TCG Stories

By: Jeff, 03/13/2024

The Common Gear is proud to announce that the 2024 Air-Cooled Beach Bash will return to sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, with a show date of Saturday, October 19, 2024. This marks the third year of the long-standing autumn gathering being run by The Common Gear, and also represents a shift in the show's history as we pivot to being a predominantly Porsche-focused gathering.

Historically, the Beach Bash has concentrated on the air-cooled Volkswagen crowd, but as interest has continued to grow in the air-coooled Porsche community, it made sense to rebrand the show as Porsche-centric. In addition, competing shows serving the needs of the vintage VW faithful are plentiful, while the greater Tampa Bay area doesn't have a uniquely curated gathering for Porsche owners of cars going back to the early 70s through the middle 90s. 

As in years past, admission costs will provide all-day parking at one of the most picturesque locations in St. Petersburg in beautiful and historic Pass-a-Grille Beach. Please see below for pricing data and a link for payment options. If you have any questions, please reach out to

2024 Admission Fees

  • General admission only: $25
  • General admission + event T-shirt: $50
  • General admission + event T-shirt and sticker: $55
  • Day-of admission: $30 / T-shirts will be offered on a limited basis

Payment link

By: Jeff, 03/03/2024

Recently, I saw a seller of a car near and dear to me - a Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Cosworth - get eviscerated by a specific member of the commenter illuminati of Bring A Trailer. The seller represented a business that allowed well-heeled “members” to borrow exotic and sports cars for a fee, and because one commenter in particular disliked the concept of someone outside of the 1 percent class from having access to such vehicles, it was decided his business was not trustworthy - certainly not up to the standards of BaT.

Now, don’t make me laugh and ask if said commenter entered a single, solitary bid: oh, get out of here! He wasn’t there to do that! His solitary goal was to defend the honor of Bring A Trailer and to ensure anything short of an acid-dipped, full-metal-respray with glass out contender was forbidden from seeing anything approaching a reasonable bid.

This is now an honorable past time on BaT and reflective of our broader society wherein you earn a social credit gold star for preventing the sale of a car (or really, any opportunity, be it a date with a target of your affections or a business deal with a potential partner) that doesn’t meet your own ridiculous standards. Never mind whether said vehicle was actually a wonderful driver that would have given the next owner pleasure for years to come.

And because of the social construct BaT has allowed to fester, which, ironically, is the exact dynamic the original website intended to revolt against, it’s no longer a seller’s refuge - because, as the old saw goes, it’s a big club and you ain’t in it.

As you can see in the attached screen grabs, the commenter (@UncleFred1) who goes after the seller of the Cossie Mercedes pitches a broker who makes regular appearances on BaT, a guy by the name of @Dean_Laumbach. Now, Dean does a nice job presentation-wise, with Mr. Fred noting that he once “….repainted the sides of a car because he didn’t like the marks left by a removed pinstripe.” Well, to me, Dean sounds like a man who was once touched inappropriately by a pinstripe artist, but to each his own. I mean, who among us hasn’t sanded down the side of a car to eliminate the pesky glow of a pinstripe from years ago? Haven’t you all had the tattoo’d initials of a lost love laser-burned off your lower back?

All kidding aside, this Fred fellow not only loves a good ‘ol Dean Laumbach detailing session, but also sells his own cars with Mr. Laumbach. Therefore, he slobbers all over the listings belonging to the broker who hawks his wares but shits all over the guy who maybe could steal a bid or two away from his own auction, which apparently was going live in a few days.

Do I like conspiracy theories? Yes, and you should, too, because your government lies to you every second of every day. But in the case of BaT, you - the “ordinary” seller, the citizen enthusiast who doesn’t have homes on opposite coasts like Uncle Fred (get a load out of his condescending comment about visiting his second home - what a jag-off), will forever be an unwitting participant in a game of Russian roulette played out in the comments section merely for the satisfaction of the guy holding the revolver.

