Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/589

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Buying a "Used Car"

��Among all liars we take off our steel helmets to the sellers of old cars

By Edward C. Crossman

WITH the enormous depreciation in value of the used motor car, and the ignorance of the average person of even primary automobile mechanics — and the ways that are dark of some gentlemen in the used car game — the average seeker of a satisfactory used car is apt to be fooled. The automobile is not so completely stand- ardized as we are told it is. Development is still rapid. Devices widely heralded one year as marvelous improvements prove to be failures the next. And as added compli- cation, most motor companies, at some time in their career, make an engineering mistake and turn out a model for which they are sorry. Yet, to the unwary, this model sells on the strength of the fine repu- tation of later and earlier productions. Second-hand, it brings a price far out of proportion to its value, purely because of the reflected glory shed upon it.

As the result of a slight improvement in appearance, a flock of second-hand Ford cars are on the market. In theory, so slight has been the change that it is im- possible to be cheated badiy in buying a Ford. Still, even the Ford Company made changes quietly as it went along, many necessitated as a remedy for grievous errors in design. Hence the buyer of an old Ford may find himself the buyer of a repair bill, reasonable as Ford re- pairs are.

The coming of the jitney business compli- cated the problem of the Ford used-car. For instance, one of my acquaintances loaded himself up with a good- looking Ford without going into its pedigree. It turned out to be a jitney veteran, with springs softened, frame sprung, and the general wear of a 'bus from that service, which means that it had been

���he owner of the wreck- ing yard asked S75 for this windsplitter; but offering him $50 would have been dan- gerous if you didn't want the car. Buyers of cars from corner-lot markets are like lambs to be shorn

���An Old-style Ford Switch and Coil Boj

��Learn to identify the models. It is well to be able to recognize the various Ford vintages. The Ford made earlier than 1914 would have to be an almost new car in order to be worth much over $200. Because of the ease with which Ford parts are crossed, the unwary will sometimes be caught. Therefore, check up your Ford engine number

��run about six times as far as a privately owned car in the same length of time.

The Ford is the best second-hand buy on the market, and brings a relatively higher price than any other car. At the same time it is well to be able to recognize the changes in the Ford, so that one will not pay a 191 7 price for a car of 19 13 vintage. The best plan is to take the engine number, telephone the nearest Ford agency, and ask for the date of sale and name of the man to whom it was sold. The agency will get the information for you if it is not on hand. By that means and looking up the state registry, the life history of the car can be traced. If the seller claims to be the original buyer, who has treated the car as the apple of his eye and washed it with toilet water and fed it only certified and sterilized gasoline, he will be somewhat embarrassed if the Ford record shows some other chap to have paid down the original purchase price. Cheap as are repairs and improved features, no one cares to pay for them and not get them.

" You Never Can Tell"

You never can tell who's had the car, nor what he's done to it.

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