The Trepanier built, eBay Motors sponsored Ford Mustang project produced a very cool car. What is very interesting about his project is that all parts, including the original car, were purchased through eBay. The networks of enthusiasm that produce and maintain what I call the ‘trading-post economy’ of modified-car culture were explicitly incorporated into eBay’s online auction business.
The ‘trading-post economy’ is a term derived from the ubiquitous ‘Trading Post’ type community-based newspapers that have space for the advertisement of second hand goods. This is the second evolution of the enthusiast-based economy of modified-car culture. The first economy was based around scrap or wrecking yards and swap meets. The introduction of a shared mediated space (newspaper) that allowed buyers and sellers to come together for the first time was a massive jump. The shift towards online-based spaces of the enthusiast-based economy, either on websites or enthusiast forums, is another jump. The economies are no longer necessarily localised, that is, based around spatially determined communities, but can transcend spatial proximity. This is exactly one of the selling points eBay Motors is trying to hammer home with the Mustang project:
Q [eBay Motors]: How does eBay Motors benefit the guy building a car?
Troy [Trepanier]: Of course, first, being able to find a car. Second, lots of guys like to shop around for rare parts, or get a deal on parts. Third, being able to sell parts easily. In the past, if a guy was building say, a ’67 Mustang Fastback, and he had a lot of leftover parts, what could he have done with them? Now, he can put them on eBay Motors, and sell them, and make a lot more money on them, without heading out to a swap meet.