Stop selling your cars on BaT and start selling elsewhere - or, better yet, yourself. The Common Gear can help, as it gives you a free platform to upload photos of your restoration, invoices, receipts, and all the granular details that get rendered irrelevant after a guy like Uncle Fred sets his sights on your listing.

By: john, 02/03/2024

I really wish the term "Slicktop" would stop being a thing or used as a benefit.  Like most cars (and especially on this particular car), the driving experience is significantly better when a sunroof is present.  Unless you're Spec E46 or specifically going racing, you can easily find 25 lbs. somewhere else (like get rid of your giant water flask and start a diet) than give up the sunroof.  E46, summertime or anytime--  The sunroof just adds to the driving pleasure.  Pop it up when your sweet rig is parked so it doesn't turn into an oven.  Evening cruise by the beach with it wide open; life is good.  And that extra .0003 second 0 - 60 tradeoff--  just be OK with that. 

Surfacing some potentially new terms that seem to be more appropriate.  How about "LackTop" (lacking a sunroof) or "BargainTop" (didn't pony up the extra $ for the sunroof).  Maybe "RetroTop" (before cars had a sunroof as an option) or "BroTop" (only car bros actually recognize this as a thing).  

This M3, just like every E46 M3, is an awesome car.  Let's go further and state that the E46 chassis makes for a great car in any variant, as it can be turned into whatever you want to do with it.   Embrace the sunroof as life is better with more options.  Everyone knows this. 

By: Jeff, 12/19/2023

One starts to wonder if Bring A Trailer's strategy is to sell so many cars that the community doesn't notice when it screws up, big time. Most of you probably missed this auction for a 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet, which was withdrawn by BaT after $50,000 in bids had been logged. The reason for being withdrawn? The car didn't exist, aside from in the entry form submitted by a seller who was very close to securing a significant wire transfer while providing nothing in return. 

I have it on good authority that this 911 was pitched to another auction site that managed to catch the issues, which were numerous. As pointed out in the comments section of the BaT listing, the warning signals were obvious if you cared enough to Google the VIN (BaT didn't). It revealed a car sold in the past year with: 

1) different seats;
2) different wheels and tires;
3) completely different rear badging stating it was an "S," with current badges stating it’s a 4S (which per the VIN, it was not);
4) and additional discrepancies listed in the BaT comments.

In addition, the listing showed two different VIN numbers in the gallery photos, with one linking back to a 911 sold on PCarMarket and another sold via Carvana in May '23. Guess what? Cars can't have two VINs, and almost anyone with half a brain could deduct that the seller simply got sloppy in submitting the wrong pictures from two different listings as opposed to just sticking with one set of numbers. Either way, they were well on their way to a payday by simply submitting a listing with photos pulled from a five minute Google search. 

BaT is a large operation these days. I applied for an auction specialist role a few years back and the only way to move forward was to leave my full-time job to take a 40-hour-per-week job them, along with a nearly 75 percent reduction in pay. The fact that they demanded full-time employment indicated to me that their operations were on another level compared to its competitors; now, I know that's not true.

If BaT's intake team can't even Google the VIN before a listing goes live, what does that tell you about their overall approach to quality control? To me, it says it's non-existent. It also lends further credence to the belief that any car you buy on its platform being thoroughly vetted is a complete falsehood. You stand as much chance buying a good car on BaT as you do from the corner used car lot. 

I don't have an auction platform; I simply have a way to offer additional proof from upstanding sellers that their car is their car, and that they have been steadily investing in it since taking ownership. With more transactions moving to an entirely digital format, it's time we start demanding better from BaT and requiring safeguards that protect buyers from unscrupulous sellers. 

By: Jeff, 09/12/2023

It's amazing to me that car buyers still willingly hand over significant sums of money without knowing what they're buying. It's one thing to buy a car with some gaps in its mechanical history, but to purchase a so-called "restored" car with horribly dodgy repairs clearly intended to mask massive shortcomings in a vehicle's integrity is the sort of oversight that shouldn't still be happening. 

