Amberly

Newbie looking to get my first collectible.

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The 1950 Cadillac looks nice from the outside,

but appears to have an incorrect interior.  It would

not have been done in that vinyl in 1950.

Therefore, Amberly, an astute buyer would not

pay as much, compared to a car with a correct interior.

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You wouldn't pay as much,  but I think this one is priced possibly accordingly already. I haven't seen one that nice in that price range with any interior.   4 Doors are usually priced in that range in that condition.  Again,  not saying this is the car you should buy,  just a sample of what's out there. This one being in your neighborhood also shows what may be in your relative proximity as well not just great looking cars in CA or AZ or some other far off state.  

 Is the interior the correct pattern,  just the wrong material?  I know that's very common when the cost of leather is quite high to begin with so many people choose a similar vinyl to keep the price down.  

On any car if you need to do an interior and it's not one of the very common cars they make kits for,  an interior can easily run 6 to 10G. 

Chrome plating is extremely expensive as well so be sure whatever you buy, you are happy with the way that is or have enough to fix it the way you want it.  Paint jobs again run 6 to 10 G to start and are probably the worst thing because you tend to then start doing other things while you are there that add up real fast.  Rubber, trim work, etc. 

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I like the 88, but looking at the interior wouldnt go over 10k.

 

would be a real good first car and the engine can wind out.

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My first car was a 1956 Olds 88 and it was a 20 year-old car at the time. All the power and speed to hit the highways that you could want and was a blast with a load of friends.

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26 minutes ago, mercer09 said:

I like the 88, but looking at the interior wouldnt go over 10k.

 

would be a real good first car and the engine can wind out.

Unfortunately from what I have seen around,  any at  or below 10 might not even have an interior and will need paint and chrome.   I could show you piles of cars that fit that bill.    I would say that these two examples represent 2 cars that passed the initial muster out of probably several hundred that didn't.   

I just like relaying so I'll keep posting possibilities or atleast comps to use in your search. 

 

Amberly,  what is your comfortable distance you would be willing to entertain cars from? 

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It always make sense to buy the best car you can afford in a particular price bracket. Obviously the best '57 Chevy convertible is going to be expensive, but the best 1966 Mustang coupe isn't. Buying a tired example of an expensive car is an ideal way to burn through a lot of money without ever having a great car. However, buying a high-quality example of an inexpensive car will get you in the game immediately with a car that you can use without spending a lot of extra money. You can show it proudly and enjoy all the events and have it living in your garage without worrying about how you're going to take it to the next level, and when the time comes to sell it, it will be much easier to sell. If a car needs paint or chrome or interior I'd skip it, no matter what it is. Even if it's a dream car and you think you can get into your dream car and invest a little elbow grease to improve it, it doesn't often work that way. Cars with needs tend to stay cars with needs until you've spent way more than you wanted to, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a budget. If you have $90,000 to restore a car, you should be looking at $90,000 cars that are already finished. If you have $25,000, you shouldn't be looking at $10,000 cars that still need $30,000 worth of work.

 

 

At $25,000, I urge you to skip any high-end cars with needs no matter how tantalizing they may be. Look at mid-priced to low-priced cars (Mustang, Corvair, 4-door sedans, non-numbers-matching, etc.) with no needs and on which someone has already spent the $30-70,000 to restore it to a high standard. You will enjoy the car more, you will enjoy the hobby more, and you won't have to keep shoveling money into a bottomless pit.

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It may have already been mentioned, but it would help if you can have someone experienced with cars (if you don't feel that you are) to go with you to look at any you are considering.  Paint can hide a lot.  Freshly rebuilt motor means nothing nor do most of the descriptive words people use.   Meeting the owner and talking with them can sometimes tell you more about the car and its history than photos on the web.  You are considering spending a large chunk of money, you want to the best you can to avoid disappointment or inheriting someone's problems or crappy work.  You probably already know this but any older car like  this is going to be more maintenance than today's cars.  Wish you the best of luck. Also from near your neck of the woods-Woodstock GA

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

It always make sense to buy the best car you can afford in a particular price bracket. Obviously the best '57 Chevy convertible is going to be expensive, but the best 1966 Mustang coupe isn't. Buying a tired example of an expensive car is an ideal way to burn through a lot of money without ever having a great car. However, buying a high-quality example of an inexpensive car will get you in the game immediately with a car that you can use without spending a lot of extra money. You can show it proudly and enjoy all the events and have it living in your garage without worrying about how you're going to take it to the next level, and when the time comes to sell it, it will be much easier to sell. If a car needs paint or chrome or interior I'd skip it, no matter what it is. Even if it's a dream car and you think you can get into your dream car and invest a little elbow grease to improve it, it doesn't often work that way. Cars with needs tend to stay cars with needs until you've spent way more than you wanted to, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a budget. If you have $90,000 to restore a car, you should be looking at $90,000 cars that are already finished. If you have $25,000, you shouldn't be looking at $10,000 cars that still need $30,000 worth of work.

