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Matt Harwood

Is this a worthy car?

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I had this roll into my parking lot this afternoon and I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. 1973 Electra Limited coupe, 455-4, triple black, two owners (first owner kept it until 2015), 45,000 original miles, A/C, power windows, power seat, tilt, fiber optics, etc. Spectacular original paint, top, and interior, no winters. I mean, this car is a slam-dunk in HPOF competition, and maybe even in 400 point judging. Everything works, A/C is ice cold, paint is spectacular for being 45 years old, unmarked interior, and it looks like nobody has ever been in the back seat. Original spare is still in the trunk. Extraordinary preservation.

 

OK, so the car is awesome. But what's it worth? I can't really find many comparables and the price guides are obviously hogwash on something like this. It's hard for my business to make the margins work at less than $20,000, but could this be a $22-24,000 car? Above that you run into some pretty nice stuff, including a triple black 1976 Eldorado convertible with 38,000 original miles that I have for $25,000. But this Buick is absolutely spectacular in every way. The nicest survivor I've ever seen in my life. Are these in-demand cars? I know a '73 Coupe DeVille wouldn't necessarily be a super valuable piece, but is the Buick better?

 

I'm sorry for my ignorance on these, I should probably start paying closer attention. I personally love the car but what I love and what the business loves are often two different things, but if I can make a case for this being a $20,000 car, then I'd give it a go.

 

Thoughts? Thanks!

 

Electra1.jpg.f661bf059f873c3445cc9fe11b5c7a12.jpgElectra2.thumb.jpg.efc4c7e5f5a83c2fbe844e96da24872c.jpgElectra3.jpg.8e9f16b7a6f86b99a2d8878319bf4677.jpg

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Matt, I think Buick fans have more diverse interests 

than those of just about any other marque.  So yes,

your 1973 Electra 2-door hardtop is collectible.  It's not

a high-demand model, but some Buick fan will certainly like it.

I think the Buick may have a little less value than the similar Cadillac.

 

There's probably little support for a 73 Electra at $20,000,

but hey--who knows?  For comparison:  Someone was selling a pristine

1976 Buick Electra coupe, 15,000 miles, and wanted $15,000.

A person I know  bought a 1975 Pontiac Grand Ville convertible,

kept as a collector car from new, only 8000 miles and an AACA Senior

winner, for $20,000.  The seller tried for $29,000 but couldn't

achieve it.  Hope this helps a little.

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Electra coupes from the 1970s, no matter how nice they are, don't get into the $20,000 range. And that one looks fabulous. There was one (not for sale) at the BCA national meet in July, same year, same mileage, same condition, copper color with a black interior, 2-dr., in the Archival Class. It was spectacular. They do have a following in the BCA but they aren't my cup of tea--too big, not old enough yet, low-compression 455, and high operating costs. Still, they are good cars, very comfortable, almost no electronics (which is a plus), and great for long trips. There are a couple of nearly new 1976 4-dr. hardtop Electras for sale in the October Bugle which just arrived today. One car has 942 miles, the other 11,000 miles. Each is asking around $15,000, so this '73 is probably high 'teens I would say. Of course, an asking price doesn't mean that's what it will sell for.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Leonard, Texas

Edited by Pete Phillips (see edit history)

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You might start at $21995.00 and "low dollar" (if necessary) at $17995.00.  Not knowing what the acquisition cost might be.

 

To me, that car has more road presence than any Cadillac!  Formal look, but not too much. 455s were somewhat thirsty, but if somebody has the means to purchase the car AND have an appropriate place to park it AND protect their investment, then 13mpg on the road might not matter that much.  It should NOT ben an "everyday driver"!

 

That is one car that can make almost anybody who might be behind the wheel "elevated in status" and "look successful".  In that respect alone, it should be worth MORE than a Cadillac!

 

NTX5467

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There was a recent thread on here where some posters said they'd consider 15K for this generation Electra in good condition.  But I think 20K is absolute top dollar at this point.

 

These are among the nicest Buicks produced.  As opposed to some other comments posted here, I can tell you my 72 is not any more expensive to drive than my 69 GS, or 56 Super. It may be less costly.  Tires are the same,  brake parts are cheaper, parts are easily sourced. the comfort level is through the roof, and one can pack everything plus the kitchen sink and still have room for 6 adults with comfort!  My 72 glides over the road. Yet it's easy to handle. 

