Most Common Mistakes When Shopping for a Collector Car

Pre-purchase Inspections for Classic CarsNot Knowing What You Want

There are different types of collector cars just like there are different types of collectors. The collector who wants to spend time at car shows may be looking for a very different type of vehicle than the driver who merely wants to take friends and family out for a spin on a pretty Sunday afternoon. Knowing what you hope to get out of owning a collector car can help you determine where to shop and what kind of vehicle you want to buy. A pre-purchase inspection is more effective if you understand what type of collector experience you want to find.

Ask yourself what your dream of owning a collector car entails: Are you interested in showing at car shows? Will you be driving this car regularly to work? Are you hoping to buy an automobile that will increase in value and prove to be a wise investment? Or do you want to have something you can work on yourself and improve while enjoying the process of restoration and maintenance? Understanding your goals will narrow your focus and make it more likely that you will purchase the collector car you truly want, and can help you to discuss with an appraiser the specifics of your pre-purchase inspection.

Lack of Familiarity with a Qualified Mechanic

Classic Cars Pre-purchase InspectionClassic and collector cars come with their own needs, and a trusting, working relationship with a mechanic who is qualified to work on your collector car is a vital part of ownership. If the classic car you purchased is unrestored or an older restoration, the vehicle may need repairs or restoration as well. Even if you have purchased a restored car, the vehicle will need routine maintenance.

Maintenance, restoration and repair of a collector car require knowledge of authentic parts and methods to sustain the car’s originality. Not just any mechanic can be trusted – you need to know that your mechanic has experience with your auto’s special needs. If you have a reliable mechanic, you can discuss the findings from your pre-purchase inspection or certified appraisal and make a plan that will allow you to enjoy your new purchase sooner.

Unfamiliarity with the Driver Experience for a Specific Model

Prepurchase Auto Appraisal for Classic CarsOf course we all want to own a ’69 Ferrari GTO in racing red. Or you may think that a ’57 Chevy will provide the driving experience you’ve always wanted. But if you have never driven the vehicle you hope to purchase, you may not know enough for a test drive to give you an accurate idea of the condition of the vehicle. Without some knowledge and experience, it would be hard to determine if a collector car has stiff or poorly functioning controls, or if that is simply the nature of that particular model.

Classic Car Shopping and Prepurchase Inspection from Auto Appraisal Group, Inc.Furthermore, you might find that you don’t enjoy or simply can’t drive a vehicle with no power steering or power brakes. If you are short, you may not be able to see over the dashboard to drive safely, or if you are big and tall, you may not even fit into a tiny driver’s seat. Get to know the collector car you are hoping to purchase and make sure that the driving experience matches your expectations. Your pre-purchase inspection performed by an experienced appraiser can give you insight into a collector car’s condition and how well it represents the best possible driving experience for that vehicle.

Believing the Car Won’t Need Any Maintenance

All autos need maintenance, and in the case of collector cars, this can be particularly true. Whether you drive the vehicle or not, an old car will need routine maintenance. You may buy the vehicle in 5-star condition from a trusted seller, but what works on the car today may not work next week. Cars develop a wear pattern and when that pattern changes, it can develop problems that need attention. Plan for routine maintenance and inspections, and be prepared should the car need repairs. It is also a good idea to schedule an appraisal after major repairs or restoration to insure you have current documentation should you ever need to file an insurance claim.

Assuming You Won’t Need a Pre-Purchase Inspection

Prepurchase Inspection by Auto Appraisal Group, Inc.There are several details that are easy to miss, even if you are an experienced car collector with a garage full of successfully purchased automobiles. A pre-purchase inspection performed by a qualified appraisal company helps you to avoid missing important details, and ensures that you will receive the proper documentation to confirm the car’s value and condition. A certified appraiser, like those at AAG, can establish the value of the vehicle so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to buy a particular collector car.

Make an appointment to have a pre-purchase inspection completed an independent appraisal service like AAG. We provide the documentation needed to make an informed decision before you buy a collector car. Our appraisers provide the knowledge, training, and experience to compare your choice with other collector cars of the same make and model, equipping you with the most information and the ability to shop with confidence. Call us today to schedule a pre-purchase inspection, and enjoy shopping for your next collector car!

1969 Corvette Value Trends Seminar – Hosted by AAG

1969 Corvette Value Trends Seminar – hosted by Auto Appraisal GroupHaving just celebrated the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, many of us have turned to someone and said “Can you believe it has been 50 years since 1969?”  This weekend at Corvettes at Carlisle, we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Corvette.  This Stingray was well-received with its new larger 350 CID 300-hp engine as standard with a 350-hp version available.

