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Is a cosmetically restored 1950 76-R worth $18,500?


Pete Phillips
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I just stumbled upon the 1950 76-R that I owned and restored about 10 years ago. It is in Oklahoma City. I have a couple years of my life invested in that car, and sold it in a weak moment after it left me stranded on the side of the road twice due to bad vapor lock. I found it in Lubbock, Texas with about 80,000 actual miles. The engine and transmission never needed anything, but the car was apart and in primer. I replaced one rear quarter panel, got the front seat reupholstered with correct green leather and cloth, rebuilt the hydro-electric system for the power windows & seats, got all of the chrome replated, put new tires on it, went through the brakes and the fuel system, got it repainted in correct 1950 colors, and then sold it in a weak moment. It's hard to say what I got for it, as it was part of a two-car deal--$25,000 for it and for a running, driving, 1927 Buick country club coupe (small series).

I just this evening found the '50 with a new owner in OKC, and verified that it was my old car.  He says it has been sitting and the gas in the tank has turned to varnish--he is going to get it running and wants $18,500 for it. My feeling is that it is probably worth that. It was a solid car to begin with, just had a rusty left rear quarter panel--everything else was solid. I really liked the car and regretted selling it after a few months, but I could never solve the vapor lock problem. I should have installed an electric fuel pump, which might have helped. 

My question to the group is, is this car worth $18,500 now? I have one photo from the current owner. Looks to be in the same condition as when I sold it. I need another old car like I need a hole in my head, but this one I know from front to back, and I have much time and effort invested in it. It's a fairly rare model, being a two-door hardtop Roadmaster. I got to where I was afraid to drive it any distance at all due to the bad vapor lock problem.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Leonard, Texas

1950 76-R.jpeg

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It sounds like you know the car the best and the answer Pete, and if you think there is value, I would definitely agree with you, although if its been sitting since you sold it, there likely will be other things to get working.  
 

Why don’t you offer the guy $16K or $17k and you deal with the old gas issue. You can install an electric fuel pump and inspect the rest of the fuel system to try and sort out the vapor lock issue while you’re at it.   Good luck!

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The "vapor lock " is not the cars problem. It is the GAS . But you know that. If you buy it back and want to drive , bite the Bullitt  and do what I did. All reversible.  There are alternators that look like generators.  Even a TB that looks like a carb and the air cleaner can be used. 

 

 Good luck.

 

  Ben

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The passenger window is not all the way up.  If the car has been sitting for a while that means weather has most likely gotten into the interior...there goes the upholstery you put in (and maybe floor pan, too).  I also notice car ramps to the side for what reason.  What maintenance if the car has been sitting long enough for gas to turn to varnish.  Pete, don't let emotions take over logic....your know better...just saying...

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22 hours ago, drhach said:

Also, it looks like it may now be owned by a family of vampires. Bring garlic and a wooden stake. 

Also, a chunk of meatloaf, along with a photo of the actor Lloyd Bridges.

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I understand both emotions and history, related to cars.  One reason I tend to have more cars than I really need is that I heard several friends say "I should never have sold that car" over they years.  It still looks pretty decent in the picture.   I concur with starting in the $16K range and bargaining from there, to see what might happen.

 

The other side issue is that you have the capabilities to fix whatever it might need to have done to it.  Bargain well!

 

NTX5467

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1950 is an iconic year and the Roadmaster hardtop is really rare. If it is a good car, which you already know, and you solve the vapor lock issue you could sell it every day, especially with your reputation in the Buick community. Where is the risk? Maybe it takes another ten years before it is available again. Isn't this hobby only about emotions? I would already have bought it. Only thing that would worry me is ice cream on the interior and paint scratches by the cute little kids.... Sure 16 sounds better than 18.5, but every seller is ready to go down a little. Does he know you did the work?

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In general, there can be some reality issues involved, mainly related to possible deterioration since the restoration, etc.  Plus why the current owner might be desiring to sell it?  Did they do something to "ruin it" get them, for example?

 

In any event, better get to LBB to see if things are how you left them.  Don't show up with the trailer, but have one of your employees poised with it a few blocks away just in case you do the deal.  Don't want to appear "too anxious" to the seller, fwiw.

 

Proceed at your own risk, however small that might be,

NTX5467

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As a guide,  I found a Old Cars price guide from 2020 with the following prices. 

#6 = $1,720,  #5 = $5,160   #4 = $8,600   #3 = $19,350    #2 = $30,100    #1 = $43,000

The price guide says a #4 is a driveable car needing no or only minor work to be functional.

#3 = Completely operable original of older restoration showing wear

If it is a #3 then his price is close...... but he is obviously high if it is a #4 

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On 11/17/2021 at 8:56 AM, Barney Eaton said:

If it is a #3 then his price is close...... but he is obviously high if it is a #4

 

That's the question.  Is it a '3.2' or a '3.7'...?  Only way to know is to look at it (or at least some detailed photographs).  ;)

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The missing seat apron is behind the front seat, but it is cracked and the plastic has not held up well. Owner is going to get the car running again before he sells it He intends to have it running and driving this month. Seems like a nice guy but is firm on his price. 

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Sometimes, "waving Bens" can make the seller go in another direction, from the experiences of some other car friends.

 

Car still looks good, but is the selling price for "running, functional car" or "as it sits"?  Did the seller mention "lots of interest" or otherwise?

 

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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53 minutes ago, NTX5467 said:

Sometimes, "waving Bens" can make the seller go in another direction

My first good laugh today. Reminds me of a guy who came by earlier this year and I swear he rehearsed the lines from his favorite TV reality car show all the way to my house.

 

We both waved that day.

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There is an extra button on the upper dashboard left of the steering wheel. For what is that for? 

With good paint, chrome, interior and if it is running, that is not a bad price. But you need to like green. 😁

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"There is an extra button on the upper dashboard left of the steering wheel. For what is that for? "

Hans, I do not recall what that button is for and cannot remember if it was on the car when I sold it. Looks like it is probably a starter button. A lot of people don't like the accelerator pedal start and convert them to buttons.

Pete Phillips

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Just now, Pete Phillips said:

"There is an extra button on the upper dashboard left of the steering wheel. For what is that for? "

Hans, I do not recall what that button is for and cannot remember if it was on the car when I sold it. Looks like it is probably a starter button. A lot of people don't like the accelerator pedal start and convert them to buttons.

Pete Phillips

Pete,

Living in an area of hot, dry, heat I had starting issues with my 1950 56S Jetback. The accelerator start-up always performed as it should for initial start and warm up. The issue was re starting a hot engine and I can see you have endured the same frustration.

 

My solution was to buy a heavy duty starter switch and bolt it to an existing underdash hole ( no drilling necessary ) and run two jockey wires from the starter switch to the control unit on the carb ( leaving existing cables on as well ).

 

I still do my initial start and warm up using the original accelerator start as chokes and warm up cams are still set up to operate normally.

 

BUT during hot weather ( or in fact most times ) all further engine starts ( when motor warm ) are simply done with the starter button and KEEPING MY FOOT OFF THE ACCELERATOR. All you need for this minor adaption is a starter switch and 2 short lengths of electrical wiring. I'll try and post some photos if you are further interested 

 

And buy that great 76R back - they aren't building anymore you know!!

 

  

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13 hours ago, 50jetback said:

Pete, you purchased this yet?

 

Why don't you ring the owner and negotiate an " as is " condition sale., That has to be worth some dollars to him not to have the hassle of getting her running.  

Not yet. I did make an offer to him to take it as-is, not running, for $16K but he turned me down.

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