What's Cars & Bids?

Cool Car Auctions

Cool Car Auctions

Auction your modern enthusiast car — anything cool and exciting from the 1980s to the 2020s.

Low Fees

Low Fees

Buyers pay a 4.5% commission, capped at $4,500. Sellers list for free and receive 100% of the sale price.

More Information

More Information

We provide vehicle history reports for every vehicle listed on Cars & Bids — for free.

Easy to Use

Easy to Use

We’ve developed several new features that innovate buying and selling enthusiast cars online.

Doug DeMuro

Doug & Bids

Car reviewer Doug DeMuro brings a huge audience to Cars & Bids
— along with his commentary.

About Us

Over the last few years, many car enthusiasts have started turning their attention to recent vehicles – cars from the 1980s, 1990s, and beyond. Automotive reviewer Doug DeMuro realized there isn’t yet a specific place that’s focused solely on buying and selling these modern enthusiast cars, but there should be – so he and a team created Cars & Bids, with its simple name modeled after Doug’s famous pursuit of “quirks and features.”

Cars & Bids is the best online auction marketplace to buy and sell modern enthusiast cars – and that means pretty much anything that’s cool from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, or 2020s. To us, “cool” ranges from the obvious (a Ferrari F355 or a Lamborghini Gallardo) to the esoteric (a pristine Dodge Dakota Convertible or a Mercury Capri XR2) to the traditional fun cars that enthusiasts love (a Mazda MX-5 Miata or a Porsche 911). Basically everything that’s exciting, fun, interesting, or quirky is welcome here – as long as it comes from the modern era.

Although there are many places to buy and sell a special car, Cars & Bids offers significant advantages over other websites. Here are just a few of our benefits:

  • We’re focused on modern enthusiast cars: the 1980s to the 2020s. That means anyone interested in the next era of exciting cars will come here first to buy and sell.
  • Our fees are low. Sellers list for free, and the buyer's fee is just 4.5%, with a minimum of $225 and a maximum of $4,500 — far below other auction houses and enthusiast car auction websites.
  • We believe that every vehicle should come with a vehicle history report – so we provide one, for free, instead of asking sellers to pay for their own.
  • Doug DeMuro will bring extra eyes – and extra buyers – to your cars, periodically reviewing cars offered on Cars & Bids. If your car is chosen, you’ll get far more eyes on your vehicle than any other auction platform on earth.
  • While other car auctions take weeks or even months to get your car listed and available to buyers, we’ll get your car listed quickly – and we’ll even take your input on scheduling your car’s auction.
  • Cars & Bids makes it easy to submit your car for sale. We value your time by asking for only a few crucial details before letting you know whether or not we’re accepting your vehicle. That means you don’t have to waste your time providing initial information only to have your car rejected.
  • Cars & Bids is the most user-friendly online automotive marketplace, with easy sorting and searching – and simplified auctions that tell you exactly what you need to know about each vehicle.

How It Works

Buying a Car

Once you’ve found a car you’re interested in, here are the steps you should take to bid confidently and, with any luck, win the auction!

1. Register to Bid

To contact the seller directly and place bids, you must first with a valid credit card and phone number. Winning bidders pay Cars & Bids a 4.5% buyer’s fee on top of the winning bid amount (minimum of $225, maximum of $4,500).

2. Perform Due Diligence

While we’ve tried to make buying a car online as safe and easy as possible, it’s ultimately your responsibility to perform your own due diligence and make sure that the car you’re considering is right for you – prior to placing a bid.

  • Review the listing thoroughly, including known flaws, the vehicle history report, recent maintenance, photos, etc.
  • Ask the seller – via comments, Seller Q&A, or the “Contact” feature – any questions that you may have about the vehicle.
  • Arrange to inspect the vehicle in person, or work with the seller to schedule a pre-purchase inspection (“PPI”) at a reputable shop in their area (at your cost).

3. Arrange Financing and Logistics

To ensure a smooth transaction, you should have the following organized prior to placing a bid.

  • If you plan to finance this purchase, work with your lender to get your financing approved for this specific vehicle ahead of time; if you need a lender, we recommend working with your local credit union.
  • Discuss transportation and storage timelines (if applicable) with the seller, and if you’ll be shipping the vehicle, get a shipping quote in advance – we recommend uShip and EasyAutoShip for hassle-free quotes.

