While reviewing the 2016 Auction Results recently we came across at least two instances where the Seller could not be very pleased with the results.  

So, we ask the question: "When beginning a major restoration project, what is your objective?"  

A.  Is your objective to produce a classic vehicle that fulfills your personal wants and needs in terms of authenticity, performance, appearance, customized personalization? 

B.  Or, is your objective produce a vehicle that is authentic with factory-new performance and appearance and ready for the next "Caretaker/Owner"?  

If your answer tells us you want the restoration to be what you want, and money is no object - have at it.  But, if you want earn a profit on your work with an authentic, clean and well-performing classic vehicle, do keep in mind who you will sell your project to when finished.

To that end, we found two examples from the 2016 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction that had us scratching our heads.  Just what were the former owners thinking when the embarked on their restoration process?  The details and descriptions are exactly as stated in the B-J online auction catalog for both vehicles including the restoration investment made,. 

Example 1:

Lot #1016   1953 FORD F-100 CUSTOM PICKUP

Auction:  Scottsdale 2016

Reserve:  NO RESERVE
Status: Sold
Price*: $58,300.00   *Includes Buyer Commission
Year:  1953
Make:  FORD
Model:  F-100
Exterior Color: PINK  (G: was this supposed to be for a Charity Event?)
Interior Color: GRAY
Cylinders: 8
Engine Size: 302
Transmission: AUTOMATIC

This 1953 Ford F-100 Pickup was pre-built with frame off. It is powered by a Mustang 5.0-liter HO Mustang V8 and C4 automatic transmission. Features Mustang independent front suspension, lowered 2", power front disc brakes, frame stripped and boxed, chrome 1956 F-100 grille, heavy-duty radiator/cooling and American Torq Thrust wheels with radial wide whitewall tires. 

Bed has oak with stainless strips, one-piece door windows, custom roll pans front and rear, shaved drip rails, door handles and all emblems. Running boards are smoothies, PPG paint, tilt steering wheel, power windows, power steering and cruise control, Vintage Air, AM/FM/CD, bucket seats with console, remote doors, nostalgic car shifter and 6-gauge dash. This truck runs and drives excellent. $84,000 in build receipts included.   (a $25,700 loss?)

Also included are photos of truck being built.

And it gets worse....

Example 2.


Auction:  Scottsdale 2016

Reserve:  NO RESERVE
Status:     Sold
Price*:    $67,100.00    *Includes Buyer Commission
Year:       1963
Make:     FORD
Style:      CUSTOM WAGON
Details:    VIN-3G76X168151
Exterior Color:  METALLIC BEIGE
Interior Color:   TAN
Cylinders:   8
Engine Size: 390
Transmission:  4-SPEED AUTOMATIC

Sensational 1963 Ford Country Squire Custom Station Wagon built by Speedware Motorsports in Bellevue, WA. This complete custom was crafted with the intention of being an absolute showstopper. Show-quality paint in dazzling Brownstone Metallic (heavy on the metallic). This Country Squire wagon features a one-off airbrushed wood-grain paint scheme that is uncanny in its imitation to the real thing. Under the hood resides a pro-built 390ci V8 with an updated automatic transmission. 

Also featured is power steering, power brakes and an oversized aluminum radiator to keep things properly cooled. The Squire sits on custom-fit, polished Budnik split-spoke wheels and a front and rear Air Ride Technologies air suspension that allows for the proper slammed car-show stance. Inside, the "Woody" paint scheme is masterfully fulfilled to conclusion with a hand-painted wood-grained dash and steering column. Hand-fitted suede and ostrich upholstery envelops the interior and a high-quality/high-power audio system keeps the show-car theme blasting at full steam.  

Over $200,000 invested in this high-quality build.  (a $132,900 loss???) 

In both instances, we have no issue with the quality and results of the respective restorations.  Having a special place for '63 Ford Galaxie Station Wagons, the craftsmanship of the work brings back many memories of learning to drive in a '63 Galaxie Custom Wagon too.

And we understand and appreciate the excitement and energy a "Caretaker" of a classic vehicle experiences - that's what makes the hobby as successful as it has been. We also have seen many of the reality TV programs where classics are heavily customized to meet the specific wants and needs of the classic's owner.  But finding the next "Caretaker" is rarely discussed, and that's where we think some restoration errors are found.

If your plan is to restore a classic for your own wants & needs, as we said earlier - have at it.  

For the rest of us, undertaking an expensive restoration should be guided by a plan and a budget to answer the question - "Who & what's next."  And by all means, fully document your restoration with receipts, photographs and notes detailing the project.  Make Garagistry part of your documentation preservation process too! You will then help the next "Caretaker/Owner" appreciate the true value you are providing with the vehicle.

Counterpoint - What's Really Going on Here? 
Was the Bidder Also the Seller?
Based on the selling prices alone, the seller was scalped and the buyers got over $200K worth of cars, parts and labor for less than 50¢ on the dollar. But as many details remain unavailable, there is no way to fully understand the outcome.

Available details reflect sellers and/or their agents are sometimes legally allowed to bid on their own cars. The auction's combined premium is 25% of the hammer price (10% for on-site buyers and 15% for on-site sellers). It's not hard to calculate the premiums equal far less than the loss...of course if that was possible.

But that cannot be assumed. We've spoken with people who have large Collections and regularly buy and sell some of them at auction. 

"I probably lost $300K selling the cars I brought. But based on what I paid for a few others, I may have broken even."

Too Personalized?
Let's just honest. There are not a lot of people who want pink pick-up trucks or $200K Station Wagons. By over-personalizing a Classic with an unlimited budget, owners run the risk of losing their shirts. Auction or not. This is exactly why we recommend thinking ahead before starting a major restoration or customized build.

No Documentation and No Buyer Access 
There were a few details reflecting there may have been some documentation of the efforts that went into these two Classics. But if these records are neither complete, highly publicized nor readily available to buyers, it almost always affects the final selling price.

Regardless if your restoration budget is $500 or $50,000, documenting every know fact about a Classic is the only proven way to have these details used to set the quality and value of any car. We continue to recommend using Garagistry as the preferred method to organize and manage everything about your Classic.

As Esso/Exxon once said - Happy Motoring.....

The Garagistry Team