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The Hardest Part of Owning a Land Yacht Is Selling It

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author photo by Tyler Hoover April 2017

My favorite part of Doug DeMuro's Ferrari saga entailed dealing with the enormous pain of selling it. At the time, I felt sorry for him -- but not anymore. Turns out, it's way worse when you're selling a land yacht.

Much to the dismay of the Lincoln fans, including one Australian man who wanted me to "do more cold starts in really tight jeans, mate" I sold my 1978 Lincoln Continental Town Coupe. I owned this 6 MPG wonder for almost a year -- and that's not by choice. It took 6 months for me to find a buyer, and I had to take a massive loss.

In the attached video, I describe the purchase details -- including my Lincoln literally catching fire shortly after delivery, and the constant repairs afterwards -- but to sum it up, it was a horrible ownership experience, and I lost nearly $7,000. Selling these cars is extremely difficult because nobody wants to buy these things.

At least when Doug was selling his Ferrari, he had plenty of interested buyers -- even if most were driving him insane. In 6 months, I can count on one hand the number of people who inquired about my Lincoln. I spent hundreds of dollars advertising it in several different places -- with zero results.

There was one man who committed to buying it shortly after I started advertising, even going so far as to announce his purchase on a popular Facebook group devoted to these cars. Then he disappeared the next day. A few others ghosted after delivering the deadly "let me talk with the wife" line. One very nice dude drove 5 hours just to hang out with me for a bit -- with seemingly no intention of purchasing.

This certainly wasn't because of my selling strategy. I was a full-time car dealer for years, and I've sold hundreds of cars. I've concluded that people love seeing these cars -- but nobody is crazy enough to write a check for one.

You can always find a buyer for a pristine, low-mileage example of anything -- but if the best example is only worth $15,000, then what's an average one worth? It would cost a minimum of $30,000 to restore an average example to mint condition, which means my car is worthless to a collector. Nobody is looking for these as a daily driver, either. It gets 6 miles to the gallon, it has a body longer than a Ford Excursion, and it possesses the driving characteristics of an aircraft carrier. Who would possibly want that?

Apparently, the answer is me and the guy who sold it to me -- who's also the guy I sold it to. Yes, I sold the car back to the previous owner. He was the only one to ever make me a serious offer. I paid $9,000 for it, I spent almost $4,000 fixing it, and sold it back to him for $6,400. He's planning on making it an 85th birthday present for his father.

When I add all the costs associated with this car, I lost a total of $6,860. Not including cars I owned for years and experienced normal depreciation with, this is the most money I've ever lost on a car. This dethroned another land yacht that previously held the title: a 1966 Imperial Crown Coupe I sold 3 years ago, which gave my bank account a $5,800 haircut. I've had countless $3,000 hits with German cars -- but nothing has come close to the land yachts.

You'd think I'd learned my lesson by this point, and I would swear off buying another malaise-era land yacht. Unfortunately, I do really like these cars -- and my automotive masochism can only be stopped by bankruptcy or death. I've already bought something to replace it -- though it's more of a land dinghy than a land yacht.

Let's hope it's not another HMS Minnow.

Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Hardest Part of Owning a Land Yacht Is Selling It - Autotrader