Who should pay for the loss in value of the car I'm selling?
I'm about to sell my classic car - a 1967 Mercury Cougar - as a restoration project. The car runs (or it did prior to the incident I'm about to relate), but it needs a lot of work. I plan to sell it "as is," and a very rough estimate of its value would be $1200-4200.
I don't know much about cars, so I contacted a friend and asked if he'd help me write an ad for it. Upon hearing I was going to sell the car, "Mark" said he wanted to buy it himself. So I got the pink slip, and we drove to Mark's insurance
company, who takes care of the DMV
paperwork for their customers. Mark drove the Cougar, and I drove another car. We weren't able to complete the sale that day, because there was an issue that required me to go to the DMV before selling the car. It was too late for the DMV that day, so I drove home, and Mark drove the Cougar to his house.
It turned out that Mark couldn't keep the Cougar at his house, so a few days later, he found an inexpensive storage facility for it. I wasn't with him when he drove from his house to the storage facility (about 10 miles), but apparently something went wrong, and he ended up having to get it towed. Now he says the engine is likely to catch on fire if the car is driven at ALL. I don't know if the problem was caused by Mark or not, but he had previously ignored my warning that driving
faster than 50 mph would cause the car to quickly overheat, and I think that's what happened.
It's become clear that Mark no longer wants to buy the car. He has some valid reasons - restoration will cost a lot, he doesn't need another project right now, etc etc. We've also had a bit of a falling out, over an unrelated issue, so any desire to buy it to "help me out" no longer exists. I understand all that, and I'm not going to try to hold him to the oral contract
we had (although I do feel we had one) for him to buy the car. After our falling out, he mailed me the storage facility contract
, and told me he didn't want the car, and I need to take over payments, and that was it.
When Mark drove this car away from my home, it was with the intention of buying it that day. Now, I'm stuck trying to sell a non-running car, from a storage yard. Mark's not going to help me write the ad or sell the car; and until I do sell it, I'm stuck paying storage I can't afford, since I can't even drive it home.
Before our falling out, I think Mark felt bad about backing out of the sale. He probably would have felt obliged to fix the damage that occured under his care, or to compensate me for the loss in value. Now that he feels no moral obligation towards me, I'm wondering: does he have a legal one? I really don't want to take him to small claims
court over this, but would I have a case if I did?