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Welcome To The Classic Cars Message Board

and Welcome to one of our newest Conferences here
at Do you own a Classic vehicle,
or are you wondering if what you have is a Classic?
What's a collectible, and what does special
interest vehicle mean?

These and other questions will form the basis for
this Conference. Start your pondering here by
introducing yourself and telling us what your
interest in this Conference is.

I'll let your Host, Mr_Shiftright, get you
started. Oh Joe...

Bonnie Rick
Town Hall Community Manager,


  • #1 of 1: Mr_Shiftright (Mr_Shiftright) Sat 16 Jan '99 (12:12 PM)

    Hi, everyone!

    I've set aside this topic mostly for introductions. If you'd like to make suggestions
    for the Classics Conference or ask for
    assistance, I invite you to join me in Topic 3 where I usually hang out.

    Talk With Mr. Shiftright in Topic 3

    Okay, me first:

    Mr Shiftright is really Joe Troise, who lives in
    California. Joe comes from an automotive family,
    Packard men all, and has been tinkering with cars
    since he was a kid. Joe has been employed by
    Mercedes Benz North America as a factory
    representative, has had his own repair shop years
    ago and has done a half-dozen restorations. He has owned lots of different cars, prefers sports car
    and sedans and drives like a nut when in the safety of lonely roads or the race track..(strictly driving school amateur).

    Presently he wears many hats, as classic car
    appraiser, market analyst for a famous unnamed
    classic car price guide, author of car books,
    calendars and magazine articles (Road & Track,
    Autoweek) and cartoonist for Road & Track.
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    Dang boy. I didn't know you was a celebrity.

    First time I saw your Shiftright tag I thought 'Yeah shr, pal. You know the cartoon. That's great.' Ain't I the cynical old crank?

    I guess you're entitled to use the name.

    So who's Frank?

    My favorite one was where Nigel called somebody about an MG TC from an ad in a 30 yr old R&T. Several gags in one strip.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Oh, yeah, where Nigel calls up on a 30 year old ad in an old magazine and is surprised to learn that the owner still has the car...he was asking $750 for an MGTC in 1957, so Nigel starts bargaining for $700...that was for Road & Track's 50th anniversary issue.

    Frank is Phil Frank, ace cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

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  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    That's cool. Do you guys have a Shiftright book out? I bet there's a market. R&T has so many spin-off books now.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    There aren't enough of them for a book, and it IS an esoteric audience...but we're doing up a new batch for the coming year, so you'll see more of him...

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  • Navigating this conference is perplexing indeed. Was expecting some description of what this conference is all about, and perhaps some bio's of some of the more recent, or more regular contributors.

    Barring that; I'll contribute my own.
    I'm a 42 year old engineer living in central Oklahoma. I currently own 5 cars, the newest of which has 145,000 miles on it. Classics right? Naw, more like old and mostly worn out. I buy cars when they:
    a) Have more than 100k miles on them
    b) Are in moderately good condition
    c) Considering the asking price, I think I can get enough more miles out of them to make them worth owning.

    I'm kind of constantly on the lookout for older undervalued cars: cars that have lost their appeal to their owner, but still have lots of reliable miles left in them. I bought my Volvo 240GL with 126000 miles on it for $750 because it looked like heck (had right rear quarterpanel damage), squealed like crazy (A/C compressor locked up), and power windows didn't work (on same circuit as A/C). I currently have 185000 miles on it and the core engine and tranny are still strong.

    I was hoping to find a conference where folks discussed the reliability issues of 10+ years old high-end (luxury?) cars. I looked in the sedan/luxury topic, but those folks value dollars the way I value pennys.

    Am I in the right place?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Dear Oldjunk,

    Hi, and welcome. Sure, this is the right place.

    Why not start a new topic here on that very subject? I'd be glad to offer my opinions as I'm sure other would who come here regularly. Sometimes you can get a short bio on people by clicking on their names as they appear in their posts. Bios will appear only if the user has chosen to write and display one, of course.

    best wishes from Mr. Shiftright, Your host

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  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    I was just thinking about....CHROME..and how the only way you can get a real chrome bumper anymore is to buy a pickup truck-and even some of them have gone the standard formula, snap-on plastic front and rear, monochrome[NO chrome] look. One of the things I like about older collector cars, was that they had chrome on them. Not the overdone '58 Buick and Olds, but there are many many old cars out there that have very tastefully done [and appealling] chrome trim-inside and out. Today, it's all painted plastic and blacked out trim. Why? Could this be a new topic? Which cars had the best applied chrome? Like the fifties cars that used chrome to separate two-tone color schemes. For me, this was one of the appealling things about fifties and sixties cars, and the monochrome,potato, organic look-alike of many of today's cars is why I haven't bought a new car lately. Any thoughts?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    I guess tastes change...and all the safety regulations and pressures from insurance companies have affected design thinking.

