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What's It Worth in Today's Market

MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
edited March 7 in Buick
This is a topic for those of you who may now own
or may be shopping for a "classic" car, and would
like to know what the approximate "real money" Fair
Market Value might be.

If you're think of a particular car rather than
just general curiosity, you might want to refer to
the Guidelines for judging the condition of a
"classic" car, since the actual condition can
drastically affect value.

Guidelines for Judging Condition and Value: Topic

By "Fair Market Value", most appraisers, insurance
companies and legal/tax agencies mean this:

"The price paid by a willing and knowledgeable
buyer to a seller who is not under duress"

In other words, the Fair Market Value cannot be
either a distress sale or a price gained by
deception, etc. Also, the Fair Market Value cannot
be determined from asking prices in newspapers or
car magazines, but rather from actual sales.


  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    How about that Morgan I mentioned? Don't remember the name of it. Beautiful little coupe, mid-60's, not at all the traditional Morgan appearance. They did go into production, but nobody bought any. They probably only made it for a year or less.
  • Oh, I'd guess around $25,000 for a decent car, a low #2....the Plus 4 Super Sport roadster is the really valuable Morgan from that era...the coupe is an oddity, and though rare, it would hard to find a buyer that will pony up a good price...probably would be bought by a collector who had to have one of each kind of Morgan, that kind of thing.

    I used to own a Morgan, 1957 +4....really fun, and great-looking, but a "crate" through and through...a very primitive car, like it was made in the 1920s. Only for diehards, like Nigel Shiftright. I'd like to drive a Plus 8 sometime, if anybody out there has one.
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    1. You often mention that a certain car isn't very valuable. The suggestion seems to be that it shouyld therefore not be very valuable to the prospective buyer, investor or enthusiast, but that negates the 'buy low / sell high' concept. The ones that are cheap now may be long shot gambles for appreciation, or they may be an opportunity for somebody to get a car they've wanted since childhood.

    2. Are we talking about the same Morgan? Do you understand that the one I refer to has integrated fenders and looks like absolutely no other Morgan before or since? It looks more like an Italian design of the period. In fact, it might be. I guess I'll have to get off my lazy posterior and go loo it up. Jeez, all the other lazy dullards get all kinds of details. What do I get: "Oh, I'd guess around..."

    3. Alright, you get another shot. Lancia B20. Current prices, availability, all market data. How many were made, what years, how many imported, etc.
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    They are cool, aren't they? Successful in rallys too apparently. Lots of nice Lancias from that period.

    I see your point about "not worth much". Isn't it true though that virtually anything that outlasts its expected life by a zillion years is destined to appreciate monetarily? I mean, look at Model T's. Never was there a less aesthetically interesting or less esoteric object, but surely a pretty clean, original one is worth a few times what it was 40 yrs ago, which is a few times what it was worth 40 yrs earlier.

    I'm not arguing. I'm curious about the concept of value. Obviously an object is worth what someone's willing to pay for it. Another factor for me is that when an object is underappreciated, it actually interests me more. This could work in my favor financially, or it could work against me, though any of the cars I'd buy (if I could buy cars), I'd buy to keep, not to trade, so it might be a moot point.

    So you did have the right Morgan in the first place. Beg pardon, Nige. Shoulda known. As far as how the thing looks, I'll have to go look it up and see if I really do think it's pretty. Maybe I was just amazed to see it, and in my memory that surprise turned to a memory of it as a beautiful car.
  • It's interesting about styling, C13...sometimes in the photo the car looks attractive and then you see it "live" and it's not so...and vice-versa. There's nothing like I recall, the Moggie couple you're referring to looked good at certain angles and not so great at when you do a "walk-around" you get all these contradictory impressions and then they add up into that subjective "yes" or "no".

    Now, to me, an Alfa GTV looks good from any angle, and even looks good stripped to bare metal in a wrecking yard, sans trim or tires or anything. The shape is just "right".

    Oh, Model Ts...well, I think it works like this...if the car were something special when it was made, it increases in value and is treasured...if the car was just pedestrian or utilitarian, it will grow in value slowly as it ages, sort of keeping up with inflation. So a Model T goes up 15 times in value in 90 years but a Mercedes Benz Gullwing goes up 40 times in value in 40 years. And a Delorean is worth, at best, about what you paid for it, 17 years with inflation, you've actually lost quite a bit on it. Some cars, like Ferrari Testarossas from the late 80s and 90s, haven't hit bottom yet, still dropping from their list prices.

    Why the various results....I think because only one of those cars mentioned was all three of the follwing a) low production, b)exceptional in its day, either in engineering and stylng c)always revered and admired since the day it was built.

    So, Model T is b only, sometimes c, sometimes not c.

    Delorean is kind of a, a little touch of b for ten minutes.

    Gullwing is a solid a, b and c.

    So that's how I think it works, more or less, regarding the idea of "value"....beyond the hype and the prejudice of the mind, there is some demonstrable beauty or characteristic...another example, a beautiful and intricate wooden ship model, perhaps worth less today than the most collectible plastic Barbie doll, will be worth lots more someday.
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    Went and stole a peek at the Plus 4 Plus Coupe at the bookstore. I do like it. Very derivative of several other cars of the day, yet they seem in these photos at least, to pull it off. It's got some Aston, some 50's Pininfarina, some other influences. An odd bubble top. I think somebody could write a good sociology thesis on the simultaneous emergence of that car and the Beatles, and the parallels between the two (both utilizing new/old attributes, as well as British/cosmoplitan, pop/esoteric, etc.).

    They say that 23 of the 26 made are known to still exist, most of em in the states.

    You're right, the Plus 4 Super Sport is very nice.


