In theory, at least, you can search the world in minutes for a cheap project car. In the modern era, Craigslist has largely taken the place of local want ads and auto trader magazines, and with the amazingly low cost of $5 to place an ad, everybody has jumped in. That creates an enormous number of ads for classic cars, and at times it seems like trying to find a needle in a haystack, or as I like to think of it, a needle in a needle stack. Related: Like junkyards and barn finds? Check out Roadkill's Junkyard Gold on the MotorTrend App, where host Steve Magnante travels to junkyards across the country to unearth hidden gems and talk about their history. Sign up today for a free trial! Log on to Craigslist on any given day, and it wont take long for a sense of dread to overtake you. With few buyer protections on Craigslist, it has become a nasty place over the years as sellers have amassed an unholy war chest of schemes designed to deceive. Some, like omission and outright lying, are holdovers from the days of want ads, but other tactics are new ones for the digital age. Its buyer beware with classic car want ads on Craigslist, but they still provide a valuable service for the wary shopper. Weve spotted a few trends in Craigslist, and before we dive into this weeks top 10 classic car ads from the state of California, we thought wed have a little fun breaking down problematic sellers into a few cautionary groups weve identified. Perhaps you can guess which kinds of sellers youve run into in the past before we introduce our Top 10 car ads below The Angry for No Reason Person Theres an unwritten rule at Craigslist: Even though a seller doesnt know who their buyer is, theyve got to tag the ad with a screed about not wasting their time, because yours is worth nothing. Calling the seller for more info will elicit a string of expletives. No tire kickers, no phone calls, price is firm, dont waste my time, and bring cash are the most common phrases in their arsenal. The fact that such a seller provides almost no information, and photos that are shot in a coal mine doesnt faze them. One seller got so mad his 1970 Charger didnt get the price he wanted that he smashed his car to spite would-be buyers! ( Read about it here. ) The Blind Photographer Its inevitable the photos are crappy when you finally find something you like. In your own mind, however, you see it in the best light, filling in imaginary details that just arent there. You waste your time looking, and sellers gets cranky because you wasted their time, too. Related: Shopping for A Project Car Advice and Tips The reality is the seller couldve saved everybodys time by taking better pictures and more of them. Pictures on Craigslist are freewhy skimp? The Poor Speller Its bad enough that youre answering an ad for a Camero, but if the seller refuses to be responsible for even getting the car name right, how can you trust the person about anything else? Its a low bar to type in the letters glued to the side of the car, take a picture in broad daylight, and upload it to the Web, but these skills are curiously elusive for some sellers. Classic cars have no language barrier, and yet the language barrier provides a ready screen behind which problems can be conveniently hidden. The Spammer Dont you love it when you enter a year, make, and model into the search box and a bunch of unrelated junk shows up in the results? We can understand sellers who logically list a Pontiac Firebird in a Camaro ad as a search term where both are built on the same assembly line, but sellers seem to love abusing the Craigslist search feature and have no problem spamming the descriptionas if youd confuse a Camaro for a 2005 Toyota Camry and buy it on accident. The Conspiracy Theorist For some reason, theres a boatload of paranoid people who feel compelled to put their contact info in code, for instance phone numbers, addresses, or email. Its like a Cold War spy novel deal where youve got to sit on a park bench and wait for a guy with a trench coat. All you need is that Dick Tracy decoder ring you got in a box of Cheerios back in 1969. I guess when you finally see the car for the first time, youre supposed to feel a huge sense of accomplishment. The Serial Lister Theres one in every city, and this seller wants to make sure you see them. They list the same car using the same ad every day (sometimes several times a day) for weeks or months on end, often spamming their hooptie as more than one make or model. Theyre harmless for the most part, but their Achilles heel is they think their junk is gold. The Honest Seller Weve covered most of the seller archetypes on Craigslist, except for the best one: the honest seller. Its inexplicably rare on Craigslist, but there are honest sellers, and you can usually spot who they are before calling. The honest seller will make a good-faith effort to include pertinent details and will even attempt to spell things correctly. The description will be in sentence form without the cap-lock button on, the use of exclamation points will be minimal, photos will be well lit and include views of both sides, front, rear, engine, and interior, contact info will be included and easy to read. The biggest giveaway for the earnest seller: Their honestly will show through with a list of things that are broken or need attention. Gain the Upper Hand The author scored this running 1968 Plymouth Valiant on a Californias Inland Empire Craigslist for $2,800. Want to even the playing field? Theres a lot you can do before setting out to look at a car. Suspect a bad neighborhood? Use the address to do a Google search for a street view. If you have few scruples, enter the address in Zillow to assess the residence and income. Look up the satellite view on Google to see if the car in question is on the premise. Is it on the street, in the garage, or on jackstands in the backyard? Free ads attract sellers with no money, and many