    The best chrome? Undoubtedly the British back then and maybe can still see rotting hulks of Bentleys and Jaguars and even MGs with still good chrome attached....they used a triple-plate process.

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  • C13C13 Posts: 390

    What do you think of MGA's? How about a nice Twin Cam? I think they're in the $20K range. Very pretty.

    How would you compare it to a contemporaneous Jag, I guess an XK120/140?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Well I think the jaguar 120/140 is a more significant car from the collector's point of view, but the MGA is certainly desireable. The Twincam motor is not the most durable of power plants, and some people who own and drive or race them frequently install a normal 1600 pushrod unit in there and keep the Twincam in a box. But nonetheless, the twincam is more valuable, a nice one going for somewhere in the $20K range. A nice MGA to own would be a 1600 deluxe, which has the disc brakes and other small appointments of the twincam but with a regular motor (these cars were left over when the twincam motor was discontinued, so they used them in regular production with the twincam goodies still attached). Only downside of an MGA is that it's a tough restoration, and they are not yet valuable enough to warrant buying a decrepit one and restoring it. You can get a very, very nice one for $10-12K...perhaps more for a deluxe.

    I think the Jag 120 especially is a historically significant car, powerful, great fun to drive and absolutely beautiful to look at. It's almost the perfect classic postwar British sports car. I'd love to own one, in spite of their shortcomings (brakes need some attention, and overheating...all curable...). The Jag 140, also a nice car, looks clunkier in the bumper area. I had a 1955 roadster and a 56 coupe so I know them well.

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  • mschlesmschles Posts: 4
    Can anyone give me some ideas on how to "fairly" price a "classic" car? I am thinking of buying a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 250 c from the daughter of the original owner (I know because she is a relative). The car is in excellent condition inside and out and has 41K original miles on it and was kept in a garage and serviced yearly for 30 years. Other than usual maintenance (especially since the car sat unused for a year), there's nothing to do but have it detailed to bring out it's original beauty.

    I would appreciate any help in appraising the real value of this car. Thanks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Dear Mschles,

    Basically these W114 coupes should be evaluated just as decent used cars, as they are of no real interest to collectors. I would think $3,800 to $5,000 would buy a very nice one. Parts availability is good, but fuel mileage is rather poor, even for the 6 cylinder cars. The cars are solidly built, fairly common, perform adequately and reliably in most areas, but do not have good AC systems.

    This could be a practical and enjoyable car, but don't pay too much for one or put too much into restoration, because the value in the marketplace is not that high and not likely to increase to any great extent. If you really like these cars, shopping for a CE model (fuel-injected would be a somewhat better purchase).

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  • mschlesmschles Posts: 4
    Thanks much for your wise counsel. I've agreed to
    pay $5,000 so considering the condition and mileage and your advice, I don't think that I have overpaid. I will keep in mind your comments about the car not becoming a "classic" any time soon if any hefty repair bills start creeping in. Other than the A/C, anything else I should be sure to have checked when I bring it into the mechanic for a general tuneup other than objects that can be easily seen by the naked eye that either tend to fail or would improve performance? Also, anything that can be done to improve the A/C situation? (I feel that it's worth putting another $500-$600 into it to bring it up to very good condition just for my own satisfaction. Other than detailing, where would my $$ best be spent to improve the auto (besides required things like brakes, tires, etc.)?

    Thanks again for your valuable input.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Dear Mschles,

    Sorry I've been on vacation, so couldn't respond sooner.

    Congrats on your purchase...sounds like a very fair price for a nice car..the low mileage should mean a long life.

    I'd say the A/C on all 70s era Mercedes Benzes is hopeless, and the 1980s not all that great either. You'll never get the A/C to perform well in extremely hot conditions unless you retrofit to an American system (it's something we do best).

    Perhaps you're best investment would be to guard against the potential failures caused by, of all things, the low mileage....seals, gaskets belts and hoses dried out (perhaps) from lack of use. Have all the rubber and synthetic rubber parts checked thoroughly. Also flushing out all the fluids (cooling, brakes, trans, differential, oil) would be well worth the trouble, again because of the lack of use.

    good luck with the car...perhaps someday it will enjoy some collector status, like the earlier Mercedes coupes from the late 50s and early 60s (the old round-fender types) do. Time is on your side, although I do think appreciation will be slow...but some cars don't appreciate at all, so there's something!

    best wishes,

    Your host

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  • jwmjwm Posts: 1
    Hi Mr_Shiftright,
    I currently own a 75 Chev El Camino that I have had since 1976. I was wondering if there is a old El Camino discussion thread around that you know of?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Hi John,

    No, sorry,I don't know of any discussions going on right now at the Edmunds Town Hall...maybe some of our visitors have a suggestion?

