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1924 Cadillac Victoria


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This is going to be a very basic question so I apologize. My Grandma and Grandpa owned a 1924 Victoria 5 seat. My mom passed away a few years ago and my sister and I would like to sell it. I guess you could call it a “barn find” We got the appraisal today and we’re wondering (here comes the question) What price do you market it as? Do you market it at the top number of the appraisal? More? 
Thank you so much for your help!

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First,  allow me to thank you for actually posting pictures of the car that you want help with.  You would be shocked at the number of people that ask the exact same question but provide little detail and no pictures.

 

Appraisers tend to be worthless so it is hard for me to tell you if the numbers were any good.   This looks like a solid, complete car that has sat for a very long time.  Sitting means it needs a lot of work and buyers will adjust for that.

 

Hopefully some other posters will chime in,  but based on what I see if you can get anywhere near 10k you will be ok,  maybe has high as 15k if someone falls in love?

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1 hour ago, Michelle Wright said:

What price do you market it as?

That may depend on what your marketing goal is.  if your goal is to get the car sold (perhaps there's a timeline to have it moved) then maybe you market it a lower price.  If your goal is to get top dollar, then maybe you do some things to increase its value or saleability.    If there's someone who could (properly) get it running, then the value probably goes up, unless the engine is no good.  If you clean it up it probably becomes easier to sell because it would look a lot better.

 

In the end, your selling price may have little to do with the appraiser's estimate, and the appraiser's estimate may or may not be accurate.   You'll get whatever someone is willing to pay for it.  You may want to consider putting it on Bring A Trailer (auction site).  Typically a car like this is going to sell low because there are so many unknowns.  

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I sounds to me as if you found a unusually savvy appraiser...

The negative comments you'll hear are the result of many such questions involving appraisers who know little or nothing about pre-WWII cars and almost invariably set prices that are unrealistically high. This does no one any good...the seller feels as if he's being cheated if offers don't meet the appraisal or the car never gets sold.

 

It would be worth more if running...but, recommissioning it (we tend to use the word "sorting") is a lot more complicated than just getting it started. In fact, if it isn't done correctly, you run the risk of serious damage so unless you have someone at hand who really knows earlier cars I would simply sell it as is...it could easily cost more to have the job done right than the difference in price between running and not running.

 

Oddly enough, I've been working on some parts of a slightly earlier, but very similar, Cadillac recently and I feel compelled to warn you that, though well made, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. As it is, I don't think you have unrealistic expectations at all...

 

I think I see a California license plate...if it were closer I'd be sorely tempted myself. Thankfully, I'm on the east coast!

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Hi Michelle. 
I am interested. There are some simple “field tests “ which almost anyone can do to refine value. The very first one is to determine whether the engine is stuck from sitting for a long time. I usually don’t buy cars that I can not drive, and stop. But I am very familiar with these cars, so I believe I can make it run if the engine still turns over. Whether it could run reliably , though, depends on the condition of the bearings, and whether there are any cracks in the heads, blocks , or water pumps. Verifying any of that, would be a field test most likely too far for you. As far as being able to stop, the good news is that the brakes, not being hydraulic, “hibernate” for long periods of time quite well . A “given” , in the case of such a long dormant vehicle such as this, is that the fuel system will need a fair amount of attention. But that is just routine with any such acquisition , so no surprises there . Yes, I would be willing to take a certain amount of a gamble on it, with the degree of gamble being dependent upon whether the engine will turn a fraction of a degree of rotation. Also upon location, and distance from me. I am in Washington state. I will send a private message with my contacts.   
                                                            Thank you very much,    -   Carl 

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1 hour ago, Michelle Wright said:

The appraiser said 6k-8k. We were thinking more like 10k.  I don’t want to be one of those people that ridiculously overprice their car because they’re emotional over it. I do want it sold.

 

There are too many cars with subtle variations to easily quantify their market value.  Mustangs, Camaros, etc,  are easy.  You just look them up.  A 1924 Caddy, not so much.

 

Given that he went low,  he was doing his job.   It is VERY hard to sell a non-running car these days.     I think if you get anywhere near the 10k you should sleep well.

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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I agree the initial appraisal is fair and in the ball park. As a person who has helped many families sell off cars, there are several things to consider.

 

If there is not a clear title that can be negotiated easily, the value of the car is less than five thousand dollars
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If no family member is interested in it, it’s best to make it gone, regardless of price....or one’s perceived value.

