April 25th, 2011
1970 Plymouth Cuda AAR for sale 44,000 actual miles in Michigan
Stock original number’s matching J code 340 6 pack motor. Stock original A833 numbers matching 4- speed trans with pistol grip. Original Trans Am fender tags, original build sheet. High end repaint in correct code EF8 Ivy Green Metallic. Metallic flow-out is excellent panel by panel. No evidence of tape lines, run, or overspray. Excellent reflective quality where bold print can be read in reflection from 24” away. Correct style matte finish on top of hood, fenders, spoiler, and doors. OEM replacement AAR decal kit. Amazing example of an un-hit, factory survivor original body. Factory spot welds are visible all along lips of door skins where wrapping shell, all along quarter panel seams and door jams, wheel lips, pinch welds, and the like. No replacement sheet metal and no repair panels evident. Digital paint gauge readings were recorded during this report. No evidence of heavy filler content noted anywhere in vehicle. 95% of body has very good magnetic adhesion. Exterior body is super clean and straight, straighter than production period. Doors open and close nicely, with no notable sag. Hinge pins are original. Sill plates appear to be original units, and show no signs of heavy scuffing due to sagging doors. Original fiberglass hood is in excellent condition, due to its straightness and flatness. (note that most fiberglass hoods inspected have a bow in the center created by hood spring tension). This car has never had hood springs installed (although they are included with car). Impressive interior equally well survived in every way, showing practically no casual wear, well supportive of the miles showing. The exceptions are heat cracks in vinyl dash pad, which was ordered to replace, but never installed, and the hidden aftermarket CD player in the glove box, wired to the aftermarket 6×10 speakers mounted in the rear package tray. Steering wheel, dash components, seats, carpets, headliner and door panels are all in excellent condition. Excellent trunk with solid original pan. Spare, jack, mat are present. Underhood area is detailed to showable quality, solid in every way. Factory matched core support stamp, all decals, and stock ignition set up. Except for intake, underhood is bone stock original. Underbody is very solid. No torn dye holes, no crooked rails, all original ribs in floor panels are easily seen. No patches or decay. Original plugs still mounted in lower ¼ panel splashes. This is what garage kept low miles original really looks like. Recent carb work adds to how well it runs. It starts and idles as it should. The clutch feels strong and the brakes stop nice and straight. It’s a lot of fun to drive. We have a full 5 page written report that outlines every detail about the car, as well as nearly 200 pictures. A YouTube test drive video will soon be available to view the car running and driving. We are asking $78,500, and no partial trades are being considered unless you have a late model, very low miles Corvette. Reply to email@example.com or link to our website at http://www.autoappraise.com . 810-691-2664. Thanks
UPDATE: Thanks for looking, we have sold this client’s car.
November 30th, 2010
In this article, Auto Appraiser Jason Phillips breaks down the 1-6 “condition numbers” that often get assigned to determine a vehicle’s worth, and the general weakness of this approach in a real attempt to place a proper value.
The first question one should ask would be…”is the car untouched and all original”? From my past experience, it’s very rare when a buyer runs across this situation. This is the easiest situation to assign a single number to a car with equally aged components. Seller’s often unknowingly represent their cars this way, when in fact they have been partially or fully repainted, or modified in some amount they consider not worthy of mentioning. Sometimes, they’re not even aware of previous changes, due to purchasing the car in that condition. Other times alterations are “bolt-ons”, absent the original parts accompanying in the trunk. Sometimes a beautiful exterior re-paint has left the door/trunk jambs in single stage, unattended condition. Sometimes those new base/clear repaints get reacquainted with their old; patina soaked or pitted original bright work. One thing is for certain; other than an untouched, unaltered “barn find”, it’s very difficult to describe most cars with only ONE NUMBER!
After 21 years in the hobby/ workforce, I consider myself a veteran auto appraiser. Appraising and training others to appraise is my full time career. I say this not to establish bragging rights, (though my mother is very proud) but to help establish a foundation of where my opinion comes from. I’ve had the honor of creating an education from inspecting over 6,000 vehicles. Of those, I can count on two hands (O.K., maybe three) the number of actual untouched original vehicles viewed. While a multitude of these appraised cars were close to “bone stock originals” improved upon minimally, the vast majority had at least one exterior repaint, re-covered seats, replacement carpets coupled with some interior paint freshening and re-plated bumpers. The rest fell somewhere between frame up and frame off restored, excluding the “street rods” and “resto-mods”. On cars such as these, it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to assign just one narrow, categorized number for valuing! To further complicate matters, consider the following; of those touting “frame off” restored, the quality of workmanship varied between that “at home” amateur father and son first project look, all the way up to “House of Kolors” over-restored dialed in to the max beauty look!
If my past experience as an auto appraiser has taught me anything, it really all comes down to this: most cars have a “split personality” regarding value. That is to say varying levels of new and aged improvements made on various components, and the quality level at which said improvements were tastefully executed plays a huge role in determining value. Ill-fitting poorly made Chinese reproduction parts are no substitute for true OEM components and or nicely restored original pieces. Stop signs and home heating duct do a sufficient job of patching holes in a trunk pan, but are not equal to a replacement trunk pan that’s been properly installed. New seat covers and carpet DO NOT equal a restored interior. Neither does spray canned black control arms and coil springs with new yellow shocks installed inside them equate to a rebuilt suspension. And NO, roofing tar does not make a sufficient frame repair, regardless of how smooth you may get it to look over the rust holes!
