haha a point i left out early as neko touched on...never underestimate the level of racism here haha
I've seen both sides of that
coin, and it's very often a two way street.
Otherwise, the best way to get in the loop is to be introduced by a friend to the seller. When you become familiar with the seller through an intro, you will be treated better, but there's still no guarantee you'll get a fair price, or a good car.
I agree in general, but there are exceptions. It's clear to me that many of the negative experiences described by disgruntled personal 'buyers' are at least half their own fault. I've seen unbelievably
gauche behaviour first hand. I won't go into detail for obvious reasons, but some people would do well to start out by treating others as they expect to be treated themselves, and by at least making the most basic
effort to learn some simple words and phrases in Japanese before waving their cash around.
There's a similar thing going on in the vintage wristwatch world at the moment. When the Yen was at its strongest some of the rarest and most sought after vintage watches made their way out to Japan, and now the situation is that Japan is one of the best
places to buy certain models and variants. With the weakening of the Yen and renewed interest from collectors and 'investors', dealers from outside Japan are trying to buy them back. However, some dealers in Japan are refusing to sell to non-Japanese or jacking the price up so high that it puts the buyer off. One of my watch-dealing Japanese friends told me that this is a lot to do with the fear that once such watches leave Japan they will never come back. If they sell to private Japanese individuals they know that what goes around comes around
, and it's generally better for the Japanese vintage wristwatch business in the long run. Some of these dealers have experienced the very same thing in reverse when trying to buy watches from the UK and Europe. I've seen it happen!
I'm often asked to help or assist / recommend sources for certain cars in Japan, and I often say that the best
way to start out in the process of buying something like a KGC10 is to get all the books and mags you can on the subject and swot up. You have less chance of understanding an individual car ( and what's been done to it ) if you know nothing
about the specs of the cars as they were when they left the factory. It's amazing how many people tell me they want a "KPGC10" when in fact they want a modified KGC10, and some don't even realise that the KGC10 had quite different rear arches to the KPGC10 when new. As many of these prospective buyers are from the UK and Europe they quite often haven't even seen any
C10-series Skylines in the metal. My advice to them - if they can afford it - is to get a cheap flight and hotel deal for a short trip to Japan and to visit a few of the 'usual suspect' classic car dealers in the Kanto or Kansai regions. By at least viewing
a few cars side-by-side, comparing prices for different conditions / specs and weighing up what their budget might get them, they will at least be a little ahead in the game. They will at least be armed with a little more practical experience than if they had stayed sitting in front of their computer.....
Simply asking one of the many auction-linking dealers to remote-bid on a car going through the commercial auctions is a sure fire way to end up with a dog. There's too much temptation to bid on the cars at the lower end of the market, and 99% of the dealers wouldn't know one end of a C10 from the other. I've been to the commercial auctions in Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe and seen first-hand the state of many of the older cars that go through them. You really need to be there in person to judge the cars properly, and even then there's often not the time - or the conditions - to inspect thoroughly.
So I wouldn't discourage anyone
from going to Japan to have a look
at some cars. The more they see the better in my opinion. What harm?