times the sale of a car is driven by financial need. This is to your advantage, so use it. Lets look at some California cars on Craigslist from the week of January 7, 2021 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 • Asking Price: $2,500 This 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 has the desirable fastback hardtop roof but has no engine or transwhat we call a roller. Notwithstanding, it does have a perfectly patinad body with surface rust and only minor dings. Its an Arizona car, which means little rust but a completely shot interior (and no engine). Youll want to add your own powertrain and suspension to this one. The ad has lots of honest photos including the bad stuff, leaving little to the imagination. Like lots of Arizona cars, this one was listed in California to find a larger audience. ( See the listing here. ) 1971 Lincoln Continental • Asking Price: $3,000 The description for this Oakland-based 1971 Lincoln Continental lacks self-praise in the form of adjectives or wild promises but has a lot of honest-sounding specificsand some amazing photos. Im not a huge Lincoln fan, but at this price I could see myself tooling around town in this while having to do very little to it. (A carb and a battery is all the seller claims it needs.) We say start a luxo-rod trend and grab this thing up. ( See the listing here. ) 1966 Ford Thunderbird • Asking Price: $3,500 Thunderbirds were big sellers back in the daytheir sporty looks, floaty suspensions, and torque-monster big-blocks being a favorite with the retiree set. (Disclosure: My grandfather had one.) The funny thing is, theyre popular with the same set now, and I am quickly getting to the age where Ill be a buyer, too. This straight 1966 T-bird with a 428ci FE big-block seems to be complete and ready to roll with only minor fix-its needed, and at $3,500 this would make a nice town car for pocket change. ( See the listing here. ) 1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme • Asking Price: $4,000 Im a huge fan of the mid-1970s, and GMs A-body lineup from 1973 to 1977 is at the top of my list. This Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was the paramount of personal luxury in 1973, making it a prime example to watch. Note to the seller in Inglewood, California: This car needs better photos for its asking price, and the breaking news for you is that folks will want to kick the tires, look at the paint, and haggle on the price, so please dont be upsetwere just the messenger. ( See the ad here. ) 1970 Ford Maverick • Asking Price: $4,700 The seller of this 1970 Ford Maverick (Hayward, California) sounds almost apologetic that its V-6 may need a little TLC, but all we see is the pristine original yellow paint on straight sheetmetal and a mint black interior with houndstooth upholstery. We couldnt shove a 408ci stroker small-block Ford under the hood of this one fast enough. Is it too good to be true? Fortunately for you, the answer is only a phone call away. ( See the ad here. ) 1965 AMC Rambler 660 • Asking Price: $4,800 The ad for this 1965 AMC Rambler 660 is painfully sparse on description, but since most people dont know about American Motors cars, anyway, chances are you know almost nothing about 1965 Ramblers, so it hardly matters. What does matter is that this one apparently has a perfect body, only sullied by a lifetime of leisure under the California sunmeaning it has the perfect scale of light rust and patina. From the looks of it, this is a survivor car with little needed to make it the perfect beach cruiser. ( See the ad here. ) 1962 Pontiac Bonneville Sport Coupe • Asking Price: $4,900 Pontiacs Bonneville Sport Coupe was the epitome of luxury performance in 1962, and this unit exudes class and power with its 389ci V-8. This one from Californias Gold Country is extremely well preserved, right down to the vermillion red vinyl interior. Fix the minor rust and restore it or leave it alone and cruise iteither way, this one is cherry. ( See the ad here. ) 1966 Buick Riviera • Asking Price: $5,000 Bill Mitchells crowning design achievement at GM was arguably the Buick Riviera, and by 1966 the marque had reached its zenith with long, sleek styling and a sexy pinched waistline. Little is known about this parking-lot special on Californias central coast, but the paint looks original, the body looks straight, and the interior looks salvageable. As a 66, its got the last of the classic nailhead V-8s, but feel free to drop a budget-oriented LS under the hood and hit the sideshow! ( See the ad here. ) 1963 Ford Falcon Futura • Asking Price: $5,000 We did a doubletake when we saw this rare 1963 Ford Falcon Futura on Craigslist because we remember it being listed before with the same images several years ago. The Futura model with its fastback-style sport roof was Fords first attempt at a Mustang-like vehicle, but it failed to gain traction in the market. The rare models are often used for track events, and this one has had its battery already relocated to the trunk. (An unfinished 289ci small-block is included.) Were guessing you might be able to talk the seller downhes been waiting for a buyer a long time. ( See the ad here. ) 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass Wagon • Asking Price: $5,000 Our spiritual favorite of the lot is this 1968 Olds Cutlass Wagon located in Oceanside, California. Just based on its location, we imagine it as a carefree beach cruiser whose tradition should be continued with its existing patina, but with better wheels and a warmed-over LS V-8. The body and paint look serviceable, and the Olds does run, but the seller notes some work is needed. The Brady Bunch called and they want their car back! Dont forget to check out more photos of all these cars in the gallery. ( See the ad here. ) Photos courtesy of Craigslist. The post California Craigslist: 10 Project Car Deals Under $5,000 appeared first on Hot Rod Network .