Jump to content

What would you do? Considering selling my Buick project


JJorgensen52
 Share

Recommended Posts

Good evening all!

 

I've been absent from the forum for quite some time, which is a good indicator of why I'm posting tonight. 

 

I purchased a one owner barn-find '63 Wildcat coupe back in the summer of 2013 - it had been sitting in a barn since the mid-'70s and had under 45k original miles. It still has the bias plies on it from when it was parked. I did basic maintenance, then drove the car for about 6 months before starting to disassemble it for paint work. Upon doing so, I found some rust in the car - B-pillars under the trim, inner rockers, trunk above the body mounts. At that point, I started making plans to pull the body off the chassis and repair the metal properly. Then life happened.

 

Fast forward 6 years, and the car has been sitting, disassembled and ready for the body to be pulled, in dry storage, basically untouched. I am in the service, so I've had to move several times, it's been in and out of commercial storage units, currently sitting in my climate controlled shop. Along with it I've accumulated a bunch of option parts to add to it (correct '63 AM/FM, winter's valve covers, a set of '64 Wildcat formula 5 wheels, a correct '64 wildcat T10 with pedals, bellhousing, correct Hurst shifter, bracket and linkage, along with various parts for that swap, straight rechromed center for the rear bumper, vacuum trunk release, parts for a rear speaker), and carefully labelled and boxed every nut, bolt and part removed from the car.

 

I'm just now admitting to myself that having since gotten married, with one toddler and another on the way, that I have neither the time, nor the funds, to repair this car in the near future. While I love the look and feel of a big Buick, it's just not in the cards with everything else going on.

 

So, tonight I'm wondering what to do. I can keep the car in mothballs as a someday project, or put it up for sale and look for another Buick enthusiast who can bring it back to life while I cannot. This was a complete, running driving car, which is still complete though in pieces and needing repair and reassembly.

 

Photos from the day I brought it home, then as it sits (or close, it's got boxes stacked on it).

 

What are your thoughts?IMG_20180710_233312.thumb.jpg.4e7880525a3419fa38f3d2327d008656.jpg

FB_IMG_1587701540010.jpg

FB_IMG_1587701536393.jpg

Edited by JJorgensen52 (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kids will grow up, your financial situation will improve over time, and you will want that car one day when you can get around to finishing it. Carefully catalog and store the parts, prepare the mechanicals for long term storage, and look at it with the attitude that every day you see it is one day closer to getting it back on the road.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Save it for a future project.  Trust me in this...kids grow and life continues to happen, but at a slower pace. Time and money become available.  You know what you have and what will be required to restore. Why start over with probably a car that is not what you wanted to restore with its own set of issues?   For me, I would quietly tackle one item at a time. Clean up gauges and small items a few hours each week. It's a hobby for any down time you may have. It's not a race. It's a process that helps to clear ones mind and enjoy something other than the riggers of life.

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, there are a couple of things working against you.

The fact that the car is in pieces takes at least 50% off of the value.
Fewer people are taking on projects than 10 years ago. Non-running / driving cars rarely get more than five grand. 

I don’t necessarily disagree with the theory of holding it until you have time later, but that also risks losing parts for a possible later sale. Good luck with either decision. 
 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m the king of started projects and fits and starts.  I have had over 250 old cars in the past 35 years.  I’ve lost over $150,000 on this insanity.  My recommendation is that if you still love the car and it does not seem like a burden - to speak with your wife and set aside 3-4 hours per week on continuing the restoration.   
 

3-4 hours per week x 50 or so weeks adds up to progress.  That interior is likely in good condition so this is mostly about the body right?      
 

I would pass on the T10 conversion.  Manual shifting always seems fun but just being in a 57 year old car with your family will make it worth it. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have the space to keep it and that space does not cost any thing you can keep it and peck away at it as a hobby. OTOH the longer you keep it and the more you dismantle and peck away the less it will be worth unless it's completed. Even then you will likely be under water.