 

In the scope of cars it is interesting, but far from someone’s dream car. It’s not an easy car to sell at ANY price.

 

Gather all history and paperwork on it you can have a file on it.

 

Push it outside, give it a quick wash and vacuum the inside. 
 

Don’t try and start it. It would be worth your time to have someone pull the spark plugs and oil the top of the engine and see if the engine turns over. If not, leave it alone. If the engine is stuck.......the value is very very low.
 

As crazy as it sounds...........after you quickly clean it up, and hopefully get a loose engine for selling it........I would sell the car on eBay to the highest bidder with no reserve. Cars with little value are usually in the way to clean out garages, and sell homes. While any financial decision is important.......trying to get a few extra thousand out of it isn’t worth staring at it for the next five years. If you need more help, send me a private message. 
 

I have no interest in the car.......And no wish to purchase it. Best of luck in your transaction.

 

 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Yes, properly pre-lubing the engine is a great idea, but even that should be done properly. And this includes valve lubrication. There is a sequence of lubricants which should be used in certain quantities. Not too difficult.  As far as washing, even THAT has its preferences. NO FLOWING WATER ! Damp rags ONLY in the case of this car. All the wood and upholstery is very dry, and possibly free of rot and mold. Please try to keep it that way. Once a good crop of mold is generated, the smell and perhaps allergenic toxins, will rob a car of a great deal of its charm and value. Yes, I am interested in this car. I do not participate in buying at the “bay” anymore. No matter how I bid, someone just jumps in at the last moment and disappoints me. I am old, and have already exceeded my disappointment quota. I have sent a private message, and hope comments continue here.   -   Carl 

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Michelle please post a location of the car........Interestingly most people here agree with the approach. Twenty years ago.....our advice would be different. Today, drastic changes in the car collecting world must be considered. Ultimately.........If I was my car......and I have owned hundreds of them.........I would not let any potential buyer walk away..........we could opine for pages why..........so, to keep it brief........take the money and run.......and any offer over 5k in today’s world of pandemic and lock downs is a godsend. Best of luck......Ed

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I think it has that "honest" appeal going for it.  Someone should step up.   The early 20s are sandwiched between the popular "brass" era ending in 1915 and the "Classic Era" which started in the late 20s.   These cars fall through the cracks a bit, because they can't participate with the Brass guys and they can't  keep up with the later cars.

 

I for one,  have always liked this body style.

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If you decide to get it running you can't do better than rely on C Carl to give you good advice. He has 2 unrestored and very drivable early Cadillacs. At the very least the pan has to be dropped and the oil sludge cleaned out. It is almost certain there is a thick layer of coagulated oil and sludge in the pan and if it gets into the oil passages you will almost certainly plug them and ruin the bearings...in which case the car is nearly worthless. There are other "Cadillac specific" issues that also have to be dealt with and I'm sure Carl can guide you there...

 

 

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Whew !!!! I am back after reaching some resolution regarding a new device on a new operating system. I could not access exactly the pictures I needed, but these will suffice for now.

 

Michelle is fortunate in that she has a nephew who is near the car, (she is not), and can perform certain preliminary tests. Michelle does not want for this to drag on forever, becoming an imposition on her family. So I propose the following initial simple diagnostics. While the penetrants and lubricants are soaking , a certain degree of insight as to the all important engine condition can be ascertained to make the “guess” a more “educated” one. Given that one’s expectations will be quite different for a 20,000 mile car which has had an easy life, versus a 150,000 miler , retired from a third life as a rural mail hauler. So let’s compare hard evidence with what may or may not be an erroneous odometer reading. Wear on the cast aluminum brake and clutch pedals is obvious, and naturally consistent with use. I have seen enough of them to ballpark mileage. Of course stop and go use will be different from open road mileage. Combine that with porcelain erosion on the exhaust manifolds, and we start to get an idea of how well-used the car was. I have asked for engine and pedal pictures which will make short easy work of this stage. The next test is so simple that I can, (and have), immediately talk anyone through it over the phone . There is no provision for timing chain adjustment, so this allows a quick check of accumulated timing chain stretch and wear. Circumferential free play at the circular surround of the chain driven fan is easy to measure. 1” of play before the fan clutch yields, signals replacement  time.  We may be able to figure out whether this is the original timing chain based on the pictures which are forthcoming. Is the mileage up there where rings and valves needed attention ? Had this been done ? The car has been sitting for 40 some years, so .......................... ? 
 