 

 

At $25,000, I urge you to skip any high-end cars with needs no matter how tantalizing they may be. Look at mid-priced to low-priced cars (Mustang, Corvair, 4-door sedans, non-numbers-matching, etc.) with no needs and on which someone has already spent the $30-70,000 to restore it to a high standard. You will enjoy the car more, you will enjoy the hobby more, and you won't have to keep shoveling money into a bottomless pit.

Was about to chime in with exactly this. 

 

To it I would add:  shop a little below your budget. If there is an “extra” $5,000 dollars in the plan it can be used to pay for travel to go look at prospective cars, pay an inspector to evaluate a car you can’t travel to, ship a car you may buy from some distance away, or pay for the first repair that may come up.  Best case scenario is it leaves you with funds to attend a national meet of whatever marque vehicle you buy!

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5 hours ago, Amberly said:

I forgot why some people didn’t like this car..... .  Ihttps://classics.autotrader.com/classic-cars/1957/chevrolet/bel_air/101080180

I don't think anyone ever answered your question on this one again.

  I saw it when it first hit hemmings and thought boy that seems like a good buy,  then I looked closer at the pictures,  which fortunately there are quite a few.  

The paint looks like a kind of poor quicky respray to sell it.  It has alot of orange peel  (texture) to it as well as they painted over alot of stuff that shouldn't be.   I would be worried about what's under the paint.  Most of the chrome is very tired, though they call it good shape.  The bumpers look badly scratched.  Many other pieces are pitted.    To me without going any further,  it's somebodies old beater with a little quick freshening to sell it.  I would avoid that one.  There was one I had been seeing on My local craigslist for low 20's that looked very good and had alot of new stuff done to it over the years,  but of course I couldn't find when I saw your post.   A little patience will yield you a really nice car.  Being able to act quick and not have to figure out how to come up with the money will put you in a good position when the right car comes along. 

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23 minutes ago, gossp said:

To it I would add:  shop a little below your budget. If there is an “extra” $5,000 dollars in the plan it can be used to pay for travel to go look at prospective cars, pay an inspector to evaluate a car you can’t travel to, ship a car you may buy from some distance away, or pay for the first repair that may come up.  Best case scenario is it leaves you with funds to attend a national meet of whatever marque vehicle you buy!

Or better yet,  shop a little above your budget.  The return of spending a little more up front is amazing.   

I think every car I have bought always was just a little over but ended up being hands down worlds better than the ones that fit right in my budget.  

I would also use as a rule of thumb it's not unusual for a car to be priced about 10 percent above what the seller is really looking to get,  especially if the ad says negotiable or asking.   So alot of 22,500 cars can be bought for your budget price.  

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5 hours ago, auburnseeker said:

This is probably more of food for thought as to what's out there as it's in RI so you would have probably a 1200-1500 transport charge on top of that.  It looks pretty good and I can vouch that an olds v8 in the 50's is no slouch.  Power steeriong and brakes will make it a little easier to drive.   I have a 56 88 2 door hardtop with no power options and even a manual transmission.  It drives very well,  stopping and steering easily.  The interior in this car doens't look perfect but does look original (the whole car seems to look pretty original) so some wear should be expected especially on the interior. 

They are asking 14G

https://providence.craigslist.org/cto/d/warwick-1955-oldsmobile-88/6776158224.html

 

 

I actually reall like that. Is that close to you?  

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4 hours ago, auburnseeker said:

Here is a pretty tasty 1950 Cadillac in your neck of the woods.  Listed at 22,900 as an asking price,  which means negotiable so maybe real close to the top of your budget.  This will easily cruise highway speeds with a Cadillac Ride.  They feel like Grandma's couch when you sit in them.   I had a 50 Fleetwood sedan.  It ran very smooth.  You could hardly hear it run.   Not as Flashy as a salmon 57 Chevy but just an idea of what's out there. 

https://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/d/alpharetta-beautiful-1950-cadillac/6771477420.html

 

 

I actually really like this one.  I’m definitely going to check this out.  

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12 minutes ago, Amberly said:

I actually reall like that. Is that close to you?  

Unfortunately it's quite a ways away.  I think there may be some members in that area though if you do decide to persue it further.  Maybe they would be willing to check it out.  Best thing is to contact the seller and ask for a bunch of extra photos.  Post them here and we can point out the positives and negatives of this or any other car you find. Photos show alot more than people think if you know how to read them. 

