1. Aaron

    Aaron Leader

    I hate to post this..But I think it should be out there for everyone to see.

    As many of you may know from my other thread, I had planned on going to buy a Trabi from Mike Annen in Baltimore this past weekend.

    I had never bought a car or vehicle long distance...I realize Trabis are rare, and I am probably not going to find one locally..So I started a national search. My main concern was rust...I wanted it to be minimal as possible. I just finished this Blazer which had more rust than I thought and I never want to do that again. I was willing and planning on paying a premium for a trabi just to avoid this.

    Over the past 3 weeks I had talked to Mike 3 times on the phone, exchanged over a dozen emails (in which he sent me nearly 10 photos), and had him text me 9 more. showing underneath and how clean it was. He repeatedly said "this was a rust free car" that he had painted in 2009..

    Last Monday the 21st after talking to him more, I pulled the trigger. I said I would take it, would be there later saturday afternoon to pick it up, and sent him a $100 deposit.

    I got a trailer from Uhaul Fri night and I left Michigan at 3am Saturday morning. I finally arrived to his place at about 1pm..

    This is where the problems start.

    Immediately on arrival and walking around I realized the paint job was horrible. It was painted with a brush..Which is fine, I have seen a lot of military vehicles that were done this way and it can be ok.

    This wasn't one of them...In my mind, I justified I could reshoot it..I have everything, just did a hood last week for my blazer...

    In my excitement, I wanted to see under the hood. Typical trabi (somehow filthy, as compared to the pics where it was spotless, but whatever)..I touched it..It was warm..It also had a battery charger attached, indicating it needed a new one..Not a big deal I guess, I can overlook that (Still justifying by mounting disappointment)..However, I'm always suspect of a car that has to be warmed up prior to a potential buyer coming by. I asked his son to fire it up....It wouldnt start...A squirt of starting fluid got it going.

    We drove down the road where I noticed it was stalling every time at idle and downshifting..He was essentially releasing it in gear to fire it back up. Again, disappointed, but willing to overlook..A carb rebuilt isn't a huge deal..Even if you werent expecting it.

    After getting it back, and my enthusiasm waning very quickly..I did a close walk around to verify it looked like the numerous pics I had zoomed in on and looked over again and again...

    It was rusted beyond repair along the rear just below where the trunk latch is. What??! At least two 6"x6" rust spots, paint bubbling up and all. I looked at a pic of the rear probably 30 times and it looked great in the photos..The confusion and realization took it right out of me.

    Upon closer inspection by my dad and I, it looked to have been bondo'd at some point. Pushing from the inside of the trunk my dad accidentally almost put his entire finger through the panel...It was that bad.

    At this point I started to vent some of my frustration. Mike insisted it was "surface rust" (BS, surface rust doesnt bubble paint, or have bondo in it)..He told me it would be "an easy repair, sand it down, put filler in it, and good as new"....While that may be true to flip a car or cover a huge blemish, it's as half assed as any repair that can be done. Rust needs to be cut out and removed. ESPECIALLY when it's as severe as this.

    While maintaining my cool, being calm, Mike came across condescending. He insisted this was a low rust car, and I dont know what I am looking at.

    So I left. 20 hours, 1100 miles, all in a truck getting 12mpg. On a holiday weekend to boot. $120 in tolls gone. $300+ in fuel pissed away.

    I feel I was led on, and probably thought would take it no matter what after driving that far. In fairness, after emailing he did refund the $100 deposit.

    The long drive back was as pissed as Ive been in years. My dad commended me on not showing it...In my anger at the time, I wish I would have snapped a pic of the rear of this thing to show what it was vs what he showed me.

    I am convinced the pic he sent me is after he painted it 4 years ago. As I type this I have it zoomed in on a 24" monitor and it looks pristine. As many of you know, rain on a trabi will run down the rear window, along the trunk channel, down to this metal panel. I think he half assed the repair 4 years ago, and it's sat outside and due to the poor repair, rust has continued spreading, allowing the filler to pop out.

    I dont want to cause drama, fighting, etc in this community. I know I am new to it and you guys dont know me from anyone.

    All I can say is be aware, very aware, when dealing with this guy.
  2. Brian Krustchinsky

    Brian Krustchinsky Loyal Comrade

    Well I bought a Trabbi from Mike, It wasnt exactly a nice as I thought it would be. But I should have asked more questions and got more photos. I got the car for a fare price and he was able to accomadate my shipping I had arranged. I wish he would have mentioned some of the rust on my car, but I didnt ask and unfortunately I live much father away as was unable to view the car prior. Overall my dealings were good, and I did recieve feedback from other members before my purchase. Aaron you want me to try to see if I can get the guy in Dallas info on the car that did not sell on Ebay. I did speak with him and it sounded like a fare deal?
    Aaron likes this.
  3. Aaron

    Aaron Leader

    I appreciate the offer Brian. I am going to wait and track one down next spring when I am in Hungary and ship it here, along with a lot of parts.
  4. Justin

    Justin Founder Moderator

    I still think from a cost/efficiency wise standpoint and ease, you should really consider the one in Texas. I agree that it sounds like a fair deal and a nice car.