Uncle Tony's Garage is somewhat popular YouTube channel that lately has been calling out the scoundrels of the car collecting hobby, and this latest episode features a Mercury Cougar sold via auction to a collector who paid for a "restored" car - the trouble is, the paint job was the convenient distraction from a total hack job underneath. 

As the video goes to show, the mechanic tasked with inspecting his customer's purchase has the unenviable task of telling the buyer that has has paid $40,000 for a car that needs an additional $40,000 worth of bodywork. The video doesn't lie, showing what looks like a mixture of bondo and undercoating to paper over massive holes in the Mercury's floor and frame. Uncle Tony points out that buyers routinely go to car auctions and effectively hold their breath and jump into costly investments with little to no proof of the integrity of the restoration work.

If the industry had standards that encouraged buyers to see proof of a seller's claims, or if the auction houses themselves embraced such an approach, incidents like these would happen far less frequently. But for the time being, the canned response is often that a buyer should have done their homework. 

If auction houses shamed bad sellers and utilized technology tools that provide an exploded view of a car's mechanical and cosmetic integrity, perhaps stories such as the one told here would happen far less frequently. 

By: Jeff, 08/13/2023

For the last few months, I have been moonlighting as an auction specialist for one of the top three digital auction sites. The experience has been enlightening, especially as it relates to how sellers view their cars.

Some view them as investments, but the majority don't seem to perceive their oftentimes limited-production specialty vehicle as an item worth presenting to the best of their abilities. While I realize there are many daily drivers that now fall under the heading of limited-production and/or enthusiast-grade, many sellers seem to treat them like any other commuter car.

Because so many manufacturers are building enthusiast-friendly vehicles, there's an accompanying upkeep need that goes along with that. High performance components like brakes, tires, adjustable suspension, light-weight body panels and so on demand that sellers have records that back up a lifetime (however short that may be) of ongoing, proactive maintenance.

One of the stranger habits involves Porsche 996 owners. We all know by now the IMS bearing is a source of concern and value-killing detail if not verified in the car's history. A seller of a 911 was fairly unaffected by the fact he didn't get a record of some kind from the selling dealer that swore up and down the IMS was replaced. Sorry - if I'm buying a 911 and paying dealership prices, you better believe I'm not leaving until I have documentation in hand that the IMS was done. On the car in question, there was a loan, and it blew my mind that the seller didn't pursue the dealer like a hungry dog on a bone to get access to those records, or otherwise bring the car back in and demand proof of the work being done. 

Sellers, do yourself a favor and don't underscore the need for strong records. If you have them, use them (or better yet, scan and store them with and don't think for a second that one invoice or parts receipt can't swing a sale price $10,000 in your favor. 

By: Jeff, 07/01/2023

A few days ago, Tom Cotter - the so-called "Barn Find Hunter" - visited a place I've never been but would love to go, the Owls Head Museum in Maine. In this segment, he runs through how the Museum acquires cars from various collections and estates after owners pass on, thus allowing the Museum to either exhibit the car or to sell it and use the proceeds to address operational expenses.

In this episode, he looks at a genuine Austin Healey 100 LeMans, an exceedingly rare car built with factory performance enhancements. A scarce few of them were assembled on the factory production lines with these upgrades, while the bulk of them were conceived via disparate parts installations at the dealership level. The curator of the Museum explains how the donated Healey is one of the small batch of examples built at the factory with the LeMans upgrades, a fact he was able to confirm via a data plate that had been previously removed and left under the front passenger seat.

As he goes on to say, that's potentially a $50,000 discovery. He's not wrong: in "Good" condition, Hagerty considers it a $140,000 car. As you can imagine, finding this car without the coveted tag could represent a whack of $25,000 - $50,000. That's why we push so hard for our clients to document everything, as when it comes time to sell, a thoroughly-documented vehicle can see upwards of a 10- to 20 percent increase in its sale price.

