Of course, if you are looking for an amazing secret stash of JDM imports and wild collectibles, you should check out Duncan Imports & Classic Cars in Christiansburg, VA

You scour for hours on every car listing site you can for your dream car that has the perfect combo of options for the right price. Too frequently, what you seek cannot be found, even if you hope against hope that in some secret corner of the internet that car is for sale. I’m here to tell you, that place doesn’t exist.

I search for and work deals on cars for a living. I spend about half my day just looking for stuff. So I’m not surprised when a reader reaches out to me for help in finding some unicorn that for whatever reason hasn’t materialized. They hope that I have some trick or wizardry that can locate a car they have been unable to find. The truth is, I don’t. I may be more efficient in finding something and have more experience in determining what is the best value, but I can’t materialize inventory that isn’t for sale.

Still, the questions keep coming, usually, reading something like this:

I would like a 2014/2015 Maserati Ghibli, Blu Passione exterior, Red interior. Premium package, Executive/Luxury Package, Sport Package or Skyhook suspension option. Under 20k miles for around 45k out the door with all tax and fees.

When I do an initial search for a car, my two primary weapons of choice are Autotrader and Cars.com. There are others like CarGurus, but rarely have I found a listing on those smaller players that was not already on the bigger sites.

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Obviously, the third party search tools don’t allow me to search by specific options, but I can narrow it down by year, color, mileage and price. When I run a nationwide search on Autotrader based on a 2014/2015 Maserati Ghibli, Blue over red with under 20k miles and a max price of 45k, I get the following:

Autotrader found no cars matching that description. So I went over to Cars.com and ran the same search.

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That site found zero exact matches and one “close match” for almost $50,000 which would not be anywhere near $45,000 including tax and fees.

So then I went to a more specialized search. Sometimes higher end, luxury, or exotic cars may not be found on the listing sites for us plebes, but may pop up on a place like the DuPont Registry, which is basically Craigslist for rich people.

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DuPont Registry does not have the advanced search features that most other sites do because I suspect that buyers that visit that site just click “Ferrari” and have their butler make a phone call to buy one they like. But even on a website that specializes in fancy cars, I only got one hit on a 2017 Maserati with a “call for price” and I was pretty sure this one would be beyond the budget.

All of which is to say: If you can’t find the car you want, it’s probably not for sale, a fact that many of us are guilty of not wanting to believe. There isn’t some other website stashed away that only some secret enthusiast handshake can access. If someone wants to sell their car, 99 percent of the time they aren’t going to hide it.

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So, if you can’t find your dream car, you have two choices. You can wait and hope that someday it will appear for sale, or you need to get more flexible about budget, options, and colors. Some dreams are never meant to be realized.