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How do you reply to unsolicited offers for your car? (the one you WON"T sell)


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I get many offers to sell my Skyliner whenever I'm out in it and sometime from people knocking at my door. I usually respectfully say with a smile "You could buy a much better one, cheaper"

So how do you handle these unsolicited offers? Again, this is for those cars you don't want to sell!!

On another tangent, I do get a lot of people who ask what I paid for my Amphicar or what it's worth, those are questions I just don't answer. I feel asking a stranger about money related issues is plain RUDE. I first try to be polite and give a very generic answer without numbers. If they push the issue, I get firm and just say that is not an appropriate question and I say that the price varies depending on the particular Amphicar. How do you handle this situation?

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Whenever someone asks to buy one of my 1931 Dodge three window coupes, I tell them that they will have to talk to my kids in California. Since I am going to leave my daughter and my son with a business coupe each, you will NOT be getting the cars from me. Originally, I was going to be buried in my first '31, but now that I have kids, I have changed my mind. Plus...I KNOW what "they" (others outside of my family) will do if I sell them a coupe. They will chop it and put a Chevy 350 in it. I would sooner die before seeing that happen.

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Tell them everything is for sale all we're doing is talking price. Then I quote them a price that I would part with the car for which is way way way above book value. I'm hoping someday someone takes me up on it.................bob

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One time a couple followed me and my Dodge A100 pickup home. They followed me right into my driveway! The guy jumps out and says, "I gotta have that truck! I need that to haul the new Harley around that I just ordered." I told him that it was my everyday driver and it is NOT for sale. We got to talking and he mentioned that he was looking for an old Chrysler roadster. I mentioned that I had a 1929 Chrysler in the garage. He freaked out and wanted to see it. I told him it was not for sale. I had promised it to my friend, Scott in Michigan. He offered me $4,500.00 for it. I told him that I would call Scott and verify that he still wanted it. "Oh yes," Scott said. "I added on to my garage especially for that Chrysler." "O.K.", I said. The guy who wanted it called the next day and tells me that he canceled his order for his Harley, emptied his trailer of his backhoe and was "coming over to get the Chrysler with the $4,500.00 in his pocket". I told him what Scott had said and he went nuts on me!! He started yelling at me about the cancellation of his Harley order and went on and on about how I "screwed" him. Really? I don't think so.

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On your Skyliner, is there price you would sell it for ? Even if its a ridiculously high price ? If so, give them that number. Who knows, fools and their money are soon parted.

That's okay advice as long as you have a car that is in relatively good supply such as the Skyliner. If you've got a rare car (if you can count the remaining examples on ONE hand), it is not a good idea to put a number on it AT ALL if it is not for sale. I've heard many stories where the check book came out as soon as a "rediculous number" was quoted.

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I quote a price way higher then its worth,when asked if I want to sell my 55 sunliner I say I start entertaining offers at 250,000 but if you want my attention its got to be more the 500,000 but 750,00 to one million might be what it will take to get me to sign the title over and it needs to be in cash so they walk away.

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A long time ago I bought a 35' reproduction of a Missisippi river boat for $600.

I broght it home and installed a working paddle wheel and was constiantly asked how much do I want for it.

Once I thought about what to say if I was asked again and came up with a price of $7000 that I thought anyone would have to be crazy to offer.

Wrong!!! a lawyer asked me the price and I told him. He bought it on the spot!

But all was not lost, he hired me to renovate it and act as the Captain when he had catered partys on it. The rest of the time I could use it as my own.

:cool::cool:

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On your Skyliner, is there price you would sell it for ? Even if its a ridiculously high price ? If so, give them that number. Who knows, fools and their money are soon parted.