AAG will be hosting two seminars at the show this weekend on Friday & Saturday mornings at 9:00 AM.  Play along with our Trivia and Fact or Fiction review of recent 1969 Corvette sales to see how current your value trend skills are.  Stop by the booth on the Midway to check on our show specials.  We look forward to seeing you at one of the largest Corvette events in the country!

Paint Color Price Inflation

Paint Color Price InflationAs an appraiser I am constantly looking at options, values and the many variables that make each auto we appraise unique. Most people probably think that color does not affect the value. What do you think?  Would you rather have a red sports car or a brown sports car?  Do you prefer white cars with red, blue or beige interiors?  What color is the last car to sell? Over the years, the cost of special colors has definitely increased. Check out this short article written by one of our Oklahoma agents, Joe Smith.

Optional Paint Color Price Inflation

When we visited the STUDEBAKER Museum about 20 years ago they had a mid-1930’s rumble seat roadster in a yellow color on display and it stated the yellow color was a $10.00 option. When we were researching 1948 to 1953 CHEVROLET pick-ups we discovered they had only one standard color, Forest Green. The other six colors were a $10.00 option. I was doing research on a 1970 DODGE Challenger to do an appraisal. They had 13 standard colors and 8 High Impact colors that cost an extra $14.05 such as Plum Crazy, Panther Pink, etc. Inflation from the 1950’s to 1970 about 40%. In 2019 a CADILLAC Escalade has two standard colors and six optional colors. The optional colors range from $695.00 to $1,225.00. The same colors on a 2019 CHEVROLET Suburban are about $200-300 less than the Cadillac. In 1950 the optional color on a CHEVROLET was $10.00 and in 2019 $995.00, about 100 times more.

Forest Green Chevy PickupWhen completing an auto appraisal report, the color is considered because popularity affects the value.  You’ve heard the phrase “that car has eyes” meaning it’s a really good looking car.  Buyers want the colors they like.  You’ll find a lot of collector cars have been repainted Red, White or Blue whether that was the original color or not. Car salesman refer to some of these repaints as “resale red”.  Few are repainted green or brown unless that was the correct color and type for the period.  The 1958 Corvette’s most popular color was Snowcrest White but by 1968 the most popular Corvette color was British Green. In 1978 the most popular Corvette color was a custom two-tone Silver Anniversary paint scheme. If you look ahead one more decade by 1988 the most popular Corvette color was Bright Red.  So yes, an auto appraiser does consider color but it’s not always measurable and typically has a minimal effect.  When completing the appraisal report, the condition of the paint and the body underneath will have a greater effect on the value than the color.

Vehicle Color ChartWhat auto colors are trending now? Sources say that the most universally useful and popular color for 2019 is DuPont’s “Saharan Bronze”, a color that does nicely on a Ford F150 or Chevy Suburban, while still looking polished and sophisticated on a BMW or a Fiat. Gunmetal grey and “Gunmetal Pearl” are equally universal favorites and can be seen on a wide variety of makes and models. The new “power” colors have shifted from primarily red, white or blue color to dynamic yellows and greens. The Chevrolet Corvette has found a new generation of “wow” in Racing Yellow, while sports standbys like Dodge and Lamborghini are showing off nearly neon greens. The once iconic red or silver Porsche 911 can now be seen in brilliant Lava Orange, a “power” color that has maintained its appeal for nearly 5 years. When it comes to “cars with eyes”, the key factor in current trends seems to be bright, bold, non-traditional color, with Jeeps, Fiats, and sports cars appearing in bright teal, brilliant blues, and dramatic, vivid purples.

Happy Motoring!
Larry

Do I Need a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

Pre-Purchase Inspection - Close up of chrome and paint at trunk and rear lightsMisaligned ChromeModern car purchasing has changed dramatically from the traditional methods. Online purchasing and a shift towards buying classic cars as investment pieces has made the process both more convenient and more open to misuse.

The FBI and the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York recently uncovered a $4.5 million fraud ring that involved classic cars, indicting 25 defendants for running a nationwide scheme posting fake classic cars for sale online. Victims of the ring would respond to ads online and then be directed to shell corporations to pay for a car they would never receive. In most cases, the money lost was never recovered, and some victims were left with no choice but to continue to pay auto loans without ever receiving a car.

Pre-Purchase Vehicle Inspection - Note tear at bottom edge of door panelDoor Panel WearAAG’s professional inspection process has exposed fraudulent sellers in the past. Dishonest sellers won’t return calls when they discover we’ve been asked to complete an inspection. Or, agents have arrived at the address given by the seller to find empty lots and no cars for sale.

