I didn’t set out meaning to write the best craigslist car ad ever. 

In fact, I didn’t set out to write an ad at all. 

All I had was my car and a ticking clock. I leave next week to move to France, after all, and there’s no spot here to leave it.

Not wanting to engage with sixteen years of history, my first and only thought was just to leave it at a Carmax, then to take whatever low-ball valuation they had to offer, and to move on. 

Yet with the gentle suggestion of my father to try, and a Sunday night to think back on a car I’ve been driving since before I could legally drive, I found myself with a moment to consider what it meant to finally say goodbye.

So I wrote it, and posted it, and figured I’d wake up in the morning to a spam e-mail or three.

91 replies later, including the following…

… and it seems like I’d hit a nerve.

(Or I’d priced it too low.)

Either way, I think I figured it out. I think I know now the secret to writing the best craigslist car ad ever.

At least, I’ve narrowed it down to two things. Two possibilities.

The first?

Own a car for sixteen years, let it be the car that takes you on your first date and drives you to your first job, that you practiced guitar in at your first lunch break during your second internship before driving to see her after that first day, that carried all your worldly possessions after you graduated to your first apartment, that guided you safely back from the desert after you and your roommates’ first festival experience, that carried enough handmade pesto pasta to make your first charitable catering gig a success, that … well, that was a part of nearly every moment you had in becoming an adult person in the world.

Or… just tell the story of your car. Give a little something beyond odometers and oil changes. I got thanked for my soliloquy, a “vive la France!”, and a few other nice words that gave me pause. The writing of the ad was more cathartic for me than anything, yet it seems people appreciated the time and the backstory.

(Or I’d priced it too low.)

In re-reading my little ad, I recognize it’s not perfect. I don’t even know if it’s good.

But I am happy I was able to send my little green Honda off into the world with one last fun moment together.


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