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'65 Wildcat on Hemmings. Is it worth the $30K asking price?


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There's a '65 Wildcat, 4-speed, convertible on Hemmings. The seller is asking $30,000. The latest issue of CPI (Cars of Particular Interest) shows the values for a '65 Wildcat convertible ranging from $6,625 (Good condition) to $10,925 (Excellent condition).

The seller claims that only nine 4-speed Wildcats were produced in 1965 and I'm going to assume that's correct. However, in this case, does rarity directly correspond to value?

I think this car has an identity crisis. Performance buyers won't want it because a '65 Wildcat is perceived as an "old man's car". Whereas, buyers wanting a nice, floating cruiser don't want to be hassled with shifting their own gears. Thus, how much demand is there for a car like this? There's gotta be a reason why Buick only made 9 of them.

By asking $30,000, is the seller a certified genius. Or, is he simply "certifiable?"

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First of all, don't assume that the production number given in the ad is correct. Look in the General Discussion Forum at a recent topic (last post was 10/30 or 10/31) about Sloan Museum, Wildcat production numbers. According to the figures supplied by the Sloan Museum, there were 53 4-speed convertibles with the standard 401-cid engine and another 14 Wildcat Custom convertibles having both the dual quad 425-cid engine and 4-speed. This hardly tells us the full story, since the topic does not show how many 4-speed convertibles with the single 4-bbl 425 engine had 4-speed. As that other discussion indicates, there were also a significant number of 4-speed Wildcat 2-door hardtops, and I know for a fact that some 4-door hardtop and sedan Wildcats also had the 4-speed.

I do agree with you that the price is steep. The 4-speed option should add some amount to the value guide prices, but nothing approaching another $20,000. Condition is "everything" and is a greater factor than the presence of the 4-speed option.

With respect to the "identity" crisis, I disagree to some extent. If you hang around the Buick forums for a while, I think that you will see that there is considerable collector interest in these Wildcats as beautifully-styled full-size muscle cars. You are correct that most people opted for the automatics when these cars were new, but the 4-speed cars are highly prized among collectors. A friend of mine sold his '65 Wildcat convertible with the 4-speed and 425 dual quad options a few years back. He sold it for financial reasons, but found the car to be very driveable on a daily basis and a very impressive performer.

Bottom line, though, is that the advertised car is too expensive by a significant amount.

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This is actually a very simple answer, and one that applies especially to the people who sell (try to sell) on this site.

An item is ONLY worth what someone is willing to pay for it. No more, no less.

Refuse to pay high pay prices and the prices will stay low. There are hundreds of thousands of great cars (and parts) still out there and many can be had for a fair price. Just look hard and be patient. It's not uncommon for me to offer a seller 50% of his asking price and get it, because after 2 years of trying to sell it for the high $$$, they finally realize what it's really worth (which is only what a buyer will pay, no more).

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Forgive me if this is a dumb question. When someone refers to a dual-quad 425, they're referring to a 401 ci (Nailhead) motor with two 4 bbl carbs, right?

If so, this combination must produce some impressive horsepower - enough to pass about anything except a gas pump.

Speaking of gas, the ad mentions this is a "high compression" 401. Does that mean it's next to impossible to find adequate pump gas for one of these? If there's a high compression version, does this mean there's also a lower compression version - which may be easier to live with?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Steve Parmerlee

BCA # 38881

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Hi as to the Price of 30k its all in the eye of the beholder , if u have the Couch change then its no problem BUT for the general mill of people , its way over board, i had a Brother -in -law in 1964 who got one of the high performance 427 duel quad high performance FORD Galaxies plain jane Sedan, oh he had fun for a While an went through a lot of Ins Agents, so 1 day/night he got into a show off (ican beat any one ) so u know what car confused.gif an him ended up around a BIG Oak tree so u see, confused.gif HIgh perforamnce is in the Word of mouth , most all stock big blocks of that era were simple High Compression engines no doubt but as far as the 1 an only ?????? Not!!!!!!!!!, there were not many records kept that (what & where these 1 time wonders went) blush.gif (so like the man says it's ur story u tell it any whay u want ) tongue.gifconfused.gif if we all knew these old War horses were gona be around this long every body would have a Yard full of them, wink.gif but back then they were a Dime a Dozen 1 on every street corner , gas was Cheep an so were we all lookin for the next Conquest , but $30k ?????????/ confused.gif where u gona drive it the ins/ an worrie would be not very enjoyable............ laugh.gif Cya in funny papers enjoy the memories ...... tongue.gif

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Guest my3buicks

I think a more reliable price guide than the one you listed is Old Cars Price Guide by Krause International. A 65 Wildcat Custom Conv in the latest issue lists for a #3, #2, #1 are $8,800, $15,400, $22,000. I have found this guide to be a good reference to go by at least in all the cars I have bought and sold.

