“Dammit Johnson! Stop being useful! Now I’m looking at 914s! [expletive redacted]”
We received the preceding note in an e-mail from contributor Sam Smith while waiting in the Hell Line at our local DMV office. The impetus for Mr. Smith’s consternation? (Besides the fact that he’d recently become involved in a multi-party vintage Alfa Romeo project-car purchase?) The new eBay Motors iPhone app, from which we’d alerted him of what seems like a pretty nice ‘70 1.7-liter example of Ferry’s first bastard child. We also found the above “PORSCHE”-emblazoned brassiere, certainly a boon for one lucky bidder.
As a mirror site, the Motors app is of course part dealership, part obscure-parts emporium and part dream-fodder. Unlike the site, it loads quickly and is a breeze to navigate. In fact, we’d go so far as to say it’s much more fun to use, which, depending on the state of one’s pocketbook, could be a rather dangerous thing. Bonus? The only unfortunate HTML pops up in the sellers’ descriptions of their wares, often accenting the unintentional hilarity of their listings. Said descriptions are hidden by default.
While the app lacks some of the site’s useful features—searches can’t be pre-filtered by “Lighting & Lamps” within a parts-search inquiry, for example—if you know exactly the piece you’re searching for, some prudently-worded searches should produce the results you’re after. You can, however, add your car to your “My Vehicles” garage simply by scanning its VIN barcode using your phone’s camera. Brokedown luddites, without UPC-encoded vehicles, will have to to enter theirs old fashioned way. (You know, by tapping on the glass of a futuristic communications device.) Once a vehicle is added to the garage, you can ask the app to search for only those parts that work with your whip.
Naturally, it’s also a snap to share a listing with friends and easily distracted coworkers, whilst you both suffering through meetings. Perhaps our favorite feature, though, is the opening-screen slide show. When the app first launches, you’re presented with a parade of items selected specially for you, based on previous searches and items you’ve checked out. We’re wondering if, with use, said cavalcade of exotica will devolve into an endless stream of Wartburgs, gray-market Lada Nivas, barely-salvage-grade 308 GT4s, ‘70s personal-luxury coupes, and 917K-replica balsa shift knobs. We rather hope so.