4. Bid

We’ve made bidding easy, and we’ve explained it in a short video tutorial:

Buying a car
  • When you bid, we place a hold on your credit card for the buyer's fee – if you win, your card will be charged and you will pay the seller directly for the vehicle, otherwise, the hold will be released at the auction’s end.
  • Bids are binding, so only bid if you fully intend to purchase the car and you have performed the requisite due diligence, because you might end up as the high bidder and there are no refunds.
  • To ensure the bidding process is fair for everyone, bids placed within the final minute of the auction will reset the auction’s time remaining back to 1 minute – giving others the opportunity to bid.

5. Win the Auction

To buy a car on Cars & Bids, you must win the auction by ultimately being the highest bidder – and, if the auction has a “Reserve,” by placing a bid that meets or exceeds the seller’s hidden “Reserve” price. If the auction has “No Reserve,” then the highest bidder wins it regardless of the amount they bid.

After the auction closes, you’ll be provided with the seller’s contact information and vice-versa, in order to finalize the details and logistics of the transaction. Buyers are expected to pay for the vehicle in-full within a week of the auction closing. Learn more about Finalizing the Sale.

Selling a Car

Cars & Bids is the best place to sell your modern enthusiast car – and we’ve made the process easy.

1. Submit Your Car

It’s free to submit your car. We simply ask you for a few details – including the VIN, some photos, and a brief description of the car. You can also choose whether you want to set a reserve price, or if you want your vehicle to be sold with no reserve. A reserve price is a minimum value you’ll accept in order to sell your car – and while a reserve auction may seem like an appealing choice, we’ve found that vehicles offered with no reserve get more bids, more interest, and more attention.

If you choose a reserve auction, we’ll ask you to suggest a reserve price – but, based on market conditions, we may ask for a lower one before accepting your car. Keep in mind that all of our auctions start from $0, regardless of whether or not they have a reserve.

Our experienced auction team will review your submission and may ask you some follow-up questions. We will do our best to give you an answer within a business day. Not every car is right for Cars & Bids, but we always appreciate you taking the time to submit your car to us!

2. Prepare Your Listing

Once your submission is accepted, we’ll need some additional information from you – like detailed photos, service and ownership history, etc. Don’t worry – we’re here to help you throughout the process!

  • Before you can sell on Cars & Bids, your car must not be listed for sale elsewhere – meaning you’ll have to remove any other advertisement for your car and you cannot accept offers outside of the auction.
  • Take excellent photos of your car to get top dollar – hire a professional photographer or review our photo guide before snapping your own pics.
  • Filming a quick video walk-around and cold-start are strongly recommended – just shoot them on your phone in landscape mode and upload to YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Review the process for transferring vehicle titles in your state – and, if you have a loan on the vehicle, review the process and timeline for paying it off with your lender.
  • Get ready for a thrilling 7-day auction and be prepared to engage with the community and answer questions as they arise.

3. Finalize Your Auction

Once you’ve provided us with all of the necessary information and photos, we’ll create a draft of your listing for you to approve. Once you’ve reviewed and approved it, we’ll work with you to schedule your auction, and it will go live shortly thereafter!

4. Participate in the Auction

  • Timely and positive seller participation in the auction – responding to comments and questions, providing additional pictures or videos as needed, etc – is crucial to a successful auction. Good seller participation will result in additional interest, more bids, and a higher final sale price.
  • Interested bidders may contact you directly via email using the “Contact Seller” feature, allowing them to schedule test drives, pre-purchase inspections (at their cost), and ask additional questions.
  • Enjoy the final minutes – many of our auctions end with thrilling bidding wars, so get ready!

5. Auction End

Once your auction ends, you’ll be given the buyer’s contact information and vice-versa, in order to finalize the details and logistics of the transaction. Learn more about Finalizing the Sale.

If your auction had a reserve and it was not met, we’ll reach out to you and the highest bidder to see if we can help make a deal!

Finalizing the Sale

Once a car is sold on Cars & Bids, we connect the buyer and seller so they can complete the vehicle sale directly. Here are our recommendations and tips for ensuring a successful post-auction transaction – and remember, we’re here to help!

