Stuart Lowe began his crime spree in February when he knocked on the door of a Tettenhall man who had put â€˜for saleâ€™ sign in the window of his Â£9,000 Mercedes.
The 36-year-old used the ruse of being a potential buyer and asked the ownerâ€™s brother-in-law, who was in the house at the time, for a closer look.
Eager for a sale, the unsuspecting victim obliged and started the engine for Lowe, who then jumped in the driverâ€™s seat and casually sped away into the distance.
He struck again on 12 March, this time arranging to meet the owner of a Porsche Boxter, whoâ€™d put his car up for sale for Â£9,000 on Auto Trader.
Lowe used the pseudonym â€˜Steveâ€™ and called using a pay-as-you-go SIM card in a bid to avoid detection.
When he arranged to see the car at the victimâ€™s workplace on Bridgnorth Road he sat in the driverâ€™s seat with the engine running and asked for a test drive.
But as the seller moved some clothes from the passenger seat and took them into his shop, Lowe again sped away.
Detectives began to link the offences when Lowe, of no fixed address, targeted a third unsuspecting seller on the afternoon of 20 March in Farm Road, Wolverhampton.
This time he had his eyes on a Â£7,000 Audi A3 and again, using exactly the same story, drove away effortlessly after asking the owner to start the engine.
Police enquiries led to him being named as a suspect; he was then picked out of an identity parade by all three victims and arrested on 23 May.
In interview he admitted stealing all three cars for a â€˜joyrideâ€™ but claims he never made any financial gain from selling them.
He also confessed to four other offences and so was sentenced to 29 months for seven thefts of motor vehicles when he appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Wednesday (18 June).
None of the vehicles have ever been recovered.
Sergeant Matt Cooper, from Wolverhampton Police, said: “Lowe was an arrogant thief who was so cocky he made appointments to steal his cars. He deserves the lengthy sentence thatâ€™s been handed to him.
“There are crooks out there who think nothing of taking other peopleâ€™s property but weâ€™re always on to them and weâ€™ll do everything in our power to lock them up and put them before the courts.
“Most people are of course genuine when they are buying or selling cars but this should serve as a reminder to be vigilant.
“You should never let the buyer go on a test drive on their own and donâ€™t leave them alone with the keys in the ignition.
“Itâ€™s always a good idea to ask the person for proof of their identity and if you youâ€™re worried about your safety, donâ€™t meet people alone.”
TheÂ Citizens Advice BureauÂ has advice on selling your car privately.