Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New-Fangled Used Car Lot Owners Park, Lock, Walk and Sell from Lot on Lemay Ferry

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New-Fangled Used Car Lot Owners Park, Lock, Walk and Sell from Lot on Lemay Ferry

Article excerpt

IT IS a used car lot designed by the customers themselves: No sales people. No hard sell. No little talks with "my boss in the back to see if he'll bring down the price."

Buyers check out the cars, vans and pickups at their own pace. Most have only a sign in the window listing the vehicle's price and virtues: "1983 Cutlass, $2,500, Alpine CD player. Call Joe before 3 p.m. M-S."

If people like what they see, they call Joe, he meets them at the lot and the selling gets serious.

There's just one thing wrong with this car lot. It's illegal.

Police say the car lot in the shopping center anchored by Central Hardware, 4445 Lemay Ferry Road in South County, may be the biggest illegal used car lot in the area. The company that manages the property says the cars are harder to get rid of than crab grass.

The lot is most active on Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday I went by, there were about 35 cars, front ends facing Lemay Ferry. People constantly cruised that section. If they saw something interesting, they'd park their car and take a closer look.

They stopped most often to check out a '91 Honda for $9,500, a 1990 Chevy conversion van for $11,000, a classic Cadillac, and a bright-looking Samurai.

On Sundays, some owners sit out with their cars. They bring lawn chairs and coolers.

A woman whose husband was selling a pickup truck ($9,500, new tires, new muffler and tail pipe) said, "My husband put the truck out on Saturday and Sunday, but we didn't get any takers.

"But it's the place that gets results. I know a car dealer at my church. Even he will put one up there if it's a good deal."

Her husband will try another weekend, if the police aren't writing tickets. The tickets are about $25 each.

"We wrote 36 tickets a few weeks ago on that lot," said Lt. Monty Monteleone with the St. Louis County Police. "There were 33 cars, two boats and a trailer with jet skis. They're selling 30-foot boats, Mercedes, Corvettes, trailers and motor homes. There's so much activity on the weekend, I'm surprised people haven't set up concession stands."

This isn't the only illegal used car lot in the area. They spring up spontaneously from Fenton to North County. …

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