I s'pose there is a number I'd sell her for, but I don't have a specific one in mind. I used to spit out a stoopid number, but then I heard stupid comments like "You'll never sell it for that price!" and then they would get mad and talk crap behind my back that my Amphicars must be way overpriced too. That could easily affect my long standing reputation as a fair businessman. I already had to deal with people making baseless unfounded accusations that affected myself negatively (and the club greatly.) So rather than tossing out a crazy price to fuel the moron parade, I try to keep it fool proof, polite and crystal clear. If they still pressure me for a number, I preface it with something like"I know it's priced too high. That's because I love it and I have a lot more than money vested in this this car. So with that in mind I'd take $XX,XXX.79 for her. :eek:"

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Just tell them thanks for the offer, you appreciate that THEY appreciate the car and what it is, but it's just not for sale.

I had a friend offer me a very good price for one of my cars, I believe more than I had it insured for....and I told him no....simply because that particular car is my favorite, I have a long history with it, and it's just not for sale as long as I either don't need the money to live, or my birth certificate becomes worthless (my brother tactfully calls it "being room temperature...")

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To some folks "Not for Sale" is like a challenge. They just have to see if they can get you to relent and sell whatever it is that you are selling. If you aren't selling it has to be worth having.

Whenever you see Bill, ask him how it went when he sold a one owner before us, 1958 Chevy Biscayne 2-door that I didn't want for him to sell. He made the mistake of putting both it and the 1966 Alfa Spider up for sale at the same time. He didn't want the Alfa anymore. I wanted the Biscayne as it was our first antique car and his son had been living with us when we got it. The deal was that which ever one sold we would keep the other one.

A guy came up from Fla. to get the Alfa and someone called about the Biscayne while he was here and he had not known we had one and that Bill had it up for sale too . Bill sold him both cars. :mad:

Let's just say he may not be in the will after all. :rolleyes:

If he makes the mistake of selling the 1963 1/2 Ford Falcon Sprint convertible.....he won't have to worry about being in the will, 'cause he will be dead :eek: before I am. :D

I think the Not For Sale angle for him would be, "Man I sold one before that she didn't want to sell. I won't be that stupid TWICE". :o

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When asked, What's that car worth? I reply "how much do you have?" that usually ends the price question, but if not I say "they should talk to my wife at my estate sale." (Meaning I'll keep it my whole life)

If they throw out a really big number I say sold!

I think it's just an attempt to tell me they like the car, not really a prospective buyer. Funny thing is it never happen when I'm driving a car I want to sell.

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Interesting as it has probably happened to most of us here. (where are these people when you DO want to sell?? ;)

I usually figure two things, a serious buyer will have an idea of value and are usually fine if you decline to discuss that subject.

Less serious buyers could be dreamers or people new to the hobby. I can usually spare an old HMN, or now withe the web, direct them to a favorit site or two (like this one) to learn more, ponder what they may like and possibly find a car there. You never know you may see them at a show sometime with their own prize.

I thnk it is a little more complex with John being in the business rather than a hobbyist. You need to decide what to say with an eye towards not offending as they could be a possible future customer or as he points out, spread good or bad word. A possible solution, "This one is my hobby car, but I do this for a business, can I help you find something perhaps?" Hmm...

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I always tell the story that I am restoring one Crosley for each grandchild and they are promised to the grandchildren car by car. That usually that ends the sales conversation. I then tell them my opinion on the value of each car and that there are lots of them out there still available. I offer to help them find one and restore it if that is what they want to do. I've had a lot of offers to restore cars for other people, but that is my pleasure, not my business. I also could not be as reasonable as most of you guys that do restoring for a living. If I had to do it at the time I take, I'd have to charge double what most restorers do the work for. I also could never duplicate the level of professionalism shown by most restorers. Most people have no idea the level of work that goes into a restoration.

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My experience is people asking for price usually have no idea of the car's value. I will quote a price double what it will take to duplicate the vehicle. Sometimes I plead stupidity and tell them the fair price is when the seller thinks they are giving it away and the buyer thinks the seller is out of his mind. Then they chuckle and leave.

The best answer I have heard for a looker was "A dollar $2.98".

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I will take half the Barrett Jackson estimated price for anything I own

Actually my wife knows the price I would sell any of my cars for while I AM ALIVE. She also knows the significantly lower price if she ends up with the estate. I have seen a few widows left with cars their husband overpriced and it is painful for them when the cars do not sell. I guess that is the true definition of a curse.

