You Donated What?! Charitable Copart Classics

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It’s been a while since we visited Copart’s classic selections, and I tend to like to add the “Donation” filter just to see what people have let go of that one of us might have snatched up. I understand some folks like a tax write-off versus dealing with tire-kickers on craigslist, but genuine survivors like this 1982 Dodge Rampage here on Copart deserve to be restored. There’s some mechanical issues to sort on this truckster, but check out the bed and interior! 

This one blew me away: a 1979 Lotus Espirt, also listed here on Copart. Yes, these are big projects, and yes the interiors always disintegrate around you (just like this car!) But these gorgeous wedges usually bring more than they deserve dollar-wise, as enthusiasts can always use a parts car to accompany their restoration. I wouldn’t necessarily want to own it, but it’s a shame to see a once-sought after supercar among the wrecks.

This 1977 Corvette here on Copart doesn’t appear to have any mechanical needs and its biggest sins are purely cosmetic. Factor in that it’s a manual transmission car and it gets even more confusing as to how it ended up at a salvage facility. You’d think even the most unenthusiastic family member would ensure the old man’s Corvette found its way to a new forever home and not just dump it with the local donation center! There I go, making assumptions again…

These old Mercedes W116s are plentiful on the used car market, making finding spares a breeze. This 1970 example here on Copart sports the desirable European headlights and may have more gray-market options underneath; however, mechanical issues and a standard MPH speedometer dampen the excitement. Still, if you’re going to donate a car, at least part out the good bits! Which one of these donated classics would you bid on?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. redwagon

    a loved one dies half way across the country you are one of a few distant relatives and guess what? you were named the executor of the estate. work doesn’t allow you bereavement time off so you fly and stay at the cost of vacation days.

    he had cars? crap.
    where are the keys amongst this mess?
    where are the titles? crap.
    get rid of them. donate to some organization that will come and give a valuation and a receipt.

    done. whew, now i’ve got a bit of cash to go on vacation to lost wages.

    i’m partial to the rampage and the vette, although I wouldn’t kick the mb out of the garage

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      You nailed it. There’s as many stories as there are people.

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    • Horse Radish

      Thanks for reminding me to exclude people, like you mention, who have so little respect for relatives and value only themselves, from my inheritance.

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  2. nessy

    I used to buy at both IAA and Copart. I did not buy one car that was worth the trouble. Anything of real value is put aside for the people who work at these auctions and don’t forget, after all the time and money you put into a Copart or IAA car, you still have to deal with that pesky salvage title which is another nightmare in it’s self. Every salvage yard auction I attended had the cars lined up in a mud hole, many with windows left open, keys long gone and parts picked off. Never again, I learned my lesson. Best advice you will get today, stay away from salvage car auctions.

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    • Klharper

      My experience is the exact opposite. Copart lot here is very clean and gravel, no mudholes at all.
      I have purchased half a dozen cars without disappointment.
      My rules are I go and look at the car before I bid on it. I want to know exactly what I am buying beforehand.
      I am fully aware of the fees when I bid so no surprises..
      NC does not require that you are in the car business with a dealer license. SC and VA do. When I first purchased I only purchased from NC, but because of the deals I got my dealers license and expanded.
      Most cars I buy for parts, but I have put two back on the road. A 12 year old car only takes minor damage to total it and you can repair these often for very little. NC just requires an inspector to certify it with a clean title.

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      • Bobsmyuncle

        Yeah I agree, the yards I’m familiar with are tidy and dry.

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    • Horse Radish

      Co-part is definitely a seller’s market.
      You are on your own, if you buy there, mostly for too much money.
      Of course there are yards that are run better than others, depending on the ethics of the manager, or even the city/ state that they’re in.
      L.A. is a hell hole and therefore those yards are a waste of time there.

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  3. Mr. Bond

    Would anyone be able to explain how the auction works? Is it an online auction? Or is this some kind of pre-bidding, and the real auction is next week?

    Looking at the vette, the listing says VA-CERTIFICATE OF TITLE. Does it automatically revert to salvage?