So........Unless you have a burning desire, and your situation allows you to complete it, best to get out from under it now.............Bob

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have one, maybe two personal vehicles that I probably shouldn't still have, but am keeping anyway. They don't cost me anything to keep and hopefully the day will come when I am able to put them on the road. They aren't worth much as-is, so I've decided to see if time works in my favor (probably not, but it could). Maybe you do the same--if you can keep it, see what happens in the future. It's not worth anything as it sits so maybe the day comes when you can restart the project.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've seen other people in this same situation. Guys take their projects all apart and then just STOP. They sit for years and very few if any of them are going to be put back together. The longer you wait the more it's gonna cost to restore, the price of paint, chrome, upholstery, replacement parts, etc. is increasing all the time. If you haven't touched the car in 6 years, chances are you've lost interest and I think it's time to pass it on to someone else. Just my 2 cents, i hope you make the right decision. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I began dismantling my 61 Electra 225 shortly after I bought it in 96, got it off for blasting and painting in 97, and got it back from the paint shop in 98 - just a body shell with the engine and tranny reinstalled. I did what I could in reassembly over the next several years, in bits here and there, but hit a brick wall where I didn't have the know-how to go any further. So it sat untouched for 5-6 years until I found a shop that could complete the work. I had it hauled to the shop in 2012, and finally got it back on the road in 2016 - I wasn't in a hurry at that point, and we had a lot of back and forth locating additional new parts that made sense to replace. It was worth the wait! Although a 20 year restoration project is far from ideal, the joy is still there once the car is back on the road. So my vote would be to hold on, chip away as you have time, and look forward to the day when it is completed. Your kids will be a part of the journey and they'll likely get a kick out of finally riding in the big Buick that was a collection of parts through much of their childhood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is a desirable car, you own it, have a place to park it, and you don't have to feed it or follow it with a plastic bag.

 

Judging from the picture you are doing well. Keep it until you walk out to the garage and see an extension ladder on the roof, Christmas decorations on boxes sitting on it. and a big scratch down the side from the lawn mower parked too close. Then give it to someone like a nephew or neighbor who has a job and always liked it.

 

There is great value in having a dream shaped like a car in your garage. Just sitting by it can take you too another time and place. If you needed professional help to get you out of the daily rut it is going to cost you $500 to $600 per hour. The car is paid for.

 

Sitting all alone in the garage on that little blue stool can save the day sometimes. I have never seen a rule that anyone has to finish a project.

IMG_1622.thumb.JPG.7956499cfed68423d702becbb90fc4c2.JPG

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My opinion...I really hope you keep this car.  I looked over the photos of your car and you got a pretty cool ride.  I completely understand your situation.  I have a young family myself.  I have a Wife and 3 kids between the ages of 15 and 6 (and a dog too).  I bought my car almost 8 years ago.  I knew that when I bought it, that it would be a long project.  When I look at my car, I look at it as a series of many very small projects, all in one.  And that's how I treat it.  If I chose to look at this as 1 big project instead, I know that discouragement will set in and that kills motivation.  My Wife and I were cool with me setting a couple hours on a Saturday or Sunday to work on it.  I set a small goal (for example, remove the grill).  If I have time left over, I might remove something else or box up that part.  Either way, I accomplished something, got 1 small step closer to finishing, fed my motivation and excitement for the next time.  I did have times that I just couldn't get to it, but that's okay.  For the first couple years, my car sat out in the weather.  I finally bought a carport from Harbor Freight.  It's not ideal, but it's the best option available to me.  You have an awesome set up.  Your car will not have to worry about moisture and rot.  Just be sure to take tons of videos and photos.  Create a diary of all progress (this forum is perfect for this).  Create a book keeping of all your parts.  I have talked to so many people who once owned a classic they loved that sold it only to regret it later.  That also includes my Father.  Don't let it be you.  Feel free to look through my thread.  I hope we can follow with what may be your choice to keep and restore your car.  God bless You and your family.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 63 Wildcat is perhaps my favorite Buick of that decade.  Fantastic design that helped usher in the muscle car era with Buick style.  I still wish I'd held on to several cars, including 2 63 Wildcats my dad had, one of which I discovered as a teenager in a junkyard right after it was hauled in and told my dad about.  He called them up and bought it for $300, a complete car that we had driving perfectly in a day.

