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What's my car worth?

From: Adam
Email: eyemachina@hotmail.com
Remote Name: 66.188.152.214
Date: December 09, 2003

Comments

Lately I've been thinking about selling my '55 New Yorker 4-door. I bought it at the end of March '03 for $3000, $400 of which was for the brand-new chrome smoothies and tires (supposedly the wheels alone had cost $400, otherwise I could've gotten the car for $2600 on the original wheels and flat tires and trailered it, instead I drove it away on the new ones). I've put almost 3,000 miles on it since then because I've been using it mostly as a daily driver. Right now it's in mechanically great shape, the only things wrong with it are the transmission leaks (operates fine, and I have a rebuild kit), it uses about half a quart of oil every 100 miles (I believe the oil pan gasket has a slight leak), and it doesn't like to start in this freezing weather when it's warmed up (it starts PERFECTLY in the mornings, I think this is some kind of carb tuning thing I need to figure out). The original fuel pump quit working about 1,000 miles ago and I haven't bothered trying to fix it, I just got an electric pump. It's got 98,500 miles, all but about the last 5,000 were driven in South Dakota. I've done tons of work on it. New generator and brushes, new voltage regulator/battery, some new wiring, rebuilt front brakes (previous owner had the booster/MC rebuilt at great expense), rebuilt the carb, added the electric fuel pump, and some other misc. stuff like a new defroster motor. Now the bad part. The hidden areas of the car have some rust-through. I spent days grinding out all the rust and bondo, after tearing up the original, moldy carpet and insulation. The floor and rockers are actually not that bad, and I could probably fix them myself. The exterior part of the rockers that the stainless moulding bolts to are in pretty good shape, just a few pinholes in otherwise very solid metal (I used an angle grinder with a wire cup brush for all this). The inside part of the rockers is mostly gone, but that's just flat metal and a very easy fix. There's a few fairly small holes in the floor, about an inch-size hole in the right-front sill plate seam, 2-inch hole over the right-rear body support (the mount is fine), and some pinholes at the left-front sillplate seam. The area around the floor access panel on the driver's floor was rusty as hell, but still fixable. I ground off ALL the rust on the floors, cleaned it thoroughly, and painted it with Corroless. The outside rockers and rear quarters which were buried in Bondo I ground down to bare metal and painted with generic rust-preventative primer and white paint (it doesn't match but it doesn't look as bad as red-primer-on-white). The rear quarters might need replacing, as all the rust is in the wheelwell lip and would be hard to duplicate without a lot of bondo. What worries me is that doing all this rust maintenance and not finishing it lowered the value of the car. The damage was already all there, just hidden by bondo (I knew it was bondo'd since I could see the telltale "rust veins" coming through the paint). The car is just as sound as when I bought it, but now it doesn't look as deceptively nice. It needs new paint (I think it has some cheapy job applied in the 80's, it's getting kind of dull) and bodywork and the interior redone (it's all there except the carpet and the vinyl is in perfect condition). I know the car was worth more than what I paid for it, but it just doesn't LOOK like it now. I'd like to get at LEAST what I originally paid for it, but I'm not sure if I can. My plan was originally to just drive it as-is until spring and then do the bodywork myself, but I'm not confident that I can since I don't have access to a MIG welder (I already tried my cheap arc welder on sheetmetal, nooo way will it work). So, might I be able to sell it without taking a loss?

 

Last changed: May 04, 2010