Saturday, January 30, 2016

What Is Your Tri-Five Classic Chevy Worth?

What Is Your Tri-Five Classic Chevy Worth?

  -Alan Arnell

Appraisals are the Best Way to Know.  The Real Value of Your Car.

When it comes to selling a classic car its value is really only what someone is willing to pay to buy the car.  Some classic cars can bring astronomical amounts of cash. Another model of may be a real bargain. One car lover may value a car much more than the guy next to him at an auction.  And, an insurance company may value the same classic car even less when paying out for a claim.  You know how much money and time you put into your classic to make it your dream car more than anyone.  But the guy writing the check does not have the same appreciation for that value.

Classic car values are a subjective and sometimes an ambiguous subject.  However, one tried and true method of finding the value of a classic car is to have it professionally appraised. A professional will take the emotion out of the process.  Face it, we are all emotional about our hobby cars.  If we were not emotional about our cars, then what would be the point?

Choosing an appraiser is hard.  You have to find a person who knows the jandra of your classic car interests.  If you have a Tri-Five you want a Tri-Five guy, not someone who usually appraises the high dollar antiques that Jay Leno and the other billionaires play with for a hobby.   When looking for an appraiser you need to find one who knows the industry and the car you are seeking an appraisal on.

When you are selecting an appraiser it is important to know the appraisal method the appraiser will use to appraise your car. Using a simple check off sheet is not good enough.  A check off sheet may not put the best fair value on custom items or unique accessories.  The best appraisers will take plenty of photos of your car during the appraisal.  If your car were ever stolen or destroyed, a photo is truly worth a thousand words and maybe worth a thousand or more dollars.

Ask is if the appraiser is accepted and recognized by your insurance company.  If your insurance company does not recognize the appraiser you will be just wasting your money for the appraisal.

Other reason to get an appraisal would be for legal reasons, financial reasons, bank loans, tax donations, divorce, diminished value, estate sale or just because an owner wants to know how much to sell his or her car for.

In the case of insurance claims, a professional independent appraisal of your vehicle is just about the only way to insure that your insurance company knows what your car will cost to replace in the market of the day. Even a brand new insurance claims adjuster can look up the value of your late model Honda Civic. On the other hand, if you wreck your show quality highly modified ‘55 Bel Air with a 504 blown big block, disk brakes, air-conditioning, all leather interior and a monster stereo system how would an insurance adjuster ever realize the value of that car?  The smart way to go would be to have had an appraisal done before hand that had been submitted for an agreed upon value by you and the insurance company for your car. If you do not you are that the insurance company’s mercy at the time of a claim.

The smart classic car owner will have his or her classic car appraised if the car has been modified, customized, or unique, is rare or just a super noteworthy car.  With those things the car is worth much more that a stock version the the same car.  As well, if you have a ‘57 Chevy that is completely stock
with matching numbers and rare factory equipment packages that car is worth more than a daily driver of the same make and model.  It is best to have what you have confirmed with an appraisal.

How do you find a good appraiser?  I believe the best method is to ask around for referrals from your friends and people in the know within the hobby.  Looking on the internet will also provide success at finding a good appraiser as well.  My personal success in find an appraiser at this writing has been less that what I had hoped for.  If you can give recommendations for a quality appraiser please do so in the comments sections; especially in the Dallas, Texas Metroplex

When looking for an appraiser finding one that is willing to come to you is a plus.  Of course an appraisal should be thorough and detailed.  To insure that quality, it is recommended that, the consumer ask for copies of sample appraisals to preview.  Most appraisers have several they can show you.  

Your quality appraiser should be well versed in all the differents types of custom auto components and fabrications.  With a modified vehicle modifications make changes to the overall value of the vehicle.  During the appraisal the appraiser should compile a written list of all custom components and fabrications completed on the appraised vehicle.

If your appraiser comes to appraise your car and he or she does not know where to find the
appropriate identifications such as cowl tags, VIN numbers and engine numbers you may have a problem.

The appraiser needs to have a good overall knowledge of the aftermarket business.  Some people have gone as far to say that you as the consumer should quiz the appraiser by making them name the manufacturer of most of the custom parts on your car.  If he or she can not pass your test, he or she needs to hit the road.  Your better appraisers keep up with the market and trends of the cars he or she is appraising.  They should be well versed in the trends presented in different types of magazines and major trade shows, like SEMA.

As well, the appraiser should be familiar with and be known by most local professional restorers and classic auto sales establishments. An old school friend told me once that a good appraiser should be familiar with the best known upholsterers, fabricators, painters, engine builders, etc.  He went further to say, that the appraiser should be able to recognize who did work on your car.

So what really determines the appraised value of a car?  Of course the type and exact model is of huge importance, whether or not it was customized or not, was a total custom fabrication or a frame-off restoration, or a 90 percent plus survivor to name a few items.  The caliber of the work is of course a factor as well as the number of dollars spent, the extent of the modifications, parts used and the uniqueness of the vehicle.  A big name builder can also add to the car’s value.  My favorites are if the car was owned by someone famous or was in a movie.  
Lastly, most good appraiser should also offer to update your appraisal as time goes by.  Especially, if  you have made updates to the appraised vehicle.  This updated appraisal should be given at a lower fee than the first appraisal.  Having an update appraisal completed is especially important if your car was appraised during the building process.  Yes, you should insure your car while it is being rebuilt.  I have a friend who’s ‘55 Chevy was damaged two times by fire damaged during restoration.  Those types of setbacks can greatly lengthened the timeline of the restoration and also drain your bank account.  

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