Automotive Mileposts  

Classified Ad Translator

Who says there's no such thing as truth in advertising?

Here's what those glowing descriptions in car ads really mean!

We've all seen them, those classified classic car ads that sound too good to be true. Any car that is truly that wonderful and rare would surely be difficult to part with, right? Now, Automotive Mileposts uncovers the hidden (but often true) meaning behind the description!

Text in bold is what the cleverly-written ad says—And the normal text tells you what the real meaning is.

0 Miles on restoration
—Couldn't get the car to start.

95% Completed—Just needs a frame!

Actual documented miles—Seller just created and printed all the service records last week.

All options—Still has the original AM pushbutton radio and cigarette lighter. (Neither work, of course!)

All original—Right down to the oil, tires, and plugs! Nothing was ever done to the car.

Always garaged—Because the car would never start to back it out of the garage!

Always starts—But has no brakes, so you can't drive it anywhere.

Be the only one on your block—To have a car that really belongs at a salvage yard.

Car has some imperfections—Most people will agree that a rusted through shock tower is an imperfection.

Celebrity owned—Everybody is a star.

Collector's item—If you hang on to it long enough, it might actually be worth something.

Convertible—Roof rusted through, so it was cut off. Not recommended in the rain.

Clean title—The car is a real mess, but the title doesn't even have a smudge on it.

Daily driver—300-Mile round trip.

Drives like a dream—If it drives good, you must be dreaming!

Elderly owned—And they've hit the garage, the tree in the front yard, and the neighbor's car.

Image: Engine sprayed with blue paintEngine blueprinted(shown at left) A can of Krylon blue spray paint was recently sprayed on valve covers, air cleaner, hood, battery, hoses, belts, etc. (The image shown at left appeared on eBay as documentation that the car was in good shape and had recently been worked on. The car was a 1966 Ford Thunderbird with the rare and desirable 428 V-8 engine option. Obviously, this is not only the wrong shade of blue for that particular engine, but many of the components shown weren't originally blue in the first place. We should also add that the exterior body color matched, so we suspect a $300 paint job that included the engine bay.)

Engine rebuilt—By the 14 year old kids down the street. They wanted to learn how, and the price was right!

Enjoy cruising—In someone else's car, since this one will never make it across town.

Excellent example—Of what NOT to do when you're restoring a car.

Frame off restoration - Had to, because the frame had rusted through.

Freshly rebuilt engine—Ignore the blue smoke coming from the exhaust, see the pretty new blue paint? (See image above left; also refer to "Engine blueprinted" above.)

Fully equipped - And all of the accessories need to be fixed.

Fully loaded - And so is the owner.

Genuine leather upholstery—More than likely, the seller wouldn't know real leather from vinyl if it brushed up against him and "Mooed!" Ever seen a cow with a petroleum by-product for skin?

Good investment opportunity—For someone else.

Great gas mileage - Won't run, so doesn't use any gas!

Great parts or project car—Bring a big truck, everything is already taken apart and boxed up. Boxes have been stored in three locations, in three different states!

Great running condition—That's what you'll need to be in if you buy this car, it never gets you to your destination!

Ground up restoration—Car sat in a muddy field for 20 years, so it had to be dug out to be moved.

Hurry, won't last!—Even now, Mother Nature has already begun the process of recycling this car.

Hurry! Summer's coming!!—Buy it now and drive it before the weather gets hot, because this thing overheats when the temperature is over 70 degrees! Oh, and the air conditioning doesn't work, either.

Impress all your friends—Your neighbors will all hate you when you unload this car next to the house, but your friends will be impressed with how brave you are for doing it.

I've tried to show everything in the pictures—Of course, the car pictured isn't the car for sale.

Just aligned—But it won't stay aligned with those worn out front suspension parts.

Less than 500 miles on total restoration—Keeps breaking down, just like before the restoration.

Listing this for a friend—Because the friend was too embarrassed to do it themselves!

Looks great—At 70 mph. At night. In the rain.

Looks new—Amazing what a $300 paint job covers up, isn't it?

Lots of NOS parts go with car—NOS = Next Owner Stupid (if he thinks any of these parts will work.)

Make offer—No idea what the car is worth.

Mama's car—Mama was known as "Queen of the Duluth Demo Derby!" She won her last one in this car!

Many new parts—And lots more needed!

Minor oil leak—The Exxon Valdez pales in comparison...

Must see to appreciate—I'm hoping you'll feel sorry for me when you see it, and take it off my hands.

Must sell—Seller is really sick of this pile of junk, and wants to unload it on someone else ASAP!

