Cars & Bids, Bring A Trailer – What are these Online Auction Sites Anyway!?


It’s a great time to be a car enthusiast. 

Back in the day (you know, like ten years ago) car enthusiasts had to scan through traditional classifieds, go to local car shows or attend high-end auctions to get their hands on vintage or rare vehicles. Ah, but today things are so much different, and so much better! Now, enthusiasts can shop on online auction sites that are built by car nerds, for car nerds and include everything from traditionally desirable vehicles like old muscle cars and rare supercars to WTF examples of car culture like Pontiac Azteks in perfect condition. 

These sites have enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity over the past few years, and we’re going to tell you the why behind all of this success. 

Ready to jump in? Let’s do it! 

THIS Is A History Lesson

When it comes to online auction sites, the name in the game has always been defined by titans like eBay, but despite their best efforts, eBay was never quite set up for true car enthusiasts to buy and sell. Although eBay is great for buying pretty much anything, buying a vintage or unique car is a whole different story and eBay lacked focus. Beyond eBay, there were other stalwarts of internet classifieds like Craigslist and AutoTrader, but these sites came with their own set of maddening issues. 

As the world of automotive nirvana pivoted and turned over the last decade or so, savvy automotive enthusiasts and entrepreneurs started to realize there was a major gap in the market for automotive nerds who were looking to buy and sell truly cool cars easily. 

Enter Bring A Trailer and Cars n Bids.

Success Is An Understatement

Randy Nonnenberg and Gentry Underwood were two automotive enthusiasts who spent their free time browsing through sites like eBay and Craigslist to find the coolest and most unique cars out there. Encouraged by friends and each other, the two entrepreneurs created an auction site created by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. Within a few years, BAT had grown from a small auction site to an authority in the marketplace with its unique business model. Users submitted cool or unique vehicles they wanted to sell on the site, and the crack team at BAT would write up a clever listing and put the vehicle for sale right there on their proprietary website. Genius! 

BAT went along pretty uncontested until late 2018 when automotive influencer and YouTube sensation Doug DeMuro decided to take on the world of automotive enthusiast auction sites, but with one big twist. See, BAT specialized in anything cool or vintage, including extremely old vehicles or forgotten heaps of rust that were in need of a full restoration. Doug spun this concept and only allows vehicles from the 80s to the 2000s on the site, with a specific focus on the 80s and 90s. Again, genius! 

So, how successful have these concepts been for BAT and Cars and Bids? In 2021 alone, BAT brought in a staggering $821 million dollars from thousands of cool and vintage car listings. Cars and Bids doesn’t publish their numbers as openly, but a New York Times interview with Doug indicated that he has sold $8.5 million worth of cars in just six months. Since interest has only grown from there, we can all assume that their success has been utterly meteoric.

Auction sites like BAT are also a great market barometer for determining what types of vehicles are hot and which ones are not. In fact, vintage sellers have rarely had such insight.

So Why Do We Love Them?

In short, those of us who live, breathe, and sleep the automotive world find the playgrounds of BAT and Cars and Bids to be a sort of nirvana. 

Not only do we get to see what the community of automotive enthusiasts is putting out there, but we get to relive memories that many of us have via the cars exchanging hands on the platform. Most of us don’t have fond memories of ripping down the road with friends in Dad’s supercar. Nope. Most of us have memories of driving in Mom’s 4-cylinder sedan with that sweet sweet 3-speed automatic for entertainment and it is these kinds of cars that show up on these unique auction sites.


To further the insanity, Ford equips every GT500 with huge 16.5 Brembo steel rotors that are not only strong but nearly fade-free at speed. Add in the optional track package and Ford will throw in a set of tricked-out carbon fiber wheels that will have owners avoid every curb and pothole with extreme

It’s also the opportunity for car nerds to finally buy the dream cars they’ve had their eyes on since they were kids but could never quite find or afford as young drivers. Car nerds who grew up in the 90s remember seeing Japanese royalty like the Mitsubishi 3000 GT on the pages of Motor Trend, but as young men and women, buying a $50,000 performance car was always out of the question.

Ah, but today, we car nerds can do exactly that. We can buy the car we dreamed of as a kid and enjoy it, or use it as some sort of investment. As much as vehicles are not heralded as great investments, certain vehicles these days seem to buck the trend. In short, the definition of what a collector car is has completely changed and we’re here for it.

Best Practices For Your Addiction

So, you’re thoroughly hooked on the world of cool car auction sites – what’s the best way to take advantage of this unique market?

Well, first of all, let’s just put away that credit card for right now. We know that you love vintage supercars, and retro rides but these vehicles can often require a solid financial commitment to own. That 1980s Camry with 200 miles on the ODO may seem like a great deal at $2,000 but a nearly 40-year-old car, regardless of mileage, will need some serious TLC. If you want to take the plunge, more power to you, but just be ready and don’t be impulsive. 

If you happen to have a car you’re looking at selling, follow your car on these auction sites to see where the prices are trending. There are instances where vehicles went up substantially over the course of a year due to their rarity or market interest. Classic Supras, for example, saw a huge uptick in value when the revived model dropped. So, be smart and try to hit the market when the supply is lowest and the demand is highest. 

Last of all, just have freaking fun! We all love the world of cars, and geeking out over incredibly unique or rare cars from our childhoods is just awesome. Most of us never could have imagined a world where buying our lifelong dream car could be so easy or so fun.