 

Low compression 455's are still 455's.  Except they run on regular gas if need be.  There is no perceptible loss of power when one considers you cannot put, and keep ,your foot into a high compression engine on todays gasoline. As far as I am concerned, the Buicks have the right combination of curves and corners to make the cars sleek and attractive.  The mileage on that car is particularly attractive, however I still agree that it will be difficult today to get 20K for any 72-76 Electra.  And difficult should not be confused with impossible.

 

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This year's National had an incredible assortment of the big 70s Electras. There's a member here on the forum who recently purchased a very nice 1975 for $10k. I agree with other assessments that $20k is probably not going to come easily. It certainly looks like an Incredible car and your assessment sounds good. 

 

An incredibly nice nice looking car but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a buyer at $20k, especially if you are looking at the general public, not just Buick lovers. 

 

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Well darn.  Based on the comments above, this Buick may become lost into the daily driver world.  Matt's ability to place cars like this into "appropriate" hands is an important service to our hobby.  I understand as well as anybody though that business and pleasure are two different animals.

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If I were selling that car, I might (just might)

ask $15,000 and be prepared to come down to

$12,000.  And that might not be an easy sale.

Matt may have gotten it for $8000 or so, and

if he didn't pay $20,000, would another buyer?

 

A few years ago at Hershey, there was a perfect

1978 Electra sedan with 39,000 miles for sale in the car corral.

It was an AACA winner, and the seller, a dealer, was

TRYING for $7800.  It wasn't snapped up at that

high price, and later was in the $6500 range.  I know

1978 is the next generation, but they're collectible too

at the right price.

 

A realistic price in no way means that this black '73 Electra

will be converted to "daily driver" status.  A realistic price

just means that a true Buick fan will be able to acquire it 

more easily to care for it and preserve it!

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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  Aren't we a messed up lot.  We encourage folks to drive their old Buicks  " Buicks are meant to be driven" we parrot.  Then one like this comes along and we hope it does not turn into a "daily driver". 

 

  If I had the means, it might not become a daily, but would certainly become an often driven.  There are a lot of those out there yet. Perhaps not as pristine as this  

 

  It is a beautiful car. I agree no where near the price mentioned.

 

  Ben

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A Buick fan, enjoying it regularly and driving it carefully,

would give a good home if this car was going to be used.

However, if someone from the general public were to

want this as his regular car, it would be driven in salt,

get parking-lot door dings, sit out in the hot sun-- and

in a few years this deserving piece of history might be worn out.

 

A car like this, if driven in salt, would see rust-through 

in 3 or 4 years, and with the high mileage it would then have,

it would be barely collectible.

 

Isn't it great when Buick fans find good cars and preserve them?

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I think that about $15,000 is the right price for this car.  A lower mileage '72 Electra 225 4-door hardtop sold to a European buyer last year at about $15,000, and that seems to be about as high as we've seen for the closed, full-size cars from this era.  But the '72 was a relatively low option example.  This black '73 looks like it is well-optioned, so that may bump the price a bit higher.

 

These are wonderful driving cars, and I'm seeing increasing demand for these early-1970's "land yachts".  And, quite frankly, I think that these cars generally had better build quality than the Cadillacs of the era.

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Like Matt stated, for every couple of thousand bucks the field of choices opens wider and the selection gets better.

 

That car is the right color. The car has "eyes". Most well preserved cars like this one are a conservative brown, or green, or light blue. Black makes it pop, and not quite as gauche as "resale red".

 

Squeezing $20K would not be something I would bet next week's groceries on, BUT, if I still had my Grandfather's deal license hanging, it is a great place to invest profits. Explaining that this is fall and everyone is looking for a place to store a car, buying one and thinking where to go with one is cold, gray months away. I could see telling the owner they sure picked the wrong time to sell and offer $12,000 today. If there aren't happy tell them to store it for the winter and come back in the spring. If a lot of the Buick buyers live through the winter maybe the price will improve. With luck and the condition maintained, I might be able to offer enough to cover the storage costs. Or they can dig the snow away from the door all through the winter to show it to the 1 in 50 who call and actually show up. Oh, if you start it for them be sure to let it warm up fully so you don't leave the exhaust system full of condensation. Be sure to stand out in the cold while it runs so the exhaust fumes don't kill you.

You also might want to check that the cooling and heater hoses aren't 45 years old, as well as a few of the other consumables.

