When "Restored" Doesn't Make Sense

Aftermath of the 2018 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction  
Is Enough, Enough?

After deleting the boats, motorcycles, scooters, golf carts and trailers from the initial data file, we were left with a total of 1,703 vehicles which crossed the B-J 2018 block - although for now we kept the fire trucks, military vehicles and an armored personnel carrier.  A total of 20 vehicles (mainly from the special Salon Collection) did not meet Reserve, so we eliminate them from most analysis as well.  We also debated what we should do with the “Charity” vehicles, as they are a unique breed – but for now they are in the overall analysis.  

One element of interest that jumped out had to do with “restored” vehicles.  A total of 549 vehicles had the specific words “restored” or “restoration” in their description.  A total of 1142 did not make such a reference, so basically 1/3 of the vehicles in the 2018 B-J Scottsdale Auction came as a “restored” vehicle.  When we drilled down further, we found 6 vehicles which referenced restoration costs ranging from a low of $24,000 to a high of $200,000+.  

Interesting….. but did any of these “investments” make sense?  

1. 1948 Studebaker Starlight Coupe

         $24,000 restoration  Sold for $18,150    Diff: -$5,850

2. 1964 Chevrolet Impala Custom Coupe

       $70,000 restoration      Sold for $30,800    Diff: -$39,200

3. 1969 Ford F-350 Flatbed Truck

         $100,000+ Restoration Sold for $38,500    Diff: -$61,500+

4. 1976 Toyota Land Cruiser  FJ-40

        $110,000+ Restoration  Sold for $55,000    Diff: -$55,000+

5. 1956 Chevrolet 210 Custom 2-dr

        $150,000+ Restoration  Sold for $77,000    Diff: -$73,000+

6. 1959 Chevrolet Impala Custom Convert.

        $200,000+ Restoration Sold for $165,000  Diff: -$35,000+ 

We’re not questioning the motivation of the previous owner(s) to invest in their classic as they did in terms of both time and money.  We understand for many, restoration is a labor of love and personal satisfaction recreating a by-gone era, and that's great justification to do anything. 
However, these examples illustrate the reality that restoration is not necessarily the best, or most profitable means to maximize your investment return when you go to sell your Classic. 

Bottom line – we certainly hope the sellers of the remaining 543 “restored” vehicles at least broke even with the sale of their classic.  We believe the key take-away from what we witnessed is the owners invested far more into their vehicle restoration than the vehicle was worth.  None of the six cited any special provenance factor that might have justified the expenditure for the restoration - and that's noteworthy to those thinking of restoring a Classic in the future.  Be very, very cautious when thinking of restoring a Classic that has significant provenance - more vehicles have had their value slashed due to poorly considered or performed "restorations".

We have started to slice and dice the 2018 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, and expect some interesting information will arise from the numbers.  Stay tuned for further details.

Keeping the polish handy and the spray paint in the can...

The Garagistry Team