As it turns out, slimy used car salesmen have been conning people for the past 100 years. The difference is that since automobiles were still a fairly new commodity at the time, the most second-hand car customers were even more clueless about mechanics than today's average person. In this article, published just a three years after Henry Ford began mass-producing his Model Ts, we taught readers how to spot hidden flaws in used cars. For instance, if you wanted to confirm that the 1917 Ford you were buying was actually from 1917, and not the 1913 edition in disguise, you could telephone the nearest Ford agency and ask them to check the date of sale against the engine number. That way, you could also confirm that the seller himself didn't buy the car second-hand while claiming that it is new.
Other tips: check your gears for heavy oil and ground cork installed to hide parts. If you're considering a second-hand Ford, buy it from a reputable agency. Unlike other cars, Ford automobiles could use parts from other models. This made it easy for dishonest sellers to install enough parts so that an older car looked brand new. Make sure you aren't being ripped off -- no car made before 1913 is worth more than $100. "Among all liars we take off our steel helmets to the sellers of old cars," we wrote.
Read the full story in "Buying a 'Used Car'"