Does Low Mileage Mean Great Condition? Not Necessarily.

After appraising automobiles of all types for over 40 years, one thing has become clear; true low mileage is not an indication of good condition and roadworthiness.

Low Mileage vehicle doesn't mean good conditionAAG recently completed a prepurchase inspection assignment on an 8-year-old sports car with only 2200 miles on the odometer. At first one would think that would be a great candidate for purchase without question. Some would say it is almost as good as a brand new car. But consider this; during those 8 years the car was only driven 275 miles a year. This indicates a very low wear pattern. Automobiles develop a distinctive wear pattern. When the wear pattern is changed by a new owner, the automobile will react to the new and different wear pattern in some negative ways.

This means that you will likely see leaks from the engine or transmission. If this is a manual transmission, a clutch replacement may be needed. Any place that has a gasket may develop a leak once the vehicle is driven. While the wear and tear on the mechanical components is less because of the low mileage, the new owner should plan on replacing a number of gaskets to eliminate the loss of fluids.

When we appraise vehicles, another item of concern we see is the age of the tires. The tread may still look good, but it could have flat spots from sitting in storage. More worrisome is that it may have dry rot on the inside. Tires have date codes that will help you determine if replacement is warranted.

Letting an automobile sit and not driving it on a regular basis means areas that are normally lubricated when in operation are not receiving the benefits of those fluids. An auto is a self-lubricating piece of machinery. As with many other things, use it or lose it. Other items to consider in a low mileage vehicle include brake fluid lines and gas tanks that have become contaminated because of sitting with old gas in them. When considering the purchase of a low mileage vehicle or one that has been sitting for many months or years, check the fuel gauge. Cars should be stored with a full tank to eliminate condensation issues and ideally should be run for 30 minutes at a time every month.

Low mileage does not always equal an almost new roadworthy car. Do not buy a low mileage car and expect great mechanical condition without the expectation of some immediate mechanical maintenance and repairs. Non-use is not your friend unless special care has been taken to regularly exercise and thereby lubricate the vehicle.

Larry Batton
Happy Motoring!

Collector Car Value Trends

Collector Car Value Appraisal Financal Chart

The antique auto market is set for an increase in values of select collector cars.  The market values have been flat overall but recent shows and sales at Carlisle Ford Nationals and Carlisle Chrysler Nationals are up.  We can expect to see values at the Corvette Nationals to be up as well.

Demand for collector cars in good condition is up but the supply is down, which means increases in values.  Autos that are original or are restored to correct specifications are bringing the best values but are getting harder to find.  Look for some values to rise 4 to 8 percent by year’s end on vehicles in good to very good condition.

The most important factor affecting values is documentation. Maintenance history is good but it’s helpful to also know who owned it, who restored it, what was restored, how it was restored, when it was restored and where it was restored. Documentation can drive up the selling price by 30 to 50 % as consumer confidence increases.

Watch for the Fall Carlisle and AACA Hershey Auctions to bring good buying opportunities. And remember to always buy the car you want. Don’t settle for less.  It’s a whole lot easier to buy one then to sell one.

Happy Motoring,

Larry Batton

6 Things to Consider Before you Buy a Classic Car

  1. Documentation. Who? What? When? Where? Ask for copies of restoration receipts, maintenance records.  Who did the work? What was done? When was it done? Where was it done? Where has the car been driven? How has it been stored?  Other documents could include a copy of the build sheet from the manufacturer, window sticker or Maroney label.
  2. Ownership.  How long has the current owner had the car? Do the owners know its history or are they flipping it, trying to make a quick sale?
  3. Ask to see the title. What is the vehicle’s ID number?   Google it.  Old advertisements may still be available online. Look at both sides of the title. Is the title in the seller’s name, is it on consignment or are they floating the title? Look for words like salvaged, rebuilt, or a reissued VIN.
  4. Why is the car for sale?  How much will they take for it and why that much?
  5. Is the seller willing to have the car inspected by an independent appraiser?  If so, tell them you’d like to wait to make an offer on the car until after the inspection if it’s still what you’re looking for.  If they say OK, then move forward with the inspection.
  6. Never pay cash unless you are in a bank or safe location during the transfer of the money.

