Trade #18: 2006 Honda Shadow for $cash & 2012 Ford Fusion for $cash for 1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce

1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce

This is the biggest, riskiest, and most exciting move I’ve made yet. I’ll get to the stories (I’ll try to keep them short, but you really do need to meet one of the characters), but here are some important points that shaped this decision and this transaction:

  • The Ford Fusion was really hard to trade. Even as it was in great mechanical condition, the mileage was high (200k) and the cosmetic damage was really limiting. I’m glad I got it, if only to get rid of that cursed Mercedes, but that was a tough one to trade away. Selling it made much more sense.
  • The motorcycle was surprisingly tough to trade, too, though I think if I had held out, I would have found something or someone. There were a lot of flakes, and lots of interest but for cash only. It was my most trafficked Facebook Marketplace item for months, but nothing really surfaced as far as a mutually good deal.
  • I’m getting close to my first goal, which is to pay off all of my interpersonal debt. I’ve been saving money throughout this project (this is not the only thing I’m doing to work down my debts), and with that money and somewhere around $10k, I’ll be able to check that box. I think I can trade this car for something worth that in relatively short order, and then we’ll really be in business.
  • This Alfa Romeo is someone’s dream car, and I’m looking forward to a trade that gives them that, and gives me my first really big success.

And let’s be real here: This car is amazing and very, very fun to drive. Even as it’s beautiful, sexy, and an absolute blast to experience, it’s not quite my style. I feel strange and self-conscious driving it with the top down (but it’s still fun af so you better believe I’m driving that thing with the top down on nice days, and definitely taking it on one day trip up and down the PCH because when am I gonna have this opportunity again?). I think if I weren’t expecting to trade it so quickly, I’d be worried that this was a potential mid-life-crisis purchase. But I really don’t want to hang onto it for long if I can manage, and I truly do just see it as an asset for this project. And it feels like a very valuable one.

So, three quick stories:

Selling the 2012 Ford Fusion

Not a whole lot to say about his one. I had kind of given up on trading that car a while ago when every offer I made or fielded was a bad fit. As I mentioned above, the mileage and body damage really made it a tough trade for the value I wanted to get. Selling it was more manageable, though, and after trying a few different listing prices, I met a new family who just needed a reliable car.

They’d just moved to Pittsburg from the city, and while he’d be working at home with their 6 month old, she was still working in San Francisco, so they needed another vehicle that was reliable to get her there and back. But what about the damage on the car? “Oh we’re not worried about that, we know a guy who does body work.”

It’s amazing how much value fluctuates when you know a guy.

We met up in a parking lot, and after a brief test drive and a quick ATM visit, they drove off in their separate cars and I walked home with $3700 to put toward this project.

Selling the 2006 Honda Shadow

After selling the Fusion, this bike was my primary means of travel for a couple of weeks, and at some point I decided to sell it. I think it was when I saw a beautiful old Mustang for sale that I really wanted. If I could just get some of that extra cash from a bike sale, I could get the Mustang and have some cash left over. That didn’t work out, but I’m fine with it.

The guy who bought the bike… he’s maybe my favorite character so far. I’ll try to keep the story brief and just show the highlights, but it was such an interesting thing to watch.

So a couple Thursdays ago I get an email from an address with the display name DRAKE B. RUDE. The email message is brief and it’s kind of scattered, but he asks if the bike is available and tells me he has cash in hand. I confirm that it’s available and we agree to meet for a test ride that evening at 7pm. He texts me at 6:45 saying he’s running a half hour late. No worries, I go home and return a half hour later. More texts. More updates. A glint of girlfriend-blaming misogyny in one of the texts. Eventually he shows up around 8:15, later and darker than I’d hoped. He arrives in something like a 1991 Toyota Corolla, very beat up but running, and as he pulls up he gets out and is finicking with something, the engine still running.

“Hey man! Sorry one sec… the… the screwdriver I use for the ignition, I always drop it and I can never find it, hold on…”

Drake is a jolly guy, maybe 25, probably 6 feet tall and like 140lbs soaking wet. Scrawny pale guy with a buzzed head save for a few dreadlocks here and there. And very friendly. He fawned over the bike and put on all of his protective riding gear (he said his girlfriend requires it), and rode it around the lot. He loved it but wanted to sleep on the decision. Fair.

Next day I check in with him around 1, then again around 3. No responses. I get a text around 5:30 that he’d just woken up, and is gonna get his feet on the floor and then head over to the ATM to withdraw some money. He won’t be able to get it all at once, because of daily withdrawal limits, but we negotiated a little and agreed to meet Sunday evening when he’d have the cash.

