’m from Pa., and my brother lived in Va. Beach. Kept it two years and got married. Felt that I couldn’t restore the car to full spec.’s and the body work was rusting. So I sold it for $2000. The engine was still running fine and I have many pic’s if anybody’s interested.

claus basse
claus basse
8 years ago

To sell my 1960 Alfa Romeo Guilietta SS , but I´m trilled with my Morgan 4/4 Sport ,give the classic feeling and no mechanical fuss ,great Car

JanMichael Franklin
JanMichael Franklin
8 years ago

I have 2 actually. The first was my 1979 Mazda RX-7 and the other was my 1995 Toyota MR-2 Turbo.

Sebastian Gaeta
Sebastian Gaeta
8 years ago

Oh man, too many to count. From the late 70’s through the 80’s it was a cool car playground and you could go from car to car without much searching, they just kind of fell in your lap.

I went from this to this:

’71 Datsun 510
’65 Corvair
’64 Corvair
’64 Impala
’69 SAAB 99
’78 SAAB 99 Turbo
’67 Karmann Ghia convertible
’65 Porsche 356 C coupe
’72 911T
’80 911SC
’73 914 2.0
’64 356C cabriolet

I still own the two 356’s and the Ghia convertible, the others I would buy back without even asking the price!

Unfortunately those days are gone forever. Those of you who lived it too will know what I mean.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
8 years ago

Those days are long gone, amigo. 🙁

Nice list!

Sebastian Gaeta
Sebastian Gaeta
8 years ago

Benjamin,

Personally I have not. I have always found something to like about each car. To anyone who would listen, I would tell them how what i was driving at the time was the coolest car ever, that is until I moved on to the next one.

Those days are also over, I am never selling any car that I have now and am actually on the lookout for some of the cars that are now gone.

Yasir
Yasir
8 years ago

This is interesting. There is a world of cars to experience and most folks cannot afford (money/space/time) to keep vast collections of cars. How do you know when to move on? If you feel you have the perfect car it’s hard to sell it but if you don’t you’ll never experience all those amazing machines you stay up late at night researching and learning about.

I painstakingly choose my cars and they become part of my identity. Sometime I wish I could chop and change like many do but that’s just not my style.

Antony Ingram
Antony Ingram
8 years ago
Reply to  Yasir

You’ve hit on my dilemma here. I’ve never owned the same car twice because I always want to try something new, but at the same time, most of the cars I’ve owned I’d like to own again at some point – I’d not have bought them in the first place if they didn’t appeal to me.

Peter
Peter
8 years ago

My 1993 Acura Integra GS-R, had the ultra rare B17 DOHC V-TEC engine.

Evan Bedford
Evan Bedford
8 years ago

What about regrets over taking a car to the auto-wreckers (simply because it needed a new CV joint). A weird looking Subaru that came over on the very first shipment to N. America. I’m guessing mid-70’s vintage. I don’t ever recall seeing another one — even back then.

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia
8 years ago

I terribly miss my 2001 BMW M Coupe! I’ve never owned a car as long as I owned an M Coupe, and it was plain dumb to sell it.

Antony Ingram
Antony Ingram
8 years ago

I’ve too many automotive regrets. Perhaps the largest is selling my Fiat Panda 100HP – fabulous fun, but I needed to free money I had tied up in it, and it coincided with me not using it enough anyway. In retrospect, it would have been a nice one to keep and tune to my tastes – a fruity exhaust, better dampers. I’m interested in too many cars to hold onto just the one, though.

massimo van der plas
massimo van der plas
8 years ago

silver 1973 911 S targa……….enjoyed it for 7 fast years.
still think about. it’s been nine years since i sold it…

David W
David W
8 years ago

I had a 1991 honda crx si in highschool and college. It was fun from 0 to 60. I always had dreams of swapping the engine out for a vtec b16 or do a mini me swap by putting a vtec single cam head on it. I use to abuse the hell out of it redlining it and topping it out coming from college at night from classes and studying. It had an exhaust on it sounded great. The only thing that did not work on it was the AC because the part was over $500 to buy from honda put in the dash. I think that driving a black car in summers in Florida made me get rid of it. The fact I am a tall and big guy that could not drive it with a helmet on. I still want to buy Civic hatch from the early to mid 90’s one day. The prices are very low right now. Maybe even an elusive Integera GSR I lusted after when I had the honda bug.

Nate
Nate
8 years ago

Yes, I sold my first car, a trans am shortly after I graduated highschool. Regretted it for years and tried replacing it with similar models only to realize they weren’t quite the same because of all the memories. I found the vin # and paid somebody to track down the current owner, went to his house, and begged him to sell it back. Ill obviously never sell it again.

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle
8 years ago

My uncle had a 1969 AMC AMX and it was in very good shape with a few performance upgrades to it. I remember driving around with him in that car to shows, events, and just plain ole joy rides. I always loved that car because it was two seater a unusual thing to see in a car at least to a kid and every time we went to a show was always the only AMX there. Sadly my uncle had a illness that he couldnt recover from and we had to see that lovely beast. I still kick myself for letting it go.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
8 years ago
Reply to  Dustin Rittle

I hear you on the AMX. Very special car. FAST!

Richard L
Richard L
8 years ago

Ferrari Lusso…sold for 7K.
Porsche Speedster….sold for 8K.
Obviously a long, long time ago.

Mark McNeely
Mark McNeely
8 years ago

A few of them. Nothing classic, but still fun in my eyes. I sold my 2007 WRX TR to get through college, sold my clean first generation Eagle Talon TSi due to the fact that it was just sitting in the garage while in school and sold my trusty and ridiculously fun Dakota (regular cab, 318ci V-8, five-speed, 2wd, 4:10 rear end)

Lessons learned. Hope not to repeat this in the future.

Vintage Son
Vintage Son
8 years ago

1970 GTX. I regretted selling it before I did. I’ll probably never see it again, now it’s in Sweden…

motoring con brio
motoring con brio
8 years ago

I don’t think so, I don’t expect to, and I hope not to. The world is full of too many interesting cars to get hung up over one car. You lose a good car, you find another one.

JB21
JB21
8 years ago

It’s so true! It’s like your ex-girlfriends. I miss some of them, but we broke up for a reason. Except that I miss my Alfa Spider every nice summer day…but there’s always another one.

Jody S
Jody S
8 years ago

I resto-customed a 1972 VW Fastback in the early 90’s with a metallic blue paint, charcoal velour interior and lowered suspension. With little engine experience I tore the engine down to the spilit case crank and rebuilt it with a local VW club members help at the age of 18. It drove like a go cart but at 18 – 20 years old you love that. I sold it at my parent’s advice in order to get a more reliable car for college. I will always regret it. I looked at trading for one a few year years back, but you just cant get that first car love back.

Romolo DiFonzo
Romolo DiFonzo
8 years ago

A 1988 Porsche 928S4 that I sold in 1996 after owning it for three years. I felt depressed for a month. I managed to track it by using the VIN # and toyed with the idea of making an offer to its new owner to buy it back. However, after a while, I realized that I sold it for a reason and moved on.

Stephan P
Stephan P
8 years ago

I had a Fiat 124 Coupe in college. Unlike your story above, it was a complete beater. I had just enough money to keep it running. It was however a rust free Arizona car and those cars have one of the best dashboards of any car.
I also liked the curved, almost wrap around, windshield. It offered excellent visibility when I was playing Rally Driver on the local forest roads.
I don’t even really remember why I sold it but it’s the only car I regret selling.