THE KINGS CROSS CAR MARKT – R.I.P

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Sadly the Kings Cross Car Market no longer exists - a press release by Peter Burke, Managing Director of Travellers Auto Barn

Stationwagons for Sale

The new Kings Cross Car Market, which just happens to be located within meters of Travellers Auto Barn is a small garage so it can be a bit tricky to find and when you do find it you will no longer find eager backpackers itching to sell you their pride an

The world famous Kings Cross Car Market that operated since 1991 from the depths of the Kings Cross Car park is sadly no longer. The old car market was an institution, a place where backpackers would arrive with the most amazing array of Aussie buckets you were ever likely to see in one place. Good cars, cheap cars, outrageously over-priced cars, cars full of camping gear and outdoor gadgetry, cars on their last legs, cars that entered and never left, vans, bloody Kombi Vans, 4×4’s, and a never ending cavalcade of the backpackers best friend, the ford falcon station wagon.

The old Car market was just that, a car market. Sellers would arrive and pay for a parking spot, they would register their details and their car’s details in the car market register, pay their fee and wait for some likely punter to come along and lay down some cash. Most sellers would tart their cars up with photos, eye catching posters and slogans, “Long Rego included”, “New Engine”, “20,000ks without a flat tyre”, “One careful lady owner”

Certainly the old market was an institution and it was fiercely proud of its “no dealers” status. The car market was a place where backpackers sold to other backpackers. Only dealers rip off people and another backpacker would never do that, right!

All this action went on right under the hustle and bustle of Kings Cross. Most locals in the Cross barely new of its existence, it was on the second lowest level of an underground car park after all. Despite the camaraderie of the sellers, the place was bleak, working there was horrible, the sooty particulate matter that settled on everything tickled on the lungs of anyone who visited for days to follow. It was bleak, dark dingy and cold. Cold in summer and freaking’ freezing’ in winter.

Many buyers were predatory knowing full well that sellers had sell-by-dates, fixed airline tickets and would simply lead sellers up the garden path hoping that as each day passed one of them would crack and take anything that was offered. Other buyers knew so little about cars it was scary. But, like any sample group in society there were winners and losers. Some got bargains that never broke down while others bought cars and were back two days later trying to sell it in, pretending they’d owned it for months – “Yeah she’s super reliable. She’ll go anywhere” - always searching for some sucker as dumb as they were a couple of days previously.

On the whole the majority of buyers bought and sold for a reasonable loss. They wasted a week or so deciding which car to buy, they spent a week or so (better spent at Bond or Byron) trying to sell, they had a few breakdowns along the way, breakdowns which in years to come will become great dinner table yarns, but they did it all themselves. It was more like a ritual of passage than a financial transaction.
But all that is history.
Today there is a Kings Cross Car Market located near where the old market operated but it resembles the old market in name only. When the Sydney City Council installed new operators at the Kings Cross Car Park those new operators, being excellent car park business operators, where not interested in this quaint backpackers car market that had been quietly going on underneath Kings Cross for all those years.

The new Kings Cross Car Market, which just happens to be located within meters of Travellers Auto Barn, is a small garage so it can be a bit tricky to find and when you do find it you will no longer find eager backpackers itching to sell you their pride and joy. They are long gone. What you will find is a licensed motor dealer like any other. All cars for sale are owned by the Kings Cross Car Market, and the Kings Cross Car Market is a now the new kid on the block. They are not the rag tag, ramshackle market of old but a newly licensed, inexperienced car dealer who have to compete in the real world with every other dealer out there. Travellers Auto Barn have been operating since 1993 and have seen many operators come and go. We have always been a licensed dealer and have been proud to offer the security and support that comes with buying from licensed dealer. We have always welcomed competition and diversity in the market as it keeps everyone on their toes. We just hope the New Kings Cross Car Market has more to back it up than just a name.

To find out more visit our campervan hire website or contact T.A.B directly on 1800 674 374 or +61 2 8323 1505.

Travellers Auto Barn is a ‘one stop shop’ for backpacker and budget traveller planning their own trip around Australia. Travellers Auto Barn offers a range of campervans, cars & stationwagons for hire as well as for sale (including 4WDs).

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Bastian Graf
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