Kreuzberg/Ahrweiler flood relief - cars instead of cash!


Grouchy Beemer Owner
Feb 17, 2007
Freiburg - DE, or Texas when possible
E39 M5, '94 Cadillac Fleetwood, '21 Focus Wagon
Why hello there everyone. I have a proposal / idea:

Shortly after the flooding in the Ahr-valley that most people are aware, which destroyed many homes and livelyhoods, as well as washing away all current Ringmeet plans, an idea I had before came back to me, with this new context. As a bunch of you know, I've been doing stupid videos on youtube about cars for a few month, and I can't help myself but look for cheap shitboxes all day long. The problem I always had: There is so many so cheap shitboxes out there that I could buy for the equivalent of filling up the M5 2 or 3 times, ... but what am I going to do with them once I fixed them up? A while ago I thought about reselling them, or finding local people in need and giving them away, but I ended up not doing any of that, especially since I also didn't have space to do that. So, now.. now the idea came back, because now there is a whole region, several towns worth of people, that need transportation. And I know that a lot of them will get their money back from the insurance company, eventually. But I also know that a lot of people probably didn't have the neccessary insurance (Teilkasko here in Germany). Those people don't even get to fight the insurance company and wait way too long before they get some money to buy whatever they can find or afford. Those people don't have a car anymore. Period. And probably not much of a home either.

Edited in: The GoFundMe due to the positive feedback.

So what exactly do I want to do?

The idea is to set up a donation/crowdfunding system for the explicit purpose of finding, buying, fixing if needed, and then giving cars to people that need them. I am not talking fancy cars, I am not talking cars that they'll keep forever, I am talking something that will get them into 2022, by which time they hopefully have all their other problems sorted. So lets go through the steps and what my idea/plan is for each of them.

1.) Finding them
That is to a degree the easy part. There is plenty around where I live, many things with and without TÜV for 100-500 Euros, often negotiable. Just got to pick ones that are worth fixing for cheap or already good to go with about a years worth of TÜV, just making sure they are not deathtraps. I will happily invest whatever time is needed to look for and at those things.

2.) Buying them
Well, straight forward, that is where *you* come in. People have threatened to throw some money at me in order to buy some ridiculous shit, just for the fun of it. I'd rather throw money at cars for people in need. If I proceed with this idea, I will try to spread this in all automotive circles I am in, in an attempt to reach as many people as possible. Because in the end, every Euro adds up and buys maybe an oil change, some brake pads, or new wipers.

3.) Fixing them
This is where I need to basically trust myself to find cars that have problems that are easy and cheap to fix, but often not worth people paying a shop to do them. I'd just get the parts needed and attempt everything fully DIY in my garage, now that I have one.

4.) Giving them away
This part is actually a bit more difficult. First of all, I need to get the cars up to the affeceted area, which requires either temp plates, or them to be still or already registered. I can't register a bunch of cars in my name on and off all the time, that's just not time and cost effective. Neither are normal temp plates really, since they're car bound and only valid 5 days. I'd either try to get cars that can remain registered until delivered up to the region, or see if I can find a shop with dealer plates, that is willing to lend me those for this cause. Then, I'd obviously try to make sure the car legally changes ownership, although I have yet to run into anyone asking for proof of that when registering a car in the last decade or so. Nonetheless, I'd probably for everyones peace of mind set up sales contracts for 1 Euro. And give them 1 Euro beforehand. I am assuming funds for taxes/insurance will be available, since they are freed up from the car they lost. Initial registration, don't know, that's about 60-70 Euros with plates.. not sure if that is something they'll have to / can pay, or that needs to be donated too?

The Goal?

Honestly, I'd even consider 1 car found and given away a win. 2, even better. 5? Hell yeah! Don't know. No plans.

What else?

I am also considering asking local shops if they'd be willing to look over cars that I find for free, basically a "TÜV"-lite check, or PPI if you want. But I don't know if I'll be able to source that or not, just like the dealer plates for moving them.

I am also not saying only I can do it. Others are welcome to join in if they have the ability to find, get, fix and deliver cheap cars.

So - what do you think?

Edit 1: I would also very likely try to rely on Viktoria and Christoph as pillars of the community to point me at the people in need, and possibly as a "storage" location for ready to go cars.