With the convenience of one-click shopping and online auctions comes the need to do your homework: the best way to protect yourself when buying a car is a pre-purchase inspection from a trusted and certified professional.

Pre-Purchase Car Inspection - 1959 Cadillac Fins1959 Cadillac FinsYou may be asking yourself “Do I need a pre-purchase inspection? I can probably go look at the car myself.” An experienced inspector can be your eyes and ears and will provide a detailed report that documents the vehicle’s condition. A professional pre-purchase inspection should include a market value consultation based upon the vehicle’s condition and documented history. An inspection can save you the cost and time of travel should you decide this vehicle is not the one that you want to purchase.

Make sure your pre-purchase inspection agent has been certified, and check to make sure they also provide the following:

    • • The opportunity to speak with your inspection agent before and after the inspection in case you have questions.

• A copy of the title or registration, pertinent receipts and information should be provided to the inspector by the seller.

• Documentation of all parts of the inspection, including notes on condition, originality, test ride results and paint gauge readings.

• Detailed photographs that provide first-hand evidence of the car’s complete condition, inside and out. Don’t rely on the seller’s photos alone.

• Data tag and vehicle identification numbers should be documented and decoded.

• Ask if your pre-purchase inspection company can provide a certified appraisal for insurance or bank loan purposes if you decide to purchase the vehicle.

• A value consultation with the master appraiser should be included. AAG utilizes its centralized database along with 30 years of experience to determine an accurate market value for the vehicle.

Pre-Buy Car Inspection - Photo of rust under mat in trunk
Under trunk mat
Pre-purchase inspections often uncover areas of concerns that may give you room to negotiate with the seller’s asking price.

Find an agent who is located near the vehicle in need of a pre-purchase inspection. AAG agents are located nationwide, allowing you to get a pre-purchase inspection promptly.

Before Buying Car Inspection - 1969 Lola T70 ReplicaLola CockpitIt is best to hire an inspector from an independent service, not one affiliated with selling or brokering cars. Pre-purchase inspection agents should work for you, rather than working to their own or the seller’s benefit.

Before you buy your next classic car, antique car or any other type of vehicle, have an independent pre-purchase inspection completed by an experienced, tested and certified AAG agent. AAG’s pre-purchase auto inspection service gives you the confidence to buy or walk away.

Read more about the case behind this article here.

Classic Values: Determine the Value of Your Classic Car

Classic Values: How to Determine the Value of Your Classic CarClassic car collectors know that one of the most rewarding things about collecting vintage vehicles is how these cars tend to retain their value with proper maintenance and care. More importantly, they are aware that to protect the value of their investments, it is vital to know the value of their classic car, and to document it properly with a professional appraisal.

Determining the value of a classic car is very important, but it is not always a straightforward process. Restoration work (or the lack thereof), condition, rarity, connection to famous people, and region can all have an impact on the value of your classic car. Most collectors prefer to allow a professional appraiser to prepare an appraisal report for them because vintage vehicle appraisals can be very difficult for novices in the field. Classic car appraisals require an understanding of the required procedures used to determine a fair value in this specialty marketplace.

Condition and Restoration
In the classic car market, condition plays a major role in the determination of the value of the vehicle. Restored vehicles usually command higher prices than similar unrestored vehicles, but the quality of restorations and even the origin of the restorations can create a wide variance in value. This makes a professional appraisal a must for most collectors, some of whom may restore their own vehicles, or work with famous garages and custom shops.

Faithful record keeping of all maintenance and restoration work can be a great way to document the quality of work and to ensure that materials are original or correct. Restoration records should show materials and work done as well as how often the vehicle receives basic maintenance. Furthermore, maintenance records can show that there were no accidents, and that the vehicle was not left unattended for long periods of time.

Running vehicles will always fetch higher prices than those that are non-functional. It is equally obvious that dings, scratches and other defects in the exterior of the vehicle will cause the car’s value to drop. Decals, hood ornaments, and other trim can also have an effect on the valuation of a classic car.
Comparable Pricing
Location and region can have a surprising effect on the range of classic car values in the market. Professional appraisers study fair market values of comparable vehicles within the same regional market, which may or may not include online and auction prices, depending on the availability of these services to regional buyers.

Determining Classic ValuesOnline auction sites sometimes provide additional details that help to create an accurate picture of comparable prices for the same make and model of vehicle in the regional marketplace. It is important to understand comprehensively how regional markets change – the same convertible might fetch a high price in Southern California while in Boston it attracts relatively few buyers.

