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1931 Cadillac V12 coupe value?


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Hi everyone hoping somebody can help , I have been contacted about 

a 1931 Cadillac coupe V-12 with dual side mounts and rumble seat 

Barn find , all there except a very few amount of small items. 
needs total restoration, what kind of price is reasonable for something like that , and what kind of value when restored? 
 

thanks 

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depends upon what pieces are missing and if they are shared with other Cadillacs of the same year ( not necessarily just used on the V12)

Once again as an interested party  - you leave a lot of questions on condition unanswered ! ( does it have an interior that can be used for patterns? does it run? does it stop? etc etc)

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Nice car, relatively rare.......I know of three and have been at this for almost fifty years. Expensive to restore, parts use to be readily available, not so much now. Lots of chrome and pot metal, which add to the expense of restoration. The car had much more value years ago in that condition. Today, you can buy a finished car for forty cents on the dollar of restoration costs. I won’t publicly post a price.......,but what I would place on it for a value would be shockingly low according to most people.......and I really like the car. Had one for years.......

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The caddy V12 really seems to suffer in the market because of the 16 and that it basically has the performance of the V8.   I think if you price a comparable v8 coupe and had a small premium you are probably in the ball park.

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The problem with a V-12 Cadillac Coupe is that everyone at an event would expect such a rare car to be restored to pristine! They would expect the owner to have spent $100K or so to make it into a $100,000 car! So that's the reality. As a barnfind and assuming it can be made running (drivetrain, brakes, wiring, tires) and cleaned up for maybe circa $10K-15K, then it would be worth perhaps 15K-20k "as is". The owner would then have a nice running rare "survivor" for about $30K-$35K. But just a survivor. I would hate to think what it might cost to make this car pristine, and at a $50K asking price, a return on investment is not likely.

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Sent the poster a PM, and I can tell you that my number was way under the 35-40 mark. And that is with good wood and a decent core engine. I know what it takes to do these cars......I have had a bunch of them. 
 

A very nice V-16 Coupe was offered recently and I’m not sure if it sold. The number was less than the cost of restoring this car above.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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We're all seeing the trend.  Nice cars sell at nice prices, lessor cars go looking for a buyer.  The exception is an incredibly nice original car.  One must make the distinction, though, between "original" and "unrestored".  I have a wonderful "unrestored" 1937 Cord phaeton, but it's not an "original" car, in that it's had a bad paint job, had a partial upholstery replacement, and so on.

 

I'd guess that coupe should be in the 25-30K range, and a lot of that depends on whether engine is running or not.

 

Great car, expensive to restore, maybe some fun there for someone who wants to just play with it.  Not at 50K , though...

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The massive re-education of collectors and families is starting on old barn find / project / neglected cars. Restoration costs are now far exceeding any type of in and out numbers of the past. People who held on too long are now looking at pennies on the dollar of what their cars were worth twenty five years ago. It will be interesting to watch and see how fast people realize the reality and adjust. Some , I am sure never will.

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First, I will admit that I am always the first to say that it's cheaper to buy a finished car than a project. I will also say that I am the guy who rains on everyone's parades when they start a project and don't seem to realize they'll be over their heads before the first drop of paint is sprayed.

 

Nevertheless, I like this car a lot. It's rare, it's handsome, and it's an A-list car. I have long maintained that the Cadillac V12 is much more than 3/4 of a V16 for 1/4 the price. This is a worthy car.

 

That said, you WILL NOT make money restoring it. You'll "lose" a fortune if dollars and cents are all that matter to you. You have to do it because you want this car. It can be restored, it won't be easy, but when you're done you will have a car that stands near the top of the food chain in the Full Classic world. Anything with 12 cylinders deserves respect and the lovely OHV Cadillac V12 is an excellent car. They are challenging to restore for many reasons--parts, knowledge, and finishing, but they're also very high-quality and durable, and that car does not look like it has been seriously neglected or abused. Wood and the engine are, as the others have suggested, the biggies in terms of dollar investment required. But even if they're good, you will spend a HUGE pile of money no matter what.

 

I would personally enjoy the restoration of that car and at the end you'll have a spectacular Full Classic that will reward you with great road manners and lots of presence. It'll make you nuts because they are apparently very hard to tune--I have never driven a Cadillac V12 that I thought was 100% right. But that's a solvable problem with time. 


So I guess the question is: do you want the car because you want it or because you think you can make a buck? This is a car I want and if I were willing and able to embark on a lengthy restoration, it would be nigh irresistible. But if you're hoping to fluff and buff and make a buck, it will absolutely bury you.

 

Do it for the right reason--you love the car--and it will be awesome.

 

Do it with your eye on the finances and it will be a total nightmare.

 

Which one describes your plan with your project?