As noted, the appraiser was accurate given the givens and unknowns. Myself, I would like to put this old Rip Van Winklemobile back on the road. But in my opinion, there is a fairly solid basement value to this particular car. I would agree that $6000, even worse case, at a bare minimum , is fair. Even at this stage , I would pay a bit more. Yes, it would be quite sad if the engine is locked solid. Or if the block(s) are cracked, heads and water pumps likewise. At this point a closed car such as this becomes a parts car. If you can’t drive it, (and put some miles on it), clutch condition is a crap shoot. If you need to rebuild the clutch, time for new bearings in the transmission as long as it is out. Input bearing having lived in ancient lubricants for scores of thousands of miles, will show some wear.  But this is normal operating procedure, and does not stop the show, as we all know. It is the engine which will determine whether this is a win or a loss. 
 

How much of a gamble do I want to take ? As little as reasonably possible. Therefore justifying being able to pay Michelle as much as possible. That being the case , here is my feeling regarding dropping the pan. That operation really should be done by an experienced wrench. You can damage the oil pickup if not very careful, and also you must properly clear the oil level float. If it is deemed advisable, I would be willing to pay the right guy to do this properly. This is a big deal for me. Now certainly while the sump is open for inspection and cleaning, I might as well pay for the bearing inspection. Examination and measuring or plastigaging takes a massive amount of guesswork out of the analysis. And it is so easy to do by someone who has been there before. Good chance Linus Tremaine here on the forums might know a good fork and blade V8 guy within a reasonable distance. Jim Willette down in Lodi might have a recommendation. Money well spent for a REAL diagnosis which is in the end  necessary and non-invasive . At some point , pulling the heads will most likely have to be done, hopefully not during this stage. 
 

ASAP , the plugs should be pulled, and the soak started. State-of-the-art spray penetrant, (PB Blaster ? Kroil ? - what do you guys think ? ) , chase with an ounce or two of ATF, and a follow up a few days later with more spray penetrant. Keep it as simple and easy as possible. Easy for nephew, as will spraying and lubricating the valves. All we are trying to accomplish is a damage-free half a degree of rotation at this point. It may or may not take some time. Hopefully the crank is still in the tool box. If not I can send mine down.

 

These first steps are simple, and not time consuming. If these were normal circumstances, I would just jump in the car and take a trip to Cal. Any excuse, (or none at all), used to justify a road trip South in the Winter for me. But I am not willing to risk a horrible torturous death for hobby pursuits. 
 

So , yes, even at this stage the car is worth more than $6,000 to me. Hopefully it is not “moused” beyond an enzyme cleaning. I see sign , but have no idea whether, or to what degree nesting has taken place. A little poking around should answer that. Yes, I would love to deep clean and appreciate the cars originality over some very slow roads. In an ideal world, I would put the $10-20,000 needed to make this car roadworthy in California, while waiting for safe passage , post crown virus. Then drive the old thing back home, taking scenic backroads all the way. In the wide open spaces out West here, that route can be done. These V63 Cadillacs, (1924 and 1925), are not freeway flyers, and should stay off the Interstates.

 

There are no heroes who can justify restoring closed cars like this. But the open cars, particularly the roadsters, phaetons too, are being restored. Here is the V63 Cadillac roadster under restoration by Harry Nicks in Redlands, CA. It debuted at the 2016 San Marino Classic. The donor parts Car is shown. V63 parts cars are not particularly in demand, but of you need them , they are getting scarce. Mike Barnes up in Vancouver B.C. was interested in possibly purchasing the picked over carcass after Harry had his way with the thing. It was no sale by the owner. They did kindly give Barnes a consolation present of the footrest , identical to the one missing from his touring, but not needed for the roadster. I would REALLY hate to see Michelle’s car end up as a dead donor. It all depends on the engine. Yes, I would pay $6,000 for  the car even if the engine is beyond feasible repair. But it would absolutely break my heart. We welcome any and all help and suggestions from you guys.       Thanks very much on behalf of Michelle and myself.    Thumb tapped out at this point,   -   Carl 

 

 

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Edited by C Carl
Spelling, and syntactic clarification (see edit history)
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I don’t know how I got so blessed to find this group! You guys have helped this naive girl so much! Honestly, I was just looking for advice. I’ve come to realize that if I want the top $$ I can get for it, I need to get that engine to turn (thank you CCarl)

 

We will take photos this weekend!