 

Every old car acquisition has a story, and down the road your life's memories will be threaded into that car as they share a timeline.  If it's not causing you distress and you can store it dry, hold onto it.  I wish I could kick my former self in the a$$ for a couple I let go, only to have my fortunes improve shortly thereafter.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've bought cars that were taken apart by prior owner and then sat for years----no documentation, nothing marked, parts missing, parts from other cars mixed in, etc.  Would have to be a real sweet deal to go that route again!  If you decide to sell, I recommend you put it back together first.

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

FB_IMG_1587701536393.jpg

IMG_20180710_233312.thumb.jpg.4e7880525a3419fa38f3d2327d008656.jpg

 

I am pretty sure we all know how common this type of "before and after" pictures are. My '60 Electra could have been the same story. It didn't look as good on the trailer and was not running. That was 19 years ago and I have been driving it, repairing and maintaining, and brush touching paint chips ever since..The difference came when I listened to my own advice (which flows like green grass through a goose). "Disassembly of a car is the cheapest thing you can do." "Anyone taking a car apart for restoration should be required to post a $30,000 bond." or "There are 300 $100 jobs to put an easy car back together." (Someday I am going to make the list).

 

Looking as your most recent picture reminds me of a lot of projects I have bought, causally reassembled, and sold to fund my own projects. And the return on my investment has been fairly high. I would say X3 or more. Imagine a guy like me loading your car and all its parts onto a flatbed being real careful not to scratch anything more than it is. Two weeks later you see it for sale locally looking like it did when you got it. No new paint, little dobs of paint on the chips showing through a high shire and even the same white walls massaged with a piece of #800 sandpaper and Westley's. You would be sizzling.

I would put it back together and sell it. You could consider skipping the restoration, put it back together and drive it.

 

In 1984 I was out in the Quad Cities in Iowa for work. Around 10 PM I was checking out the back row used car lots on the seedy side of Moline, yes they have one. A late 1970's Mercury caught my eye under the lights. I got to thinking how much I liked a nice, standup ten to fifteen year old car in general. At that moment I decided to stop striving for that high level of perfection and set my goal to the level of a clean, well cared for ten year old car. Check my cars. You will find that they are. Sometimes overdone in a few points or waiting for work in some. And, you know what, just maintaining the car is enough of a job, anyway.

 

Put 4 or 5 hours into some no cost reassembly and see how you feel, not a big investment to maybe turn things around.

 

 

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If this is your only Buick, no question, keep it!  You’ll forever regret selling it if you do. Ask me how I know, no wait please don’t. But definitely do not buy another thinking “I’ll just buy this to drive while restoring the Wildcat” that can lead to a barn and pasture full of Buicks! Jus take my word for it. 
seriously I can tell by the parts you’ve gathered and the length of time and times you’ve already moved it l, you love the car. Keep it and maybe not do the frame off , unless it’s too late to reconsider, but do  hop up the engine a bit and hell yea, throw that T10 in it and burn some rubber. 
btw @JJorgensen52  what branch of military you in? 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you sell it, you will have a hole in your heart and your garage, plus in your wallet after the money is used for something else.  

If you keep it you will just have a hole in your garage and your wallet.  

2 out of 3 is better in my humble opinion.

 

I am sure you are busy with the kids  and family now.  But the kids eventually grow up and pursue their own agenda.  If this is just causing angst sitting undone, eventually you will really appreciate having it still around. It was like that for my '56.  I never took it apart but there were many years I hardly moved it.  More than once I thought about selling.  But ( thanks to my wife's insistence)  it is very much appreciated today.

