Readers Write

The stuff you find in second-hand cars

Buying a second-hand car is fun. Sometimes there are unexpected treasures – coins, CDs, etc. Commonly I’d find these plus lollies and lipsticks.

I BOUGHT MY 2003 Subaru WRX wagon in October last year. I paid at the lower end of the market, because it was a little rough around the edges. The owner hadn’t detailed it inside or out but I proceeded with the purchase anyway. There were the usual accidently-left-behind items – coins in the ash tray, a CD in the CD player, nothing too out of the ordinary. A few stray single earrings and clothing tags didn’t raise any eyebrows.

Fast forward four months and I also haven’t detailed the car. But today I happened upon a strange compartment in the centre console. I don’t know if it’s factory or someone’s made that hole and I’m not sure how I didn’t notice it before. I peer down and see plastic containers of some description. My mind wanders. Is this a secret storage compartment for drugs? Have I unknowingly become a drug courier?!

With skinny fingers and kitchen utensils I manage to tease out the following:

I seem to have found someone’s personal stash of beauty products wedged under my handbrake. I’d wondered what that rattle was. The haul – a receipt from a chemist from 2004, hand cream that expired in 2009 and mascara. I look further with a torch… there’s more stuff in there:

I think I can see an IKEA pencil and a rubber band. I’m tempted to unscrew and pull the whole centre console out to see what else lies beneath.

What’s the most unusual find you’ve made in a second-hand car?

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  1. Huw
    March 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm — Reply

    A screwdriver tangled in the wiring loom behind the dashboard of a Renault 12.

  2. This Guy
    March 1, 2017 at 1:45 pm — Reply

    I once replaced the heater core in my first car and when taking the old one out a .308 shell, 3 cigarette lighters and $2.85 fell out of it.
    Was a great score!

  3. March 1, 2017 at 8:21 pm — Reply

    Not so much secondhand cars, but things I’ve found in press cars:

    – A Manfrotto tripod (returned)
    – Biscuits (cleaned)
    – Other journalist’s press passes (binned)
    – A glovebox stuffed full of receipts – NOT money. receipts! – must have been 40 of them (returned)
    – A birthday invitation (I didn’t go)
    – An iPad (returned)
    – An iPhone (returned)
    – One tatty USB cable (binned)
    – Silver coins (pocketed)
    – A dead mouse (pity there weren’t any biscuits in that car, maybe it could have survived)

    Most of this stuff is found when I do the lifting up of seats to check different interior configurations. It’s clear the detailers only go so far, for example never lifting up the third or second row. Or in some cases, not even checking the glovebox.

    Sometimes you find an actual spec sheet on the car so you get an easy as-tested price and info. But it’s more common to find left-over biscuit crumbs.

  4. Jacques LaFeet
    March 2, 2017 at 7:13 pm — Reply

    I found a stale Baguette under the seat of my Renault 4.

  5. Cl1ff0
    March 3, 2017 at 9:48 am — Reply

    Macca’s chips down the side of the seat….

  6. JaiNormosone
    March 3, 2017 at 7:25 pm — Reply

    When my Mustang came into the country many years ago and the rear seat was taken out, there were a heap of half-smoked joints under there.
    I found a Snap-On torque wrench that someone left under the bonnet of a Pro Stock car at the drags many years ago. It fell out when they went past me.
    I did *not* return it because the driver was a complete prick and deserved to lose it.

  7. trackdaze
    March 12, 2017 at 4:49 pm — Reply

    Hollow point bullets in the ash tray..
    Ex police car!

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Juliette Remfrey

Juliette Remfrey

A car enthusiast with a background in the modified street car and sportscar scene with a developing passion for offroad 4WDing.