What I Love about Hershey

Having just gotten back to the real world after my week at Hershey, I can’t help but reflect on what a great time we had again this year. Except for the brief thunderstorm and subsequent run-off that washed our cooler out of the tent and the Saturday afternoon rain, the weather was nearly perfect. If you’ve never been and you like old cars, you have to put it on your bucket list.  If you have been, maybe you could add your comments about what you love about Hershey.  There are three things that stand out for me this year.

  1. The People – Interacting with many of the AAG agents face-to-face rather than on the phone.  I spend a lot of time on the phone.  Talking with clients, talking with agents, talking to whoever wants to talk with me.  It’s fun to be able to hang out with the agents and get to know each other outside of the appraisal business.  Not that we don’t talk shop, but we can relax and talk cars, family and other fun stuff too.   Hershey is also a great place to see old friends, clients and meet lots of new people.  Life’s all about relationships.The Wednesday Gang
  2. The Cars – Of course being able to visit the car coral and see what bargains are out there and what cars keep coming back year after year, is a great way to spend the day.  But the best part is Saturday morning, watching all the cars drive onto the show field for judging.  Where else are you going to see 900 antique cars being driven into place with period costumes, a little gray smoke and lots of smiling faces?  This is the culmination of a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Whether restored and detailed by their owners or a recent purchase and first time entrant, it makes me feel good to see so many living the dream and participating in the hobby.     White brass era
  3. The AACA – How many volunteers does it take to host 300,000 people?  And how many shows are hosted by the AACA on every level throughout the country each year? How many hours are given to make your local, regional and national club a place that allows people to live out their passion for the history of the automobile and the old car hobby? The AACA helps owners to restore, maintain and drive those old cars while hanging out with friends and building community around that passion.  By supporting the AACA we are really supporting one another. Thank you to the AACA for another great event.

Corvette Value Trends Seminars – Corvettes at Carlisle – Friday & Saturday at 10AM

Red Corvette - Corvette Value

What’s hot, and what’s not in today’s Corvette market. Don’t miss this very informative seminar this weekend at Corvettes at Carlisle on Friday and Saturday mornings at 10AM. Be in the know about today’s Corvette values and what the future may hold. What does customization do to the value? What are recent sales trends? Can you spot which cars sold for more at recent auctions? You may be surprised. Come sit a spell and let our founder and market value expert, Larry Batton, entertain and educate you on trends for one of America’s favorite sports cars. If you miss the seminar, invite your local AAG agent to share our presentation at one of your upcoming club events. Call us today for more information. 1-800-848-2886.

Interesting Information about Carroll Shelby

Carroll Shelby

  • He was a well-known race car driver and some considered him the best driver in the world.
  • He was the founder of Shelby American company.
  • He was a romantic. He dropped love letters in a boot from an airplane as he flew over his fiancé’s farm while he was a flight instructor in San Antonio during WWII.
  • He was Tough. In 1955 he drove the “12 Hours of Sebring” race with a broken hand that was in a fiberglass cast and taped to the steering wheel.
  • He invented the Cobra in his sleep. Like many great minds, he kept pen and paper by his bed for ideas in the middle of the night.
  • Shelby drove for Enzo Ferrari until several drivers including Luigi Musso, a friend of his was killed.
  • Shelby’s beef with Enzo lead to the birth of the legendary Cobra Daytona, which strangely used WWII-era German tech to beat Ferraris on European tracks.
  • He was the first American manufacturer to win the FIA World Sportscar Championship.
  • Ford drafted Shelby to reshape the Mustang so it could race in the “Sports Car Club of America” against the Corvette.
  • In February 2014 a Cobra Daytona became the first car considered to be a piece of national heritage by the Library of Congress.

Don’t miss the Ford Nationals

Red Mustang at the Ford Nationals

Watch for record attendance at the next all-Ford Nationals in Carlisle on June 5-7.  This year we celebrate 50 years of the Ford Mustang and that includes honoring 50 years of the Shelby GT350  as well as a special GT-40 display.

As one of America’s favorite collector cars, the Mustang has seen an uptick in value as its anniversary celebration continues. The Auto Appraisal Group will host two seminars focused on value trends for the Mustang and Shelby GT350 over the past 50 years.  Come early to get a good seat and be prepared to participate in our classic car value “Fact or Fiction” fun.  Friday’s seminar is at 12 Noon and will review 50 years of Mustang values. Saturday at 1PM we will cover 50 years of Shelby values.

