TCG Stories

By: Jeff, 07/13/2024

One of the biggest misconceptions of the modern age is who has money and who doesn't. The folks we think are killing it on YouTube actually aren't; the people controlling the purse strings are the same people it's always been. In this instance, a wave of content creators of fairly popular YouTube channels have been coming clean and reporting that not only have they not been killing it, but that their channels were taken over by private equity bros. 

This is so strange to me. Some of these channels have a million subscribers, sure, but it takes ages to get there and then you have to feed the beast. And what some of these recent admission videos show is that the new owners of the channels, in classic private equity fashion, only exist to suck whatever money they can get out of the content creators and then move on. So, if a video doesn't "hit" the right way, or the numbers flat-line after the lack of a viral smash, the owners of the channel are simply going to carve it up for parts while continually asking the remaining skeleton crew of staff members to keep trying to make a video that will drive 5 percent more ad revenue. 

This recent video from a so-called former creative director at Donut Media discloses that he and several others left the organization due to disagreement with the new management structure. I have to admit, it sounds damn near impossible to be "forced" to make new videos that somehow, continue to rack up millions of views, especially knowing what we know about how awful YouTube's compensation plans are. At the same time, the private equity firm likely expects its creative folks to continue to be creative and understand which direction audience behaviors are heading. 

All in all, it sounds like once again, the wrong people are in charge and channel creators are way too eager to sell their souls for a little bit of cash and zero creative freedom. 

By: Jeff, 07/10/2024

Over the last few years, many of us (me) have gotten bent out of shape because of the supposed prices cars are selling for on sites like Bring A Trailer. However, I was reminded of the reality of selling recently when I spotted an NA Miata for sale in rural Blue Ridge, Georgia, down the road from my in-laws' house.

I see this Miata, with the desirable factory hardtop, in the middle of Nowheresville, Georgia, and assume that such a car with its extremely limited potential audience in this mountain town is going to be sold for peanuts. I was wrong, however, as upon closer inspection, the seller had an asking price of $7,000. 

Is this Miata going to sell for this price? Absolutely not. The seller doesn't even know what Bring A Trailer is, and has no interest in paying $5 to craigslist to list it. The car is sitting by the side of the road, dirty, with a solitary sign in the window and a stupid price tag. The reality is this seller just wants a quick buck and is hoping that one of the myriad tourists floating by is going to think $7K is a good deal. 

This is a micro-level example but on a macro basis, the same thing is likely happening online and in larger metro areas. Sellers ask lofty prices, and they settle for what the car was actually worth. The number a car is bid to may never actually be the price it sells for, as buyers still have to meet the seller in person and decide if they want to move forward. How do we know that both parties don't agree to a price that's $1,000 less? 

So, all that is to say, don't lose faith that every car is out of your price range, and by the same token, don't assume your vehicle is worth the price the online auction indicates a similar model sold for. 

By: Jeff, 04/21/2024

I don't know if you've noticed, but car classifieds sites blow pretty big chunks. In thinking back on it, I almost have begun to wonder if the explosion in car auction sites has less to do with taking away the horsepower of the big guns like Mecum and Barrett-Jackson and more to do with simply taking advantage of how poorly built most classifieds sites are.

If you spend any amount of time (as I do) looking for certain cars and trucks, mostly of the enthusiast type, you'll quickly find you don't have many choices anymore beyond craigslist, Bring A Trailer, and Facebook Marketplace. Sure, there are legions of other websites, but most all of them are rarely updated or completely overrun by other websites posing as digital brokers. 

Right now, I'm looking for a 1998 Aston Martin DB7 coupe. If you use Autotrader, the same 5 cars pop up, over and over again. I'm guessing 4 of the 5 are no longer even actually for sale. And on top of that, the Autotrader site has nominal information that really does cater to dealerships that rely on providing nominal bits of information. 

On top of that, most leads from Autotrader go no where. When I was hunting for an 80-Series Land Cruiser, I emailed the same seller within hours of his listing going live upwards of 12 times and he never responded. Of course, then you find out that Autotrader sometimes takes over a week to post a listing, at which time the same vehicle may have already been sold locally on craigslist. The real kick in the teeth is that seller pay for the privilege of listing their car on Autotrader! 

It's clear it is time for car classifieds sites to be reinvented with the enthusiast in mind, taking a page from what the popular auction sites do well (presentation, seller involvement, etc.) and give owners and buyers of enthusiast vehicles another choice. 

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.  

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.