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I have found the Old Cars Price Guide to usually be way off, myself. Either 30% too high, or, on a real rare car, maybe 20% too low.

I usually take the Price Guide price then lower it by 30%, and that's the max I'll pay.

I believe like the others. Don't pay a big price, and the prices will stay low. The sellers need our $$$ more than we need that particular car. Stick together, keep prices low.

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Well, far be it from me to disagree with a BCA Technical Advisor, but simply put, the values in Old Cars Price Guide are a joke - generally, they're waaaay too high. In addition to the previous post, I've been told this by several others - including very experienced, well-known classic car appraisers.

The CPI (Cars of Particular Interest) is a reputable, well-known value guide and is the most accurate reference for valuing most classic cars.

Someone mentioned the over-used adage of "a car is worth what someone is willing to pay". In real estate, there's a term called Investment Value, which is what a specific property is worth to a specific buyer. However, this IS NOT the same as Market Value which is essentially a value agreed upon by a knowledgable seller and a knowledgable buyer without undue influence and in a reasonable marketing period (ie., someone who's not sold a car in 5 years is asking too much - assuming no major mechanical/body defects).

As an example, take a neighborhood where homes sell in the range of $150,000 to $250,000. Then, someone comes along and wants to buy the nothing special house he grew up in and pays $500,000 in order to make sure he gets it. So, using the old over-simplified adage of "it's worth what someone is willing to pay", is the Market Value of this house $500,000? Nope. And, in this example, the buyer will find that out if he tries to sell it within the next few years.

The previous post said it eloquently when he stated that sellers need the money worse than buyers need their car. Another car is always around the corner, but a buyer can be hard to find.

A car collector gentleman I know gave me some very wise advise. He said "these cars are a lot easier to buy than they are to sell". I've never forgotten that.

Remember, seller's don't determine market value. Buyers do. This guy asking $30K for the '65 Wildcat with a 4-speed is on a fishing expedition. At that price, the car isn't really for sale.

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Guest my3buicks

EXCUSE ME FOR VOICING MY OPINION, I THOUGHT THAT WAS WHAT A FORUM WAS ALL ABOUT. Far be it with someone with 25 plus years experience in the old car field to give another opinion. I guess the cars I have bought and sold over the years have all been 30% overpriced then. I would give the opinion that your guide is WAY off. I sure would like to be able to find a top notch Cat Conv for $11K(that would be # 1). Also being a tech advisor comment was out of line, if you know alot about a particular year car then you should also sign up to be a tech advisor, believe me, it's not a great honor.

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As far as I know, Hagerty uses The Old Car Price Guide for value. I have a couple of cars insured at no 1 value. If enough people us a guide as a basis for value it becomes, almost by default, the defining guide. There will always be exceptions and the market place will ultimately define "value" or sales price. What does CPI have for a value for an authentic 66 Wildcat GS convertible? I would probably buy all I could for there top price.

Larry

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These years had a 401 known as a 445 Wildcat, (rated in torque)and a 425 known as the 465 Wildcat. The 401 was offered as a GS option on the midsized cars but the dual quad you hear of is a 425 with two four barrel carbs. It came with aluminum valve covers and a huge dual snorkle aircleaner and said Super Wildcat 465 on the valve cover.

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Keith, no one is trying to besmirch your role or reputation as a BCA Technical Advisor. I certainly am not. As a matter of fact, please re-read my post. By addressing you with your full title, I made sure I accorded you the respect you deserve.

Not sure how you interpreted my comment as a personal insult, but apparently you did. Are the values in Old Cars Price Guide (OCPG) generally a joke? Absolutely. But, that is in no way a reflection upon you. If you choose to agree with their values, that's your prerogative. Like you said, that's the point of this forum.

I, along with a ton of others, do not agree with OCPC for most of their values. So, if by expressing this opinion I offended you in some way, I genuinely apologize. Without folks like you willing to donate countless hours, this club and the hobby in general would suffer immensely.

For riv2x4. CPI shows the following values for a '66 Wildcat convertible (it doesn't have a category specifically for the GS model): $4,700 (fair), $7,850 (good), $12,950 (excellent). These values seem about right to me, but there's probably an additional premium attributed to the GS.

