Frugal Car Buying

Alright, so this won’t apply to everyone out there, but I’d like to share it anyway. Last year I was at the mid-ohio race track with my car club (Mazda 6). We had the opportunity to meet exclusively with all of the Mazda teams. It was a great experience as we were able to spend loads of time with the teams and go over almost everything on their car and what they do, etc.

What struck me as real interesting is the way they actually get their race cars. Mazda doesn’t donate them nor do they go to a dealer and buy one. Rather, they buy the cars that are damaged in shipping from overseas. According to the driver I spoke to, Mazda, and this goes for any manufacturer, receives many damaged cars from shipping which they obviously can’t sell to the consumer. Thus, they’re either sold as junk or to race teams like the one I visited. All you have to do is put in the body work (as most everything else is perfect) and it’s yours. So how do they become damaged?

  • Containers on container ships falling over or being mishandled.
  • Those semi-trucks that haul them over, cars fall off of them when loading/unloading.
  • Other general mishaps – pretty much anything that could happen to that car before it makes its way to a dealer’s lot.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an exact price on what you’d have to pay for a car, but I can say it is definitely a lot cheaper than buying it even at invoice price. So if you know someone who can do good body work cheap, you could save thousands. Maybe call up a manufacturer directly and ask them about it, I have never done it and I know these guys have direct contacts with Mazda. If anyone wants to give it a shot, let me know how it went!