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, JohnD1956 said:

If you sell it, you will have a hole in your heart and your garage, plus in your wallet after the money is used for something else.  

If you keep it you will just have a hole in your garage and your wallet.  

2 out of 3 is better in my humble opinion.

 

 

This is a good point. If you sell it, you won't get very much money and that money will get frittered away on all the other things that life requires. Then the car is gone, the money is gone, and, well, what then? Right now you have a project car that may or may not be a job you'll tackle in the future, but at least it's there. If you sell it and the time comes when you want another project, will you be able to buy another one if you sell this one now? It's a bird in hand, so to speak.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, old-tank said:

Sell it.  And don't look back.  You apparently don't have a passion for that car or you would not be asking the question.

 

I can't agree with this one, I'm asking because I do! If I didn't care for the car this would be easy, cut my losses and clear it out of the garage.

 

A lot of great points here, I really appreciate the discussion. It's brought on some good retrospective. I will share some of that later on when the little one is in bed.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

36 minutes ago, old-tank said:

You apparently don't have a passion for that car or you would not be asking the question.

 

33 minutes ago, NC-car-guy said:

I've found myself in that scenario before too.

 

 

Wait, What? so be the reason of such remorse?  V 

 

On 4/24/2020 at 7:51 AM, NC-car-guy said:

I generally have seller's remorse more than buyer's remorse

 

One more question James,  where do the '50 GMC 100 Shortbed - '69 Chevrolet K10 Shortbed Stepside - '71 Chevrolet C10 Longbed Fleetside play into this decision.

 

James, all we're probably doing is adding to your indecisiveness.  If you're ready to divorce her then let her go, if not and the passion  to someday see her in all her beauty on the road, after possibly maybe even a father-son/daughter project then hold onto her, simple as that. You and your family are the only ones who can answer this

 

 

 

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have one car that I have been thinking about selling for around three years but I need to fix the AC and a scratch a bicyclist gave me or I won't get top buck for it.

 

I can always go out and buy a car for 20 cents on the dollar. No problem there because a lot of people "sell work".

 

But I am not going to "make work" and sell it.

 

About six years ago I had some of those death's door health problems. At that time I figured I could walk away from everything out in the garage and take it in stride. I still remember the exciting day I clutched my little pillow to my chest and walked all the way to the garage and back. Bought and sold something like six cars since then. Maybe seven.

 

Bernie

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keep it.  You need to change the plans for the car and start putting it back together,  doing restoration, improvements as you can.  You will need stress relief in the upcoming years and putting this car back together can give that to you.  As you put it back together you will see small steps of accomplishments rather than a huge unfinished projects staring at you.  Plan each of your mini projects around what can be done in 2 hours, 4 hours or what ever you have time for.  Focus on the small steps and you will get it done.  It may not be the car that you dreamed of when you started, but it will be one you can enjoy with your family cruising until you sell it for something else.  it will be easier to sell all together as well as the satifaction you will get putting it back together.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, MrEarl said:

If this is your only Buick, no question, keep it!  You’ll forever regret selling it if you do. Ask me how I know, no wait please don’t. But definitely do not buy another thinking “I’ll just buy this to drive while restoring the Wildcat” that can lead to a barn and pasture full of Buicks! Jus take my word for it. 
seriously I can tell by the parts you’ve gathered and the length of time and times you’ve already moved it l, you love the car. Keep it and maybe not do the frame off , unless it’s too late to reconsider, but do  hop up the engine a bit and hell yea, throw that T10 in it and burn some rubber. 
btw @JJorgensen52  what branch of military you in? 

 

6 hours ago, MrEarl said:

One more question James,  where do the '50 GMC 100 Shortbed - '69 Chevrolet K10 Shortbed Stepside - '71 Chevrolet C10 Longbed Fleetside play into this decision.

 

@MrEarl, first question first - Coast Guard, going on 10 years next month.

