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1971 46k Original Miles - Value?


skytrek

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Good day everyone,

My father bought a 1971 Buick Riviera when he was 18. He babied this car for so many years. It rarely saw the light of day at times.

He and my mom have gotten to the point in their lives where they don't want to stare at this car in garage anymore. (As beautiful as it is.)

They have talked about selling it so I am looking to get some info on the potential value of this car.

Stats - 46,000 original miles, 455ci Engine, Power Windows, Power Trunck Release, Original Wheels, Factory AC, air suspension, and last but definitly not least, an 8 track player. The color is the copper color with light saddle cloth interior. Needless to say there are no tears or stains in the interior.

What would a car like this go for in the Riviera market? We are in the central valley of California. Unfortunately I don't have a picture with me now to post.

Would love some insight from the professionals here.

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Estimating prices on a car based on limited information is difficult. There are many factors based on a cars condition, color combination, and options that affect its market value. Another factor is how much time you want to spend marketing the car. For example will you advertise locally or take 20-30 high resolution pictures and advertise it in various national markets such as ebay, Hemmings Motor News, craigslist, internet Buick forums, etc. The larger market you reach the better chance you have of getting more money for it. Yet one more factor is how long you are willing to market it. Are you looking for a quick sale in one month or willing to let it sit for 6 months.

One area many owners of low mileage garage kept cars fail to realize is that regardless of the low mileage, if the car has been idle for a long period of time and not driven, the new owner will need to invest money in brake system overhaul, fuel and water pumps, radiator hoses, fuel hoses, belts, trannsmission fluid and filter, ignition tuneup, carburetor rebuild etc. While the owner may think its a perfect car and needs nothing as it sits, the perspective buyer will want to start driving it and to do that reliably they'll need to have preventive maintenance done.

It will help if the mileage is documented with receipts and other paperwork.

Aside from that, a 46k mile rust free 71 will attract some attention especially if the paint and chrome are still very presentable. Assuming a pampered car all its life I'd put it in the range of $6000-$10,000. Despite this wide price range it can still be subject to some error because I'm making a lot of assumptions.

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One area many owners of low mileage garage kept cars fail to realize is that regardless of the low mileage, if the car has been idle for a long period of time and not driven, the new owner will need to invest money in brake system overhaul, fuel and water pumps, radiator hoses, fuel hoses, belts, trannsmission fluid and filter, ignition tuneup, carburetor rebuild etc. While the owner may think its a perfect car and needs nothing as it sits, the perspective buyer will want to start driving it and to do that reliably they'll need to have preventive maintenance done.

QUOTE]

Jason is right on. I could not add any insight to the whole quote but wanted to focus on the mileage comment. There are many low mileage cars out there in horrible condition. I doubt your parents car is, but sitting does a car more harm then recreational driving.

Boattails "top out" in the $15,000 range. I don't think I have seen any exceed $20,000. There are a "lot" out there in nice condition in the $8,000 range.

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What Jason stated is 100% correct. Letting a car sit does more damage than if you take it out and drive it occasionally and maintaining it. You can also check the NADA guide:Prices & Used Values for Classic, Collectible, Exotic and Muscle Cars and Trucks - NADAguides. Click on the classic cars menu at the top. But according to NADA this is what they are showing:

<TABLE id=ctl00_ctl01_ucValues_tblSummary cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=1><TBODY><TR class=vdppricetypes><TD style="WIDTH: 147px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: middle">Pricing

</TD><TD class=pricetype>Original

MSRP

</TD><TD class=pricetype>Low

Retail

</TD><TD class=pricetype>Average

Retail

</TD><TD class=pricetype>High

Retail

</TD></TR><TR class=tableHeaderVDPValueRow><TD class=tableHeaderVDPValue></TD><TD class=optionvalue align=right>$5,253</TD><TD class=optionvalue align=right>$5,650</TD><TD class=optionvalue2 align=right>$9,650</TD><TD class=optionvalue3 align=right>$14,500</TD></TR><TR class=vdpoptionsrow><TD colSpan=5><TABLE style="BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse" class=summaryData2 border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=ccpricinglblnewbase colSpan=5>Options: (add options)</TD></TR><TR class=summaryData2altcolor><TD class=optiontitle>Factory Air Conditioning</TD><TD class=optionvalue></TD><TD class=optionvalue2>$850</TD><TD class=optionvalue2>$1,500</TD><TD class=optionvalue2>$2,200</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

