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Old 5 Nov 2012, 23:02 (Ref:3163089)   #1
dtype38
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How much to spend on a classic car restoration?

I'm currently pondering a dilemma and would like your thoughts.

I've got a basically sound and reliable but slightly tatty Mk2 Jaguar which I tried selling recently but no one was prepared to offer reasonable money for it. By that I mean there was plenty of interest, but everyone seemed to be looking at is as a basis for restoration and therefore wanted it dirt cheap. The reasoning seemed to be that restoration work is so expensive these days, that for the finished car to actually be worth more than the cost of restoration, then it had to be dirt cheap to start with.

Well, I wasn't prepared to sell it "dirt cheap" so decided to do a bit of restoration myself with a view to either keeping it or making it saleable at a more sensible price. Having now taken some of it apart, I'm contemplating the work required, and here comes my dilemma... I'm reasonably experienced at working on cars, but also know my limitations (I'd place my restoration skills at "talented amateur"). So, to do A) what I'd call a "proper" job: its going to be extremely time consuming, I'll have to sub the difficult bits out at considerable cost and so will be very expensive too. Do I do B) a "reasonable" job: which is still going to be extremely time consuming but I can do it myself on a "materials only" basis and it'll end up looking good and very sound, but is probably not going to add to its value much more that I'd be spending on it. OR C) I could do a "cosmetic" job which would pain me deeply, but would probably do the same for its value as B) but with a lot less time and money.

What would you do?

Last edited by dtype38; 5 Nov 2012 at 23:07.
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Old 6 Nov 2012, 04:05 (Ref:3163167)   #2
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In my experience, for every dollar you spend on the car, you'll get back less than 50 cents when the time comes to sell. You can reduce this by putting time into the car yourself (as in, if you know how to re-upholster then you could save cash on this but you still need to buy materials).

The idea of restoring a car to get a better return on your dollar is not a sound one, in my experience of buying / restoring / selling classics. Maybe Jaguars and the like are different to the Escorts I'm used to, but in my opinion you'll most likely end up going backwards.

The only way I have made money on classic cars is when the car is becoming more desirable and the demand goes up, not from spending money on the car.
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Old 6 Nov 2012, 08:55 (Ref:3163248)   #3
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as you've already decided the car is not a keeper then C is the logical decision.
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Old 6 Nov 2012, 09:48 (Ref:3163272)   #4
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Whilst current market value - cost of restoration = value of project has some logic to the layman, if costed properly then you would end up giving money to people to take most cars away.

The car has an inherent value, as a project or heartlessly as parts.

People have to restore cars because they love that car and want to see it back on the road. Maybe that car has particular memories which is why someone is embarking on a costly or time consuming project, or they have wanted a car like that for many years - usually cars of your early teenage years are the ones many adults end up with as a classic later in life.

If you can do much of the work yourself, you may find it easier to sell the car with an MoT, so you may need to cost out what getting an MoT will need in terms of parts.

As soon as you have to employ specialists the costs start increasing. The number of man hours required to restore a car is quite immense.

If your ultimate intention is to sell the car, I would probably suggest selling as-is or with an MoT. I've seen plenty of 'restorations' where a car has been tarted up for sale, and a fresh coat of paint over substandard work underneath has left the new owner with a sour taste in their mouth.

If you plan to keep the car, then thats a different matter. A full blown restoration will cost a lot, and it can be difficult to contain a job as once you get started with bodywork for example and start taking panels off you may uncover things that no-one knew about the car based on what they could see before the paint was removed.

Honesty is the best way all round.

If by case B you can justify the expense and know that although you won't make anything on the car, but you won't loose either, but the car will be easier to sell, then that.
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Old 6 Nov 2012, 14:55 (Ref:3163381)   #5
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All good points, thanks for those. It was exactly at the point of contemplating if panels would have to be removed that I decided there was a choice to make.

I think option A is out really. Although it's great fun to own and drive, I just don't have sufficient attachment to the car, or funds, to embark on a complete restoration. As for option B, I could do most of the work myself, but it would never be to professional standards. I guess that means it wouldn't add that much to its value, so would just be for my own enjoyment and perhaps make it much more saleable. As for just tarting it up. It may be logical, but I'm not sure I could bring myself to do it.

Perhaps I'll settle on just sorting out some of the basic faults properly, getting rid of some of the dubious modifications that have been done to it over the years, then having another go selling it for sensible money.
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Old 6 Nov 2012, 17:06 (Ref:3163435)   #6
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I,ve always wanted a Mk 2 to race. Just how rough is it. Strip out all the good bits, sell them on and make good money for them as spares, and sell me the rolling shell cheaply. When its been modified you can come back into racing by sharing the driving!!!

Simples ............. i told you not to let the licence go.
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Old 6 Nov 2012, 17:49 (Ref:3163451)   #7
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Originally Posted by dtype38 View Post

everyone seemed to be looking at is as a basis for restoration and therefore wanted it dirt cheap. The reasoning seemed to be that restoration work is so expensive these days, that for the finished car to actually be worth more than the cost of restoration, then it had to be dirt cheap to start with.


