Why the phrase 'thousands spent' makes Elliott run a mile

| 10 Jan 2013

Clicking on yet another tantalisingly priced 928 on eBay last night, while the page loaded I had a little bet with myself about the content of the description.

Sure enough, as soon as I could read it, I won and awarded myself a gold star (well it was a pint of amber nectar, which is close).

So what was the bet about? I wagered that the ad would definitely contain the phrase 'Thousands spent'.

Why? Because all 928 ads seem to.

And that is probably why I have never bought one.

NB: none of this blog refers to these specific cars

Even though it is surely better than thousands not being spent on a car, the connotations of thousands having to be spent on a bargain-basement classic V8 GT that you can buy for a pittance are wholly negative.

It says that it has bankrupted its previous owner (who is now having to sell it for considerably less than the thousands he has spent).

It adds that it probably needs thousands more spent just to keep it legal and will probably bankrupt its new owner, too.

It suggests that any small problem with this car is a pricey one.

Worse than that, it decrees that there are no such things as 'small' problems with these cars.

In short: thousands spent = 'you can't afford to run me even if you can afford to buy me'.

Such a commonality of description is far from unique to 928s, of course, but it is shared by most of them – just as 'small amount of welding required for MoT' is de rigueur for all 105 Series Alfas, 'easy restoration' is applied to all sill-less MGBs and most Lotus classifieds suggest that 'electrical gremlins should be a simple fix'.

So, unless it is being used to describe a fully restored minter, if anyone can find a positive in the phrase 'thousands spent', please share it!