At The Common Gear, we'll ensure your vital records are captured digitally and preserved for the future, whether it's simply to share the history of your car among friends or to drive home a stronger sale price at auction.  

By: Jeff, 06/18/2023

These days, collector cars of a certain caliber truly are investment pieces. Whether used as a way to move your money around via backchannels or simply because the car in question is rocketing up in value, there's no denying that at a certain level, a car is like any other asset that requires strong documentation and legal protections. 

There's a consignment specialist in south Florida that specializes in extremely desirable Italian cars, owing to its founder's long-standing family history with Lamborghini. John Temerian is the founder of Curated, and the name alone should tell you what he specializes in for consignment vehicles. He finds cars on behalf of his clients that are exceedingly rare and require high levels of documentation to ensure the car is what Curated claims it to be. At his level and price point, a misstep in any sort of provenance claims is a mistake that can cost deep into the six-figures.

Put simply, John is a guy we can emphasize with in terms of understanding the value of a deep paper trail supporting a particular car. Which is why we were more than a little surprised to see him using a Word document as a means of conveying to the next owner of a long-missing Vector W8 the critical information establishing it as the car he claimed it was. John conducted numerous interviews and worked with attorneys and other legal experts who knew about the car's checkered past to compile all of the necessary data to validate its existence. This sleuthing was also appreciated by the sellers, who obviously wanted to confirm that there was no outstanding legal concerns on the car, which had been re-possessed by Lamborghini at one point in time.

All of this is to say, seeing a guy a like John not using The Common Gear to track, store, and log receipts and build sheets and affidavits makes me wonder what it would take to get him to log all of his consignment vehicle documentation onto the website we've built. If anyone knows John or has a way to get in front of him, please let me know - we'd love to see him and his stunning collection securely documented on our digital curation platform. 

By: Jeff, 06/01/2023

One of the better accounts I follow on Instagram is a Californian by the name of "Rad Report", who started a quasi-newsletter a few years ago highlighting so-called "rad"-era vehicles for sale on craigslist. Like many others, he soon discovered that while people love to consume free content, they rarely like paying for it.

So, unlike others before him, he didn't bend to their will: he just stopped providing the newsletter, deciding that his page was better suited to using his network to sell and promote his own vehicles.

He recently penned a few statements about why he doesn't use Bring A Trailer to sell his cars, as he almost always gets the question when one of his well-preserved and/or restored 1980s rides goes up for sale. He summed up what a lot of us feel, which is that the Bring A Trailer model relies too heavily on commenters who can seriously derail an auction, even with blatantly false information. He basically points to the desire to retain some control over the sales process, and highlights that craigslist - for all of its failings - is basically a blank canvas for anyone with a car worth selling to go hog wild in their description. 

Check out the screen captures below and tell me you don't feel the same. The idea that the peanut gallery on BaT somehow can propel your car to a better sale price is hogwash; your own attention to detail and comprehensive record-keeping is far more compelling than listening to an armchair quarterback go off on how your car is trash because the date codes on your tires are too old. 

I have no desire to take down a viable player in the digital auction arena, but I do tend to agree that sellers should prioritize finding channels and outlets (such as this website) that allow you to tell your car's story in the most content-rich format possible rather than a stripped down and templated form that that neuters the narrative. 

By: Jeff, 05/24/2023

In the collector car world, there’s an unusual divide that has formed between those who preserve cars in their original (if not slightly flawed) state and those that prefer to open the checkbook and finance a lengthy restoration. Like a true conundrum, there is no “right” answer, but both sides came to a head recently when architect and car collector Jonathan Segal was put on blast for stripping his barn-find 1956 Maserati A6G/54 to bare metal.

Segal bought one of the more memorable barn finds of the last decade when he purchased the A6G out of a somewhat notorious estate of Parisian entrepreneur Roger Baillon, who had amassed a large collection of desirable automobiles despite supposedly having significant financial liabilities. When the Maserati was found in a garage on the property, it was covered in newspapers but largely complete.