1. Make Contact

  • Reach out to the other party to introduce yourself as soon as the auction ends, and remember to stay polite and positive to ensure the process goes smoothly.
  • We recommend that the seller provides proof of ownership to the buyer – usually, that’s a photocopy or picture of the title and registration.

2. Payment & Documentation

  • Buyers are expected to pay for the vehicle in-full within a week of the auction closing.
  • If there’s an outstanding loan on the vehicle, the buyer and seller should discuss how it will be paid off and the specific next steps, so that the buyer can complete the transaction safely.
    • If the seller has funds to pay it off, they should do so as soon as possible, and provide proof from the lender that it has been paid off.
    • If the seller does not have the funds, the buyer may be able to pay the outstanding amount owed directly to the lender and then pay the remainder of the purchase price to the seller.
  • An accurate Bill of Sale should be created, including the terms of the transaction, to be signed by both parties; we recommend checking with your state DMV for Bill of Sale templates and requirements.
  • We recommend wire transfers or cashier’s checks for payment, but there are many possible options – including meeting at the buyer’s/seller’s bank to draft up a cashier's check, withdrawing the funds directly, or completing an electronic money transfer.
  • Arrange for the car to be picked up and finalize the transaction. The vehicle and title should only be released once the seller has the full payment in hand. If the transaction is happening remotely, the seller should mail the signed-over title to the buyer via courier service with a tracking number once payment is in hand.

3. Share your Success Story

Email the Cars & Bids team a photo of the handoff to share your success story – we’d love to hear about it!

Frequently Asked Questions

Buyer Questions

  • What are the fees for the buyer on Cars & Bids?

    In addition to the final purchase price paid to the seller, buyers pay a 4.5% buyer’s fee to Cars & Bids. The buyer’s fee has a minimum of $225, and a maximum of $4,500.

  • How do I register to bid?

    In order to register, first sign up by clicking the “Sign In” icon in the upper right corner of the screen – then click “Sign up here” in the box that subsequently pops up. Once you create a username and password, you’ll be prompted to verify your email address. After you’ve done that, you can return to Cars & Bids and you’ll be prompted to register to bid.

    If you don’t want to register just yet, no problem – you can do it later. Once you find a car you want to bid on, click “Place Bid” on the car’s listing page, and you’ll be prompted to register before you can bid. You will have to enter your credit information, as we place a hold on each bidder’s credit card until the conclusion of the auction.

  • How do I place a bid?

    In order to place a bid, you first have to register, which we’ve explained above. Once you’ve registered and you’ve found a car you’re interested in buying, bidding is easy – just click the “Place Bid” icon on a vehicle’s listing page. Then, you’re prompted to enter your bid amount.

    Your bid must be higher than the previous bid, of course – and depending on the current bidding level, there may be a minimum increase over the previous bid. Once you’ve submitted your bid, we place a hold on your credit card for 4.5% of your bid amount until the duration of the auction, in case you end up as the winning bidder.

  • How do bid increments work?

    Bid increments increase as follows:

    • Minimum bid of $100 to start the auction
    • $100 increments up to $14,999
    • $250 increments from $15,000 to $49,999
    • $500 increments at or above $50,000
  • What currency does Cars & Bids use?

    All bids on Cars & Bids are in United States Dollars (USD), including on vehicles located in Canada.

  • Can I bid if I live outside of the United States or Canada?

    Yes, however you will need to pay in full for the vehicle promptly following the close of the auction, just like all other buyers. Additionally, any logistics, import fees, transportation, legal dues, and/or other items needed to export/import the vehicle are entirely the buyer’s responsibility. Please ensure you’re aware of all these rules and you have everything fully in place prior to bidding. The close of the auction is not the time to begin researching transportation logistics and import regulations.

  • How do I contact a seller privately?

    You can contact the seller privately through the auction description page for the seller’s vehicle. Just click the “Contact the seller” link next to the seller’s name, and you’ll be able to send the seller a private message that won’t appear on the auction itself.

  • Is there proxy bidding?

    No. If you are outbid, you will need to manually input your next bid. Note that the price of the vehicle will immediately progress to your bid amount. For example, if the current high-bid is $30,000 and you input a $35,000 bid, the current high bid will immediately go to $35,000.