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For many, many years, my first and only old car was a 1931 Cadillac Sport Coupe. Any 1931 Cadillac brings back memories of silver spray paint instead of chrome, bubble gum and popsicle sticks repairs, frequent breakdowns, and most importantly spending time with father who gave me appreciation of all pre war cars. I like all early 30’s Caddy’s..........regardless of them being 8, 12, or 16. That being said, they are one of the most difficult cars to own and drive from the era. They are NOT a starter car, or a car for someone who isn’t mechanically inclined, likes to doesn’t like to tinker, and enjoy a challenge of ownership. 
 

FYI- Packard, Pierce, Chrysler, Stutz, Auburn, are all easier to keep and maintain running and driving well.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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58 minutes ago, edinmass said:

FYI- Packard, Pierce, Chrysler, Stutz, Auburn, are all easier to keep and maintain running and driving well.

edinmass, would Lincoln be in this category?

 

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Ballpark maybe 20K, if it's all there and solid?  FWIW, here are two relevant (public) data points I happen to remember on the value of this model of car, although obviously not in that condition.

 

1)  This nicely restored example won a lot of awards at various concours, and it was for sale for a long time at a very very  high asking price -- around $250,000, if I recall correctly.  In Feb 2018, it went up for sale at "Bring a Trailer," of all places, and sold for $126,000.  I think the market is down since then, so maybe guess, what, another 10% or 15% less today?  I gather that roughly matches Ed's 40 cents on the restoration dollar guess, If you say 20K for the car and $250K-ish resto, 

 

https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1931-cadillac-370-a-coupe-v-12/

 

552279235_ScreenShot2019-12-21at9_00_14PM.thumb.png.34bf2c43d6bc6f2e8a7d5dae485f391b.png

 

2) Also relevant, here's a driver of the same car as a victoria coupe instead of the rumble seat coupe.  Softer market with the more sedan-like body style, but at least a reference point.   Sold last year for $63,250.  https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/hf18/hershey/lots/r0012-1931-cadillac-v-12-victoria-coupe-by-fisher/693044

 

1612055897_ScreenShot2019-12-21at9_09_57PM.thumb.png.5127bf52c7ff212fe577e718b2205837.png

Edited by 1935Packard (see edit history)
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Interesting........... so Large 31 Buicks with only 8 cylinders sell all day long in the 20-25k range but this Cad is only worth 10-15k?????????????

 

Folks, not everyone plans to do a 300k Ed restoration and yes, would undoubtedly be upside down in a heartbeat. But if it runs and wood is solid, I will take  5 at 15k or 10 at 10k..................

 

some of you are a bit ridiculous! Everything for sale here doesnt need to be a 1000 point restoration. Most of us dont own such cars.............

 

:)

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7 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

Who ever buys this car tell him I have a second gear bushing and there is only two others left in the world. Plus they are not going to be reproduced again. I guarantee it pops out of second gear.

                  Joe

I always wonder when someone makes the statement "Only __(fill in the blank with a number) left in the world." I believe the person making the statement has been able to account for EVERY part or car he/she is making that statement about. In my world, that's almost an impossibility.

As to the car in question, if it is roadworthy after performing the usual services needed to make it so, why would anyone want to restore it? I would think it would attract way more attention left as is.

Both of these statements are IMHO.

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We all  naturally do the math on purchase price + restoration = I want to get my money back.   But I think we are all being reeducated those days are gone.   That doesn't mean it isn't a worthwhile endeavor.  

 

For this car, if you can buy this for 35k,  spend 10k making it runnable,   a 45k V12 coupe that is running and driving is a pretty cool thing to play with.  

 

Ed,  you can't always do the math on a complete restoration.   Lots of cars don't need to be restored,  just fixed enough to use.

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3 hours ago, George Smolinski said:

I always wonder when someone makes the statement "Only __(fill in the blank with a number) left in the world."

 

When I see that I know I'm dealing with someone that has limited experience in the hobby.   It is basically a worthless statement.  The more experienced guys will say "1 of 5 know to the XXX Club"  or something along those lines.

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11 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

Who ever buys this car tell him I have a second gear bushing and there is only two others left in the world. Plus they are not going to be reproduced again. I guarantee it pops out of second gear.

                  Joe

 

 

I have three new bushings in the Cadillac drawer next to my work bench. You can never have enough spares. And, they are going up in value all the time now that most of the reproduction parts runs are over.

 

PS - and they are not for sale........I just used one last month.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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11 hours ago, AzBob said:

edinmass, would Lincoln be in this category?

 

 

 

Yes. But all the cars have certain issues and difficulties......it’s just Cadillac’s have many more of them.  

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16 hours ago, mercer09 said:

If the wood is good- car is worth 35-40k to someone.

 

you will never buy a car like this for 15k unless you are out to cheat a widow..............

 

Maybe she already has been.

 

Widows have three things to be wary of; 1. being cheated by a buyer, 2. being coached by someone helping to keep her from being cheated, 3. Believing what her husband told her his car was worth.