Edit 2: I'd also be open for people to find and pick their own cars if they wanted to donate a specific one, as long as it is feasible to retrieve and fix that specific car. Sources are the ussual suspects, ebay Kleinanzeigen, mobile, autoscout..
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I'm in, tell me where to send money and what I can do to help
From Telegram, to keep it together and not write everything x times

Olex Savchuk, [23.07.21 22:04]
[In reply to Thomas Endesfelder]
To elaborate a bit more: I feel like this is a pretty great idea. It connects our community cornerstone (cars) with a way we can help, and the way is different from the usual "collect donations for a relief fund" and still something that's certainly needed, but not immediately obvious.

Thomas Endesfelder, [23.07.21 22:05]
That was the idea. Especially since most of those donation centers already called for a stop of the usual suspects.

Olex Savchuk, [23.07.21 22:05]
It's something where anyone from anywhere can chip in, and yet unique in a way.

Thomas Endesfelder, [23.07.21 22:05]
And, I am aware that it doesn't have priority #1 right now, but this will also take a little bit of time, after which ideally the basic infrastructure is back.


dave eyre, [23.07.21 22:10]
That sounds like a great idea

Olex Savchuk, [23.07.21 22:11]
Indeed it does. Something that anyone willing can chip in with, something unique, and related to our community's cornerstone (cars). It's fucking perfect.

dave eyre, [23.07.21 22:11]
As long as you can find the people that actually need them, or perhaps donate them to a community

dave eyre, [23.07.21 22:11]
Like giving cars to VS on the proviso that they are available to anyone who needs them

Thomas Endesfelder, [23.07.21 22:12]
Yeah, knowing that Viktoria knows her community so well, I have no doubt we'll be able to find the right people

Thomas Endesfelder, [23.07.21 22:13]
They take care of leftover food we have after ringmeet that would go do waste otherwise, they know who's not going to have a nice dinner if it wasn't for still sealed steaks we didn't get to that weekend.

Thomas Endesfelder, [23.07.21 22:13]
They are an inherent part of the community.

Also, a few edits in the main post.
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I do not know how to help, but I can send some monies, I think.
I'm down to chip in some. This idea is awesome.
Ok, since the feedback is rather positive, I decided to start a gofundme, with an arbitrary goal number, just ignore that, no clue. I will get on finding the first car ASAP. DaBoom also suggested that if one is done in time for Ringmeet, that he could drive it up there, solving one of the logistical issues ;).

BEFEORE I FORGET IT: It was obviously suggested to film this whole bound-to-be-clusterfuck. I'd do that at least with the finding and fixing of the cars, also to possibly attract more random donors. I'd not film the giving away to people part unless explicitely wanted by the receiving parties. This is meant to help people, not to embarrass them online.

Every Euro, or Dollar, is welcome. I intend to start with one car and take it from there.
I think that's a great idea. Do something concrete, and providing people not with money, but with an item they need and that's a hassle to look for especially when your whole region is looking for the same thing.

Delivery is obviously a problem - at Ringmeet we all tend to come with our own cars. :D
Perhaps some car transportation company in your area can be persuaded to donate the transport, if you can find enough cars at once for that to be feasible (which would be a challenge in itself, I guess)? Or find drivers for a convoy and a seven-seater to bring them back to the starting point. Or find people going to the Eifel on the weekend to anyway to help and hitch a ride back with them. Or something.

As I obviously live on the wrong end of the country to help you locally, I'm limited to donating. But that I will do.
Chipped in, looking forward to see what we end up with. ?

1.4 auto Clio that's 5km from the location Thomas mentioned, TÜV to October next year, needs some love and sticker removal and is 400 Euros.
Just reduced to 390 EUR. Not sure about a 90s autobox on a 1.4 NA? But hey, might have to test drive it. If that's possible. Car is already deregistered, so I can't test drive it on public roads or to my garage.. boo..
First car I looked at was this:



I'd call it a candidate, but I wanna look up how much suspension parts are and how difficult to replace. Car sat for 2 years, seems very well kept though for the age and mileage. Sits still exactly like that. He said it needs a battery, although it fired right up? He might have charged it.