  • Why do you place a hold on my credit card when I bid?

    We place a hold on your credit card when you bid in order to account for the possibility that you may have to pay the buyer’s fee, should you end up as the winning bidder. The hold is for 4.5% of your initial bid amount, with a minimum of $225 and a maximum of $4,500. If you aren’t the winning bidder, the hold is released from your credit card at the conclusion of the auction.

  • What’s the reserve price of the car I want to buy?

    If a listing doesn’t have a reserve, you’ll see a “No Reserve” tag along with a “No Reserve” text near the bidding box. If you don’t see this text, that auction has a reserve price. Reserve prices are not published, and we ask that buyers refrain from asking sellers about reserve pricing during the auction. The only time you’ll know if the reserve is met is if the car sells at auction close.

  • What if the reserve isn’t met?

    If you’re the high bidder on a car where the reserve isn’t met, we’ll work with the seller and the buyer in an attempt to find a sale price that’s suitable for both parties. If we’re able to reach an agreement, we’ll put the buyer and seller in contact – and our fee drops to 2.5%.

  • Once the auction is over, how do I complete the transaction?

    At the conclusion of the auction, both the buyer and seller are given each other’s contact information to complete the transaction. Read more about Finalizing the Transaction.

  • How do I arrange financing?

    The information provided in the listing is often sufficient for pre-approval for that specific vehicle, but if other information is required by your lender, please use the “Contact” button to reach out to the seller!

    Keep in mind that the time to get approved for a loan is prior to bidding! If you need a lender, we recommend checking with your local credit union, although keep in mind that certain lenders may have cut-offs for mileage, model year, and other criteria.

  • How do I pick up the vehicle?

    Transportation costs are always the buyer’s responsibility, so we recommend gathering personal travel and/or shipping cost estimates prior to placing your bid. Some common strategies for collecting a vehicle include:

    • Booking a one-way flight and/or car rental and taking a road-trip home – after all, what better way is there to get to know your new car?
    • Using a shipping company to pick up and deliver the vehicle to your location

    As you review these options, please be sure to verify that a general timeline would work for the seller prior to bidding. Some sellers may be happy to store the car briefly to allow you time to pick it up, and may also be willing to bring the car to a nearby location for it to be loaded onto a shipping truck. Note that title transfers, paying off loans, etc. may take a little bit of time. When in doubt, contact the seller and make sure the timing works for them!

    To facilitate the process of finding an auto transporter and getting various quotes, we have provided links to a few shippers below. They both provide instant quotes, which can be helpful in understanding the approximate cost of shipping. Make sure to consider these costs prior to bidding!

  • How do I pay the seller safely?

    We recommend wire transfers or cashier’s checks for payment, but there are many possible options. We do recommend discussing the potential timeline with the seller as early as possible to ensure that you’re both comfortable with the timing and steps.

    Note that some states can take several weeks to reissue a title once the loan has been satisfied. Additionally, some states require titles to be notarized by the seller before it can be transferred to you, so pay attention to those rules – and reference state DMV websites – before sending important documents.

    Read more about Finalizing the Transaction.

  • Are there rules to follow in the comments?

    Yes! Aside from common-sense rules like language and personal attacks, the conversation should be focused on the vehicle being sold, so as to be fair to the seller and bidders. We want to ensure the Cars & Bids community remains an open and positive place to spend time with fellow enthusiasts. A partial list of things that are frowned upon (and will be moderated accordingly) include:

    • Foul language
    • Personal attacks
    • Attempting to share your personal contact information
    • Spamming
    • Asking the seller about their reserve
    • Calling out the price you think the vehicle will sell for
    • Inappropriate images or descriptions in your profile
    • Plugging your personal business, website, social media handles, etc.
    • Sidetracking the conversation about other vehicles or topics unrelated to the vehicle being offered
    • Linking to inappropriate videos/webpages/content
    • Linking to other vehicle for sale ads

Seller Questions

  • How much does it cost to sell a car on Cars & Bids?

    Listing a car on Cars & Bids is completely free — and sellers receive 100% of the final sale price!

  • How do you choose which cars you’re looking for?