 

I hate to say it, but the original  owner must not have sold it for enough. Otherwise it would be more of a keeper and dearer to the current owner.

 

A savvy buyer, who keeps cash on hand, and is active in the hobby can come very close to duplicating that car for under $10,000. It is 3 PM. I can duplicate that description and plug in Coupe DeVille for $6500 by dinner time. BUT, it;s not a black one, therein lies the rub. (or I'd have it now) And the owner was enjoying the summer driving when he should have been selling.

 

I have a couple of cars to sell that would make someone a wonderful Christmas present! :)

The edit: notice the '48 Packard has left the list... in September.

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)

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Not my cup of tea, although a beautiful car and so well preserved it hurts...

 

That said, as they say.....it's a collectable car for sure.  It fits in the definition of "antique" by any state and any car club.  It's a car that, if one has a garage that can accommodate it (read "don't park it outside"), could not only be driven locally for a lot of fun, but also be driven on a LOT of AACA and other vintage tours.

 

Would people crowd around you like you were driving a Duesy?  No....but you'd meet great people, drive in comfort, and see things on arranged tours that you wouldn't normally be able to see (private collections and such).

 

This would be a great car to buy, I agree with my limited knowledge that 15-18K might be max....but then again, people who complain about the high price go to a new dealer and buy a 50K car without blinking an eye, and 5 years later it's worth 20K......this car at 20K would bring you a lot of fun and friendship, and still be worth within a few thousand of that when you're done with it!

 

It's not the way I do the hobby, but I bet there are LOTS of people who'd adore this car and have a ton of fun with it....

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To me, there's a difference between "daily driver" and "occasional driver". 

 

DD is treating it like a Toyota (or similar) that is "replaceable" at any time with something similar. 

 

OD would be for nice days, sunny days, local tours, national meets, and such.  Spends non-driving times in a sturdy structure, hopefully climate controlled.  To, as I mentioned, "Protect the investment".

 

I'll concur on the build quality.  Some Cadillacs I've seen, used at the time, were rattling and junky feeling.  Slam the driver's door and the lh seat back shook, etc.  Nothing some tightened fasteners wouldn't fix.  Then I saw others with elderly owners that were still tight and quiet.  Kind of like a person buying a Porsche and treating it like a VW, so to speak. 

 

No need to turn this into a Gas Monkey Garage-type deal.  Bought for $________.  Spent $______  Sold for $______  PROFIT $$$$$$$$.

 

On one of the early real estate $$$$ shows, about 10 years ago, one trick to more profit was to inflate the price of the house.  It might be worth $40K.  Do a little clean-up and paint.  List it for $60K. "Everybody wants to live in a higher-priced house", they claimed.  The house sells quickly.  The new owner brags about how nice the house it and admits what they paid for it.   Their friends were reportedly impressed with what they got and the price they paid for it, the "trainers" claimed.  By the time they sell it again, it'll be worth at least what they paid for it, possibly more, all things considered.  Kind of like "Be bold and ask for that higher price".  If they negatively react, then go from there. 

 

NTX5467

 

 

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I'm going to roll the dice on the car. It's just so nice that I can't wrap my head around someone refusing to pay $20,000 for it if that's something they want. I don't know that anyone is out there just dying for a 1973 Electra, but if you have $20,000 to spend on a collector car, the field is not terribly crowded if you want unique AND high-quality. The car is just spectacular, almost new in every way. It has been properly maintained, so I'm not worried about old hoses or deferred maintenance--it wasn't just tucked away and stored for 30 years, but it was sparingly driven by a guy who kept it for 33 years. It is available now simply because the current owner feels that it's just too nice and he's concerned about something happening to it. He's mature enough to recognize that someone else might benefit from it more than he does. It isn't that it's in need of anything, it's just that it's SO nice that he doesn't feel comfortable taking it out in public. And yes, it really is that nice. I bet it's a 350-360+ point car in 400-point judging, never mind preservation classes.

 

Anyway, I'm going to see if I can get $20 out of it. It's spectacular and if someone is browsing cars in that price range, it will have to appeal to them. It will take them to a lot of shows, it's bulletproof reliable, comfortable, spacious, and has all the modern creature comforts. In the coming years, we're going to see more and more enthusiasts gravitating to these cars 1) because they're getting old and these are painless cars to drive and are fully accepted at marque meets (the recent Cadillac National Meet had perhaps 60% of its field filled with 1970s Sedans DeVille), and 2) because these are the cars of their youth, which is what drives the hobby. I personally think that this car would attract a lot of attention at a Buick national meet simply because of its color and its preservation. Even I am shocked by its quality, and I'm hard to impress. It's better than it looks in photos, if you can believe it.