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6 hours ago, Michelle Wright said:

I don’t know how I got so blessed to find this group! You guys have helped this naive girl so much! Honestly, I was just looking for advice. I’ve come to realize that if I want the top $$ I can get for it, I need to get that engine to turn (thank you CCarl)

 

We will take photos this weekend!


Main thing is that if it doesn’t move freely don’t force it. There are a lot of internal parts that could be frozen and are near unobtainium if they break (don’t ask how I know...). My best advice is if you’re not sure you’re best to leave it (and be very wary of the “friend that knows cars”, there are a number of mechanical oddities with it to be mindful of)

 

The good news is that seems to be more v63 model (what this is) than earlier models, but it probably has the most unique parts of this “generation”  

 

Check under the seats or the boot for the crank handle. 
 

The other thing to check is how well the doors close and if they sag at all

 

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Actually, you have gone about this in an exceptionally careful and thoughtful manner.

The members of this forum may constitute the largest assemblage of folks that actually have hands-on experience with pre-1930 American cars anywhere on earth...and, since we like them, we're more than happy to help someone save one.

 

Would that a fraction of the folks in your position were so careful!

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46 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

Actually, you have gone about this in an exceptionally careful and thoughtful manner.

The members of this forum may constitute the largest assemblage of folks that actually have hands-on experience with pre-1930 American cars anywhere on earth...and, since we like them, we're more than happy to help someone save one.

 

Would that a fraction of the folks in your position were so careful!

 

Agreed.  I said in my first post that finally somebody asked for help and actually provided some information and pictures. 

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I’ve just been doing a lot of research online and there’s not much on this specific car so I was in Google going back a few pages and there was the forum and someone talking about the Cadillac Victoria so I figured you may be able to help answer my appraisal question. I ended up getting so much more!

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On 12/31/2020 at 5:38 AM, alsancle said:

I think it has that "honest" appeal going for it.  Someone should step up.   The early 20s are sandwiched between the popular "brass" era ending in 1915 and the "Classic Era" which started in the late 20s.   These cars fall through the cracks a bit, because they can't participate with the Brass guys and they can't  keep up with the later cars.

 

I for one,  have always liked this body style.

For those interested in the nickel-era Cadillacs, feel free to write this address to join the “Early V8 Cadillac Group”: https://groups.io/g/EarlyV8Cadillac

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It looks to be exceptionally untampered with. Those little collars on the ends of the spark plug wires are original - they should have a number on each and they are nearly always missing. The hose clamps are also the original type. I'd guess from the wear on the pedals that that the mileage is about right. I'm certain the wires have been replaced, probably several times but a long time ago and done by someone who knew what they were doing.

 

Incidentally, I mentioned this thread to my cousin today. He's a fellow old car enthusiast and told me where there were 3 similar Cadillacs in a barn not 5 miles from his house, one of which is a Victoria...so they are out there undiscovered as yet although I think yours is particularly good.

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I agree on the mileage, based on the pedal wear and engine. The foot rest is another sign which isn’t showing much wear (my car was in a car dealership as a display so has pedal wear but low mileage)


As others have said it looks very original (e.g the piece of metal that covers the distributor which is held down by the bent wire), the wrap on the exhaust etc

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Car looks nice and solid. Also a plus no one has messed with it...........a big plus. Over the years I have studied pedal wear on Pierce Arrow cars.........and learned an interesting lesson. A car that had 60,000 miles on it and looked like it was correct..........when we looked in the glove box we found a notebook that the actual mileage was 260,000     So while pedal wear is a indicator..........it’s not any type of guarantee.

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27 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Car looks nice and solid. Also a plus no one has messed with it...........a big plus. Over the years I have studied pedal wear on Pierce Arrow cars.........and learned an interesting lesson. A car that had 60,000 miles on it and looked like it was correct..........when we looked in the glove box we found a notebook that the actual mileage was 260,000     So while pedal wear is a indicator..........it’s not any type of guarantee.


Agree, my car had sat as a static display so was well worn but internally still had original rings in it

 

 

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Highly unusual wear pattern on the brake and clutch pedals. Overall does corroborate approx 80,000 shown on the odometer, though. Pretty hard to tell what the exhaust manifolds indicate. If they could be cleaned off and pics taken again, probably good evidence there. Next step is the super easy timing chain slack test. Just have to go for the low hanging fruit here. If one of these engines needs an overhaul on such a car, well, you know, that is basically a kiss of death.