In summary, breaking down the car by each major section and assigning a number or grade is the way I come to a logical conclusion on placing value. Having a solid basis of knowledge on restoration costs, OEM parts expertise vs. aftermarket parts and their associated value, as well as a good eye for quality workmanship are the key factors you should apply when assessing values on your own. Just for grins, Try numbering your own classic car by section and see what you discover. If you end up with mostly #1’s and #2’s, well then……ask your best car buddy to do it for you again, JUST to be sure you’re not missing the mark or showing any subjective favoritism!
July 19th, 2010
It’s hard to believe, even as a certified auto appraiser that the brake rotors on my 1993 class A Winnebago reached over 450 degrees Fahrenheit on my families recent trip out to Yellowstone…but they did! Note the photo below of the digital temp gauge reading on the front rotor. It makes one wonder, at WHAT point does wheel bearing grease boil out of the bearings?
July 1st, 2010
As an automotive writer, sometimes I just get stuck for ideas…blank screen. In my 20 year career as a classic car appraiser, I’ve constantly seen a lot of spectacular cars, many I would write about, if I could just get passed the idea that I’m droning on about it in a boring way. I’m not that interested in writing about a car’s production history, although sometimes you’ll catch me doing this. History on cars can be read practically anywhere one looks. History can also be boring. I mean, how many of us actually paid attention in high school history class anyway? Old production history doesn’t tell you much about the classic car parked in front of you either. As an auto appraiser, it’s my goal to bring to the table some of the interesting things that I discover during an intense auto inspection. Yes, I DID say intense! For example, I often see the same style repairs on “first gen” Camaro quarter panels. Most body shop technicians I speak to like to do “lay overs”, instead of full quarter panel replacements. There are pros and cons to this method, (mostly cons in my opinion) many I will discuss in an upcoming article. These are things I feel have not been discussed or brought to light that are far more interesting than how many Camaro’s were actually produced. When you’re attempting to purchase a car long distance, these are things that are hard to discover about the car and weigh out before you commit to the process. It is my goal as a writer to bring up issues such as these and shed a little light on the subject. If you have any thoughts or ideas that you wish to share or items you wish to see written about, feel free to forward them to us at http://www.autoappraise.com. Entitle them, questions for auto appraiser Jason Phillips, or sign up to our blog as a contributor.
June 15th, 2010
In the previous article, auto appraiser Jason Phillips noted that once you confirm power at the jamb button switches and their functionality is correct, it’s time to move to the rear. In the subject car, a 1979 Pontiac trans Am, we opened the trunk, and look to the driver’s side wheelhouse. Just beyond it and above, is the wiring harness to the taillights. It’s in this same location on many GM 70’s cars. The dome light plugs in here. It’s a two white wire connector, black end. Unplug and test. Ground one side of your tester. You should have 12 volts on one side, doors closed. when a door is opened, you should have power on both leads. If it tests out, then check the continuity to the dome light itself. With the bulb in, it should have continuity. Obviously, you have made sure that your bulbs are all good first! Always Always address the cheap and easy first, right? That’s it. That’s the whole circuit. In our particular case, we purchased an aftermarket plastichrome plated housing and harness from NPD Parts Warehouse, and it was poorly made. The chrome coating was grounding out against the steel posts in the roof of the car that the housing slides up onto. Our headliner began to smoke when we put in our light bulb! Thank GOD for quick ground disconnect switches!
June 13th, 2010
In your older GM car, are your courtesy lights stuck on? auto appraiser Jason Phillips notes that most GM button switches located in the door jambs, used to break ground to the circuit operate the same way. The switches are threaded into the cowl jamb post, and are spring loaded. Often, the left switch is a two wire, one side to the courtesy lights, and one to the ignition buzzer. Both are supposed to be hot leads, so do not be confused, thinking that pushing in the switch will cut power to the other side of that switch. Most switches on the passenger side are only a one wire connection. You can un-screw the switch and pull the wire spade connector right through the hole on either side. You don’t normally need to remove the kick panel to remove the switch. Pull them out, un-plug them and test switch for continuity. Use an electric wire wheel to clean them up while their out, freeing them of decay and possibly old repaint build up. Where the wire spade connectors are now hanging out of the holes: if you have 12 volts at all three spades, and both switches check out for continuity by breaking the circuit when they are pushed in, then you should rule out those items as the source of stuck on or off dome light problem. The follow up diagnosis is posted later in this blog.