 

So if anyone's interested, it's available. As someone above mentioned, I'll wager it goes overseas to Australia, the Scandinavian countries, or some eastern bloc nation. They're all going through their big American car period right now.

 

My answer to the price question is this: show me a higher-quality collector car for that money. That's going to be a small group, indeed. The car is spectacular, someone will fall in love like I did. It just hits you from left field and there it is. Love is like that, right?

 

Let's see what happens!

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36 minutes ago, NTX5467 said:

On one of the early real estate $$$$ shows, about 10 years ago, one trick to more profit was to inflate the price of the house....  

"Everybody wants to live in a higher-priced house", they claimed.  The house sells quickly. ... 

 

Sorry, NTX, I must disagree.  It's a law of economics

that as the price goes up, the quantity demanded goes down.

Such a rule is part of the supply-demand graph that economics

students learn.  It's invariable:  It will always happen, for this 1973 Buick

and every other product.

 

If such a law did not exist, Buick would think something like this:

"Well, these new Buicks aren't selling quite so well at $35,000.

Let's put the price up to $60,000 and then they'll really sell!"

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A number of years ago a local guy couldn't sell a hamburger for $3.50 so he raised the price to  $6.50 and everyone thought it must be really good to demand that kind of price. He sold a bunch of them. Not supply and demand, but perception.  Supply and demand probably don't follow the rules when you're dealing with emotions and hobbies.

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There is a car I see on a Kijiji ad listed for 45.000, been for sale for over a year and now it is 55,000.  I suppose it has gone up because of inflation?  Gary

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1 hour ago, cxgvd said:

There is a car I see on a Kijiji ad listed for 45,000, been for sale for over a year and now it is 55,000.  I suppose it has gone up because of inflation?  Gary

 

Or maybe, after his own lack of success, the owner

commissioned someone else to sell it, and the broker

is allowing for his commission.  I've seen that happen before.

Higher price ALWAYS means a lesser quantity demanded, even zero.

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20 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

  Aren't we a messed up lot.  We encourage folks to drive their old Buicks  " Buicks are meant to be driven" we parrot.  Then one like this comes along and we hope it does not turn into a "daily driver". 

 

  If I had the means, it might not become a daily, but would certainly become an often driven.  There are a lot of those out there yet. Perhaps not as pristine as this  

 

  It is a beautiful car. I agree no where near the price mentioned.

 

  Ben

 Actually Ben, I agree with you on the driver aspect of Buicks.  I could have been more clear in saying daily driver as in a rock band puts the car in a video then the drummer drives it as a commuter car until it is trashed within three years.  Wait, did I say drummer?  I meant bass player.

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12 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

Sorry, NTX, I must disagree.  It's a law of economics

that as the price goes up, the quantity demanded goes down.

Such a rule is part of the supply-demand graph that economics

students learn.  It's invariable:  It will always happen, for this 1973 Buick

and every other product.

 

If such a law did not exist, Buick would think something like this:

"Well, these new Buicks aren't selling quite so well at $35,000.

Let's put the price up to $60,000 and then they'll really sell!"

 

While I have not personally experienced it, I have heard more than one dealer (and more than one person on this very message board) claim that when a car doesn't sell, they raise the price. It does seem to be indicative of quality to some buyers and a higher price convinces them that it's a premium offering. I know of one dealer in particular who buys a car for $X, lists it for sale for $2X, and when a buyer negotiates it down to $1.5X, everyone thinks they've had a big win. It usually has to be something unusual and unique, not a cookie-cutter car where alternatives are readily available.

 

I'm not going to have any margin on this car at all. But I love the car and want it in my showroom. I sold that 1959 Pontiac at a loss, and maybe this will sell at a loss, too. I think it's worthy and I think I can find a buyer who will see the value. $20K isn't much money these days in the grand scheme of things, but this is a great deal of car for the money. I certainly didn't buy it for $8000, if that's what you're thinking. It won't be a big score by any means. But sometimes you take great cars, money be damned, simply because they're great cars.