Fires right up, runs fine, doesn't smoke. I can't really find any rust on it, like he said. Looks shockingly well on that front. Couldn't access the passenger side more than on the pics, he promised me it is just as fine. Interior pretty well kept too. AC blows cold. Pretty dirty, but again, it sat. Front driver side indicator is literally filled with water almost to the top. Didn't see indications of an oily mess in the engine bay, no stains on the ground underneath the car. Oh yeah, remote doesn't work, in lock central locking works though. He said should only be the battery. Did a quick highly scientific "wobble the car and see how often it moves back and forth" test, 2 swings and it stopped. Not bad, I guess? :D

I told him I'll check spare prices and then consider it. He asked to hear back on Tuesday, as it fits his work schedule. He also asked for a straight simple yes or no, and not to drag it out forever with maybes and whatnots. Fair enough.

Those passats (like the A4 and A6) have fancy dual wishbones up front. Eight control arms in total which will need replacing on a rolling schedule like the bolts in the eifel tower. It was a bit embarrassing for VAG when the cars were new and they failed their first inspection etc.

There are plenty of cheap knockoff parts available these days.

Re: Passat linkage: Yeah I saw the wide range of cheap sets if it needs it. It remains an interesting candidate.

In other news:

- I made a video explaining this whole deal for my YT channel and GFM, just reiterating what wrote above and in the GFM. I'll get to edit/upload that after I post this.

- I looked at, and dismissed, a 250 EUR Twingo, because it was too far gone rust wise.

- I got an answer from this Punto seller (tl;dr: '96 Punto, 258kkm, TÜV 4/22, new head gasket 2yrs ago, new clutch just now. Scratches dings and dents. Listed for 499. The seller likes the idea, for new TÜV the Punto would need at least a little rust hole in the floor pan of the spare wheel well welded, other than that he's unaware of issues. He'd like to do his share and offered the car to me for 350 EUR. I think we might have our first car, even if it just has 9 month TÜV. Depending on further inspection, it might be worst finding someone to weld it and re-TÜV it.

- I also got an answer from this Passat seller. TL;DR: '98 Passat Wagon 1.8, 186kkm, TÜV ran out just now, had all kinds of maintenance over the last few years, head gasket, AC condenser, control arms, bushings, brakes, shocks, exhaust. Currently makes a weird noise when steering, also when turning on the AC? He doesn't know if those are TÜV relevant issues or not, he invited me to come by.

And then.. I went to check out a car for @loose_unit at the same dealer that we got Ralph from, and I ended up with an offer to help with this attempt at doing good here. He'll talk to his brother tomorrow, they might be offering me a bunch of bottom end pricing cars for cheap. He currently has a 106, a Lupu and 1, maybe 2 Zafiras in mind. All have TÜV, one of the Zafiras has misfire issues that they haven't found yet. He also offered me one of his private cars that someone in the family used to drive. It is a "tuned" '99 Opel Astra, lowered, exhaust, tinted lights, well optioned, 2.0 150hp petrol, 268kkm. He has it listed for 1k with fresh TÜV. Right now it needs a front spring and (iirc) a front tie rod or something similar, and then new TÜV. If I'd be interested in doing that myself, he's willing to take almost any offer and not make any money on it. We agreed in the end that I'll come back tomorrow to talk with him and his brother about those cars, and I'll make him an offer on his Astra. He also said he would / could talk to other dealers in the area, and if I got enough funding, we could possibly get a bunch more cars going.

Soooooo..... Didn't expect this sunday to go lile that :oops:. I feel the urge to get the word out even more now.
Equus has the same and also the same issues but over a longer period

They’ve gotten the hang of it now (it’s been a quarter of a century after all) but the mid/late 90’s cars were pretty miserable.
Today I got scheduled to lool at a civic that ran out of TÜV, apparently needs a very small rust hole patched in the floor and in the muffler, plus maybe a rubber joint or two. Asking 600 obo. We'll see if it can get cheap enough.

I also got an appointment for a 150 Euro Twingo.. I don't expect it to go well, but I'll have a look. Looks clean, allegedly needs just a front wheel bearing. Hasn't answered the TÜV question, so probably none.
Hm. I like the idea, but money is a bit tight at the moment.

But if you need anything driven from the Freiburg area to somewhere vaguely near Cologne, I should be able to do that in early August, probably the 5th. Got a domestic courier job to Freiburg on the 4th, need to get back home to NRW and my company probably won’t care if I put fuel instead of a train ticket on expenses.