Some more planning shenanigans happened but eventually we did meet (he was more than an hour later than he’d said), and he showed up with his friend, who I guess was lending him some money for the bike. Drake was short a hundred bucks, and he told me that when he was paying me, and said he could get the rest to me tomorrow. I sighed, said fine, and wrote that money off. I was still selling the bike for more than the last guy was going to pay, and it still put me in a good position for the project, so whatever. I just wanted it to be done, really.

I got a surprise text from him the next day, wanting to make arrangements to settle up.

He kept having ATM troubles, then had Venmo troubles, and finally messaged me Friday that he was going out of town for the weekend and wanted to square up before hand. He told me where to meet him, and then he couldn’t find the place (lol), so I found him nearby, and he gave me the last of the cash.

And he’d tricked out the bike! Painted the tank black, gave it some green LEDs, really made it his own. He was so happy.

I asked him where he was heading out of town. “Oh, I’m kind of a gun nut, so I’m heading out of town to go pick up an AR-15 that I ordered.”

Gaaahhhhh. Drake you’re the strangest, nicest, kindest guy I know that doesn’t seem to have any of his shit together but insists on following through on his commitments. Best of luck to you.

Buying the Alfa Romeo

This car was not my first choice.

Initially there was a gorgeous restored 1972 Ford Mustang in shiny blue with white racing stripes that I wanted, but that ship sailed fast. Then there was a 2010 BMW 3-series, and that guy sold it right out from under me. Ah well. But this one was available and the seller was responsive, and it looked like a good deal for me.

But, I had to take BART to get to Walnut Creek. That’s where the car was.

I doubled up on the masks (N95 underneath, layered cotton mask on top) and stood for the whole ride. I’m still kind of freaked but the car was mostly empty and I was really careful, never that close to anyone, so, fingers crossed.

John (not his real name) is a suburban dad who has a bunch of cars and trucks. He bought the Spider a few years ago and he and his wife would take it on drives down the 1 or up to Napa. It’s been a fun summer car for him, but he needed the room in the garage and it was time to move on from it.

And he gave me the whole history. Original owner drove it off the lot in 1987, rode it through the East Bay hills for 15 years or so before giving it to his son. The son rode it a bit, then garaged it for 12 years. In those years, as the car only sat, the wheel hubs warped, and so John, when he bought it, replaced the hubs, and this time with wider ones. It’s one of the only things not original on the car, and it makes turns so snug and huggable.

The body is in amazing condition. Minor dings if you look closely, and only one spot with a scratch and some rust, around a wheel well, but the paint is original. He told me that only about 5% of the ’87 Spiders came in gold, the rest were mostly red and black. This one is pretty rare.

I took it for a test ride and was so, so nervous, but I couldn’t help but have a lot of fun. I was mostly trying to gauge whether this was a car I could offer in good conscience to someone else. I wasn’t really testing it as a user, I was testing it as a trader, and it passed all of my tests.

This is my favorite part: The original owner was experiencing a weird electrical phenomenon where the battery was draining for some reason when the car was off. As a hack, he had a killswitch installed, so he could just disconnect the battery from whatever was draining it. Later, a savvy mechanic was able to diagnose and fix the actual problem, but the hidden killswitch remains, now as an anti-theft feature.

I took a walk to consider the purchase. The lowest price John would take was $6500, having listed the car for $7500. My research showed that these cars, in good shape, regularly sell for $9k-$10k, and Hagerty’s values that model in “good” condition at $14k. Nothing jumped out at me as a reason for the car to be worth any less, I think John is just a motivated seller (and he purchased the car for about $8800 in 2017, from the original buyer’s son who just wanted to get rid of it). I think I got this car for a steal, and I think someone will want to trade their newer pickup truck, or later model BMW, or their running and partially refinished ’65 Mustang, for it. He had other people coming to see it that weekend; there’s interest.

So, I got it, and I rode home with the top down (PROTIP: Drive through the Caldecott tunnel in a car with the top down, it’s WILD). I was giddy. This project is nuts.

The plan now is to hopefully trade it once, and sell whatever I get in that trade for cash. Depending on what I get in that sale, I should be able to pay off my first big debt, which will be a huge relief and an enormous success. I also still have $1200 left over, so I have that to play with in terms of getting something else that’s tradeable.

Oh, and lastly: This car is COVID-safe if we have the top down and wear our masks. Amazing air circulation when there’s no roof. So, hit me up if you want to take a ride. Do it quick, though, I expect this to go fast.

1999 Ducati Monster line:
Original item value:
Number of trades to date:
Latest trade:
2006 Honda Shadow for $cash & 2012 Ford Fusion for $cash for 1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce ($6500)
Total line value dollar increase:
Total line value percent increase:

One thought on “Trade #18: 2006 Honda Shadow for $cash & 2012 Ford Fusion for $cash for 1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce

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