What would you do?
I think you've answered your own question in a way. As I've said before you'll never get your money back if you intend selling for a profit or even to break even. If you are selling the MK2 I'd do nothing to it and let it go for whatever it fetches, I believe you had a reasonable offer or two, by that I mean you wouldn't get what the car stands you in but not a bad price.
Here's another thing to look at, as you have started to burn bridges with racing why not go the whole hog and sell the dtype and keep the Mk2, you could use the proceeds to turn it into a really nice car and apart from your time I doubt it wouldn't cost a serious amount to do. Think about it, what's going to be the better car to drive around in for fun.

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I,ve always wanted a Mk 2 to race. Just how rough is it. Strip out all the good bits, sell them on and make good money for them as spares, and sell me the rolling shell cheaply. When its been modified you can come back into racing by sharing the driving!!!

Simples ............. i told you not to let the licence go.
Graham no doubt after you'd finished converting it the car would be too nice to put near a race track. The licence will only ever be a form and a medical away.
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Old 6 Nov 2012, 22:10 (Ref:3163519)   #8
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What about selling it outside the UK? Would it not command a higher price where there are fewer? I honestly don't know, this is just based upon the only one I have ever seen in the flesh. It was for sale and I would call it 'driver quality', but only just. He was asking what would roughly be £15,000.
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Old 7 Nov 2012, 05:51 (Ref:3163614)   #9
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Having restored a few Mk2 s in the past[for customers] as you say,they can be very expensive to restore properly,think I would try and sell it on as is.
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Old 7 Nov 2012, 08:18 (Ref:3163641)   #10
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I tried selling it on "as is". But the price was wrong. To put some numbers on this: I bought the car for £9300 then spent several hundred sorting out a few minor issues. For the sake of argument, lets say £10,000 then. I then had it officially valued by a Jaguar Club. I suggested £12,000, but they decided £13,000 would be more accurate. Due to other circumstances I then decided to sell the car so advertised it at £12,000 with a view to being quite flexible and eventually dropping down to around £10,000. In fact, I decided I wouldn't turn my nose up at any offer over £9,000.

Quite a lot of people came to see the car, but all turned their noses up at it. On guy offered me £7,000, but I declined. Was that unreasonable?


Tim as for which car is more exciting/fun to drive.... let me see... D-type / Mk 2 ? You really have to ask?
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Old 7 Nov 2012, 09:08 (Ref:3163658)   #11
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I then had it officially valued by a Jaguar Club. I suggested £12,000, but they decided £13,000 would be more accurate.
I guess the hard lesson is that the car is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

You either keep it listed for as long as it takes to sell, or you consider recovering as much as you can, copping a loss, and moving on. It's always hard selling a car for what you think it is worth. To avoid disappointment, I usually take 3 grand or so off what I think it *should* sell for in order to sell it in a shorter timeframe. Hurts though, the other option is waiting for the right person.
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Old 7 Nov 2012, 12:11 (Ref:3163723)   #12
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I tried selling it on "as is". But the price was wrong. To put some numbers on this: I bought the car for £9300 then spent several hundred sorting out a few minor issues. For the sake of argument, lets say £10,000 then. I then had it officially valued by a Jaguar Club. I suggested £12,000, but they decided £13,000 would be more accurate. Due to other circumstances I then decided to sell the car so advertised it at £12,000 with a view to being quite flexible and eventually dropping down to around £10,000. In fact, I decided I wouldn't turn my nose up at any offer over £9,000.

Quite a lot of people came to see the car, but all turned their noses up at it. On guy offered me £7,000, but I declined. Was that unreasonable?


Tim as for which car is more exciting/fun to drive.... let me see... D-type / Mk 2 ? You really have to ask?
Certainly not! I assume the car to have a current MOT?
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Old 7 Nov 2012, 16:36 (Ref:3163779)   #13
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Agree that £3k below "market value" is probably what it takes to sell an old car, which is why I set it £4k below the official valuation (which is an agreed market value with my insurer). I'm not so desperate to sell it that I would go lower. I'd rather wait for the right buyer / market conditions.

Yes it has a current mot/tax etc. Like I said in the O/P it's a basically sound reliable car with some cosmetic issues and none-standard parts on it. The former is rust bubbles along the bottom edges of the doors and front wings, very tatty carpets, and that the front seats and door cards have been renewed in "simulated" leather. There's also a small dent in the roof and a rusty bottom edge on the boot lid. The latter is that someone has made an attempt to make a Coombs Racer replica out of it. It's not a bad job, but not great. In fact, most of the bits fitted for the purpose are probably worth more on ebay than on the car!

As for GT's suggestion of turning it into a racer... well there are much better places to start. Like a bare shell and chassis! Sorry, that's not a go at you Graham, just that it would be a world of pain.
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Old 7 Nov 2012, 17:23 (Ref:3163795)   #14
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Stick with it,as you say,someone somewhere.
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Old 8 Nov 2012, 12:14 (Ref:3164065)   #15
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What is the exact spec of the car, with regard to engine/transmission/wheel type/colour/year?

The thing with Mk 2 Jags is that, because they're not that uncommon, people will tend to wait for a car with the right spec combination. If you don't have that, then it can make them difficult to sell. That's not to say you won't sell it - just that they have to be priced accordingly if they're not the most desireable spec.
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