For­mula One car for sale on­line? “Add to cart!”

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By JEFF MELNYCHUK

www.theoc­tanelounge.com

Given any amount of free time near a com­puter, you might be in­clined to do a lit­tle on­line brows­ing.

Hey, it’s still free to dream, right?

Bet­ter still, you don’t have to get off your butt and the en­tire world is at your fin­ger­tips. You have ac­cess to stuff now that no one could find 20 years ago. Back then if you wanted to know what was new in the world of cof­fee mak­ers, for ex­am­ple, you drove to the store to look. Now, you Google “cof­fee maker” and spend, like, the next 482 sleep­less weeks re­search­ing . . . cof­fee mak­ers.

On a much grander scale, you might be re­search­ing a dream trip to Europe, or maybe even real es­tate in Europe. Or maybe dream cars that cost as much as real es­tate in Europe.

Hey, if you want a new Honda or a Kia, it’s usu­ally best to shop lo­cal, but if your tastes are more com­pli­cated — or just plain strange — the In­ter­net is just the right place for you. There might not be a 1963 Corvette for sale in your im­me­di­ate area, but type that into Google and you’ll be spend­ing the next 482 sleep­less weeks re­search­ing . . . 1963 Corvettes. And that’s ex­actly how we got our ’63. It was a bit of an im­pulse buy, hon­estly, but the price and tim­ing hap­pened to be right.

I’ve bought a num­ber of weird and won­der­ful machines this way. There was a 1968 Ply­mouth GTX, a lowmiles 2001 Ford Light­ning SVT pickup, a 1955 Chevy, a 1969 Ply­mouth and a rare 2003 Jaguar S-Type R, in green, of course. None of th­ese ve­hi­cles were avail­able lo­cally, yet I found them all in a mat­ter of min­utes on­line, none closer than 1,000 miles.

And I’ve sold most of them the same way, to strangers no closer than 1,000 miles, although the Jag was bought by my neigh­bor who lives pre­cislely two doors down.

I liked that Jag A LOT, so it’s per­haps not sur­pris­ing that I found an­other one on the screen in front of me af­ter en­ter­ing the fol­low­ing dimwit­ted search into Google . . . “For­mula One rac­ing cars for sale.”

One of the rea­sons I?sold the Jag S-Type R is be­cause it couldn’t be driven on win­ter roads. Then why would I be look­ing at an­other green Jag that can’t be driven on any road at all? Be­cause I’m a car guy, of course, and logic and prac­ti­cal­ity are out the win­dow when a shiny piece of use­less ma­chin­ery is in­volved, es­pe­cially a 2001 Jaguar F1 R2 for about $150,000. Oh, did I men­tion that there’s no en­gine? And that it’s in Eng­land? NO prob­lem!

As fool­ish as it sounds, I’ve al­ways wanted to own an open-wheel race­car, even if it was only driven on the track once a year. And as steep as 150 grand is, sans en­gine, it’s a car that cost, lit­er­ally, tens of mil­lions of dol­lars to en­gi­neer. Seems like a deal, right? Of course not. You’re a sane per­son who shops for cof­fee mak­ers and va­ca­tions and I am clearly not that.

I’ll keep this new Jag as my screen saver for a cou­ple of weeks un­til I re­gain my senses and go on my next on­line shop­ping binge for who knows what. Hey, it’s still free to dream, right? — Jeff

Jeff Melnychuk is Wheel­base Me­dia’s Manag­ing Ed­i­tor. He can be reached on the Web at www.theoc­tanelounge.com by us­ing the con­tact link. Wheel­base sup­plies au­to­mo­tive news and fea­tures to news­pa­pers across North Amer­ica.

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