Must sell due to circumstances beyond my control—There isn't enough money in the world to fix this thing!

Image: 1967 Thunderbird sitting in yardMoving, must sell—The real estate agent says we'll never sell the house with a junk car in the yard. (See example at left.)

My loss is your gain—New owner will feel the same way after 6 months of ownership.

Needs complete restoration—Was at the U-Pick-It Salvage for 25 years, so it needs EVERYTHING!

Needs minor body work and paint—This was before the bus hit it!

Needs minor work—Needs major work.

Needs nothing—New owner, however, will need deep pockets or a high credit limit.

Needs paint—After all the body work is done.

Needs work—Hoping that potential buyers won't think it's as bad as it is. See also "Looks new."

Never smoked in—This is the only good thing the seller can think of to say about the car.

Never smoked in—Unless you count that electrical short back in 1978 that melted the instrument panel.

New car cover—For protection because the convertible top rotted away, the sunroof leaks, the cowl is rusted through, all of the glass is broken, etc.

New quarters installed—Frame, floors, and rest of body still need to be done.

New tires—In 1964.

New sound system—Old one shorted out and caused a dash wiring harness fire.

No engine or transmission—Rusty body shell is all that's left. Refer to "Needs complete restoration.

No expense spared—This refers to the amount of money spent trying to the car, not restore it.

No time to finish—Going to prison for felony auto theft. (Stole another car, no one would steal this pile of junk!)

None nicer anywhere—(For crushing.)

Not a beater - It's a beater.

Numbers match—Yes indeed, all of the part numbers on this car matched the cars they were installed in at one time.

One of a kind—And thank goodness, because it never runs, and everything is rreeeaaaalllllyyyyyy expensive to fix. If you can find the parts to fix it.

One owner—Unfortunately, the owner never maintained the car and died 20 years ago, leaving it in a field.

Only driven to church on Sunday—You wouldn't believe the sludge in the engine!

Or best offer—Seller just wants it to go away...

Over $25,000 invested—And it still needs another $25,000...

Owned by same family since new—Now everyone in the family knows about the car and doesn't want it, so we're hoping to dump it on some poor dolt who isn't a relative!

Rare color combination—The factory never offered a rusty body with an interior combination of ripped up black vinyl front seats and shredded blue cloth seats in the rear. Has the very rare "no headliner/insulation falling down" option, too!

Rare classic—Even when new, no one wanted it.

Rare classic—They all had rust on the showroom floor, so very few around now.

Rare model—One of only 375,000 built!

Rare option—Rare because it was never offered by the factory.

Ran when parked—Of course, the engine threw a rod at the same time, which is why it's been parked so long!

Ready to restore—Can't get much worse, so there's only one way to go! See also, "Hurry, won't last!"

Rebuilt engine has zero miles on it!—Because we can't get it to start.

Recent tune up—Yep, right after it broke down in 1973. Never got it to start after that.

Restoration started—Took it apart and spread it out all over the garage, or tossed everything that would fit into the trunk, but have no clue if all the parts are still there. Been like this since 1983.

Restoration just completed—Need to sell before all the things that were cobbled together fall apart.

Rough condition—This one is in such bad shape, it does no good to lie about it. Usually accompanied by "Very rare," "Collector's item," or "Lots of NOS parts go with car."

Runs and drives good, but recommend towing—Wants to make sure new owner gets the car off of property before the anti-freeze dilutes the engine oil too much and causes a problem.

Runs good—If rolling down hill—just don't plan on it going anywhere under its own power!

Recently appraised at $35,000—Owner and a few of his buddies got together and decided on this value after having a few beers.

Show winner—Won "Best of Show" last summer at the neighborhood Chili Cook Off. Jimmy's 10-speed bike came in second, and Mary Lou's tricycle took third place.

Solid body—Body is solid bondo, front to rear.

Stunning finish—You'll be stunned too when you see all the rust!

Too many projects—City has ordered me to get rid of all my junk cars.

Unable to finish—This project caused me to have a mental breakdown, and I must sell due to Doctor's orders.

Unable to finish—Wife said either the car goes, or I go!

Uses no oil—Engine seized up, so no chance of any oil being used!

Very clean—Yep, it's clean. Of course the quarters are rusty, the seats are shredded, the carpeting is mildewed, and the glass is cracked, but everything has been cleaned real nice by Mother. Just last weekend.

Very fast—When you compare it to a Yugo with a misfire.

Very rare—This refers to the car getting you where you want to go.

Very rare—This refers to the car starting.

Well maintained—Whenever it quit running, whatever caused it to break down was always fixed. (Of course, nothing else was ever done to the car...)