Bernie

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I tell them that my 86 year old father and I restored it, and I want to have it around to remember him by for a long time.

Other times, I say "It's not worth the amount I have in it, and I wouldn't take a loss on all my money, time and effort."

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That's okay advice as long as you have a car that is in relatively good supply such as the Skyliner. If you've got a rare car (if you can count the remaining examples on ONE hand), it is not a good idea to put a number on it AT ALL if it is not for sale. I've heard many stories where the check book came out as soon as a "ridiculous number" was quoted.

I know of a couple cars where the buyer didn't even blink ...

... and the seller has much regret. This doesn't just happen with cars. I think it is better to just tell the potential buyer that the particular car in question is special to you. Most folks understand that.

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If the offer was serious, I somewhat regret not taking an offer for my 36 Chevrolet. Just a few months after buying the car in the early 1980s, I was followed on the Interstate for a good number of miles (this was when speed limit was 55--so I could cruise along at 50 with with most everyone else doing 60 mph or little more--plus only a fraction of the traffic compared to today).

They followed me to a gas station, and after looking the car over, offered me a figure that turned out to be twice what I had paid for it (with financial help from my grandmother...) just a month or so before. I turned down the offer. I think I paid a fair but maybe slightly low price, but still with that much profit could perhaps have upgraded--maybe even a Ford V8 :rolleyes:

Edited by 36chev (see edit history)
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I have had a number of people ask what one of my cars is worth and it offends me, just like others have said. I usually ask how much money they've got and that seems to stop them right there. The fact is, it is none of their bloody business !

Al

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A good friend of mine who lives in Tampa and I were at an Amphicar Swim-in in Ohio when on a Saturday eve. he decided to take his Amphicar and go fishin' just for fun. He bought a "for sale" sign and tossed it on the dash. In about <5 mins (not kidding!) a guy walks up to us and asks "how much?" My friend gave a number that at the time was at least 50+% more than that car was actually worth. The guy did not blink, pulled out his checkbook and wrote him a check on the spot. Yes the check was cashed when they both went to the bank monday AM.

The other side was while the Amphicar was a nice car in safe "driver" condition, it was still not perfect. Some time after the purchase the new owner actually complained loudly about the imperfections. He didn't so much ask a single queston nor open a door before writing the check and somehow it's my friend's fault the the 45 year old car had some small issues? There was nothing serious, just the usual need of a tune-up, tires and the odd seal or hoses. I guess the guy was trying to impress somebody (shrug), it must have been somebody else, cuz it wasn't us!

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I look at them and start ''signing'' in Polish :D

Note: This works well in So Cal but not in Chicago! People start answering you

One car I owned for a long time my answer was ''Twenty-five years of my life!!!!"

Edited by RU22 (see edit history)
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Well for me having a 1940 Plymouth restored.. at least every show 1-to 3 people will ask...

I tell them "What do "you" think its Worth"??

When I hear them they usally don't have a clue....

So I tell them .... you know........... at min prices it clost at least 5K to have the paint done 5K to have the interior done at least 5 k to have the drive train and tires done.. and at least 3K tohave the toys .. and that would be if its was in decinet shape with out replacing items like fenders etc etc..

most of the time they get it...

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I never get offended when someone asks if one of the cars is for sale. If you don't ask, you'll never know. Right out of college, newly married, new job, kid on the way, broke as he--, I kiddingly asked my elderly neighbor if he would ever sell his old Caddy. He never sold a thing in over 50 years, but he said he would ask his relatives. Fortunately he had a small family and old cars were not their thing. I won't say what I paid, but the old guy and I were life long friends after the sale. After he passed, his widow wanted me to pick out any old car from the collection and not to worry about the price. Just be polite and express your desires. You never know how it will turn out.

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I always tell them they are not for sale and never will be! I have put more time and effort in to each than I could ever get back. I have no car payments and the insurance/registration is cheap!