    Once you deal with importing and the PITA that is paperwork you would be best off going with a stateside car. Just my 2 cents, but ultimately the decision is yours.
  5. Brian Krustchinsky

    Brian Krustchinsky Loyal Comrade

    I just spoke with the guy in Dallas, his car sold locally, so we might see an new member on the board soon
  6. Aaron

    Aaron Leader

    Wonder what sold for....Or more specifically, wonder if he sold it for more than I offered him when he first put it on ebay :D
  7. Justin

    Justin Founder Moderator

    Brian Krustchinsky, he may have already joined, the newest registered member is from Texas
  8. Len B

    Len B Puttering Along

    Sorry to hear about that. stay close to the forums I may be selling the one I have later. I can tell you it is clean and drives nice. No BS here.
  9. Justin

    Justin Founder Moderator

    Len B, you JUST got yours, why are you thinking about selling it already?
    Aaron likes this.
  10. Len B

    Len B Puttering Along

    Well, I really don't want to sell it but I have other projects to build and I really want a kombi. This car I have is really nice shape and runs like a champ. Very clean car and I am afraid of getting hit in it and it wont be of any use.. May be later this summer I will let it go. I really love driving it I get so many people asking about it.
  11. Justin

    Justin Founder Moderator

    Len B not to thread jack, but would you consider selling your canvas sunroof you have for your bug? I am thinking it would fit the Trabi and I'm considering doing something like that to mine.
  12. Brian Krustchinsky

    Brian Krustchinsky Loyal Comrade

    Justin, there are several companies that make after market sliding rag tops, that are easy to install with no welding etc.
  13. Len B

    Len B Puttering Along

    no I am going to add it to my bug when I redo it. Sorry
  14. Justin

    Justin Founder Moderator

    Brian, I've only come across one place that does them and they do seem pretty reasonable.

    Len B. no worries just thought I'd ask if you weren't going to use it :)
  15. Stephen

    Stephen Newbie

    I drive to Baltimore a couple times a year. Is there a way to contact Mike Annen? How often does he have Trabants for sale and what are his usual prices? Just curious.
  16. Aaron

    Aaron Leader

    He posts them in Baltimore CL. He wouldnt budge from $3500, even after I drove there and it was much worse than described. He has a lot of unique stuff, it's all about the same level of condition. I wouldnt give more than $2k for this one...Which is probably even more than he has into it. Buyer beware. Ive been overwelmed by emails of others who endured similar from the trabant yahoo group. I'm not the first, to put it lightly.
  17. Stephen

    Stephen Newbie

    It's understandable that the man wants to make some money, but if he is shipping them 6 at a time as I have read, I'm sure it all averages to less than $2000 per car when all is said and done. Trying to make $1500 off of a car that you probably purchased for $600 is nuts.
    Aaron likes this.
  18. Aaron

    Aaron Leader

    It wouldnt be nuts if it was in the condition as described and carefully photo'd to appear. Supply and demand. I know what they sell for in europe, and simply wanted to ease into ownership quickly, as I have hungarian relatives and friends coming for summer and it would have been fun to have them all around it. I honestly didnt care if he got it here for $50. I was willing to pay a premium..... He presented it as a premium trabi. It wasn't close. Below average at best. Ive seen some in better shape sell for half what he's asking for this....

    On top of that, he flat lied. I have several emails saved that I specifically ask him about rust. He says "there is none"....When my dad nearly pushed his finger through the back panel it was so bad Mike dug himself in deeper, saying it was "surface rust"....

    He either doesn't know what surface rust is, or is full of shit.

    I am pretty confident it's the latter.

    A used car salesman through and through.
  19. Brian Krustchinsky

    Brian Krustchinsky Loyal Comrade

    well its all about supply and demand there is little supply and high demand
  20. Keri

    Keri Leader


    The price of a car is whatever the seller will take. If you don't like it, then there's no sale.
    For the amount of work that goes into importing a car, $1500 in excess of costs is very reasonable.

    If you haven't gone to Europe, purchased a car, done all the legwork and paperwork, shipped it over and done all the work at this end too, I think you should refrain from commenting on how much is too much.
    Would you do all of that for $1500? I wouldn't.

    $3500 for a running Trabant ALREADY IN THE USA isn't bad, even in poor condition.
    Anyone expecting to get a premium car of any kind, especially a rare antique collectable car, for $3500 in 2013 is being unrealistic.

    But.... mis-representing the car is bad practice. Word will get out, as it is doing right here and then the seller's reputation suffers, which affects future sales.

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