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31' Chevy 4 door sedan


chistech
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Hello All,

I'm new to this forum (1st post) having looked it up on the web. Many years ago I restored a 23' T Huckster for our family's business and then never did another vehicle till I just finished my 83' K5 (originally a M1009). The K5 was an involved rotisserie restoration from a very basic to a full blown civilian, plush model. I've always loved the late 20's to early 30's cars especially the Chevys. I once had a ride in an original condition 32' roadster that was immaculate. Even though that was many years ago when I was a young kid I've never forgotten that car.

Yesterday my neighbor, who had come over a few times to talk over the last year while I was working on my K5 in the garage, called me to tell me he had done some electrical work at a woman's house here in town. Turns out her husband passed about 6m ago and she wants to sell his last project that he was working on. I went to see it today and here's the scoop.

31' 4 door sedan. Twin side mounts. Chassis has been completely redone including axles/wheels w/new tires. The brake rods, pedal shaft and small fixtures have not been painted or installed. Body is in primer and bare metal in places with very light brown rust. Has one dent on pass rear corner about 8" that has been repaired but not good, will need to be done over. Motor and trans are out of car, both turn over and motor looks good but does not appear to have been restored yet. Body wood is original or restored and all excellent including roof. 4 fenders are finished/painted new with cream and brown paint. All doors are painted same as fenders. New radiator, stone guard, running boards, aprons, rad. apron. Hood is painted new also. Complete new interior in boxes, all seats/springs are VG. New gas tank, new trunk rack, new trunk. Two new tires on spares for sidemounts. Glass, moulding, headliner, 2 steering wheels, rubber roof, etc. All parts are new pretty much. The only parts I didn't see but everything is in boxes in her cellar is the dash, gauge cluster panel, and the headlight bow. I would tend to believe everything is there and I just didn't see it.

She has all these parts covered and dry in boxes all marked with their contents. There are many manuals and literature. There are also extra parts like bumpers, pair of complete axles, and hubcaps. In general it is a basket case but complete and well started. Here is my dilemma

Her asking price, which she said is negotiable, is $5,500 as is. Looking at what the 4 drs are selling for on Ebay and some other sites and not knowing the condition of the motor/trans, I don't think I can offer to pay her price. While I'm not one of those people looking to steal something I can't pay more than I should either. I'm thinking in the $3-4k max. range. Even with all the brand new parts, unless my resto is a very high point job it's only a $12-$13k car if I want to really sell it someday. I see cars with $18-$22k prices but they aren't selling and some nice ones have sold for just less than $10k running/driving/old resto. Maybe I'm wrong with my price so I'm asking.

Please let me know your opinions and thanks in advance,

Ted

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If you're looking to put together a car and get your money back, add up how much it will cost you to make it into a $12k car given what you have to start with and figure out what you can offer. If you're interested in the car for sentimental reasons or just want to enjoy it for a while before selling it, take that into account as cost of ownership. I've been into early Chevys for over 16 years now and haven't seen their values appreciate as substantially as other makes and I don't anticipate they will anytime soon unfortunately. I have way too much invested in my 28 Chevys to ever see a profit or even break-even but I enjoy wrenching on and driving them.

Funny how these things work. I know people who have bought "restored" examples of these cars for big $ that are mechanical nightmares under the hood. Motors with serious noises, poor brakes, heating issues, electrical problems, but look absolutely beautiful on the outside. Then there are others that are rusty, rotten wood, bad interior, exposed wiring that run like an absolute dream and you could trust them to haul your butt anywhere. Then there are the basket cases. Projects that were started, poorly executed, or abandoned and never finished. Unless you're intimately familiar with the car in question and/or have restored one before and know what you're getting into, there's an almost certain risk of going underwater.

Good luck

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Thanks for your response. I spent more time at the woman's house and went through more things. I did purchase the car in my low range and will be getting home in the next couple weeks. I will get some pictures up once I get back from vacation. I am pretty much prepared to do this restoration. Here is some shots of my most recent I finished about 4 months ago.