See all options chosen

</TD></TR><TR><TD style="WHITE-SPACE: nowrap" class=summaryFooterVDP>TOTAL PRICE</TD><TD class=summaryFooterVDP align=right>$5,253</TD><TD class=summaryFooterVDP align=right>$6,500</TD><TD class=summaryFooterVDP align=right>$11,150</TD><TD class=summaryFooterVDP align=right>$16,700</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<SCRIPT type=text/javascript> NADAjs.VDPVehicleInfo.showHideInfo();</SCRIPT>

Unfortunately, some person has had a 71 listed on Ebay since last July with a buy it now price of $75,971. He is truly living in Fantasy Island. You would think that the brick wall has fallen on his head by now with no one bidding on it.

Bob Bonto # 277 ROA

Technical Advisor 71-73 :)

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<SCRIPT type=text/javascript> NADAjs.VDPVehicleInfo.showHideInfo();</SCRIPT>

Unfortunately, some person has had a 71 listed on Ebay since last July with a buy it now price of $75,971. He is truly living in Fantasy Island. You would think that the brick wall has fallen on his head by now with no one bidding on it.

Bob Bonto # 277 ROA

Technical Advisor 71-73 :)

Bob,

Unfortunately, ebays new rules allow for this sort of nonsense. There has been a red 39 Special 4 door sedan, nicely restored - on ebay for well over a year offered at $45,000 I believe.

I contacted the seller and said 'why' and he said ebay doesn't charge him to run the auction so he just let's it go.

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NADA values are too high by at least 20% and not realistic especially in today's market. If someone has access to a CPI Value Guide (Cars of Particular Interest) that is more accurate. BUT, NONE of these guides have values for old cars that have been sitting. I couldn't agree more with the earlier post of how many owners of dormant vehicles do not realize the true condition of their car. Often they think it only needs a battery and some fresh gas. Not so. I have resurrected many "dead" cars and am currently working on a '65 Lincoln conv. and a '74 Avanti II that are both in the same condition. As mentioned all the systems need to be gone through, belts, hoses, fuel tank and radiator pulled, etc. Even though many of our mechanical parts are relatively cheap and available, everything adds up. Don't forget the tires too. Even though there may be plenty of tread, they are rotted and have flat spots from sitting and unsafe especially for such a heavy car. To perform all this work yourself would cost about $2k in parts including tires. Figure at least another $2k in labor if you paid someone which should be considered to realize a value for this car. Just because the potential buyer is a Riviera enthusiast and capable of doing the work him/herself, should mean the labor is "free". So much depends on how long the car has been sitting and not used, plus the condition of the paint and chrome, whether it was repainted, etc. But for example, even if it was used sparingly, if the brake fluid hasn't been changed for years there is rust in the brake system, even if the pedal feels good. It is a nice old car that just needs to be gone through. The engine and transmissions on these cars are very durable but there can be surprise problems that arise from sitting such as leaky transmission seals and rusty valve faces and seats causing low engine cylinder compression. Most of us on this forum already know this topic, I am just trying to educate the seller to not have "pie in the sky" hopes. It is too bad it sat for so long. Many potential buyers are too optimistic on projects like this, however, my opinion based on experience and today's depressed market is at $3,500 if the paint and chrome are nice and original. With the market like it is, people are taking advantage of it and buying finished and "done" cars not projects unless they are REALLY CHEAP to make it worth the effort which it rarely is. I do it because I like it. It is something like rescuing a terminally ill animal from the shelter. It makes no sense financially but you do it anyway.

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