Making your Own Set of Rules as to whether you should buy a Project Car

Discussion in 'General Automotive Discussion' started by bitzman, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. bitzman

    bitzman F1 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2008
    Any opinion for categories I left out?

    Restoration: Making Your Own Rules of the Road

    Back when I was buying and selling exotic cars (I was a barn finder in the '80s) I tried to find cars that were running. But even if they weren't, I was younger then and could wait through the stages of stripping the body of chrome, upholstery, etc, and getting it re-done.
    But now I am older. I have a new set of rules. If the car is being considered for me, my rules are:

    Rule No. 1 Do Not Buy a Non-Running car.
    I would say that rule should kick in at about age 60, unless you are handicapped in some way say a work injury) then it should kick in sooner. That is because despite what excuse the owner has for a non runner, they could be hiding something the diff could be locked up, the gearbox trashed the cooling system inoperative , the gas tank leaking and on and on.

    Rule No. 2 Do not buy a car with missing parts. For instance, Beverly Hills Car Club in Los Angeles, a car dealer despite the name, has a 1968 Intermeccanica Italia stripped down for $67.500. Naturally it is cheaper than a finished ready-to-go car. but I would say that the struggle to find headlight bubbles, headlight rims, front and back bumper, grille, grille surround, emblems, the right wheels, it all takes months and in some cases outrageous prices. Then you've got to budget in upholstery and a convertible top.

    Rule No, 3 Don't buy a car you can't drive on a test drive. This is because there might have been an accident and a bad frame repair. I remember one Rolls Silver Cloud dhc in Beverly Hill that had been rolled. It was repaired and looked good in the showroom but if you drove it, it would wear out the front tires every 300 miles.

    Rule No. 4 Comb through the car club newsletters for owner's reports on that model before you buy.You might found out for instance Chrysler Crossfires have a certain electric glitch, that Allantes have bad engines, etc. Then you can decide if you still want to own it despite that glitch. I would even visit the club's favorite mechanic, bring some vittles and talk over what an owner can expect.

    Rule No. 5 Don't buy a car that is not titled in the seller's name. Check with the DMV or your auto club to see if that title the seller is signing is the latest title--there might be another owner since that title was issued. If the owner on the title has died, try to find the attorney that handled the estate and see who technically has inherited the car.

    Rule No. 6. Tow the car immediately on buying for it and getting a receipt and signed-off title. Even if you are a long way from home, tow it to some indoor storage garage, rent a garage and lock it in. This is because friends of the seller might say to the seller "But you promised me those wheels" etc. etc. You can avoid post-sale parts switching by removing the car.

    Rule No. 7 Get the latest prices,( hourly rate) on what is being charged currently in 2021 for upholstery, paint, carpeting. This is above and beyond rust repair, frame repair and fabricating no longer available trim. It could be, no matter how cheap the car is now AS IS, by the time you're finished, it will exceed current values for restored ones. It will bury you.

    Rule No. 8 Beware of cars painted a non-stock color. It doesn't matter if it has a fine glossy paint job if it was a color never offered by the manufacturer. If you have to sell it in a hurry to cover some emergency, X number of prospective buyers will reject it because the last owner's painter told them "I couldn't find that factory shade but I found a color that looked better."

    Rule No. 9 Ask Yourself what the main activity is for this car? I for instance don't want a canyon runner (Been there, done that), a weekend race car, or car-show- only trailer queen. I want a sporty luxury car that I can drive to my favorite village cafe and park outside where I' m eating and admire it from afar.

    Rule No. 10 Only buy if you have indoor parking. It's too sad to tell you about the gullwing I sold as a youth because my dad wouldn't let me park it in the garage. Happened to me later too. Unless you have a safe place to park it, inside, don't buy it. If some vandal damages it, the part broken might be thousands I met a guy with a 1965 Mulliner bodied Bentley Continental coupe. Kid threw a brick through the backlite. I am guessing, if it was available, that rear backlight would be $3000 easily.

    In sum, there are project cars aplenty. Just go to Craigslist for any big city and write in "project car" but they are all a tale of woe. It's akin to marrying again. That third wife looks good but could be a lot of trouble sooner rather than later.
    Image Unavailable, Please Login
    BJK and MuffyBennett like this.
  2. To remove this ad click here.

  3. BJK

    BJK Formula 3

    Jul 18, 2014
    Curious, have you written about the gullwing story elsewhere? :cool::)
  4. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
    Advising Moderator

    Jul 20, 2003
    Full Name:
    Dirty Harry
    How funny - Viewed that Italia on Hemmings hours before you posted.

    More importantly - Agree with your assessment.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
  5. BJK

    BJK Formula 3

    Jul 18, 2014
    Rule #11 - Know what you're looking at.
    Cars that have model year changes (usually front and rear clips). So it's not a surprise when you find out the '73 Monte Carlo you bought has a '74 front end. :oops: (which of course was proof of accident :eek: - before Carfax)

Share This Page