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I agree with rsb on costs & return on your money and TIME. I redid our Corvette a couple of years ago and spend a lot more than I would ever hope to get out of it. I would have been better to sell it take that money plus some of the money that I spend in the redo and buy a lower mileage better car. BUT the car is the one that my wife and I bought 37 years ago as a wedding present to ourselves and the extra money is what I would call the emotional purchase. Worth the extra money in this case.

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I didn't mean by my first post that I wanted to restore this car and make any money. What I meant was I didn't want to offer too much so when I was done I was way beyond it's worth just on dollars spent. All parts to finish the car are there and are either new or excellent original so there's not much more cost for parts. The only thing left to paint is some small linkage parts and the main body. Fenders, doors, hood, running boards, rad apron, 6 wheels, and dash are all painted. Luckily my buddy owns the best paint shop in the state and he gives me very good prices. So the additional costs will be painting the body and small parts, doing the roof (possibly I can do, but not sure), and getting it titled/registered. I am moving it myself, have a 30x60 garage with lift, overhead hoist, and heat. I have now also learned the motor and trans have been completely rebuilt and the motor has been pickled.

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  • 1 year later...

Realized I've never come back and posted on my progress. I finished my restoration in 13months. I've done well at the local shows and have gotten many compliments. All work except the actual spraying of the paint, was done by me. It was a full nut and bolt rotisserie restoration.

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Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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13 months! LOL. A lot of spare time went into it. I found I ended up doing it mostly myself because of the "time" limitations I was given by the interior guys.  Luckily my buddy owns a paint shop and after doing my own tin knocking and some body work, I did most of the wet sanding and prepping in his shop. Many hours of scuff padding on the already painted (but painted incorrectly) parts, then lots of time just getting it ready for the paint booth. Once in the booth and the first color sprayed, there was a good amount of late night hours masking for the second color. I didn't have to pay much for the painting labor because of my buddy's graciousness and me working with him. Paint materials alone were around $1,500.

    I spoke with the 4 interior shops and they all gave me 1-2yr times so I thought that was crazy. With the encouragement of a fellow VCCA member, I went at the interior myself. I have now started a hobby business installing interiors for the very reason I did my own. Plus, with prices ranging from $3,600 to $4,500 for a full interior install, doing it myself served double duty. I would still be looking at it in my garage with a bare interior if I waited for an opening with any of the shops. So my car was on the road in just over and year, plus I saved $4k! I have worked out a business arrangement with Hampton Coach/LeBaron Bonney interiors to offer their interiors at a discount and special installation pricing for my first 10 customers.

   I have been showing my car at shows mostly for advertising, both for me and my buddy's paint work. I have taken either all first place trophys or top place ones in all shows I entered. Best thing is, I've gotten a lot of inquires and leads for upcoming interior and roof work. I am trying to specialize in factory type aluminum roof moldings rather than the commonly used wire-on and hidem type materials. This is especially important for people showing in point shows. I have my own machine shop in my garage and make my own bending jigs depending on the vehicle. Each new model allows me to build my jig inventory for future roofing jobs. My buddy is offering paint jobs so together we are offering a quality service to antique auto enthusiasts. We also can pick up and deliver within a reasonable distance to our locations with an enclosed trailer.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Why do people have to talk about the financial investment  . Are we all in this to make money ?  I for  one only do this for fun of the cars and the nice people I get to meet . If the only thing you think about is money how sad !   I have done cars for myself Have had a lot of fun ,Have done some for other people  So they could enjoy them  . I don't think any of them did it to make money . So do cars that you like .....kings32

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  • 2 weeks later...

I believe Al Capone asked because I was questioning the very same thing in my first post. I can say the amount was low and under $11k. The car was basically complete when I bought it and almost everything was already re-chromed. A new interior kit was also with the car so it was mostly the rubber parts, some gaskets, aluminum roof moldings, and paint supplies that cost me additional. That figure also includes an enclosed trailer that I bought used to haul it around. I know I will never be this much to the "black" side in any other restoration again. I just purchased a 32' Olds roadster for more than what this car cost me and expect to put another $15-20k into it to get it right. But, even with this car I should still be in the "black" as far as investment vs. net worth. Of course, this isn't counting the hours of my personal labor.

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