    Any idea of the fees to finally get it to be rightfully yours?

    Thanks in advance!!

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Online bidding. If it’s titled than it’s titled, not everything is a salvage.

      As for the trouble, that would depend on your local MOT. Most (all?) will only deny retitling flood victims.

      Otherwise repair the car and bring it for inspection and Bob’s your uncle.

      If you are knowledgeable and stay within a previously decided budget some very good deals can be had.

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    • nessy

      Never bid online without inspecting the car, that is the first rule. Believe me, the salvage yards are filthy and parts are picked from the cars and they move the cars around with a forklift, ofter causing more damage to the underbody of the cars. You can bid online up until the morning that the onsite sale is being done. A big window van drives up and down each row of cars and stops at each car. The van is set up as a mobile office, with a man on a PA system describing the car, another two or three people are on computers working the online bidding while the other guy is running the live in person bidding. Whoever is the high bidder, either in person or online, wins the car. Oh, don’t forget the very high bidder fees and all the other BS fees they add on so keep in mind, your final bid price will be hundreds of dollars more than you think. Also, listen carefully to see what kind of title the car has. State Salvage titles are tough enough to correct, those salvage certificates are worthless, often issued when the car can no longer be put on the road, ever if it’s repaired! Oh, you have to have a dealer licence to even enter, otherwise, a dealer has to go with you and then, you have to pay at least another 100 dollars just to get a day pass. Stay away. It’s a money making scam but only to the salvage yards, not to the buyers, they lose.

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      • Bobsmyuncle

        My experience has been nothing but positive.

        The photos offered are as detailed as any we see here, further details are offered and I’ve had over-the-phone chats too.

        Most cars have been bought to part out.

        One car had a salvage titled but showed up nearly flawless. It was extremely odd. A great deal of research showed that it was an insurance scam.

        The car was retitled (even up here in Canada) with admittedly some effort as the insurance company wouldn’t provide paperwork proving the story.

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      • Horse Radish

        Very well put and 100% accurate.
        Only one more thing .
        Co-part sells cars for commission too, so they DO HAVE A RESERVE. They don’t tell you, but why would some cars run through the auction 3 times ? (in 3 week intervals).
        Also broker commission in L.A. area runs $250 and up per (each) car, alone plus copart fees, plus taxes on all that, plus towing fees…..

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Oh and be cognisant of where the car is located there are yards all over North America.

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  4. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    That Rampage appears to have some kind of groovy bed setup in the back. Bet that would really glow under blacklight.

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    • Andrew

      I checked for you. Owner said his dogs might did that. It could be yogurt, as he wasn’t sure.

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  5. Duaney

    In our area, (Colorado), there are many “car donation” charities, like the Boy Scouts, Boys Club, and on and on. What most people don’t realize when they’re considering donating “Grandpa’s” pride and joy, that in most cases if the vehicle doesn’t run perfectly, they go right to a wrecking yard or crusher, even if the vehicle is in mint condition otherwise. The charities have NO ONE to perform any repairs. Flat tires, dead battery, very dirty, out of gas, or old gas,or whatever, they go right to the junk pile. I’ve seen some gorgeous, desireable vehicles end up like this and it’s really, a crime.

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    • Jason

      Duaney: That’s sad!

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    • Oldog4tz Oldog4tz

      But sometimes you get lucky. I brought a 745 GL wagon from a local charity off CL a few years ago for my kid. Because it had 390k on the odometer,they asked low retail of $1200. He’s been thrashing it around the west coast festival circuit, it’s about to hit 500k, and still never taken apart

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    • Horse Radish

      100 % accurate.
      I have seen it too.
      Charities don’t give a c*ap, what happens to the cars.

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  6. Bruce

    No way that Mercedes is a 1970. Not with those big ugly bumpers!

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    • Horse Radish

      w116 U.S. model, 1974 or newer.
      Looks like a V8 so, 450 most likely.
      VIN incomplete, but probably a late 70 ies.

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