I have bought several cars from just photos.

I can also tell you I have avoided going to look at alot of cars by really scrutinizing pictures. 

Edited by auburnseeker (see edit history)
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Thank you all again.  I don’t really mind to travel.  I have connections 😉 at Delta.  Again, will have to consider the shipping home.  

 

Wow, lots of food for thought.   I will have an inspector take a look at whatever car I’m thinking about, hopefully referred by a fellow AACA member.    Thanks for checking out some things for me and passing them along.  

 

I think the search makes for a good reality show.  

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I like the thrill of the hunt.  Since I'm buried in my garage project financially it's nice to car shop with someone else's money. ;) 

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The Buick Looks like it was a tired car to start with.  Cracked up steering wheel/ horn button as well as all the chrome looks pitted inside and out.  I would definitely look for better.   If it's real close might be worth looking at, just to see what we see when we look at photos closely in person and why we say a car is this or that.  I think that company has alot of cars for sale.  Has anyone ever dealt with them? 

I think there are incorrect things about it as well,  but I'm far from versed on Buicks,  so the Buick guys could point them out. 

Looks like that Caddy might have sold.  Ad shows deleted by Author.

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It seems to me that the OP is doing many things right, and showing some wisdom in her search for a first collector car. I don't know if she heard it from a car person or if it's just her inclination, but she's interested in looking at cars that are solid and "sorted out" as well as not needing a lot of body or structural work. This is good because it's ultimately a better use of money to spend 20k on a good collector car (of the common variety) that doesn't need much work instead of buying something for $5000 and hoping that throwing another $5000 at it will turn it into something it's not. Of course, there are exceptions to that; I bought my survivor Mercury for $2100 a dozen hears ago, and the condition is such that it hasn't needed much beyond that. OTOH I bought my '54 Ford for $4500 and put another 10k and lots of labor in it, and I definitely could've acquired a better condition '54 if I'd spent $14,500 up front.

 

But other folks are correct that some (or many) people out there will put lipstick on a pig to cash in on an inflated collector car market, and it can be hard for the buyer to discern what is sound and what isn't if you don't have experience.  A friend or relative who's a died in the wool car person can really help out when shopping. The photos she presented make all of those cars look awesome, and they probably are...but may not be. I would do - or remember -  the following things to help your search:

 

- In that price range, it's not unrealistic to want to see a photo log of how the car was restored or refurbished (which all of those cars appear to be, to one degree or another.)  They may not have one, but it's worth asking. You'd want to see pictures of the condition the car started out as, and pictures of actual rusty potions being cut out and replacement metal patch panels being put in place. Pictures of how the frame and floors were refurbished, if at all. Pictures of the motor being rebuilt, if it was. As a frame of reference, you can go to the "Our Restoration Projects" forum on this site to get an idea of what the log should include. Laughing Coyote's restoration thread will give you an ideal example of what you'd like a log to include. If there is no log, you'd at least want a record of receipts for major work or restoration. Make sure there was no extensive rust though on the frame prior to restoration. IMO, that's something that can't adequately be fixed. BTW, when people say "rust free" they often don't mean that literally. They just mean no rust has eaten through metal surfaces. There still may be surface rust.

 

- Stay away from cars being "flipped" or recently bought by the seller for resale. Budget or substandard body work is no problem or scruple for a guy who isn't keeping the vehicle.

 

- Make sure that "clear title" means "clear title." LITERALLY. Check with the DMV in your state to see what title requirements are for old vehicles. Some states don't require titles for old vehicles, but my state is VERY stringent, and if their guidelines aren't followed, a hobby car buyer could end up with a $20,000 lawn ornament. Unlicense-able, undrive-able. Some ads from states back east will say, "clear title" but what they really have  is a registration or a "transferable registration". Make sure your state will recognize a transferable registration as a legitimate certificate of title.

 

For me, two things destroy a car sale - a rusted out frame and no title. With either of those things it's just a parts car. Of course, major things like the engine and transmission are obviously important. Ideally you'd look at a car with quiet exhaust so you can hear any bad transmission or engine noise. Smoke out the tailpipe is generally seen as bad, but there can be many types and causes of smoke. I see smoke as a cause for further investigation, not an automatic rejection of a car. If it's a performance car you desire, blowby smoke is not what you want. For a Sunday cruiser, a small amount of blowby smoke might be tolerated. My slow old Ford has never had the engine rebuilt. It runs smooth and quiet, but it smokes when I start it up, then stops after a couple of miles. Likely valve guide smoke, so I tolerate it.