The car was supposedly very straight-forward to make operational again, with the drivetrain coming back to life with basic sorting. While Segal did show the car in its highly-patina’d state, it didn’t say that way for long and he soon commissioned a frame-off restoration. It’s worth noting he tried to sell the car in its as-found condition, found no buyers, and then decided that the most direct path to potential profits was to restore it to the highest standards possible.

He was quickly vilified by numerous members of the vintage and collector car communities, with criticisms hurled at him that included references to his restoration project being on the same level as “…sandblasting the colosseum.” He rebuffed these accusations and I don’t blame him for doing so. Here’s the thing: as much as well-preserved vehicles are undoubtedly special and often endearing, there are also compromises that go along with that, and some owners simply don’t care for compromises.

A restored version of Segal’s Maserati will likely outshine his striking 1956 Maserati AG6 Zagato, a vehicle that recently took first in class at Villa de Este. And there’s the point: he has a car that can be comfortably driven, shown, and toured with that only grows more valuable as more onlookers see it and gawk at its beauty, while simultaneously standing in shock that it can drive at highway speeds with relative comfort. A patina’d car could be put back to running condition with the roughshod exterior left in place, but that approach doesn’t win awards - and an award at the best show or shows is absolutely the goal of well-moneyed collectors who understand that winning at Pebble Beach is as much a gateway to more wealth and power as being named to the board of directors at Amazon.

Jonathan Segal doesn’t care what you think about his car’s restoration, and if you wanted to preserve its as-found condition, you should have stepped up to buy it when it was for sale. The Maserati will be stunning when finished, and hopefully, Mr. Segal will some day track his project updates here on to ensure no one can question his level of commitment to the brand, or the investment he has made in these significant collector cars.

The Cool IG, YT, Web Embeds

By: Jeff, 12/01/2023


First of all, this is not a Bring a Trailer "hate post." Not at all. What it is serves more as a reminder that the bigger an entity gets, the greater the distance becomes between its intended mission and the people it claims to serve. Pierre Hedary, a noted Mercedes-Benz expert and shop owner, has politely pointed out recently that he's received an influx of customer cars bought on BaT with significant, undisclosed mechanical issues, and for that, he's been called out by the internet flash mob. 

You should watch his latest video here; as usual, Pierre is extremely measured in his response, and does very little (if anything) to fan inflammatory flames. The most hilarious feedback he's received since his original video questioning the BaT effect (Why Bring A Trailer Cars are a Terrible Ideais that he's some sort of closeted liberal, which of course, is the knee-jerk response by anyone who feels personally attacked that their open checkbook lifestyle is risky at best ("Oooh, you dare question my purchasing power, you must be a poor liberal schmuck - please), but beyond that, it's incredible how insecure folks get when someone dares question whether BaT has any integrity whatsoever about the vehicles they sell. 

Listen: buying vintage cars and trucks is inherently risky behavior. Things can go wrong in a big way and you can be upside down in a hurry. That's the roll of the dice we all live with. The problem that Pierre points to is a very simple disconnect between the BaT brand and the buying experience that many real-world folks are having. BaT has, intentionally or otherwise, built a reputation that indicates they have the ability to connect buyers with the best cars and most professional sellers. If you buy on BaT, you avoid the supposed refuse that haws their wares on craigslist and Marketplace. 

The reality is, this simply isn't true. Are there good cars on BaT? Yes. Are there good cars on craigslist? Yes. Are their total shitboxes in both places? Yes to that as well - but if you say it about BaT, be prepared for the pitchforks. 

Many of the loyalists to BaT are the same kinds of folks who would chastise people of a certain political stripe for ardently following an elected official without asking enough questions. The irony is they don't practice what they preach as it relates to buying and selling cars, so many of them are hypocritical at best. To date, I have sold three cars on BaT and have never bought a single one of the eight vehicles I own on their platform. With few exceptions, I have been pleasantly surprised by every vehicle I own, but that's because I'm buying the seller, not the car - and that is a dynamic that's near impossible to create on BaT, where both the seller and the company leadership refuse to stand behind their products once the hammer is down and the wire transfer is complete. 

