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The real value of "old" cars?



  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    edited September 2010
    Yeah, pretty cool since it's so wierd looking.

    I wonder if it's six or 12 volt and if it's metric or (gasp) British Standard or (even worse) Wentworth?

    Three speed on the column or a four speed?
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,320
    What other motor cars turn him on?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    The "rib cage" refers to the better version of the 4 speed transmission one might find in a Midget or a Morris Minor---the older (earlier) transmission wasn't strong enough (coupled usually to the earliest 948cc engine).

    The ideal combo would be the rib cage with the 1275cc Sprite engine--you might actually get out of your own way in that case; otherwise, a buzzy 55 mph is about it unless you're kinda crazy.

    He must have a newer engine/trans in there because there was no MG Midget or Sprite in 1957.


  • I lived in England for a year about 20 years ago and saw a lot of really unusual-looking old British cars running around. Minis of all ages everywhere, old Austins, MG TC & TD's that were daily drivers. Their climate does not see the extremes we do, winter or summer (no road salt), so old cars are well-preserved.
  • omarmanomarman Posts: 693
    No less of a noney pit than a normal old car, but unique.

    Not to be a typo/nitpicking reply: Did you intend to say that "it's no less a money pit than an old domestic car, but possibly more?"

    I was comparing the parts sourcing and resto work performed by the mechanic on Andre's DeSoto and LeMans vert. What project car doesn't get a mechanic's touch to handle some of the needs?

    The Austin is +50 y/o british tin with numerous "adaptations." If dad/son get in over their head with it, would most mechanics even touch a project like that?

    The host noted that due to bad brakes, the buyer will not get a test drive before the sale. No offense to the seller, but who knows what shape any car is in if you can't drive it before you buy it? I know it's not a lotta money but, it has been posted before that some projects are too expensive even when they are free. :sick:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    And getting any missing trim parts on this Austin will be extremely difficult, as will glass, lenses, etc.

    I'm sure a British car mechanic would be quite at home with the car, however. They are really quite simple to work on, presuming you are not fighting rust, missing parts, and weeks on jackstands because of no parts available. (like I'm not sure where you're going to get a rebuild kit for the master cylinder).

    To use a comparison, it's much easier to restore a 1930 Ford than a 1930 Chevy, or, to extend the comparison, to restore a 1957 MG rather than a 1957 Austin, or a 1955 Chevy rather than a 1955 Studebaker.


  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    I'm pretty good at listening to an engine so test driving it wouldn't be a big deal for me. I'm also pretty good at asking the right questions about how the transmission and rear end sound and other things. I've spent a lot of years doing this.

    I once bought a used Miata without driving it. It was in the garage and pouring rain. I asked the seller a few questions, determined he was telling me the truth and I bought it. everything was fine.

    I would never attempt to restore a car like this. It would never be worth doing such a thing. Maybe just a Sunday driver once in awhile just to be different.

    And, I doubt if it's in our future unless I can steal it.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    The rebuild kit is available through a number of sources but I'm gueesing that it's probably been rebuilt several times before and it may need to be replaced.

    I do have to wonder why the guy doesn't just fix the brakes instead of making excuses and having a non drivable car.

    I think he's just sick of it.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    Yeah, I meant money pit of course. Pretty much any old car is a money pit if you really do everything.

    I think you can find a mechanic for anything if you have enough money.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    Whatever it is, it will be the most difficult standard and probably with Lucas electrics to boot.

    I think they were a 4 speed.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    You can have the master cylinder bore re-sleeved if it's too pitted, so that's fixable even if it's ruined inside.

    I would certainly creep around in 1st gear as these are non-syncho 1st gear transmission and usually first gear is not sounding too good.


  • I was comparing the parts sourcing and resto work performed by the mechanic on Andre's DeSoto and LeMans vert. What project car doesn't get a mechanic's touch to handle some of the needs?

    The Austin is +50 y/o british tin with numerous "adaptations." If dad/son get in over their head with it, would most mechanics even touch a project like that?


    Maria Jim
    Motorcycle Jackets Manufacturers
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    I've been exchanging emails with the Austin seller and I can tell he's really a decent upfront guy.

    I guess he was thinking that our son is 16 and this was to be his first car. Our son is 30 but he didn't know that. He tried very hard to talk me out of it.

    First of all, it's a right hand drive which kills it for me.

    He said it does run quite well but it's a handful to drive. He said it leans and wallows through corners. He said it has primitive turn signals with a switch in the center of the dash and they are non cancelling like an MG I once owned.

    He said the windows don't have winders and they have to be opened manually. It has a very low ratio rear end and although it could drive on the freeway he would never attempt this. It has a Morris Minor engine that he says runs very well.

    He cited a couple of clubs and said that parts have never been a problem.

    Sounds like a very nice guy who is just tired of this old Austin.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    All depends on what your son can deal with I guess. It would have to be a sunny Sunday putt around town car.

    With the inop brakes, I'd be making him an offer a bit lower than his asking price. No brakes, non working windows, RHD, probably some missing unobtanium (in NA) trim pieces , all work against the rarity and awkward coolness. It's approaching project car hell eligibility.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Picture yourself in a RHD car of this type trying to pass someone on a 2-lane road!!! :surprise:


  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    I don't know of any 4 wheeled vehicles that thing could pass :shades:

    But think of how easy it is to parallel park!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    The windows do open and close but they slide from side to side I think rather than wind up and down.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    edited September 2010
    I was just thinking.

    Me, in an Auto Parts store...

    " I need a water pump"

    " Sure, what kind of a car?"

    Well, it's a 1957 Austin but I think it has a Morris Minor engine in it"

    " What, exactly is an Austin and what is a Morris Minor?"

    Fumbling through catalog pages.....

    " Oh, I do see a Morris Minor...what year is the engine?"

    " I'm not sure"

    " Well, what size is the engine?"

    " I think it's around 1000 cc but I'm not sure"

    " You'll have to pull off that water pump and we will have to send it to England to see if our NAPA partner over there can match it up"

    He switched the mechanical rear brakes (!!??) and put in hydralics but out of WHAT??

    I think this would be like stirring in a pile of you know what. The more you stir, the worse it stinks!

    Hey Fintail, how about you? Just a few miles away from us!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,599
    Have any of you ever ridden as a passenger in the front seat of a RHD car?

    I had the most HARROWING ride of my life when I was very young. It was an old VW Bug on the freeways of Los Angeles.

    No seat belts, semis on boths sides of us.

    Everyone should try that one time!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Usually if I appraise a car and it has RHD, and IF that car were available as a LHD, I deduct about 30% of the value. If they never came as LHD, like say the MG TC, then there's no penalty.


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