If you'd buy at the top CPI value, then that's a pretty good indication that their value is representative of the market. I've not checked, but I'll go out on a limb and guess that Old Cars Price Guide is probably around $25,000 for a #1. At that price, there are very few, if any, serious buyers. So, what's the likelihood that the owner of a #1 condition '66 Wildcat convertible would be able to sell his car at that high value? Slim to none. So then, how relevant is OCPG in estimating "market value"? Not very.

Can you use OCPG to determine "insured value". You bet! And, I'd beg my insurance agent to do so. But, market value and insured value are not necessarily synonymous.

As an example, I can insure my Dodge Intrepid for $100,000. But, I'm pretty sure no one is going to line up to buy it at that price.

Speaking of #1 cars, they are an anomaly and very few exist on the planet. Most folks who think they have a car in #1 condition actually have a strong #3 or #2. Consequently, most #2's are, in reality, a #3 on a good day. I'm simply repeating what various car appraisers have told me and I trust their judgment as they're in the trenches on a daily basis.

I will say this about values. My perspective assumes the seller is a private owner and not a dealer. While I know they represent a segment of the market, dealer values are usually obscene. Finally, there's a big difference between the "asking price" and the actual "sale price". The former is next to meaningless.

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Geeeeeezzzz......Would you guys lighten up? What's the big deal? If someone sees that car and feels the car is worth $30k and they pay it, I say great... The buyer got the car he/she wanted and the seller got more than it was "worth". If no one thinks it is worth that, it won't sell.... That's the whole point of our free market system....willing buyers and sellers....In any event, why would any of us get upset either way???....As I always tell my wife, you never pay too much for an old muscle car, sometimes you just buy it too soon! Keep smiling and driving those Buicks....Ed

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$50,000? That's about what most dealers would ask for the car you described. ;-)

I may sound "anti-dealer" and that's probably not fair. I suppose there's a certain segment of buyers with more money than sense who'll give a dealer a blank check and say "Here's what I want. I don't care what it costs, just get it." If so, more power to them. But, that's not what most folks would consider to be a "typical" buyer which is one of the components necessary in a "market value" transaction. Thus, the resulting price that this particular buyer would pay is generally going to represent an above-market value and these are the prices I see in Old Cars Price Guide.

If I find a nice car (ie., one that didn't need significant work when the dealer bought it) listed with a dealer, the real market value of that car is whatever the dealer paid for it. And, you can bet your bottom dollar that when he's trying to buy a car from a private seller he's not using Old Cars Price Guide as the basis for his offer price. Nope. He's likely using CPI and then probably discounting those values in order to arrive an offer price.

Of course, when the dealer goes to list the car for sale, he throws the CPI guide out the window and touts Old Cars Price Guide like it was the Holy Grail. And, I guess that's fair in his line of work. But, it supports my premise that CPI is clearly the most accurate price guide out there - particularly when buying from a private seller.

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That Old Cars Price Guide is a joke and the only people who read it or try to use are clueless. Or possibly they just don't have common sense.

Playing with and enjoying Buicks used to be fun. Now guys are either trying to rape you or are so clueless they pay too much and which makes the hobby more expensive for the rest of us.

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Well this is fairly interesting in that both publications use basically the same data to arrive at figures that are substantially different.

CPI says they arrive at their figures from data such as Auctions, Dealer Sales, Public Sales and editors conferring with Car Clubs to track trends, etc. as well as verifying the condition of each vehicle. Check http://www.cpivalueguide.com for additional details.

Old Cars Price Guide says that their figures are the result of analysis of Collector Car Auctions, Verified reports of private sales and Input from experts. Check http://www.collect.com/interest/periodical.asp?Pub=PG for additional details.

Prices cited are generally higher in Old Cars Price Guide but don't know why that is. Both have been around for quite some time. One associated with Krause the other with Hemmings so it isn't like some publication from a company that does not know anything about cars.

Maybe the middle ground is closer to correct?