By: Jeff, 05/19/2023


Hey everyone - we're excited to share with you the first in a series of instructional videos on how to use The Common Gear to store digitized records of the maintenance and improvements you're making to your collector and vintage-grade cars and trucks. 

One of our primary test users, Lars, has a 1988 BMW 325is he's been logging updates of since he bought the car last summer. From road trips to oil changes, he captures vital details about his car's history that will be useful for his own tracking purposes, or if he decides to sell the car later on. 

Check out the video below for quick overview of how he uses The Common Gear for his own maintenance tracking, and watch this space for more quick instructional videos on how to put The Common Gear to work for you. 

By: Jeff, 02/21/2023


YouTube personality Tyler Hoover has been a breath of fresh air in talking candidly about his automotive purchases - the good, the bad, and the ugly. While his platform already had plenty of fame from his rapid-fire purchasing tendencies, he gained perhaps even more notoriety by being one of the first automotive celebrities to talk about a horrific experience buying an expensive restomod on BaT, and having it all go horribly wrong. 

If any of you follow this world, Hoover purchased a restomod version of the iconic wing car, the Plymouth Superbird. He also produced a widely shared YouTube video wherein he discusses the numerous undisclosed flaws with the car, including a suspension so poorly tuned that the car was virtually undrivable. It led to a dust-up of sorts that prompted BaT to refund the buyer's fee. There's just one problem: it happened again. 

This time, the stakes were lower: a $19,000 Citroen ID19, purchased from BaT. The car arrived with non-functioning rear brakes, several undisclosed leaks, and suspension in generally poor order. Are these repairs out of the question for an older vehicle (and a French one, no less?) No, not necessarily. But the listing shows a video of the car running and driving with relative ease, which seemingly glosses over the fact that it doesn't stop. The seller provides no details on the car's mechanical health and the listing includes zero service records. This should have been a red flag for the buyer, but he also likely thought he was buying a good car with $20,000 fewer dollars in his bank account. 

Check out the listing here and Hoovie's video on the car below; we wonder if BaT will again step in to make lemonade out of lemons:

By: Jeff, 02/08/2023


Against my better judgment, we created a short video with zero editing (straight raw, as the cool kids say....maybe?) that explains what the mission of The Common Gear is.

Simply put, we built this site to securely store digitized records for our vintage and collector cars. We wanted to never again wonder where that invoice or window sticker went, or have anyone question the level of sweat equity put into a car project.

Store your records with The Common Gear. Log your project updates. Create a portal whereby you can share a secure URL with potential buyers who may want to buy your car / motorcycle / boat / etc., and plug it into auction sites should you choose to go that way. We'll bet you'll see your desired bottom dollar, if not a few more bucks. 

Reach out to with questions, and thanks for checking us out. 

By: john, 07/28/2022

So yeah, there is an E9 in my garage that is pretty sweet.  And, I have to remember not to take for granted the things I am fortunate enough to have, so I'm not going to do that.  HOWEVER, I have this thing for E24 M6 hotness, especially the euro-delivery sleds, with the M88, slim bumpers, and sexiness that is the little sister to the beautiful E9 that lives in my garage. 

Check it out...

By: john, 02/02/2022

Per the Boston Globe, apparently Tesla can't figure out how to drive in Boston either.  From a 2/1/22 article "Self-driving Tesla does ‘the craziest things you can imagine’: Boston man’s viral video shows autopilot dangers",  a Boston man’s viral video shows autopilot dangers (or maybe Boston dangers....?).  

"You have no idea what it's going to do next."

I do find this kinda hilarious, simply because of the hubris that exists with tech buttholes who think that they can code around human behavior.  If there's a self-driving crucible in the U.S., it's def Boston.