 

Looking at the pictures, if the old man had a 50 grand car moldering in the garage for decades he should have cashed it in and paved the driveway ( if that's where the car was. If not.....)

Bernie

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17 hours ago, alsancle said:

 

If it runs I agree with this.

I agree too - especially if wood is good.  At very minimum 25K - otherwise you are taking advantage. 


As to downside faults:  They are wood body structure construction and if not good then it is a real serious pain in the .... matched to a wallet opening experience.   Also, there was probably only one or two other General Motors cars that use the same quantity of die cast/pot metal - if you touch it after plating it will break, plenty will just self destruct on its own, and ...  

Also, it appears to be missing its spears off the running board splash aprons and the gasoline tank cover.  Also the luggage trunk on the rack is incorrect (and really would look better with none or a low profile trunk - they are a pretty penny). 

 

In 1976 money when we did out 1931 - it was about 15k to replace all the die cast(including the zink plated hubcaps)  - in the money converter that is $ 67,805.27 in 2019 money.

 

Rare car and worth good money - but unless in love with it and your dream car then best to just clean it all up, improve it the best you can, and move it along.  I doubt there is any profit in restoring it - even if it were free. And, if you do not make it a truly 100 point car the seemingly minor imperfections will be GLARING to the bulk of collectors interested - falls under the "more harm than good" category. 

 

Sidenote:  If you are going to negotiate off the 50K and still play in the upper amounts, I would certainly be hunting under front seat, on rear floor, garage, or ...  for the hand crank and popping the crank hole cover off and seeing engine turns over.  And, if you know them really well, I would strike a deal that I get to spend some time and get car running in their garage prior to check writing. Otherwise, non-runners come at substantial discounts, unless they are open/convertible cars. 

 

 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

 And, they are going up in value all the time now that most of the reproduction parts runs are over.

A point I commonly preach via these type of cars being mostly restored in 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's and what I would have been able to have sent to me in a telephone call during that period of time is actually quite a problem today.   Restoring cars is fun, but when you get into die cast wonders and .. it is incredibly expensive matched to exhausting to be the one who has to re-create the wheel. 

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19 hours ago, alsancle said:

The caddy V12 really seems to suffer in the market because of the 16 and that it basically has the performance of the V8.   I think if you price a comparable v8 coupe and had a small premium you are probably in the ball park.

I would tell you a V-12 is really the better car over a V-16 - perhaps it is the less weight of engine, chassis, bodies, and ...

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7 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

I would tell you a V-12 is really the better car over a V-16 - perhaps it is the less weight of engine, chassis, bodies, and ...

 

I will take the 16 first, the 8 second, and the 12 last.

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1 minute ago, edinmass said:

 

I will take the 16 first, the 8 second, and the 12 last.

I always leaned to the V-12 over the V-8, as we had so many problems with the carb in the V'ee /valley and the V-12 solves at least that problem.   A V-16 really does stand alone though - spectacular cars. 

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3 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

A point I commonly preach via these type of cars being mostly restored in 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's and what I would have been able to have sent to me in a telephone call during that period of time is actually quite a problem today.   Restoring cars is fun, but when you get into die cast wonders and .. it is incredibly expensive matched to exhausting to be the one who has to re-create the wheel. 

 

You would think that the prewar Rolls would have a bigger following considering you can order almost any mechanical part off the internet in 3 minutes.

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Gentleman.....as to the “true value” of the original post car...........I’m not arguing it needs a 100 point restoration.....I have and enjoy 80 point cars......they smoke, they leak, the body squeaks......ect. I don’t want or need perfection in a car, I just want it to run and drive perfectly......as new. 

 

Fact is, I am involved in many transactions of cars.......only pre war large stuff......I have a a very fine tuned understanding of what is bringing money, and what is not. The issue is NOT THE VALUE of the 1931 V-12 Coupe.........not at all. The issue is what 50k can buy you today for a turn key car. Recently I was looking at a car that was in a restoration shop and the “all in” number as somewhere around 275k. I offered the shop to purchase the car from the family’s estate. My offer was 30k, and I said to them, it was too high, but the value of the work the car had done made it worth the extra money to me.......the offer was refused, and the car placed in a no reserve auction.....a big venue auction, where the car had its best chance to do well. The sale price including commission was 24k. Thus my offer with no fees to them was 33 percent higher than the car realized at the sale. It’s not the value of your car today, it’s what other cars are available that are in better condition, more desirable, sorted, and turn key.............that’s what is dictating the market today....”the other car”. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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6 minutes ago, 1912Staver said:

Ed, that is a stunning snapshot of todays market.

 

Greg in Canada

 

Greg, twenty years ago, it was hard to find a GOOD early thirties Caddy for sale......any platform, and body style......8,12, or 16. If you would like one today.....let me know what you want........and the color and body style. I’ll get it delivered to you in less than two weeks. 

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