Auction your modern enthusiast car — anything cool and exciting from the 1980s to the 2020s.
Buyers pay a 4.5% commission, capped at $4,500. Seller listing fees start at $49.
We provide vehicle history reports for every vehicle listed on Cars & Bids — for free.
We’ve developed several new features that innovate buying and selling enthusiast cars online.
Car reviewer Doug DeMuro brings a huge audience to Cars & Bids
— along with his commentary.
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:
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!
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).
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.
To ensure a smooth transaction, you should have the following organized prior to placing a bid.
We’ve made bidding easy, and we’ve explained it in a short video tutorial:
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.
Cars & Bids is the best place to sell your modern enthusiast car – and we’ve made the process easy. We’ve explained it all in a short video tutorial:
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!
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!
Once you’ve paid and 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!
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!
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!
Email the Cars & Bids team a photo of the handoff to share your success story – we’d love to hear about it!
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.
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.
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.
Bid increments increase as follows:
All bids on Cars & Bids are in United States Dollars (USD), including on vehicles located in 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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:
We charge sellers $89 to sell their first car on Cars & Bids. If you’ve sold with us before, we drop that fee to $49. We’ll also drop our listing fee to $49 if you sell your car with no reserve.
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.
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!
Currently, Cars & Bids does not offer vehicles for sale in Puerto Rico, but we may expand to vehicles here in the future.
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 – and you’ll pay the listing fee.
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.
Our data and experience confirms that pictures are one of the most important elements of a listing – and we can’t emphasize enough how important they are to a successful auction.
Most of all, we ask that you be thorough and honest in your photos, including showing any flaws or imperfections – transparency is the key to any successful auction and sale! Want more information? Watch our video tutorial!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 select a “no reserve” auction, our seller’s fee drops from $89 to $49.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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/.
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.