 

Now, regards to cars - as you can see, I too have a bit of a fleet of vehicles (there are a few others not on that list) some from before the Wildcat and some after. With the exception of the '50 GMC (which I am building, albeit slowly, for my parents) and the '69 K10 (my first classic; so rusty from being used as a driver that it's probably only good for scrap, but I may yet try to save it as it is a rare one), all are running, driving rigs I use semi-regularly. My wife is supportive of my hobby and I do get a naptime here or an evening there, so I have some time to keep plugging away.

 

I asked this question because I have been debating with myself; you all have shared all of the options I was considering, plus some more besides, and a lot of interesting reasoning which I hadn't explored before.

 

As several stated, it's costing me nothing to store and is protected from further damage, so I have no heartache there. Some days, when one of the other cars needs to be tinkered with I'd love to have that space, but the weather is kind here at my current station so working outdoors is very viable. I do, however, always have the spectre of a future military move taking me somewhere that I can't bring the shell with, and right now I have no viable plan for that circumstance - so far, I have been able to avoid it across 4 tours, and I fear my fortunes may change.

 

The point that most resonated with me was those who commented on how a major restoration like this can seem daunting - that I think is really the meat of it. I hate seeing the car sit, but I also want to fix it all the way the right way and it's a long job. 

 

In the end, seeing how many others have been through or are in LONG term projects like this, I am heartened a bit. My plan in the immediate future is to start organizing and better laying out some of the small tasks, so I can get back at it and perhaps see her roadworthy again, if not fully restored. At the same time, I am going to start exploring options for how to store the car long term, if I have to move and can't take it with me. I think that will make this decision for me, more than anything.

 

My thanks for your thoughts! It has been helpful.

Edited by JJorgensen52
Realized one of my thoughts wasn't complete 😂 (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's safe to say that owning an old vehicle is an emotional decision, not a logical one. So, I think to that point, asking if keeping it is a good idea is the wrong approach. It's a horrible idea, any accountant will tell you that. But we do it anyway, right? 

 

I'm in a similar boat in terms of time. It's very hard to steal a few minutes here and there between family and work obligations. To me, this has meant a couple of things. First, planning is probably more crucial because the timeline to completion moves way out. A job that I could knock out in a weekend can take months now. I have to take really good notes and stay organized because I know that I will not remember where I left off. The second thing kind of relates to the first. I have to be very selective about new projects that I take on because it can move out the horizon for everything else that I have going. Part of that for me has meant thinning the herd a little for the things that I care the most about. Right now, I'm in the middle of trying to sell a vehicle because to do it justice would take time away from my Buick. 

 

Last of all, we own things, they are not supposed to own us. Good luck. 

Edited by drhach (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

James, One thing I've not seen mentioned is that what you presently have appears to be a very clean (other than the mentioned rust) and complete car which will make a restoration easier and cheaper. Sell if and then "down the road" buy a replacement it will be difficult to find one this nice. You did not mention how the engine was running - assume decent as you drove it for six months. If you do not need to rebuild that is worth $$. Good luck with your decision.😉

Link to comment
Share on other sites

James, One thing I've not seen mentioned is that what you presently have appears to be a very clean (other than the mentioned rust) and complete car which will make a restoration easier and cheaper. Sell if and then "down the road" buy a replacement it will be difficult to find one this nice. You did not mention how the engine was running - assume decent as you drove it for six months. If you do not need to rebuild that is worth $$. Good luck with your decision.😉

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sell it - or don't.  You can always find another car.  You will likely always have fond memories of owning the present car.  You will always discover new fond memories of another car.  

 

I'm at a minimalist stage of my life right now, getting rid of a few possessions feels really good.  Learning what I can actually sell something for helps temper me from buying the next possesion knowing it is worth half of what I'm about to pay.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, kgreen said:

I'm at a minimalist stage of my life right now, getting rid of a few possessions feels really good.

 

It would feel a whole lot better if it wasn't just your best stuff that sold.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

It would feel a whole lot better if it wasn't just your best stuff that sold.