June 11th, 2010
Cars built on the A platform include:
* 1960-1976 Plymouth Valiant
* 1963-1976 Dodge Dart
* 1967 Dart GT
* 1968-1969 Dart GTS (my favorite)
* 1964-1969 Plymouth Barracuda
* 1971-1976 Plymouth Scamp
* 1970-1976 Plymouth Duster
* 1961-1962 Dodge Lancer
* 1971-1972 Dodge Demon
* 1971-1981 Valiant Charger (Australia Only)
Cars built on the rear wheel drive B platform include:
* 1962 Dodge Dart
* 1962-1964 Dodge Polara
* 1962-1964 Plymouth Fury
* 1962-1964 Plymouth Savoy
* 1962-1970 Plymouth Belvedere
* 1963-1964 Dodge 220 (Canadian)
* 1963-1964 Dodge 330
* 1963-1964 Dodge 440
* 1965-1974 Plymouth Satellite
* 1965-1976 Dodge Coronet
* 1966-1978 Dodge Charger
* 1967-1971 Plymouth GTX
* 1968-1975 Plymouth Road Runner
* 1975-1978 Plymouth Fury
* 1975-1979 Chrysler Cordoba
* 1977-1978 Dodge Monaco
* 1978-1979 Dodge Magnum
* 1979 Chrysler 300
Chrysler built on the E-body platform for two separate car ranges.
* 1970-1974 Dodge Challenger
* 1970-1974 Plymouth Barracuda
Cars built on the C platform include:
* 1965-1974 Plymouth Fury
* 1965 Dodge Custom 880
* 1965 Chrysler 300L
* 1965-1971 Chrysler 300
* 1965-1973 Dodge Polara
* 1965-1976 Dodge Monaco
* 1965-1977 Chrysler Town and Country station wagon
* 1965-1978 Chrysler Newport
* 1965-1966 Chrysler Windsor (Canada only)
* 1966-1969 Plymouth VIP
* 1974-1975 Imperial
* 1975-1977 Plymouth Gran Fury
* Chrysler New Yorker
June 9th, 2010
During an auto appraisal, Jason Phillips took the pictures of a wonderful 1961 Oldsmobile Super 88 Convertible that you’re seeing below. It’s difficult to argue that there was a more beautifully designed bumper on a 60’s era car. It’s design intentionally flowed into the bold feature lines and drastic angles of the car. “You can see this car coming from a mile away”. No other GM car reigns so distinctive. This is one solid survivor convertible. It had been tastefully upgraded with a 1962 Starfire bucket seat OEM color matched interior. It features a stock factory tachometer built into the Starfire console. I have yet to look at the Oldsmobile production numbers, but I know they’re fairly low.
June 1st, 2010
auto appraiser Jason Phillips was pleasantly surprised when he was hired by the insured to represent his total loss case on a burned 1969 Camaro, opposite State Farm. “Our numbers didn’t come in that far off the number that State Farm came up with on their own”. State Farm normally requires a third party “umpire” be chosen in advance of the two enlisted appraisers coming up with their respective values. In this case, they were willing to wait, to see what Auto Appraises’ car appraisal value was. They were originally offering about $15,000 to settle the case. We came in at just over $18,500. Our figure was well supported, with multiple comparable cars listed for sale.
Any legitimate insurance company appreciates thorough research, something they don’t always have the time or resources to effectively process in house. They opted in this case to settle with their insured, at our figure, and save him the expense of having to hire (and pay 1/2 the fee) of a third party umpire to come in and rule on the case. I felt this was an extraordinary example of where an insurance company is attempting to do the right thing. People often become tainted in this process, because of stories told about unfair settlements and the like. Well in the 20 years since I’ve been in the auto appraisal
business, this was a rare but pleasant first! I was very glad to see it happen. The insured is ecstatic as well. I felt it was appropriate to share this story, considering my involvement. Hats off to State Farm, setting a new precedent in customer satisfaction.
May 24th, 2010
Helpful rules to follow from expert auto appraiser Jason Phillips:
#1. Educate yourself on pressure selling tactics, so you are less likely to become a victim of them. Google (car sales pressure tactics by Jason Phillips)
#2. Don’t act like an expert. You practice buying a car once every few years….they practice selling a car 5 times a day! Your skill set is way outweighed!
#3. Don’t rely on your “expert” just because he’s a guy. Lots of guys pretend to know about cars that really don’t.
#4. Utilize seller provided photos to introduce yourself to a car, but never rely on these photos to be telling the whole story. It’s like marrying the woman based on the photo she posted on match.com!
#5. Look at book values, but use only as a guideline. Even weekly publications like NADA can be off by thousands of dollars, and often NOT in your favor.
#6. Due diligence! Get to know asking prices on the car(s) you are following. Use mileage and option packages to adjust accordingly.
#7. Be open to more than one car, one color, etc…..the wider your sights, the less pressure on you, the better the deals you’ll usually get.
#8. Use a title branding service like carfax, to look at reported vehicle history. Don’t be naive enough to rely solely on this, as LOTS of stuff goes unreported. Buyback guarantees offered by services similar to this are usually impossible to collect on.
#9. Once you’ve narrowed your search, and negotiated your best deal, have a full blown professional inspection done. It will be the best piece of mind your money can buy. It’s a lot cheaper than a plane ticket, rental car and a missed day of work! Go to www.autoappraise.com to arrange for your inspection, or call them at 800-301-3886. The best in the business at protecting YOUR interests!