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CaptainGTX

Would You Restore or Just Preserve This Car?

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Very nice car.If it was mine since it appears that the left qrt panel has been repaired(see different shades of paint) I'd have a top notch body shop cut out the bad and weld a replacement panel from the Plymonth doctor that makes replacement panels for these cars.

then have the shop do a 'puter scran on the paint to match the orginial and only paint the repair serface.you are not repairing that much body to harm the vaul of the car.Do the maintances and enjoy.

Vern

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Fix the rust - I'd do the quarter and really consider doing the floor sections, as well! Leave the rest, except for the necessary mechanical items, keep anything you remove, especially if it is factory original, document everything (log book) and enjoy that beautiful Ragtop!

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You've received excellent advice here. While the perfect restorations are fun to see, an original car always draws a crowd. It also shows that we tend to over-restore a lot of vehicles. Remember most new cars are fixed up at the dealerships before they're sold as new. Same thing apply's to restorations, they start down hill on day #2.

The HPOF Class is a good thing (Historical Preservation of Original Features) if Car Shows are in your future. Remember even the girl who finishes last in the Miss America Contest is a beautiul woman, so is your car.

With two HPOF cars of our own, we enjoy the hobby and still have usable vehicles, but have never been judged to be preserved. There is also the "Driver Participation Class" for cars not quite ready for the Pebble Beach show.

The best thing is that your car is still usable as it was originally intended.

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On the beauty contest thought; I always thought the definition of a raving beauty was the girl who won second place. Competition is tough at the top levels.

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Keep it like it is! Just do the maintenance to enjure its' reliability. Eventually it will need a new top, but hang on to the original until it's not usable. What you have is an absolute gem as it is. The value of original cars has imcreased dramatically in recent years, and as another comment indicated, it's only original once!

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I echo everyone else's thoughts but have one other wrinkle to think about. Like another contributor, I have an AACA Senior Grand National winner. What I would do is leave the one you have original and go look for another car. Restore the other car. Then, show the two cars side by side, original and show car. THAT would be neat I think. Good luck.

Eric

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I'm hesitant to pose this question, because only the marketplace can answer it. But for, say insurance purposes, how would you go about valuing this car? The only one I'm aware of that has crossed the auction block recently was at a 2005 Kruse auction where a restored one sold for $42K. NADA (formerly Gold) values them at $14.2K low, $23.6K avg & $35.0k high. Collector Car Market's price guide seems unrealistically low, ranging from $5,300 in #4 condition to $20,150 in #1 (I'll take two please). Don't have a recent Old Cars Price Guide in front of me so can't provide their guesses.

Several responders have noted that survivor cars seem to be gaining in value as they become more appreciated. I've noticed that move also, but it is hard to quantify. A #3 or 4 condition car that was previously valued only as a restoration project might now be considered a survivor whose value is not dependent on the cost of restoring it. Add in the low survival rate for this particular car and the distinct possibility that it might be the oldest Dodge hemi ragtop remaining, and what do you get? It always boils down to what someone will pay & what someone will sell for. But again, for insurance purposes only, how would you value this car? My guess is maybe in the $15-20K range in today's economy (not saying I'd part with it for that - and, no, it's not for sale). Thanks for your thoughts.

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If I were you, I would start a separate post about the worth of the car as is...with lots of photos.

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It's been a couple years since the last post to this thread, so I thought I'd update the status of my 53 convertible.

I have decided not to restore it, or do anything that takes away from its originality, other than possibly installing seatbelts. I was able to find an experienced mechanic to repair the transmission, so have been attending local cruises and shows on a fairly regular basis. In fact, last season the Dodge saw more action than did my restored 69 GTX. Last summer it won the Best Survivor award at the local Mopars on Thunder Mountain, the Rocky Mountain area's largest Mopar car show.

There are a few items I intend to take care of this summer, including the seat belts, straightening some SS trim, and a few repair items. Haven't found anyone yet who wants to tackle the minor rust issues, but want to do some of that as well, just to keep it from getting worse. In the end I should still have around 90% of the original paint left.

Thought I might also show a few more detail shots of the car. Some day I intend to do a better job putting together a complete photo documentation of all the original details of the car.

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Thanks for the positive reinforcement, guys. Attached are some more photos taken last summer. I don't think any are repeats.

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find a top line upholstery shop that can replace the top, that will use up $5,000 and keep you dry. Bob

Put the top down and only drive it on nice days and save yourself the $5K. Replace the floors where it's rusted through and install the seat belts. Good luck....

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looks like the decision has been made so I will just support the plan to preserve. But as long as it is garaged in a dry and somewhat temperature controlled environment I would never think it should be restored.

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Good choice to preserve! What a beautiful specimen to maintain! Most of us would have loved to had something like your car to start with as a base. Would have saved us many thousands of dollars, a lot of blood, sweat and downright unacceptable language. But, that's what this hobby is all about. Enjoying your car, how you would enjoy it! Matt

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