Ain't that the truth.  Do you own as much junk as me?  Nevermind, I can't deal with a full confession.

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I fully understand desires, dreams, and such.  But I also understand the realities of being in "the service" and having to move every few years, as a complicating factor.  Plus, over the years, I've seen seemingly good cars be disassembled for repairs/restorations and that's as far as they ever get.  Oh, and have seen "life events" and growing families, happen too.

 

To me, the main issue would be the periodic residential moves.  If you've not finished with those, then it might be best to sell it and go on.  Obviously, your family focus should be on "the kids", for at least another decade or so (sounds like a long time, doesn't it?).  Plus a certain amount of focus on your job that pays the fills for everybody.  Not to mention being able to park all of your daily vehicles in the same garage, if needed.  But there can be work-around for that.

 

Let's say you sell the car for what you can get for it, you've lost money.  IF you find a good, secure off-site storage place for it, it costs money.  IF you sell it, what will fill that void in your life and dreams?  At what cost?  Will/does your spouse consider it a nuisance that is tolerated?  Will the money from the sale be used for something needed in the long term???

 

Just as being married or single, EVERYTHING has its own benefits and costs.  Just depends upon which way you might desire to go.

 

Looking to the future, though.  In another local car club, we observed as younger, single, members got married, still coming to the meetings.  Then kids happened and their projects got put on hold.  We didn't see them as often and their membership lapsed.  Several years later, they'd show up again, wife and kid(s) in tow.  With great smiles by everybody!  We were as glad to see them as they were to see us, which I considered a great thing for all involved.  Their wives were welcomed by the other wives, too, which furthered things along, too!  MOst has somewhat stable jobs, so no periodic residential changes.  They just threw some blankets on the car and let it sleep.  Never losing sight of their dreams AND relaying the love of their vehicles to their kids!

 

IF periodic moves might be part of your employer's plan, then that deal might be a central part of the decision process.  Where might your next moves be to might also figure into the deal, too.  OR are you at a pay grade where you could opt-out for a future move, and then leave when the next move is needed?  In other words, will these moves be to places you might desire to stay, in the future?  Or are you already there?  When that final move is executed, then you can be more likely to have a place with a large enough garage to "play cars" in without negatively-impacting parking of other vehicles?  OR can find a house on a lot where a detached "work shop" can happen inside of a 8' tall privacy fence!

 

SO, this isn't just about your life in the short term, but making plans for the LONG TERM too!  Plus determining when you might leave "the service" and how all of that might impact things already "in process".

 

BUT there is ONE thing in this whole mix.  This is NOT the time to be selling any sort of project car!  Unless you need to in order to pay daily bills.  There will be people who are also looking to "scoop up bargains", taking advantage of somebody else's poor current situation.  For those people, the current economic situation is a buying opportunity that is helping them along in their ventures/activities.  AND, they most probably will be having somebody else to the work on what they bought, typically.  The other "hidden secret" is that the market is not going to rebound nearly as quickly as some like to believe.  End result, your potential selling price might not be much more than "scrap price", unfortunately.  The probability of finding another '63-'64 Buick "coupe" person can be another very "niche" sort of thing.  Somebody that appreciates what you've done already and will add that into the price of an in-pieces vehicle.

 

On the other side of things, IF and WHEN you decide to indulge in another similar Buick, what will it cost to purchase a similar car (most probably in similar condition) 10-15 years into the future?  IF you took your selling price, put it into a good interest-bearing account for that same period of time, then used it to put against the price of your future Buick, how much extra might be needed then?

 

AND (another one), if you do sell the car, when you need some stress relief from the job or life, what form might that take????  The WORST thing that could happen would be to walk into the garage, see the empty space, and wish it'd never been sold.  With it still there, you can have something to tinker with, even learn how to do some of the restorarion activities on the sheet metal, for example.  Something to keep your mind sane in an insane world!

 

Still, a main thing is your career path and where it might lead you in this wonderful world.

 

Apologies for the length.  Best of luck!

NTX5467

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...