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I think its better not to respond to these value questions at all. I can handle the first question fine, but people who persist are rude and asking to be ignored in my book. There are plenty of ways for anyone really interested to find out with some semblance of accuracy what an old car is worth without pestering an owner. Quoting an absurdly high price just reinforces the feeling many outside the hobby have that we are all just a bunch of rich folks with too much money.

My 2 cents.

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I guess I just don't understand how it is "rude" for someone who is looking at a vehicle on display to ask what it is worth. The car is after all, there for people to look at and marvel at the beauty and uniqueness of what is on display. A question of value is usually just a conversation starter. Yes, there are jerks in every group, but a simple "what is it worth" is nothing more than an affirmation of the observers appreciation of what he is seeing. I am honestly more offended by someone who brings a car to a show, ostensibly to show it off, and then sits in his chair behind the car and grumbles about the "stupid questions" that those people who see it are asking. We are all ambassadors of our hobby and it is judged by how we appear to the public. Sometimes being an ambassador means we have to endure a few dumb things. It is best to try to handle these things with a smile and a joke. Without a public to come and look at the cars, there are no shows.

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I think that it is probably o.k. to ask what an owner thinks his/her car is worth. It's when you ask what they paid for it or what they have spent on it to restore it that gets a little too personal. Some say you should not disclose what you paid for a car or spent on a car for fear that you will not get "more" for it than you paid. It's up to the owner to answer.

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I think some people ask "what is it worth" because they are interested but not sure what else to ask. Different from what did you pay, etc. if general, I am usually ok, kind of like the off hand comment "yah, I am looking for an old car.." or my --- had one just like this..." - just conversation.

One of my favorite quotes which actually applies to most old cars, I think was "If you don't like crowds, don't buy a Cord".. From one of the older books or buyers guide. Can anyone id the source?

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A lot of people seem to be interested in what our cars are worth because that is the first thing that they know about old cars. Many are rather flabbergasted at the prices that they see from some of these auctions and have a tendency to think that some of us are getting rich on these "investments". They really have no idea of what it costs to keep a car and how many times we really don't want to be reminded of how much we paid for the car in the first place. When asked how much the car is worth I usually give a very broad range of values and try not to be specific at all. Sometimes this dissapoints people but is actually closer to reality. A car is always worth whatever someone will pay and that varies a lot. Some people can be irritating by bombarding us with value questions but it is best not to let it bother us. Every couple of months there is a post from someone who wants to buy old cars as investments. Usually the answers are pretty patient and realistic. We don't need to make fun of or ridicule these novices.

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We are all ambassadors of our hobby and it is judged by how we appear to the public. Sometimes being an ambassador means we have to endure a few dumb things. It is best to try to handle these things with a smile and a joke. Without a public to come and look at the cars, there are no shows.

Very well put Dave A.

I agree with you. Part of enjoying old cars is interacting with the public. How else are we going to attract others to this great hobby.

Some times folks are just trying to start a conversation. If I got upset every time some one called one of my Star or Overland cars a Model T, or my Durant a Dodge (OK it does have a big "D" on the rad shell). I would miss out on some interesting conversations. These have also let to finding some cars parts and history.

Just my 3 cents worth.........

Frank

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Thanks Frank;

Having Crosleys, I often have to deal with ridicule from what I've come to call "the big block crowd". Comments like "I see the starter, where's the engine", "My lawn mower has a bigger engine", "Ha, Ha, Ha, my generator is bigger than that" are often repeated. I have dealt with this a number of ways. At one time I used to keep a V-8 vegetable juice can or a board with little plastic horses glued on it hidden in the engine compartment. (I've got a V-8...100 horses under my hood). Always good for a laugh and a conversation starter. Lately I started challenging them to a race...but with my rules...the race is 40 miles long and we get 1 gallon of gas...."I'll give you a head start". Always with a smile and a laugh to share. The guy usually realizes he's been a jerk and it becomes a good conversation starter. I've found more hidden Crosleys that way.

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