I do not know if it still happens. Young people from Europe travelling by car to West Africa and looking for a prospective buyer. With the profit made they can buy a ticket to fly back to Europe. Some people even made several journeys like this one.
Jeroen van Bergeijk, a Dutch journalist, had a travelling bug like this one mentioned. He was visiting a friuend who got married in Burkina Fasso. In a cab he saw a sicker of the Dutch top soccer team PSV. The owner of the cab did not know where his car came from. And Jeroen wondered ‘What has been the journey of this car?’ He decides to buy a car himself and travel to West Africa to sell his car over there.
He does some research to find a car that is wanted very much in West Africa. He finally buys a Mercedes 190 D (made in 2004). In this well written book he tells about his journey to West Africa, the people he meets who come from all over the world, joy and sadness, the passing of borders, about dangers and hospitality.
Twice he made the journey from The Netherlands to West Africa. The first journey was to sell his car, but on the way back he lost most of his notes. He made the journey for the second time, this time with his wife and children.
This book is not just the history of his journey, but also the history of the car he sold. He starts a search for the previous owners of this specific Mercedes and manages to find the first owner. He even vists the factory of Mercedes and watches how people have come to collect their ordered (and paid for) car.
Jeroen van Bergeijk – Mijn Mercedes is (niet) te koop – Amsterdam 2006 – 222 pages