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Teen barters old cell phone up to a Porsche

After two years and 14 trades on Craigslist's barter section, the 17-year-old is driving a Boxster.

By Karen Datko Jul 20, 2010 8:01PM

Steven Ortiz enjoys driving his 2000 Porsche Boxster S to and from school. But, put off by the $150 oil changes and other maintenance costs, the 17-year-old from Glendora, Calif., is looking to trade it for yet another ride -- once again via the bartering section at Craigslist.

Ortiz started out with an old cell phone and eventually traded up to that sweet convertible, according to a story by Rebecca Kimitch in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. It took two years and 14 swaps at Craigslist to reach this point. She wrote:

He traded that phone for a better phone, which he then traded for an iPod Touch. He traded that for a series of dirt bikes, a MacBook Pro, and a 1987 Toyota 4Runner.
At the time, Steven was just 15 and unable to drive his new acquisition. So he quickly swapped it out for a souped-up off-road golf cart, another more valuable dirt bike, a street bike, then a series of cars ending with a 1975 Ford Bronco. He spent a few months enjoying each acquisition before determining he was looking for something else.

He eventually swapped the Bronco, desired by some collectors and worth about $15,000, for the Porsche, worth about $9,000, Kimitch said. "It was actually a trade down, one that we can't really fault him for -- everyone needs to own a Porsche at least once in their life," wrote car enthusiast Ben Wojdyla on Jalopnik.


Bartering on Craigslist is, in fact, very popular these days. People who don't have money usually have something they can trade for the things they want or need. For instance, the guy who traded the Toyota for the MacBook "is a musician who really needed the computer for his band," Kimitch wrote.

Ortiz seems to be the anti-Kyle MacDonald, living a normal teenage life, except for the five or so hours he spends each day checking out Craigslist for excellent deals. He is inspiring. "Although Ortiz's story isn't the first time we've seen Craigslist-swapping writ large, it's the first one we've seen that doesn't include any outside help," Wojdyla wrote.


"This is the story of enterprise in hard times," penned Chris Matyszczyk at CNET News. "It is the story of a teen who dedicated himself to improving his lot. It is the story of how one young man turned an old cell phone into a Porsche. Without any money changing hands."


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