    So how about a nice TVR Tuscan: Cost? Availability?
  • TVR? Just saw one today at a swap meet! Don't know too much about them...UK glas coupe, looked like a Triumph TR6 motor in this one, didn't see anything exceptional about it other than it might be fun to drive....I'll have to research value but I know it's not a big bucks car by any means. Reasonably styled, passably attractive I thought.
  • ajvdhajvdh Posts: 223
    Some TVRs from the 60s and early 70s had Ford V8s in them. If a car could ever be said to be hazerdous, that would be it. Went like a scalded dog in a straight line, but you had to bring a friend along to turn the steering wheel. Vicous understeer and a frame that flexed so much that windshields would spontaneously crack complete the picture. A guy down the street had one when I was a kid. He sold it after deciding it was "too dangerous" for street use. This from a man who also owned a Norton Commando.

    The 4 and 6 cyl versions were supposedly better balanced, but they weren't cheap and didn't really offer anything over a Triumph. A Lotus Elan would beat one like a gong for about the same money. Then again, the only reason the Lotus had mirrors was so you could watch parts fall off (not that I'd kick one out of my garage, mind you).
  • jomejome Posts: 1
    my nan wants to sell her 1963 buick special with 47,000 original miles on it. It has a v-8 engine & has always been garage kept. does anyone have a clue as to what we should ask for it???
  • Depends a lot, jome, on the model and the condition, but as a rough rule, if it were a nice 4 door sedan maybe $2,500, a nice coupe, $3,000-3,500 and a convertible up to $7K...maybe add a little for those low miles, but low miles isn't always an asset, as it often indicates hard seals and frozen parts.
  • Dear yohadji,

    If it were extremely nice and totally original (no repaint or an extremely professional repaint in the same color) and if it were NOT a European model, asking would be about $25K and selling anywhere from $18-25K depending on where you live, time of year, color of car, etc.

    Exceptional cost-no-object restorations can bring $30K...the average good driver, with a few door dings and minimal wear and tear bring $16K-18.

    I hope that helps.

    Mr. Shiftright
  • Hi!!

    Let me try this again. Earlier this week I posted this inquiry and then the system forgot my password and I could not log on to see any responses. I recently inherited my father's pride and joy. A 1978 Cadillac Seville four door sedan, red with red leather interior, fully loaded including the A/M-F/M 8-TRACK/CB radio. The car has been pampered since new, has been garage kept and fussed over constantly. It has 17,000 original miles on it and still has most of the original tune-up parts in the engine. I just last month replaced the factory battery. The car looks, runs and drives like it rolled off the showroom floor this morning.
    Any idea what it would be worth on today's market should I decide to sell?
  • Dear Caddy3,

    This car really doesn't have any collector car value so I think the best approach would be to view it as an exceptionally nice used car that would probably bring a premium over high "book". If we presume a book value of around $3,500,it is possible you might get 10-20% over that from that very special buyer.

    The problem with extremely low mileage cars is that if the person pays an extra premium for the low miles, then he/she can't drive it or the miles will build up and their investment goes down. And if it isn't a collector car, they won't find many opporunities or invitations to display it. So the only real alternative is to drive it, and then of course why pay extra for the low mileage? So you see the problem.

    A further difficulty is that often such low miles are not a mechanical asset, since seals dry out and internal mechanical parts deteriorate from lack of use.

    So if someone offered anywhere from $3,500 to 5,000 for it, I'd take it...there's really no more money than that in the car, and it's not likely to increase in value.

    I hope this answers your question, and sorry about the difficulty you had last week logging on!

    Mr. Shiftright
  • Hi,

    I have a '66 Mustang fastback 2+2, 4 speed on the floor, in very good condition (maybe a low #2). Several years ago I had it appraised by a Mustang specialist. Before I tell you the amount he appraised it for, I'd be interested in knowing if there is a range for this car.

    Just wondering,

  • There's a huge range for Mustangs. Go to and do a search for your car. You'll see that the value of these cars ranges widely.
  • I've found that appraiser's estimates tend to be too high, because they are trying to protect their clients for insurance purposes; also, appraisal prices are not selling keeping those caveats in mind, and also that I haven't seem the car, I'd say around $10K-$12K should be able to buy a very very nice 2+2 in today's market. A #2 car is a trophy car in a local show, so I'm assuming yours is pretty darn tasty.
  • Those prices reflect the shipping costs and those damn VAT taxes to get the cars over there. You won't get rich shipping American cars to Europe, because the governments get all your profit. Once you factor all that in, the cars cost almost the same here and there....think about it...give at least $1,500-$2,700 for shipping (depending on how many pieces you want it in when you open the container), another 10& import tax, 38% VAT tax, inland transportation cost ($350 or so) and European registration ($600).
  • Mr. Shiftright:

    Thanks for the info on the 70 Benz. I am curious, is it more valuable to have a European version of this car or the American? I believe it is an American version, and it has been repainted - but it has a great paint job. At least from the laymans point of view.

  • The American version is definitely more valuable and desirable in the U.S....the only possible exception would be a 280SL with the very rare European 5-speed transmission.

    A repaint could also devalue the car, depending on how it was done. A color change would be a major decrease in value, unless perhaps the car were a ground-up restoration.

    Generally, the top prices for most German roadsters go only to the very best cars...there's a big gap between #2 and #3 cars.
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    What do you think of Peugeot 505 Turbos?

    Also tell us more about Alfa 164s and Milanos. Here's a chance to boost the value of your investment.

    Why doesn't Edmunds' print version list Alfa, Lancia, Peugeot, Bertone (X1/9), Fiat, Renault, and other cars that were sold here in the years that the book covers?
This discussion has been closed.