Food for thought, Gene

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Excuse me, but am I the only one who doesn't understand what all the whining is about? If you don't like a the prices dealers ask....DON'T DEAL WITH THEM...If you don't like the price a private seller is asking for a particular car...DON'T BUY IT....What sense does it make to get yourself upset about it... Statements like about clueless buyers making it expensive for the rest of us make no sense....If they really are raising the prices of old cars, doesn't it make sense that they are also raising the prices of the cars we own????? I will agree that that argument is true as far as increasing the barrier to entry for those who don't already own a car, but the rest of us should, if not applaud it, at least not cry about it!!! It's the same as getting upset that the stock we own is going up in price because "clueless" buyers have bid it up and it will now cost us more to buy more shares...I know I must be missing something here, but having owned old cars for 25 years, I have ALWAYS appreciated it when they went up in value....Call me both shallow and clueless...Keep smiling and driving those Buicks....Ed

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Greetings!

I saw this thread and felt like jumping in here, so I joined your group.

Yes, I'm the new guy but I know a bit about these paticular cars.

The text in the Hemming's ad for that car claims it to be a 401.

Here is a link to the car in question:

http://www.hemmings.com/hemmings/searche...FTOKEN=14072372

I would be VERY suspicious of that not being an original set-up, unless the seller had some documentation.

Possibly either the seller is ignorant of it being a 425, or more likely he has just dropped a dual quad set-up onto a 401 motor.

Either way, that price is much too high and I would be very suprised to see it sell for that much.*

*...Just one Super'cat owner's opinion.

For the Wildcats, the dual quad option was only available on the 425 engine in 1965 and they did NOT have a "Super Wildcat 465" sticker on the valve covers.

The special aluminim valve covers actually have the "Buick" script on them and are almost identical to those found on the Riviera GS of the same era.

The "Super Wildcat" sticker is on top of that huge dual snorkel air cleaner.

Yes, 4 speeds in them are rare indeed.

Here is a link to the thread discussing 1965 Wildcat 4 speed production;

http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/showflat....&PHPSESSID=

Robert

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It seems this forum note got out of hand and varied. Is the car worth the 30K? Only the seller and buyer(if anyone) could tell you that. One of the big problems is people new to the hobby want a car fixed up. They send their car to a 'restoration shop', spend thousands, then expect their car to worth thousands. Maybe if hobbiest would work on their own cars, reality could return to the market and cars could be at least reasonable in price... Just a hobbiest who is learning and trying and having family fun driving a 1959 Buick Flattop. laugh.gif

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I agree whole-heartedly! As a commercial real estate appraiser with over ten years of experience, I can tell you unequivocally (and have tons of market data to prove it) that cost IS NOT synonymous with value. This is a basic tenet you're taught early on. The same holds true in the collector car hobby - unless your talking about an ultra-exotic like a 1920's Bugatti or a Mercedes SSK from the 30's. Then perhaps it's possible to recoup 100% of your out-of-pocket costs.

This is quite a revelation coming from someone (me) who is severely mechanically challenged and has to depend on a professional for just about every mechanical or body repair. That's why I'm looking for a car that's already "done". I know going in that the bulk of the value I'll eventually be able to resell the car for down the road will be tied up in my original purchase price. In other words, I can pretty much figure I'll have to take a an appreciable portion of what ever repair/restoration costs I incur and throw them out the window when it comes time to sell. That's why it doesn't make economic sense these days to buy a basket case of a car and turn it into a concours-quality car. Unless, you're not worried about what it's value in the market will be at the other end.

Like the previous post suggests, some folks purchase a collector car that needs some major help, spend a ton of money on it then expect the market to bail them out when they try to sell. Sorry. It just doesn't work that way - at least as a general rule.

That's why it's imperative to buy a car right and not over-pay. It's also why I get a bit "put out" by sellers who hang an unrealistically high price tag on a car that's not really for sale. Sure it's their right, but these ludicrous asking prices muddy the waters for those of us who are serious about buying the right car at the right price.

Unfortunately, those sellers who actually are serious about selling their cars point to some of these ridiculous asking prices they see posted on the internet as a basis for what they want out of their car. Trouble is, what they don't know is the prolonged length of time these over-valued cars have sat on the market or the fact that the sellers aren't really very motivated to sell.

I could go on, but I'll save some for another time. grin.gif

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Another side effect of these highly elevated prices is others with 'junk' cars see these prices and start thinking the 50s body they got rusting out in the back-40 is worth a bundle so then the car sits or worse yet, rusts away because the current owner feels the car (rusted floor, doors, and all) is still worth a few thousand dollars because 'its a classic'. Sorry but these highly elevated prices end up keeping some cars from being rescued from the crusher and the scrappers. I found a 58 Buick 4dr sedan, complete body with some missing glass, frozen RUSTED motor and NO floor or trunk to speak up and the owner wouldn't sell for less that 3500.00 because he had seen others being advertised for thousands more. The car rusted away in the field... Such a shame.

