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Guest Huskyfan9494
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Guest Huskyfan9494

I'm very close to purchasing a custom 1952 chevy hardtop and was wondering if you could offer some advice. I've attached a few pictures of the car to this email. Apologies in advance for the poor lighting. It was difficult just fitting in the garage....

I have to admit that the car is very structurally sound.

The pros were:

1) Absolutely zero rust. The car was rebuilt and stored in southern ca since the beginning.

2) Great suspension. Zero rattling when I pushed heavily from the back rear bumper.

3) The engine is a monster. 68' or 69' Cadillac 500 cu engine. It's in great shape, but they definitely made some modifications so they could fit the engine under the hood. Battery is wired to the truck. He had to modify the cooling fan so it would fit in the front of the engine. Engine runs and sounds great. No rattling whatsoever. Though, I'll admit, the carburetor on this thing is huge. And it smelled of gas when the engine was rev'd to high rpm's.

4) Some of the modifications that this guy made looked great. Power steering, disc brakes, stereo, automatic, maybe some a/c component.

5) rear bench seat wiring (non-upholstered) have been installed

The cons were:

1) this car has a 1970's vette steering column. The current owner actually dropped the keys down the column. When he disassembled the wheel, there was a spring loaded piece in the shaft, which popped off. Key is still in the column and wheel is still removed.

2) besides the bucket seats and dash, there is a lot of internal work that needs to be done. No door panels, head-linings, back bench seat needs stuffing and fabric. I also need to reupholster the front bucket seats.

3) There needs some minor body work done (at least from what I could see). There were some exterior lights by the trunk and sides of the vehicle that have visibly been removed.

4) paint... And possibly re-chroming. I have been considering that I get this car "wrapped." If it buy it.

So with the above background, I was hoping you wouldn't mind shedding some light on a few of my questions. Your knowledge and expertise would be a huge help.

Guy is hesitant about selling it. Worked him down to $7,500 and got a commitment. Do you think, if restored properly, I would be able to make a decent return on my investment?

What is your opinion, or what have you heard about "car wraps?"

Is this too much engine?

I know the seller very well... Since I was 13 years old. He's a really honest guy. Only has a "bill of sale" from the last gentleman they bought it from. How would I go about registering the vehicle if I bought it?

Any suggestions on how I get the ignition key out of the steering column? Should I just tow the car to a garage and have them remove/replace it?

Do you think this would be a good starter car?

I live in southern CA.

Thanks!

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...Do you think, if restored properly, I would be able to make a decent return on my investment? ... Do you think this would be a good starter car?...

No and no.

Around these parts, "restore" means return to original, as-delivered-new condition.

With this standard in mind, one could not hope for a "decent return" even if he started with a low mileage, unmodified '52 Chevrolet, much less this heap which has been heavily modified and abandoned mid-project.

Asking if this mess would be a good "starter car" is a clear indication that the project is 'way beyond your knowledge and skill level.

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No and no.

Around these parts, "restore" means return to original, as-delivered-new condition.

With this standard in mind, one could not hope for a "decent return" even if he started with a low mileage, unmodified '52 Chevrolet, much less this heap which has been heavily modified and abandoned mid-project.

Asking if this mess would be a good "starter car" is a clear indication that the project is 'way beyond your knowledge and skill level.

I have to agree here. There is no way that you will ever "make a decent return" on your investment. The car is already out of the realm of "original" and would probably take a ton of cash and work to put it back, if that is your goal. On the other hand, if you were intending on keeping the bigger engine and other mods, it would still be way too much to get into, not knowing ALL that was done to it. I cannot really call it a mess, but it may be a nightmare once you get into it. I would start with a real original and then you know what you are starting with. I would hate to see you lose a long time friend.

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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I know the seller very well... Since I was 13 years old. He's a really honest guy. Only has a "bill of sale" from the last gentleman they bought it from.

How would I go about registering the vehicle if I bought it?

Besides what everybody else have said already, having only a "bill of sale" is a problem. Are you saying that the guy has NO title for the car? Take your money and find something else. This is not worth it.

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Yep. Better to bury your money in a Mason Jar out behind the Barn somewhere near the Whiskey Still. Be sure to pace off where you put it, and scratch it off on a beam in secret code so you can retrieve it when you find something really worth the money. Dandy Dave!

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Huskeyfan,

The short answer in NO, No, No.

The longer answer is based on what you like. You said "restore" which means to the group that you want to try to put it back to t's original like new condition as a stock 1952 Chevrolet. This group knows the cost of doing that and has expressed all no's to your questions.

If you just want to get in the old street rod hobby and want to make a interesting driver for custom and hot rod events, it is possibly a good candidate. It could be a lot of fun, but an investment it's not. Most car guys spend more than the car is worth on a project like this, but they do it for the fun of doing it and the pride in creating a car they love. Like most hobbies, it will cost you money (NOT AN INVESTMENT)

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Huskyfan,

I am in agreement with all of the above. Simply put, If you want a street rod this might- MIGHT be a starting point if you can get the price down below $3000.00. If you intend to "restore" to origional - for get it... Based on my current project costs I would expect the interior, minor body work and a reasonable paint job to cost you 15000.00-20000.00 at a minimum. So with this in mind, think about what you are expecting to end up with and what you are willing to spend to get there. As stated above, what is the friendship worth? If the seller was my friend I would keep the friend and loose the car :)

Edited by 37_Roadmaster_C
spelling (see edit history)
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^^^Actually, in California, if it is out of the system, getting a title is quite simple and inexpensive^^^^

All of the other advice is spot on. Nothing worse than a half done or half assed hot rod project. Even as a good friend, he is asking way too much for the car. Receipts and all work put into the car mean squat. If you cannot get in and drive the car, for long enough to see if all is well, it is little more than a parts car.

Edited by 58Mustang (see edit history)
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Caddy engine is a giant red flag. The stock suspension and brakes are WAY overmatched. Sure to be a real pig to drive.

This is the kind of mistake newbies make, assuming the biggest engine must be best - it isn't. Makes me wonder what other fundamental mistakes were made on the car, besides the long list you already named.

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Aside from everything else, insist on a title or registration in his name. This is something he should have done when he first bought the car and he is trying to pass this problem on to you. If he says its simple, then have him do it. If he refuses, run away, there is a problem, even if he is a good friend. If he says he will do it, then you can consider the other issues raised here. If he won't, you don't have to consider any of the other issues.

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How does one drop the keys down the column?????

LOL.. I bet it has an Aftermarket steering wheel that is smaller than the big Hole in the Column. Like Murphy Say's, If it can Happen, It will. :P Dandy Dave!

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Guest AlCapone
Well, we successfully dashed that fellow's dreams.

Rather than dash a dream I look at it that we advanced his old car education and saved him time, money and frustration at a later date. Dashing has a negative connotation, what we did was very positive !

Wayne

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How does one drop the keys down the column?????

We once had an employee drop a wrench down the exhaust pipe of a car. He was attempting to install the down pipe to the manifold when somehow he dropped the wrench. It picked up enough momentum to end up quite a ways past the first bend in the pipe. Only way to retrieve it was to take the exhaust apart.

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We once had an employee drop a wrench down the exhaust pipe of a car. He was attempting to install the down pipe to the manifold when somehow he dropped the wrench. It picked up enough momentum to end up quite a ways past the first bend in the pipe. Only way to retrieve it was to take the exhaust apart.

Imagine if it was left there. The rattle the customer would complain about on every bump...:P Dandy Dave!

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