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  • 3461234612 Posts: 5
    I am trying to find out what a 1968 mercedes 250sl
    is worth. The car is in running condition, runs rough.has new carb and new tires, however it needs a lot of body work and interior work. I would like to buy it for a restoration job, but the owner has asked me to make an offer. anyone who has an idea of what I should pay I would appreciate a reply. Thank you.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Sure, you could part the car out for that...I'll bet the owner may want more, but really given the task at hand, you shouldn't offer too much more than that. You could take a compression test and that might tell you something, especially if two adjacent cylinders are lower than normal.

    How's the softtop? That's around $1,200-1,500 right there for a replacment. Is there a detachable hardtop with the car? That's worth $1,500 alone.

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  • 3461234612 Posts: 5
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    No, most mechanical parts are available for various sources and specialists, but you may have to get some small pieces and trimwork from Mercedes. I think you should buy all your gaskets from MB, because they FIT! If you get the car, or if you're curious about parts prices before you buy the car, get a copy of Hemmings Motor News and read all about it in the Mercedes parts section.

    <<A HREF="http://www">www.>

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  • 3461234612 Posts: 5
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    No, don't even touch it...horrible engine and poor build quality that will drive you'd be much better off (well, better off, anyway) with the TR8 (V-8)if you can find one at a reasonable price. Even a GT6 or Spitfire would be far better.

    Thee TR7s are going off very shouldn't have to pay more than $2,500-$3,000 for a nice clean one, if you're really set on having one.

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  • 3461234612 Posts: 5
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Well, Hi....come on in and browse see a list of topics, just click on the "Return to Topic List" at the bottom or top of this page.

    Your Host

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  • 3461234612 Posts: 5
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Well, a person should be able to buy a pretty nice one for around $9,000 (really nice one, almost perfect) you'd have to figure out how much money it would take to make the one you're looking at near-perfect, and of course, the answer is probably $20,000, so what do you do. One thing would be to pay as little as possible and then do a "sympathetic" (i.e., competent amateur) restoration and then just drive it around and don't worry about showing it.

    From your description, the car sounds seriously overpriced, and when you say "rust" I hope that means only on the surface, and not actual rot. If there are rust holes in the body, frankly I wouldn't even bother with the car, I'd part it out. But if there's no serious rust, then perhaps an offer of $1,500-2,000 at most, presuming there are no serious mechanical defects...but if it's got a worn out engine and trans and is just a leaky old bucket, it's not so rare or valuable a car that you can't start with a better one at a better price.

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  • rmastellrmastell Posts: 3
    Hello all,
    I wasn't really looking for an old collectible to restore, but I found a white '61 Mercedes 190SL 4 speed for about $7000 that is VERY original. It's a two owner (bought it in '66) with a claimed 78K miles. At least one paint job and some minor body work is evident, as well as current rust. Driver's floor pan is rusted bad. Didn't get to drive it or hear it run as the starter doesn't work, but it will be replaced in the next week or so. Doors, hood, trunk, and body panels fit very well. Lights, wipers and horn work. Interior is in typical rough shape for an almost 40 year old car. Top is not in bad shape, but does not fit well on frame work. When lifting and pushing the car, the suspension does not creek and the shocks bring the car to rest quickly. There is lots of grease and oil grime in the engine bay and under both the front and rear ends. There is an original owners manual package.

    1. Is it worth it?

    2. Does anyone know about what kind of money it would take to restore it?

    3. Does anyone know any European restoration specialists? I found Sports Leicht Restorations, Inc. and Silverstar Inc. on the internet.

    4. I documented some body and engine numbers. Where can I go to see what they mean and if they match?

    5. What questions should I bring to the owner?

    Perplexed in Ohio
  • rmastellrmastell Posts: 3
    I didn't know about the 180 chassis. Like you said, although the looks tug at my heart, it would not be a money maker and it could be constant maintenance even after a restoration. I think I will pass on this old beauty. I spoke with two local restoration shops that the M-B dealer recommended. Without seeing the car, one said $8,000 to $15,000 and the other said $10,000 to $20,000 for varying restoration levels. Comparing this to other cars I could get at about $20,000 makes the choice difficult. It's the whole "special, stylish, fragile old car vs. common, plain, reliable newer car" debate that I can't resolve. Old SL or new Mustang? I'll keep looking around until I really fall in love. Or maybe I'll just buy some stocks and get a Civic. Whatever....
This discussion has been closed.