How To Write The Best Craigslist Car Ad Ever

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A fond farewell.

I didn’t set out 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 the history between me and my first car, between me and my only car, my first and only thought was to leave it at a Carmax, take whatever low-ball valuation they had to offer, and move on.

Yet with the gentle suggestion of my father to try to sell it first, and a Sunday night to reflect on the times I’ve had in the car I’ve been driving since before I could legally drive, I found myself thinking about what it meant to finally say goodbye.

91 replies later, including the following…

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… and it seems like I’d hit a nerve.

(Or I’d priced it too low.)

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Either way, I think I figured it out.

I think I now know the secret to writing the best craigslist car ad ever.

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

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A canoe-on-the-rack car.

The first?

It’s a little more involved. But give it a shot:

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.

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Goodbye, travel buddy.

Or… just tell the story of your car.

Give people something beyond odometers and oil changes.

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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.

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But I’m happy I was able to send my little green Honda off into the world with one last adventure together.

P.S. If you’d like to receive letters like these, I write a weekly email. Maybe you’ll like it. It can’t hurt! Unless your inbox is one e-mail away from being full. Then maybe it’ll hurt. Still. It’s worth a shot, I think.

P.P.S. Here is the original ad!

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Written by

writer, producer, and pie baker

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