These new Canadian online auctions want to put you in a classic car

A new wave of websites promises all the excitement of virtual classic car auctions, but in Canadian dollars and without the cross-border headaches

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That shouldn’t really come as a surprise. The pandemic-related shift towards all things automotive hobby online is precipitating a rush to online auctions in Canada.

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Interest in classic and specialty cars is skyrocketing as people stay home, can’t spend money on travel and restaurants, and want something to work with and enjoy.

Many enthusiasts are finishing their builds or buying new projects, with some starting and others expanding their collections. The success of BringaTrailer.com and CarsAndBids.com south of the border has many people wondering why similar sites haven’t popped up in Canada yet.

  1. Launch of the new Canadian online car auction site Fast Car Bids

    Launch of the new Canadian online car auction site Fast Car Bids

  2. Hammer Time: Shiftgate Brings Online Collector Car Auctions to Canada

    Hammer Time: Shiftgate Brings Online Collector Car Auctions to Canada

Enter longtime friends in motor racing – and now business partners – Amit Ahluwalia of Montreal and Shel Smith, a Toronto-based consumer analytics expert, with their new venture Shiftgate.com. The introductions don’t stop there: competition comes from 22-year-old Concordia University business grad Tony Fasciano, who just launched FastCarBids.com. Both are inspired by Bring A Trailer and are aimed at Canadian enthusiasts and collectors, but they are quite different.

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Ahluwalia used his background in IT, branding and marketing, combined with the passion for cars he shares with Shel Smith, to design the Shiftgate site. It will manage online auctions and sales of classic cars and passenger cars, while building a community of like-minded enthusiasts through information sharing, car club support and feedback. The $99 fee to list a vehicle for sale and the 5% buyer’s fee will be payable in Canadian dollars for Canadians and US dollars for US buyers. Cars will be sold in the currency of the country they are in, and the site will include a currency calculator, as well as an import/export cost calculator and a guide to transporting vehicles across borders.

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Each auction vehicle has a description, a full photo gallery, a CARFAX report, and a comprehensive review thread, so potential buyers can discuss the vehicle and ask questions, and schedule a viewing or test drive. Shiftgate has a Canadian flag that visitors can click on to view a Canadian-only version of the site, where Canadian cars will be sold in Canadian dollars.

Tony Fasciano said FastCarBids is an online auction for any vehicle sold in Canada and is initially restricted to Canadian buyers. Ads can come from enthusiasts and car dealerships alike, and all vehicles are welcome, new or old. “Kijiji, Craigslist, and AutoTrader listings most often attract tire-breakers and time-wasters,” he said. ” We are different. The live auction lasts for seven days and all sales are made with the final auction. If the car does not sell, it is relisted for free.

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It launched in early March with at least 10 cars entered and to come, including a 2004 Bentley Arnage; a 2013 BMW 328i tuned to produce over 400 horsepower; a 2010 Camaro developing 700 horsepower; and a 1964 Triumph TR4A sports car.

Tony Fasciano
Tony Fasciano Photo courtesy of Tony Fasciano

Shiftgate is a response to the need for an online collector car auction for enthusiasts worldwide, drawing on the best elements of established US sites, but with a component specific to Canadians. “One of the big frustrations is that we don’t have our own market and have to rely on BringaTrailer.com or CarsAndBids.com,” Ahluwalia said.

His own experience was waiting over two months for Bring A Trailer to list a BMW station wagon he had imported from Germany, then being told the site would only allow a much lower reserve price than that he wanted. “If the car was in the United States, it would have sold for at least 40% more. The border is a frustrating thing for buyers and sellers, as are wait times of up to six months for ads are posted.

He pointed out that Shiftgate will also be a community to help car clubs whose numbers are dwindling and a way to involve more young people in the hobby. “When our site takes off, we’ll have a good following, and as we grow, we want to do everything we can to bring people together.”

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