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Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
6/26/20 3:11 p.m.

A couple of years ago, I sold my 2002 Mazda Protege5 hatchback. Last weekend, I got a call from a police department in a town two hours north of me, wanting to know why I abandoned a car in their town... Curious, I asked what car they thought I abandoned.

"A 2002 Protege hatchback..." 

"I sold that two years ago"

"Title is still in your name, sir."

"Uhhh... you guys want to take it to the yard and I'll pick it up in a week?"

"We can do that..."

 

Sooooo, I went and got my Mazda back. She needs a bumper cover, and doesn't start... Which is where I'm at right now. The engine turns over, and sounds smooth, but in trying to start it, I got two backfires out of it. There's a decal stating the timing belt was changed in October. Am I looking at a timing issue? No CEL, but it won't start. I do not know if there are any further issues yet.

Thanks!

 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
6/26/20 3:13 p.m.

Wait so you got the cash from the sale, AND you got to keep the car?

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
6/26/20 3:23 p.m.

Hey, that's pretty cool...

Unless.....

The Russian mafia stashed 15 million in coke somewhere in the car.  They were in the process of driving to a clandestine location to make a deal when the car inexplicably broke down.  The police took possession of the car before they could retrieve the stuff.  Now, Boris and Vasily are looking very, very hard for the car.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
6/26/20 4:11 p.m.

What about the title?   Apply for a lost title?

m4ff3w
m4ff3w UberDork
6/26/20 4:46 p.m.
Datsun310Guy said:

What about the title?   Apply for a lost title?

At least in Texas that is easy.  Just walk in and they print one for you on the spot.

 

I had similar happen to a Volvo 945 I sold and a friend had the same happen to a Volvo 744

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/26/20 5:24 p.m.

Ive gotten two with the exact same story as parts cars recently.  They were both left for dead after single car incidents 

Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
6/26/20 6:43 p.m.
mr2s2000elise said:

Wait so you got the cash from the sale, AND you got to keep the car?

Yep. Buyer never transferred the title, car has been sitting for (what I thought) about a month. 
 

Further investigation reveals that the timing belt was reportedly changed at 181,442 miles. The current odometer reading? 181,442 miles...

 

Looks like I get to tear apart a car!

Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
6/26/20 6:45 p.m.

In reply to m4ff3w :

Called the DMV, verified the title was still in my name, and have a new title being printed.

Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
6/26/20 6:47 p.m.
1988RedT2 said:

Hey, that's pretty cool...

Unless.....

The Russian mafia stashed 15 million in coke somewhere in the car.  They were in the process of driving to a clandestine location to make a deal when the car inexplicably broke down.  The police took possession of the car before they could retrieve the stuff.  Now, Boris and Vasily are looking very, very hard for the car.

If you can fit that much coke in a compact hatch and keep it hidden, I know some guys who'd love to have you working for them...

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
6/26/20 6:56 p.m.
m4ff3w said:
Datsun310Guy said:

What about the title?   Apply for a lost title?

At least in Texas that is easy.  Just walk in and they print one for you on the spot.

 

I had similar happen to a Volvo 945 I sold and a friend had the same happen to a Volvo 744

 

 

Huh. Must be a Volvo thing. I had a friend that had his Volvo 240 stolen. It was gone for 10 years when the police recovered it and returned it to him as there was no insurance involved. The best part was it had been restored, even had a nice set of Minillite wheels on it.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
6/26/20 7:52 p.m.

Under challenge rules this this vehicle now free, plus the amount that you sold it for as a credit towards budget? Or is it just free. 

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/26/20 9:57 p.m.

I can't think of anything i've sold that i really want back, but i do really want the one car that was stolen from me back. I can dream..

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
6/27/20 7:49 a.m.

Never had a car stolen that I want back. Two I sold I want back. One will never come back as it spilt in half and the other has dropped off the face of the earth. (Had friend run vin). 

TVR Scott (Forum Supporter)
TVR Scott (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/27/20 8:29 a.m.

Love the story!

I had a P5 for like 13 years.  Great little car, though I wish it had had double the torque.

Nowadays I've thought real hard about finding one for my daughter as a first car.  Ticks a lot of the right boxes.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
6/27/20 8:47 a.m.

I'd just resell it.  How often czn we profit twice on the same car?

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
6/27/20 12:07 p.m.

Wow. 

What a strange story. Why would a buyer pay for a car, not register it, and then abandon it?

But hey, I love Protégés, seems like this one was meant to be!

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
6/27/20 12:08 p.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

Right! You know what would be really cool, if he sold it again to THE SAME PERSON!

dxman92
dxman92 HalfDork
6/27/20 12:22 p.m.

The P5 were fun cars to drive! yes

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/27/20 12:23 p.m.

In reply to CyberEric :

At least in my case when this has happened to me; they can buy the car but can't fix it enough to get it through emissions to get it registered.

Or something went bang after they bought a perfectly good car and can't fix it to get through emissions.

They also could lose their license or their home and well that makes registering cars much more difficult.

It happens often enough around here that the DMV has a special form you can fill out online and submit to them to document that you've sold the vehicle.

Basically, at the price point many of us sell cars at, either those people are DIY'ers and looking for a project or they aren't and are looking for something they can limp along because they only have that much to scrape together.

Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
6/27/20 12:47 p.m.

In reply to Stefan (Forum Supporter) :

When I sold it, it had 177,000 miles on it, so the owner put around 4K on it. The timing belt was done at 160k, so I don't know why it got done again. I've got to pull the valve cover at a minimum. Oh well. Basically a free car at this point.

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/27/20 12:52 p.m.

I sold a car to a guy for $500 and explicitly told him "it uses so much oil you need to check it every day" 

 

a few months later i got a letter saying my car was towed for being parked on the street too long.  I assumed he blew up the engine without oil so i called the PD that sent the letter and gave them his name, address, who did the notary, and date of sale.  They said you're not responsible for it and left me alone.  Did not want it back 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
6/27/20 2:27 p.m.

In reply to Stefan (Forum Supporter) :

Gotcha. Learn something every day.  The DMV has that form in my area too. Never knows why until now.

Recon1342
Recon1342 Dork
7/11/20 6:41 p.m.

About 4 hours worth of work and The Prodigal Car lives!!!!!!

Timing was waaaay off. The "mechanic" that replaced the timing belt timed it so the intake and exhaust cams were timed backwards. This is what TDC on #1 looked like- the yellow paint is on the wrong timing marks. Correct marks are  at ~6 o'clock on both sprockets...

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) UltimaDork
7/11/20 8:15 p.m.

In reply to Recon1342 :

So how much are you into it for the towing and storage fees?

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
7/11/20 8:27 p.m.

This is the best story I've seen in a while. Hilarious! And good on you for getting it running again!

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