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Finding the perfect project classic car: Where do you look?

The 1979 MGB Project car out at a driving event in Denver, Colo.
The 1979 MGB Project car out at a driving event in Denver, Colo.

Have you ever been sitting there and get that wild hair to browse the classified ads for that first or next classic car project? Yes, you probably know your "better half" would kill you, but the allure of a new project waiting to be tackled can be intoxicating.

A while back I got this feeling one evening while sitting in front of the computer finishing up some final edits on a presentation for work. We had been talking a lot about the MGs we used to own in Texas and how it would be nice to have an MGB again. The reliability issue of an MG, or at lease people's perceptions, is an article for another day.

This hankering for a new project got me thinking; where would one start to look for a project car in today's mobile and internet driven world. Being 27, I did what any young American would do, I went to Craigslist. Yes, you can buy just about anything on Craigslist, including cars. I can now successfully say I have bought four different cars off the service, which shocks even me. While it is a archaic search method, even for the wiles of the internet, you can find some interest bits in pieces if you are patient (and thorough). Why thorough? Craigslist is divided by major metropolitan areas as it is a local service. This local structure means you need to branch out into other instances to find additional search results. You also have to weed through all of the poor spellings, abbreviations and other combinations of what you are looking for to get search results. Hey, you get what you pay for.

In addition to Cragslist, Ebay Motors has become a popular place to search for automobiles. Depending on what you are looking for the local search criteria can come in quite handy with zip code and distance parameters. With the addition of new classified ads that filter in with the auctions, there can be some interesting finds.

If you really want to dig deep or are having fun with the hunt, you can look at your local car club page classified sections, Hemmings Motor News and Collectible Auto Trader, now know as AutoTrader Classics. Forums for specific brands and makes can also prove fruitful.

In the end, I took several weeks to find the perfect project car and then another and, well, another. Two MGBs and a '84 Chevy G20 Conversion van later and I am up to my ears in projects. Honestly though, I can't complain for $4500. And they all run, passed emissions, tagged and insured. How is that for a surprise classic car ending!

Stay tuned for more adventures here at the Denver Classic Car Examiner.


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