Friday, September 12, 2008

The Car search, Redux

First off, readers and lurkers, I need your help and Input. This is a fun project.

As you are going around town, or walking through parking lots, or shopping for used cars, or perhaps even driving your own car which was purchased second hand, can you do the following:
  • See if the passenger side "Objects in Mirror" message is in English
  • See if the speedo reads in Miles
  • If so, can you write down the 17 digit VIN number and email it to me or post it in the comments section?
  • You can find the VIN by looking through the windscreen from the outside. It's located at the front of the dash, in the bottom corner on the driver's side. It's 17 digits and/or letters long, no more, no less.
  • Best find wins a ride in my new car, which is too freaking awesome for words.

As you no doubt will have guessed by now, we are getting rid of the Jeep. It is so uncool. literally. Being uncool is one thing, but being uncool and unreliable is another thing entirely.

If I am going to drive an unreliable peice of shit it had better be a rocking awesome unreliable peice of shit and not some soccer-mommy mobile with the faded remnants of a Jazzercize sticker on the back windscreen.

Anyway, I found my dream car and we're in the process of what will be a truly epic negociation to buy the thing. It's a grey market American export, the kind I blogged about here and Here and Here , and which The Week ran an excellent cover story on last August.

In case you don't want to read all about it again, here's a recap:
  • Salvaged, Flooded and damaged cars are exported by the thousands to the Gulf from the States and Europe
  • They are often rebirthed in workshops in the UAE, registered on Export plates there and then imported into neighbouring countries to be resold as new or lightly used cars.
  • The dealers here are not to be trusted regarding the history on the Used cars they are selling.
  • I was told BALD FACED LIES by salesmen and owners at ten different small dealerships regarding the history of the cars they were attempting to sell me.
  • Twisted frames, unreplaced deployed airbags, damaged seatbelts and cracked engine mountings abounded. Some of the Cars they were selling were NOT SAFE TO DRIVE.
  • So it's Buyer beware, in the used car game.
Because the car of my dreams is Grey Market, and because I now have my own, personal american credit card, we have purchased a 30 day subscription to Carfax, the company that runs bacground checks on any car that was ever registered in the states.

You will be delighted to know that my dream car passed the report with flying colors, barring the fact that it's a 1995 and not a 2000 like the dealer told me.

One other car we checked was brand new, and had no reported history of anything in the states. Pass! Two other cars on his lot failed the check, both had been in serious accidents and were exported from the states on Salvage titles. Fail!

Ok boys and girls, go get the VIN#s and comment or email them to me! Otheroman (at) gmail dot com

we have 30 days, Let's see what's lurking out there.


sbtm said...


Here is a VIN no that I know the history of. Lets see what your carfax throughs up :)


Suburban said...


your 2005 mercedees E500 is a former lease car.

The company that owned it was based in texas, but the car was registered to be driven in Connetticut.

in May of 2005, less than 20 days after it's first registration, it met with an accident.

The accident affected the right front corner and resulted in the insurance company declaring it a total loss.

In april of 2006 the car passed a safety inspection, and was shortly thereafter issued a Salvage / rebuilt title.

The Vehicle Exporter registered it in Texas, and the car was then shipped from Houston directly to Oman. I think it would have arrived here with less than 7,000 miles on the clock but I'm just guessing.

I think you have a good car there, since it's on record that the car has passed a follow up safety inspection, and the repairs were completed in the states and not in some Um Al Quwain Chop-Shop.

Also reassuring is the fact that it was imported direct to Oman, and did not arrive via the UAE. Looks like a Bespoke import to me.

Thanks so much for submitting your vin! Was I right? Got any More?

sbtm said...

Perfect! You get 10 / 10! In fact, You gave more details than I originally had.

I came across this car about 8 months back. A good friend of mine brought the car from States and when I took it for a test drive, he said there were no accidents on it. Anyways, the price offered was fantastic, RO 13,000/- for a RO 30,000/- car, but being it a Benz, I got it checked and they told me that it has met with a major accident and was not fixed right. To re-fix it, they quoted me RO 2,000/- and that too was outside Zawawi. Hence, I passed the offer :(

I wish I had this report then... oh well.

car olina said...

Can you check on:

I think odometer on this vehicle reads in km. Mirrors are new -- no message on mirrors -- old ones stolen off the car some years back.

Thank you in advance.

Suburban said...

Car Olina-

cute name.

Carfax comes up with little information about your car. Not even make or model!

It was never registered in the states, but there is a log of it being Exported to the UAE from Baltamore MD in 1998.

Since the speedo reads in KMS, it may well have been a legitimate dealer import to be sold new in the UAE. Were it for a dealer here it would have come in through Port Sultan Qaboos.

THank you, thank you, thank you! for the Vin #

more please people!

L_Oman said...

Suburban - you crack me up!

Ali said...

nice topic, I'll keep my eyes out for this VIN number you talk about.. not sure how many American imports I can find in sheep land, we get cars from Japan mostly.

Amjad said...


Amjad said...

and this plzzzzzz ..


Just in case you're wondering, I'm looking for a car. lol