 

Too busy to write much now , but I think I will email Michelle the topic up in General regarding freeing stuck engines, (this one being subject only to speculation at this point), and give her a quick call.     -    Carl

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 Being in love with this ol’ thing, I am thrilled to report that Michelle’s sister has made an astonishingly comprehensive proposal to me , which is an offer I can not refuse. Covers concerns and risk vulnerability on behalf of buyer and seller. 
 

I will report back here when I can, but am overloaded until at least the weekend. Further imposition on Michelle and her family regarding diagnostics will be limited to just a few more pictures, (high res of all 4 wheels, the top , -which has at least a rip in it-, and exhaust manifolds after being well cleaned off), and the hyper-simple timing chain test. HOWEVER, I need all the help possible to find a suitable shop/mechanic/AACA, or CLC member local to them. No shortcuts  will be needed, and as I posted somewhere above, the real way to do things properly is to pull the heads. Cylinder wall condition, taper, may indicate thumbs up or down at this point. If indications are favorable , pull and check the radiator, remove , (and replace if necessary), the timing chain , thereby decoupling valve train for initial turning of the engine. The long dormant water pumps must be pulled also , all of which work will not be wasted for either best case or worst case scenario. If everything is “go” at this point, that is when to determine bearing condition. So I need as much local talent as I can find.           ANY LEADS, PLEASE  ? 
 

 

On 1/2/2021 at 5:28 PM, 95Cardinal said:

Carl was GREAT help when I acquired my V63 Coupe in 2019!

 

Thanks for the compliment, Joe. I think you do more for me than I for you every time we talk !  Have you made progress regarding overheating ? Ross Walkup in Florida has some water pump fixes you and other V63 owners should be aware of. If you would like, give me a call on the weekend when I may have a little spare time.

 

To be continued. I will check back for comments and any possible leads for help, but might not be able to respond for a few days.      Thank you all,    -    Carl 

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I attached a couple pics of the 24 coupe I sold about 3 years ago. Same car & passenger configuration as Michelle's. There seems to be some confusion. Technically, Cadillac called this is a "Coup for Four Passengers" with the storage console on the side of the rear seat behind the driver. Cadillac made the same car with full length back seat as "Coup for Five Passengers". Both cars were often advertised as "Cadillac Victoria" or Victoria Coup (for 4 or for 5). Even without the side console it is a bit cramped for legroom fro 2 let alone 3 adults. The Victorias were built on the standard 132" WB with the door hinged at the cowl and straight windshield. Cadillac made another similar looking "Custom Coup for Five" on the 138" WB, slanted windshield and suicide doors. The longer length is made up in wider doors and quarter section and more rear legroom, and I think the same short rear deck. My car was a good usable car with with an old repaint (20 footer) with average or better nickel & interior redone several years before I purchased the car.  I sold my car for $18,000 three or 4 years ago when prices were better than they are today. I think $20,000 maybe $22,500 might be tops today for a real good cond. 1 car.  

 

My opinion of Michelle's car: It appears that the interior is now or at one time inhabited by little critters. They obviously lived behind the mouse hole  chewed in the upholstery on the back wall above the side console. Headliner is hanging lose so mice probably got up there too.  The seats may be salvageable but I would want to replace all the side & back & ceiling broadcloth and perhaps door panels to get rid of the mouse stains & stink and make it all match. I can't do interiors so upholstery is usually my biggest expense. My other major concern is the rusty bumpers appear to indicate that the car spent a lot of time in the weather or in a cold damp barn with lots of (Colorado) condensation. That would indicate internal engine condensation and likely rusty, stuck cylinders. How bad,,,Who knows, but I can rebuild engines. I suspect there are mice in the carb & manifold too.  I have a concern having someone spend a day to remove the heads & pumps & pans for inspection. They are liable to break off studs & bolts. I'd rather buy the car as is and get it to my garage where I can spend several days or weeks squirting WD40 on the bolts & add heat to crack them lose. I think it is a given that the pumps will need rebuilding and the cylinders will need (at minimum) honed with new rings or perhaps machined out with new oversized pistons.  

 

I'm surprised that the appraisals were reasonable. I'd say no hair no flair, Carl. I suggest you offer the 6 grand as is and go get the car before someone like me talks myself in to beating you to the punch. I think at $6,000 you have 10-12,000 to play with before you get under water and I think you can rebuild the engine yourself (if you are capable), buy a new set of tires and still have enough left over to fix upholstery.

 

 

24 cadillac coup-side.jpg

24 cadillac coup-rear.jpg

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