Well, the good news is that I'm not afraid anymore. I went out yesterday and met yet my 2nd car dude Andre (which apparently I need to clarify, he is a completely separate contact that had nothing to do with the first event).
If my gut screams at me again, I believe I won't be quite so foolish again.
But I won't run unnecessarily.
But I still don't have a car.
While it is a wealth of great "deals" craigslist is is frustrating source of tidbits of incredible usefulness hidden amongst a thousand and one scams, weirdos, and people that just don't show up. It did help me get two buyers for my car within a week though... but shopping on there has been unreliable.