Cars at public auctions are often those that wouldn't sell at wholesale dealer auctions. Yes, some are flood vehicles, and Hurricane Irene should still be fresh in your mind. Some are cars quickly reconditioned in dealership shops to fill in slow periods when there's otherwise little work to be done. And many are just flat out junk. "A car that goes across the block at a public auction that isn't spewing smoke is often packed with thick racing oil to ensure it doesn't," Lang continues. "Everything at a public auction looks shiny, but shiny doesn't mean much about the quality of the car."
GovDeals is the official portal to government auctions, which range from land to computers to cars. The site's categories include surplus and confiscated items from various government agencies. The rules and regulations vary depending on the participating agency, and you deal directly with the agency after you are awarded your bid. The deals are great, but be sure to inquire about packaging and shipping of an item before you place your bid because most sellers do not ship, pack or palletize. You may be responsible for picking it up or paying someone to transport it.
Sign up to receive automatic notification of new auction listings. You can call the regional office of a government agency to get on mailing lists for upcoming government asset sales. Each government or contractor website will also have a registration form to receive notices of new auction listings. It is also possible at these websites to create custom email alerts for particular items coming up for auction or categories of listings.
You could tell that most people knew each other. It felt like these few dozen bidders were part of an exclusive network of junkyard owners and flip-artists who have been bidding on cars against each other for years. Every now and then, when one guy outbid another, you’d see the losing bidder lean over to a friend and talk shit on the winner. “He just buys cars for the sake of buying them. He probably makes no money,” I heard one guy whisper. Police auctions are full of mysteries and secrets.
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