 

Some of you might think I'm being foolish, and that's OK. But those of you who are smart and own cars like this should be rooting for me because I'm about to make all your cars more valuable just like I did with the Dodge Power Wagons...

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And the laws of economics, and it's relation to such a category as old/collector/classic/antique cars, is tenuous at best.  Certainly any car, when is it one of a handful, can be sold for more than it's "worth" to the buyer who simply must have it.  Then again it can be sold for much less depending on the seller's motivation.  None of this related to brand new or late model used cars at all.

 

As far as upping the price on a singular car that's not selling, when I was a wholesaler, I did that all the time, and with success actually.  Used late model Chrysler cars and SUVs were very difficult to sell from 2005-2008ish, so creativity was required to move them.  If I had a 2006 Chrysler 300 V6/Dodge Nitro/Charger/Magnum that I couldn't move, I would randomly change the prices on it.  Sometimes a dealer would call and ask about it, and that was the intention of doing so.  Getting anybody to talk about them was often a challenge.  Again, that market doesn't relate to our collector market. 

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In the late 1970's, I bought a collection of cars out of north Louisiana.

 

Included in the deal were two Model A's, a '28 and a '31 roadster.  I was after other cars in the collection, so knew they'd be for sale, and in fact the '31 sold with a phone call to a friend, BEFORE I even picked it up.

 

The '28 roadster came home with me.  It was a nice car, very solid, and we got it running great.  Decent paint and upholstery, it was a nice car, I advertised it for $4000, in Hemmings. This was 1976, more or less market price for the car, I received NO phone calls.

 

A couple months go by, I mention to my father I guess I'll try to sell the roadster again, he said, raise the price, the people reading the ad think you have a poor car due to the price.  I was skeptical, but I advertised it again, again in Hemmings, for $5200.

 

It sold within a week for $5000.   Sure was an interesting experience......

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52 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

Some of you might think I'm being foolish, and that's OK.

 Cars that I buy because "I'm smart" don't usually stick around long. "Smart" has a way of blinding perception.

 

My comment may have sounded like I thought $20,000 was too much. That wouldn't matter if "I:" wanted it. Besides, it is not $20,000 too much. It is the actual value plus the premium one is willing to pay.

This reminds me of the many years that professional managers were training me to be unemployable. Once I had lunch with one of our vendors and was gone two hours. Mr. Dithers, the jerk, went on a rampage about the 2 two hour lunch. It wasn't. The first hour was mine. I was one hour late, not two.

 

So we aren't considering a $20,000 car. It is the nominal value plus some extra. When I paid $2,000 for my '64 Riviera in 1978 I was ridiculed by a couple of Riviera experts for paying twice as much as they could buy one for. 40 years later it means nothing. I, for one, have no problem paying extra for something I really want. AND I have no problem charging extra for a car I sell to assure it gets a good home with someone equally willing to extend for what they want.

 

I am glad Matt is getting the car. It is assured a good long life. It will be displayed with cars that will elevate its image. It will be presented in the most professional manner I have seen collector cars advertised. And the inherent qualities it already has will be amplified. Bottom line, it is getting a better home. I have heard that story about selling because it is too nice to drive a number of times. Yeah, tell me another.

Bernie

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I'm pleased to learn that you'll move forward with this car, Matt.  I agree completely that a growing number of collectors are gravitating toward the great American cars of this era.  One only needs to see what has happened to prices of nice boat tail (1971 - 1973) Rivieras during recent years.  And the best examples of those cars are now beyond the range of many prospective buyers, so the other full-size Buicks of the period are now capturing additional collector attention.

 

I administer a group on Facebook devoted strictly to the 1971 and 1972 full-size Buicks.  In one year, the group grew to more than 2,000 members, and we have new folks joining daily from all over the world.  A high percentage of the folks joining the group are credible enthusiasts who either own one of these cars or are actively seeking one.  The number of folks inquiring about nice condition early-1970's Electra 225's might surprise you.

 

I think that one very significant selling point for these cars is that the factory air conditioning systems are flat-out amazing.  By the early-1970's, factory A/C had become nearly universal on the full-size Buicks, and these systems are powerful enough to cool a small house.  In many respects, these systems are more capable than those in later model cars.   So, as you've noted, these cars are really ideal for driving tours and long-distance travel to events like the Buick National Meets.

Edited by Centurion
Adding Air Conditioning comments. (see edit history)
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