    We’re focused on cool cars, trucks, and SUVs from the modern era – which we’re defining as the 1980s through the present day. If you’re looking to sell a cool car from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, or 2020s, we might be interested in listing it. Our definition of “cool” ranges from traditional sports cars (Mazda MX-5 Miata, Porsche 911) to oddball vehicles (Subaru BRAT, Infiniti M30, Volvo 850R) to more obvious high-performance sports cars (Porsche Cayman R, Ferrari 360 Modena) to special trucks and SUVs (Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Land Rover Defender). We don’t list every car we’re offered, but we’re certainly interested in your submission to see if it’s a good fit for Cars & Bids.

  • Can I sell a vehicle if I live outside of the United States or Canada?

    Currently, Cars & Bids only offers vehicles for sale located in the US and Canada. We may look into adding international sellers in the future, so please check back often!

  • Can I sell a vehicle if I live in Puerto Rico?

    Currently, Cars & Bids does not offer vehicles for sale in Puerto Rico, but we may expand to vehicles here in the future.

  • How do I submit my car for sale?

    To submit your car for sale, go to the “Sell a Car” link in the header. In order to sell your car, you’ll need to provide us with some important information – like the make, model, year, VIN, a few photos, and some other relevant details. If we’re interested in selling your car, we’ll get in touch with you. Then we’ll ask you for a more detailed set of questions so we can make sure our auction description is accurate.

  • What information do I need to provide in order to sell my car?

    We start with just the basics: we can let you know if we’ll accept your car if you just give us the make, model, year, VIN, some photos, and a few other details. If we accept your car based on this information, we’ll then need to gather more details – we’ll ask about your history with the car, features, and other items that help us craft our listing.

  • How do I take the best pictures of my car?

    We can’t emphasize enough how important photos are for a successful auction! With this in mind, go check out our photography page to get tips and tricks, download our detailed photo guide, or even hire a professional photographer to come shoot your car.

  • Should I take a video?

    Yes! We’ve found that taking a video detailing the exterior condition, interior, engine bay, and also showing the engine start and run, really raises interest and increases buyer confidence. This can be broken up into several videos, or all in one.

    We suggest filming in landscape mode, with the phone held horizontally, not vertically, and using YouTube or Vimeo to host the video. Want an example? See here!

  • Who writes the listing description for my car?

    After you provide us with all of the pertinent information about your car, we’ll write the actual auction description. We won’t go live without your approval, and we do our best to make our auction descriptions simple, objective, and direct, focusing on only the most important details to help bidders make their decisions.

  • Can I schedule when my car’s auction starts?

    Although we don’t offer the ability to precisely schedule your auction, we allow our sellers to provide preferences. If you’d prefer a certain start date, or if you’d prefer if your auction wasn’t live during a certain week (for example, due to a vacation or business trip), let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

  • How long does an auction last?

    All auctions last for seven days. However, the exact duration can fluctuate. That’s because within the last minute of an auction, each new bid resets the auction clock to one minute remaining. This simulates a traditional auction, where bidding continues until bidders stop – rather than some online auctions, which end at a set time and favor last-second bids.

  • Can I edit my auction once it’s live?

    You can’t edit your auction yourself – but throughout the duration of your auction, you’ll be in touch with Cars & Bids. If you need to edit your auction, just reach out and let us know what you need to have changed. You can also leave comments, which include additional photos – and you can answer questions to help improve the clarity of your listing.

  • How do I respond to questions/how should I engage during the auction?

    We strongly recommend being an active participant in the comments section, and we ask that you respond to any questions submitted there, in your auction’s Q&A section, or directly from users through the Contact Seller option. Sellers who participate actively are the most successful. As always, staying positive and constructive with your answers will only increase confidence from potential bidders.

    Keep in mind that the buyer is a car enthusiast just like you, and they likely wouldn’t be asking unless they’re seriously interested in your car!

  • Can I put a reserve price on my auction?

    Yes, we offer sellers the choice between a “reserve” and a “no reserve” auction. A “reserve” is a minimum price that a seller is willing to accept for a car, which is unknown to buyers during the auction. A “no reserve” auction has no minimum price, meaning the car will sell for the amount of the high bid.

    If you choose a reserve auction, we will ask you to suggest a reserve price – but we may ask for a lower one before we’re willing to list the car for sale. If we can’t agree on a reserve price, no hard feelings – of course, you’re free to sell the car elsewhere.