 

Of the cars the OP showed, the Corvair has the reputation for being the best value. But the Mustang and tri 5 Chevys have mega parts available. My personal opinion is that the Jeepster is the coolest of all the cars shown, but I didn't catch the price. Someone said it was too expensive. That's the reason you don't want a flipper - profit is built into the price. The good philosophy of spending more on a car that's already been restored or made presentable can be undone by a flipper who feels he needs a $7000 profit on a $20,000 car.  That's it for now.

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Really have not heard much about what you want. Living in Orlando, the first thing I look for is AC which was not real common until the 60s. Second thing I demand is no rust. Is easier to find here in the souf than up in yankee land as long as you stay away from the coast.

 

That said we really have not heard what you are looking for ? 4000 lb plus or more like 3000 ? Stick or automagic ? Easy to park or needs a double space ? Sound like you are mainly looking at domestic/GM but not if you (or someone close) is mechanically inclined particularly if the local shop does not know how to set points or what a dwell meter is for. Also prior to the '60s, disk brakes were uncommon (though the Pontiac "8 lugs" were pretty good). I remember fading a 61 Cad 'vert brakes to nothing in one stop from 70.)

 

Corvairs are neat but 64 or later, earlier ones had "interesting" rear suspension geometry (kluged in 64, really fixed in 65). Also prior to 1967 VR even power steering was like 5 turns lock to lock & not good for slaloms.

 

Finally most cars had V8s many with 7-12 mpg of Premium. Just something to consider. FI was not common until the 80s so anything earlier is liable to have one or more carburetors (poorly controlled leaks) OTOH nothing sounds quite like dual quads through open elements.

 

Key is that there is a lot out there in you budget range just best to decide exactly what you want, if more chrome than possible take a look at a 58 Buick.

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dont be afraid to offer 10k for a 14k car..............

 

you will get it- maybe not on the first or 2nd try........... but there are so many deals out there. you ARE in the drivers seat.

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You need to find some old car people that will let you drive a few different makes and models if possible. Some of the cars you are interested in can be a handful to drive if you're not familiar with the "old car" steering, suspension, and especially the brakes! I love the looks of the big old 50's sedans, but in modern traffic I prefer late 60's early 70's with improved brakes and ball joints vs king pins. They are usually cheaper to buy and maintain as well.  A 69 Chev Impala is a good driver  and cheaper on the budget. I prefer full size Chrysler products because of the torsion bar handling and front disc brakes. 

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The only problem with most late 60's cars when compared to late 50's cars is curb appeal.  Whole different look.  People like each and that is great.  So far Amberly seems to lean toward the earlier styling.  They are still very driveable,  just not as similar to modern cars, though far from prehistoric.  A little extra thought and preparedness/ caution and they can be just if not more enjoyable.  If you are used to driving a 30 year old semi worn out truck,  a properly kept , not worn out 50's car will drive better.   Alot of people are just getting used to the machine taking care of them,  rather than having to drive the machine. 

I love manual transmissions with manual steering and brakes.  Even hand chokes and throttles are great.   Knowing just the right combination to get that old car to start of choke and throttle.    The more you drive one the better it will perform and more comfortable you will be driving stopping and starting it.  My first test drive of any of the cars I bought or even refurbished is always nerve racking.  Though that same car a few months or even a year down the road,  open the garage door,  hook the battery up do the familiar starting procedure , she lights right off and off we go without a second thought.   It's all just sorting and even some of the best old cars often never get all the way there until one of us ends up with them and take them that final step. 

 

Amberly, let us know what you really like or don't.  So far my hunch is as stated.   I was even a little hesitant to post the Caddy as I thought it might be a bit too much of an old man sedan as my wife calls them. 

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Amberly, welcome to the forum. I see that you have been given a lot  of valuable information about buying an older, vintage  car. With a budget of $25,000.00, you have a wide selection of cars to choose from.  I would stick to your budget, and try to look for original cars that have been taken care over the years. See if the owner has kept service records for oil changes and regular repairs. I love 1957 Chevrolets, but you will not get a nice Bel Air 2 door hardtop for that kind of money. The Bel Air you were looking was a little  questionable  at best. Stay away from 20 footers! the next thing when you are ready to buy a car, find  a good mechanic to go over the car, before you purchase it, and when you do purchase it, it will be ready to drive. A common mistake when getting an old car, is driving it without checking belts, hoses, fluids, etc. The '55 Oldsmobile is a nice looking car, but never buy anything unless you ,or someone you trust looks at it in person.  Amberly, I wish you good luck on your quest. Thanks. John

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Have them video the following.  Ask them to start it up and look at the tail pipe for smoke.  Ask them to pull the dip stick and look for a creamy appearance indicating water.  Open the radiator cap and look for bubbles.  Pull the brake drums and check the shoes and drums.  Have fun and learn how to work on it.

Jan

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