Rarity
When demand is greater than supply, values increase. Obviously classic cars are generally rarer than other vehicles on the market. Among these, there are even more unique cars that are more sought after and harder to find. Basic economics will lead you to the probability that the fewer produced and the harder it is to find a car, the more its price will inflate to reflect its rarity.

Certain limited edition vehicles are also in high demand in spite of their more recent vintage. A car can be highly prized and sell for an extremely high price at auction or in a private sale. In this case, rarity is actually the selling point for the car. In such cases, it is extremely useful to have a professional appraiser help to determine the value of these one-of-a-kind vehicles.

Provenance
Sometimes a car is more valuable because it belonged to or was used by a famous person or celebrity. Vehicles associated with famous people have been known to capture as much as 10 times their fair market value. Celebrity cars are often auctioned for charities and selling prices can often be much higher. This can make it very difficult to determine your classic car’s value without professional assistance and experience.

Celebrity ownership is just one way that provenance can affect value. Restoration garages with a reputation for high standards of quality can demand a higher value range than cars restored to similar standards by an unknown mechanic. Cars customized by famous names are often more sought after and can get a higher price.

Since the classic and vintage car market tends to retain value, it is fundamentally important to document your repairs and restorations and to have professional classic car appraisals done to protect your collector cars.

Car Valuation: How Much is My Car Worth?

How much is your car worth?At some point in every car owner’s life, you ask yourself “How much is my car worth?” Car appraisal is the process that allows us to answer this question, but not all appraisals are the same. An inaccurate appraisal can cost you a lot of money – so what is the best way to get the right value?

Online Price Guide tools provide averages of different models but they are not the value of any one particular vehicle. To establish the value of a specific vehicle, factors unique to that automobile like condition, maintenance history and originality should be considered.

When you appraise a car, the following factors should be accounted for:

Make
The make or brand of your vehicle can significantly impact its value, even if the car condition is excellent. Some cars have a reputation for rapid depreciation while others tend to hold steady in value. These “high performers” tend to carry anywhere from 45-60% of their value during the first three years of ownership while other brands drop to 35% during the same period.

Modifications
If you’ve added aftermarket parts to your vehicle, it can affect the market value of the car, in many cases negatively. Buyers worry about quality of workmanship, maintenance and warranties for non-standard parts.

Condition of the Exterior
Everyone knows that dings, scratches and other marks on the vehicle will affect a car’s value negatively. If you’ve had a custom paint job, that may also detract from the overall value of the vehicle. And remember – bumper stickers and decals count as defects in the vehicle’s paint job.

Car ValuationCondition of the Interior
Worn out mats, scratched interiors, torn or stained upholstery – these things are a sure-fire ticket to lowered value. And keep in mind that while the dog hair covering the seats may be removable, as long as it’s there, it lowers your car’s value.

Mechanical Condition
If you have kept a record of all maintenance on the vehicle, you can help retain value – not only will this record help to prove that the car has never had any major issues or accidents, but will also show that the vehicle has been well cared for, even if it spends most of its time in a garage.

Transmission, Preferences, Etc.
Factors like automatic versus manual transmissions, sport utility capabilities, convertibles, and other preferences can affect the value of a vehicle. The price you can expect to receive may change regionally – for instance, a convertible might fetch a high price in California, while in Colorado, a sport utility vehicle with manual transmission may be more popular.

Mileage
By and large, fewer miles means higher value. In some cases, a low mileage car may actually be in very poor condition and fall well below the average appraisal for the same vehicle with more miles, but in general low mileage is a benefit. The flip side to this truth is that a car may be in mint condition with 225,000 miles and still not sell well.

So now you’re probably scratching your head and thinking “This is really hard! And I should probably go vacuum my car….” You’re right, it’s not as simple as you might think to accurately determine what your car is worth.

You may need an appraisal to sell your car, or you may need it to receive the right benefits from an insurance claim or even in legal matters. If you are a collector, a thoroughly documented appraisal is a valuable asset. You know it’s important to get the right information – how do you get a dependable appraisal?

It is extremely important to get an appraisal from someone qualified and experienced in the field. Accredited appraisers for cars are a rare commodity, and looking for an individual appraiser by yourself can be a daunting task. Your appraiser may be called to defend his or her report in court, making certification and methods extremely important.

Auto Appraisal Group has a team of experts that have been certified and practice correct procedures and process of appraisal. Appraisals performed by just one person can only reflect the opinion of that one person. The certified agents at AAG are experienced, extensively trained and work closely with the Master Appraiser while utilizing AAG’s centralized database. This vast base of vehicle knowledge and appraisal experience allows us to create a comprehensive and accurate evaluation of your vehicle.

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.

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.