    If you decide later that you want to adjust your reserve, you can lower it at any point during the auction. Simply click the “Lower reserve” icon in your auction listing page, and enter your new reserve. Of course, we only allow sellers to use this tool to lower their reserve price, so the new reserve you enter must be lower than your current reserve price.

  • Should I disclose my reserve price?

    We recommend never revealing your reserve, especially in the public comments or Q&A sections. We’ve found that disclosing a reserve price almost always slows down bidding, especially as the auction nears or reaches that value.

  • Can I try to make a deal outside of the auction?

    No – vehicles listed on Cars & Bids are for sale exclusively through the auction. If a buyer or seller attempts to make a deal in an attempt to subvert the auction, we will permanently ban you from the site. Instead, if you want to buy a car on Cars & Bids, simply bid the maximum you’re willing to pay – it’s the best way to ensure you’ll end up with the car you want.

  • What if my reserve isn’t met?

    If your reserve isn’t met, we’ll get in touch with you and with the highest bidder on your auction, and we’ll try to negotiate a price that will satisfy both parties. If we reach an agreement, we’ll then put the seller and buyer in contact – and we’ll drop our buyer’s fee to 2.5%.

  • How does the buyer get in contact with me and make payment?

    Once the auction is over, completion of the transaction is between the buyer and the seller. Cars & Bids provides the buyer and seller with each other’s contact information, and the two parties can complete the transaction via e-mail or telephone. Read more about Finalizing the Transaction.

  • How do I get paid safely?

    In general, Cars & Bids recommends wire transfers and cashier’s checks as the safest form of payment, although each transaction is unique and other strategies may be preferable to you. If the buyer is local, for example, meeting at their local bank branch to draft a cashier's check, withdraw the funds directly, or complete an electronic money transfer are also common practices. In each of these cases, please perform your due diligence, potentially including verifying a cashier’s check with your bank, or waiting until funds are received before signing over the title.

  • How should I prepare for selling my car?

    We recommend researching the timeline and steps for title transfers in advance of the auction to ensure that you know the appropriate selling process. Note that potential buyers are encouraged to reach out to discuss the post-sale arrangements, in case they are the top bidder. Please engage with them to develop a suitable plan, and be up-front about your expectations!

    If there is a loan on a vehicle, please research the necessary steps to pay off the loan and transfer the title, and have a plan ready to do so upon the close of the auction – the more prepared you are, the more efficiently you can sell the car!

    Note that some states can take several weeks to reissue a title once the loan has been satisfied. Additionally, some states require that you notarize the title before it can be transferred to the buyer, so pay close attention to those rules – and reference state DMV websites – before sending important documents.

  • Do I need a Bill of Sale?

    We always recommend drafting up a Bill of Sale that describes the Make/Model/VIN of the vehicle being sold, the purchase price, and the terms of the transaction (ie date(s), if any additional items come with the car, etc.). Both the buyer and seller should sign and date the Bill of Sale and each should keep a copy for their records.

    Your state’s DMV website may have vehicle Bill of Sale templates. Additionally, we recommend a simple and free service such as https://eforms.com/bill-of-sale/.

  • What if the winning bidder doesn’t follow through with the purchase?

    It’s very uncommon that a winning bidder fails to follow through on Cars & Bids. In the unusual event that it occurs, the winning bidder forfeits their 4.5% buyer’s fee — and they’re permanently banned from Cars & Bids.

    If your buyer fails to follow through, we’ll immediately work with the next-highest bidder(s) in an attempt to sell your vehicle at an agreed-upon price. In the event that we can’t strike a deal, we may offer to re-list your car free of charge, or we will pay you half of the collected buyer’s fee after 90 days.

  • How long do you keep past auctions available for review?

    In contrast to some of our competitors, we keep all auctions perpetually available for all to see regardless of their outcome. We do this because we feel it’s essential to be transparent in order to build trust within the enthusiast community.

Why Cars & Bids?
  • 3,700
    Auctions completed
  • $63 million+
    Value of cars sold
  • 85%+
    Sell-through rate
  • 150k+
    Registered members
Success Stories
Paul E. 2007 Honda S2000 - $17,200“Amazing! Your team did a terrific job and got my car sold for much more than I expected.”
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