Don’t miss this special weekend presented by Carlisle Events, one of our country’s largest and most welcoming car show hosts.

 

Spring is Here, Buyer Beware

Prepurchase Inspection

Good news! It’s time to start getting collector cars out of storage and on the road. Or maybe you’re looking for the car of your dreams to drive, show and enjoy.

Buyer beware! Over the last few months, we have seen an increase in so-called brokers selling non-existent cars. We have been asked to inspect cars at locations that are empty lots or abandoned buildings with no car or seller in sight.

Do not send a deposit on a car that you have not seen in person or had inspected by a certified appraiser.  We also have a list of brokers and businesses that do not want to allow an inspection of whatever they are marketing.  We can only guess that they do not want us to report on the true condition of the vehicle.  Some will only allow inspections by “their inspectors”.  We recommend that no inspection means “no sale”. Additionally, you should have control over which independent appraiser you hire.  You want someone to work for you, not to help them sell the automobile.

There are only a few professional dealerships that offer any type of warranty on collector cars. Most dealers, brokers and private sellers offer their vehicles “As Is – No Warranty intended or expressed. Where is, as is. You buy it you own it”. A prepurchase inspection will and has saved our clients tens of thousands of dollars. Buying a car sight-unseen could lead to owning a money-pit. An experience no one wants.

We never tell our clients to buy or not to buy. We tell our clients what we see and document the condition of the vehicle including a test ride.  Most cars look better in a photo from 10 feet away than up-close and in person.  And most ads include some type of embellishment about condition.  After all, they’re trying to shine the best light on it.   We present the facts, with no emotional or financial involvement.

Reputable sellers expect you to want to see what you are buying before you negotiate your purchase. Be a wise consumer. Know what you are buying before you make a deal, not after. Call us for a prepurchase inspection. If you’re looking at a car at a dealership that has proven to be unwilling to allow inspections or is uncooperative when we get onsite by not being able to find keys, move other vehicles out of the way or won’t even charge a battery to allow us to test features, we will tell you before we take your order.  Our interest is your best interest.  Let us know how we can help you.

Lipstick on a pig

Prepurchase inspection by Auto Appraisal Groupphoto credit style.com

A dressed up pig with lipstick is a pig dressed up with lipstick.  Put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig. We are often asked to inspect pigs that have been dressed up by their sellers in hopes that buyers will think they are buying a race horse, but they are still pigs. We understand that sellers are trying to sell their pig while buyers are trying to buy a race horse.  When we are hired as an independent inspector, we will not tell our clients that a pig is a horse.

Of course we are talking about cars and our role as an objective inspector when we perform prepurchase inspections.  On the rare occasion that a seller does not want an independent inspector to take a look at their stock before a buyer commits to a purchase, then perhaps they don’t want you to know about the dressed up pig.

Fortunately, most sellers are open to allowing an inspection. Every car stands on its merits. We document exactly what we see and call them as we see them.  For many years, resellers have used Auto Appraisal Group’s services when they buy autos to resell. Many more buyers use our service to help them decide which of the many vehicles available is the one that best meets their needs. Don’t let your dream car turn out to be a nightmare. Protect yourself. Our service saves our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. It also helps collectors to find the right automobile for them. Be a wise consumer. Know what you are buying before you buy it.

Harold LeMay Collection Featured on Fox Business Series

1929PierceArrowModel125Touring

Larry was recently interviewed for an episode of a Fox Business News Series entitled “Strange Inheritance” while at the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The show can be seen Tuesday night, January 27th at 9PM. This episode, which features the LeMay Auto Collection of over 3000 Cars, will include some details about AAG’s appraisal of the automobiles for the estate. The project took 6 months to complete and utilized the skills and manpower of AAG’s agents from across the country.  Harold LeMay was a true collector and it was an honor to help his family inventory and identify his vast collection of automobiles.  We hope that you will have a chance to check out the show. The photo is of a 1929 Pierce Arrow Model 125 Touring car from the collection.  http://www.strangeinheritance.com/