Land Yachts - Car Condition

  The Concept behind Number 3 Antique, Classic and Collectible Cars

ld Cars Price Guide has a 6 stage classification of car condition, 1 being best and six being worst.

hat follows is my interpetation, point of view (as a restoration professional) and comments about these classifications, and market conditions resulting thereof. Please understand that the economic assertions I make refer to what would typically be experienced by the non-professional, hobbiest buyer or seller and not to those of you out there, who may have "special" situations, ie. you inherited a bunch of cars, you know some really rich, stupid people, etc., etc.

umber 1 is a vehicle that has been restored to as close to perfection as possible, paying no heed to cost. It is better than factory new, having all cosmetic flaws found in any new vehicle removed. Quick definition of "cosmetic:" it refers to any part of the vehicle that can readily inspected visually. Whatever is inside the transmission or crankcase are not cosmetic items. The underside and exterior engine block are cosmetic items. Get my drift? A real Number 1 vehicle will be transported to and from almost exclusively Concors (d'Elegance) shows (Pebble Beach, etc.) and it generally will win some kind of award, maybe not at every show, but at most. It will never be driven, as that will instantly render it a Number 2. In fact, since it is rarely even started, typically the non-cosmetic mechanicals of it are secondary to the cosmetic and all but ignored during the restoration. If you are Joe Schmo and you tell me you have restored a car to Number 1 condition, I will not believe you; (but I will be polite.) If your name is Rockerfeller, and you tell me you have restored a car to Number 1, I might believe you, but I must know the name of your Restorer, and if I don't recognize him, I will have to see the car! In short, most of us mere mortals have never been close to a real Number 1 (except perhaps at Pebble Beach,) and we don't personally know anyone who owns one. There are a great many people out there who mistakenly believe they have purchased or restored a vehicle to Number 1 condition. It is not economically possible to restore even a brand new vehicle to Number 1 condition and sell it for an amount greater than your cost! Sorry!

umber 2 is a vehicle that is showroom new. It may have several hundred or even several thousand carefully placed miles on it, but for all intensive purposes, it appears as though it just came off the showroom floor. Though many people think they routinely do so, it is not economically possible to restore even a medium Number 3 to Number 2 condition and sell it for an amount greater than your cost, assuming you had to purchase the car at market value. The reason why most people believe they can do it comes from the mis-rendering of their results as a Number 2. Every componant in the vehicle must be new or very close thereto, which of course is not the case in a Number 3 (by definition.) Simply cleaning up a car to where it looks new, does not make it a Number 2!  This is the most abused category of vehicle from the stand point of misrendering; (notice I am being careful not to use the more strident misrepresenting!) For those of moderate skill, who actually do attempt to reach a real Number 2 state by doing most or all of the restoration work themselves and manage to sell the vehicle for greater than their cash cost; still they are diluding themselves that they have made a profit as they invariably value their labor at close to zero!

t this point we will jump to Number 4, 5 and 6, so as to define the range for Number 3! A Number 4 is clearly a profoundly worn  vehicle. It might not be mechanically operational, but with some work can be returned to operation. If it is operational, many if not all of its componants are at or close to their cycle life. Cosmetically it has long been devoid of the routine disciplined cosmetic maintenance that most folks bestow upon their new and even several years old 50 or 100 thousand mile plus vehicles. It may be a basket case with up to 15% of the parts missing or unusable. It can, however, if circumstances of rareness and desireability justify it, be restored all the way to a Number 1, (not for profit though.) If it is not a rare vehicle, true professional restorers (not hacks) in general would not consider it a candidate for a Number 1 or 2 restoration. A Number 5 is a vehicle that if exceedingly rare and valuable (one of a kind, etc.) can still be restored, otherwise it is just a parts car. A Number 6 is only a parts car.

hich brings us to a Number 3. Simply, it is anything between a Number 2 and a Number 4. This is a very wide range of condition. 99% of all vehicles on the road are Number 3's. 99% of all vehicles (antique, classic an other) sold at auctions or through Hemmings, Ebay or other means are Number 3's though many of them are misrepresented as Number 2's. (oops, I used that word!) A Number 3 more than any other condition level can generally expect to be sold or purchased at the closest price to true fair market value. What does this mean? We all know that the moment you pay for a new car, it is now worth less simply because you own it, (and not the dealer.) Same thing is true for the restored Number 2. The paint could still be "wet" and yet you cannot sell it for your cost. Moments after the Number 1 restoration is complete, the owner, who would theoretically be selling to people of such means that the price is almost irrelevant, still cannot get his cost simply because of the human trait of "I can do better (cheaper) than the other guy," even (especially) amongst the rarefied atmosphere of billionaires. Number 4's, 5's and 6's are always overpriced due to the nature of the people who traffic in them and the foolish optimism of a typical nonprofessional buyer/hobbyist. Incidentally, the best speculation restore opportunities for me as a professional are returning Number 4's to Number 3 condition. They are easy and quick to sell, most buyers can or will justify affording to buy them and I can make them look like Number 2's, (but I will never pretend that they are Number 2's!) With my setup, inventory and skill,  I can readily (most of the time) bring a Number 4 up to a 3 and assuming I acquire the vehicle for a non-hobbyist price, (as a professional regularly trafficing in these vehicles, sheer probability dictates that I will encounter the "bargain" more routinely than the hobbyist,) the economics involve the smallest degree of risk.

or the above reasons, I offer generally only Number 3's for sale. Occasionally, for reasons associated with inventory or just plain nuisance value of the car, I will offer Number 4's for sale. Please understand that I never "need the money," and my prices are based on the Old Cars Price Guide, meaning they are based on actual sales prices, not asking prices (like you find in Hemmings.)

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