In the case of classic cars, it is difficult to quantify how a person’s desire or taste may ultimately affect the final value of a vehicle.
Take the example of an appraiser who had to inspect and determine the value of two 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Roadsters. Both cars had 327-350 engines, had run around 45,000 miles with factory air- conditioning and all other options. One of the cars had all original documentation with Tank and Window stickers, Protect-O-Plate and the bill of sale. The car was entirely original with no restoration work except for a new high quality paint job. The other car had no documentation and had undergone a restoration worth $100,000. Both cars were appraised at a value of around $75,000.
It’s not impossible for a car that has undergone 100 hours of extensive restoration to cost the same as one that has had no restoration work done at all. In fact, in most cases the cost of restoration will always exceed the book value of the vehicle. When you look at the bigger picture, the cost of classic car restoration is often not worth the work, time, energy, and return value of the car itself.
Before you purchase a car with the intention of restoring it, a thorough investigation must be done to evaluate whether or not a certain vehicle will bring enough of a return to make it worth investing in. Rusting, alignment issues, signs of water damage or other aging; these are all things to look out for that will make a restoration much more labor intensive and costly. A few more specific things to watch out for:
Body - Check for waves, paint blisters or damage on the side panels. Look out for rust on the wheels or headlights and other places where rust usually occurs. A magnet check all over the body will help you locate body fillers, rust, and body damage.
Doors - Are there gaps or do they sag, which will indicate worn out hinges? Do the edges have rust or paint blisters? Check the weather seals for aging or cracking.
Hood and Trunk - Is anything dented, rippling or rusting around the hood, and is there rust under the carpeting? Do the doors close properly?
Top - What material is the top made of? Is it original material, is the material showing discoloration and is the stitching intact? Can the top be raised and lowered smoothly? Is the rear window of the top made of original material?
No matter the condition of the car, it is always important to retain some form of original paperwork or identification with the vehicle. If the vehicle has no significant marker of originality, this can damage the value significantly.
Every collector defines his own terms to appraise the value of his desired classic car. Every car has its agreed value, replacement value and a fair market value. No value is wrong or right but the only value that matters is the one that makes a restoration worthwhile.
The value of a car is also always higher when it is insured and maintained well. Contact Classic Auto for affordable collector car insurance options that will help take care of your classic in every way.
About the Author
Drew Yagodnik is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.