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Wow--soooooooo many opinions about the price of a 1965 Wildcat with a 4-speed.

I'm sure that the $30K asking price is what the seller feels is a fair and accurate price. I believe he is correct. Now, if the seller can get some "dummy" to pay $30K, the seller will be home free and clear. I'd bet that, unless the price is reduced by up to 30%, the "dummy" will be the seller.

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I've not seen the 65 Wildcat in question, nor do I know the seller. Further more I am not affiliated in any way with any price guide publications. Having thus declared my impartiality, let me offer the following comments/observations....

1. The Old Cars Price Guide is not perfect, but is a good guideline IF IT IS USED PROPERLY. The problem is not so much in the prices it lists, but rather with the way people use the guide.

Almost everyone I come across has a distorted view of what condition a given car is. They may call a car a strong #2, when it is really a #3. Or they consider an excellent original low mileage survivor to be a #1, not a #2 or #3. READ THE GUIDELINES in the front of the book and use them religously. VERY VERY VERY few cars are #1, yet everyone (buyers and sellers) use the #1 price as the "single number" value for a nice-looking vehicle.

A true #1 car is absolutely perfect: A perfectly restored, body-off, trailered car that is hardly ever used. You could eat off the undercarriage. Still have doubts? Look at the auction coverage in Old Cars Weekly, the parent publication of the price guide. Each auction vehicle is rated 1-6 for condition. MOST cars, even at the "good" auctions like Kruse, Barrett-Jackson, are rated #3 and VERY few are #1.

A TRUE #1 car commands a substantial premium over even a fine #2 car. This has always been the case, and it appears to me that it is becoming even more so. This does not mean it is "worth" the money to most people. In fact, most do not appreciate the difference, and many don't even see it. Look at the price guide for a 59 Caddy convertible. The difference (in dollars) between #1 and #2 is tremendous. However, if you look at what it takes ($) to make a #2 or #3 into a #1, then you begin to see why #1 commands the premium.

2. Granted, $30K seems high for any 1965 GM convertible (other than a Corvette). However, what if this is a perfect 100-point body-off restoration of a California rust-free car, and has rare equipment to top it off? What would it cost you to DUPLICATE such a vehicle? I submit that if someone GAVE you a rust-free Wildcat convertible, you could not have it professionally restored to perfection (body-off, all NOS, etc.) for under $30K.

Does that make the car worth $30K, just because that is what it cost to build? Absolutely not---at least not to most of us. However, if a buyer was well-heeled, had NO time or aptitude for restoration work, yet wanted the FINEST example in the country, could it be worth $30K to him? Probably. Would he ever get his money back? Probably not.

HOWEVER, if this car was big time EXCELLENT (and remember, I don't know if it is or isn't) it should certainly be worth $20K, maybe more (Super nice documented 65 Impala big block converts are pushing upper twenties). If a buyer paid the FULL "asking" price of $30K and the car was only worth $20K, he'd risk losing $10K. How much do you lose on a new car the minute you drive off the showroom? To some people, that loss is the cost of having what they want, when they want it. (Compared to losses in the stock market, what a few grand to SOME people?) Perhaps the seller is gambling on finding such a person.

In summary, I'm not defending either the $30K price or the price guide. I'm just offering some thoughts on why there could be such a HUGE gap between the "perceived" value of the 65 Cat or the "real" value (to someone, somewhere). If the seller gets his price, I say more power to him. If someone with a brass pair calls up and gets the car for half the asking price, I say more power to him too. wink.gif

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Greg,

I think we're pretty much on the same page on this issue. As an aside, the seller sent me photos of this car and it's clearly not in #1 condition.

I also think it's imperative to clearly explain to everyone that there's a difference between "market value" (ie., what a typical buyer would agree to pay for a car and what a typical seller would agree to sell it for) and "investment value" (ie., what a specific car is worth to a specific owner). In many cases, they're not one in the same.

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Just read through the entire thread...even if the car is "only" in #2 condition, I think it could easily be worth 25 grand. One thing I have to laugh at about the price guides is when they say to add 10-15% for 4-spd. Right. For one of a handful of still-extant cars, the price differential is not going to be that small! There is no shame in paying a premium for exclusivity, if you have the money and you are buying something you want. Car collectors do so every day. I noticed the car in question is no longer in Hemmings...maybe it sold, or maybe the seller gave up. I could find no such car for sale on the net at ANY price.

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