View Full Version : How much is too much...

Russell Street
06-25-2017, 02:16 PM
At different times there have been threads on here regarding what we do with and how much we spend on or pro-cars. There is a very interesting discussion in the "For Sale From Other Sites" thread on another part of this board. I put this here, in this area, because I wanted everybody to be able to have input.

We are all aware that several members here have very nice cars that they have put large sums of money and effort into only to wind up with a car that they will never to be able to recoup their investment from. Please understand I mean absolutely no disrespect to anybody or their vehicle with that statement. It's just fact. We've all heard it said many times....."we buy a car for $ 7 or 8,000 dollars, put another $12 to 15,000 in it all to wind up with a very nice $ 12,000 car", the numbers all subject to change. You get the idea.

I know in our case we have a very nice, unrestored "64 Superior Cadillac Combination that wins prizes in shows because it is a "survivor" car. According to a couple of the car shows that I watch, "survivors" are worth almost as much as a well restored vehicle.

Our car has a very, very nice interior that needs very little work at all. Mechanically it is in very good condition. It has new tires, the carburetor has been rebuilt and it has been verified to be a 42,000 mile vehicle by two mechanics. It needs a very minor exhaust leak fixed (probably a manifold gasket) I intend to have the master cylinder rebuilt and the wheel cylinders replaced as soon as my mechanic can fit it into his schedule working around the cars "appearance" schedule. These things will be done soon, no worry about cost.

The exterior of it is in pretty good condition, it is a very strong 5' car (looks real good from 5'). It has been repaired on the drivers door and left front fender, probably from a minor collision, trust me the work could have been done better. The paint is very slightly "orange peeled" and the shade of white is just a whisker off in those areas. There are some areas that are starting to show signs of trouble in the distant future.

We have debated having the car "made over" and maybe repainted a different color. We're thinking a color where gray and silver meet with a tint of blue added. That is the very dark end of silver and the very light end of gray. That would really make the interior "pop". I've been thinking about changing the single Beacon out for two 175-D Beacons on the front corners of the roof. Two big things about having all of that done is the whole debate about "rebuilt, refurbed, repaired" that would arise. Such changes may not be acceptable to some folks. If we do all of that, we lose our "survivor car" status and become just another redone car. The other big thing is that it would have to happen at the confluence of time (shop time) and available "extra" money. At our age that gets to be a concern!!! Retirement is looming on the horizon!!!

There, I've put it out there. Please lets entertain an informative discussion. Love to hear what everybody's opinions are. Thanks for the time.

Steve Loftin
06-25-2017, 06:33 PM
She's only original once.

Tim Prieur
06-25-2017, 09:46 PM
I agree with Steve. While we did not see combinations around here, to me yours looks great. Simple warning equipment that could be quickly added. Colours that matched the other cars where it served. You will decide, but I like it the way it is presented.

John ED Renstrom
06-25-2017, 09:51 PM
and when original is to ruff, she is restored. but all I would say is paint it a original 64 color.

the truth is if it is maintained you have a car that you can jump into and drive anywhere you want. age not with standing. if it's mechanical sound its good to go. the original paint will shine right down to the primer if you want to buff it. a decent vinyl repair place can fix those small nicks in the inside and have them look like new. so if you think of it as a second fair weather car, what it worth to you? whats it worth to have a good looking used car with decent millage that your proud to take anywhere? then decide how far you want to go. I personally don't have the price of a house to put into one. but I have done that for a few others. now of course that's the price of a house were I live your local housing market may be different.

Bill Marcy
06-25-2017, 10:25 PM
This is a real consideration, most especially when a car is all, or mostly original. I had the same discussion about three, or four years ago, about a 68 Miller Meteor Classic Duplex we got from Ed Renstrom. It was that funny silver they had in 68 and it needed some minor repair and paint, but it was a nice car. My wife insisted we change the color, but I felt it was not right, so I sold the car instead.

Russell, in my opinion, your car looks great and I personally would not change anything. As far as the money you would spend, I doubt you would increase the value, you might even hurt it. But, at the end of the day, I would tell you that you should do with your car exactly what you want to do with it, after all, it is your car, no one else's.

Steve Lichtman
06-26-2017, 10:45 PM
Here's the thing about money. You never get out of a car what you put into it. Not likely to happen.

But this is a hobby. If your hobby was golf, you'd never get money back from golfing (unless you win the Masters). If your hobby was travel, you'd never get back the money you spent on travelling. Model trains, same thing. You name the hobby, you won't make a profit on it. But then again, that's what a hobby is for - to have fun, and if it costs money to have fun, so be it. It's what we spend our discretionary income on.

I don't think you can look at any car (or any hobby) and say, "If I put in so much, I'll get so much more back". A hobby is not about money - when it becomes about money, then it's not a hobby, it's a job.

A restored car is very nice. If you can, you can. But, as Steve Loftin said, it is indeed only original once.

What's my point? I'm not sure. Just things to think about. It's your choice.

(Just leave it at one beacon, that's better. ;))

Russell Street
06-27-2017, 09:26 PM
Thanks for all the replies so far. Lots to think about. The intent of this thread was not to concentrate on our car, I was hoping others would jump in and talk about where they are/ or have been with their cars.

It's understood that we'll never "profit" from our car, but the question remains how/when do you decide to take the big leap and redo one. This car is a long term item for this family. We intend to retain and care for it for many years to come. Zachary has expressed interest in having it someday. If we had access to an unlimited supply of money we'd have a full blown "Concourse De' Elegance" class restoration done on it. However since we don't have that unlimited supply of money that's probably not gonna happen anytime soon.

Several guys on here have one or more cars as works in progress.

Let's hear your stories folks.

Kurt Arends
06-27-2017, 09:51 PM
You could stick $25,000 into it and not have any more fun with it than what you are currently having. I personally prefer some "patina" and I REALLY prefer the look and smell of an original interior!

I own a '59 Imperial Crown Southampton that has been undergoing restoration for 14 years! I still love '59 Imperials, but I consider my decision to do a full restoration to be one of the worst decisions that I have made.

Paul Steinberg
06-27-2017, 10:12 PM
I believe in preservation and regular maintenance as being most important. Having said that, all of my cars have had perpetual maintenance care, along with replacing parts that are worn out with new parts. Steering, brakes, and tires are the most important items to know the condition of before you drive any car on the roadways. Then comes the engine, transmission, and differential servicing and or rebuilding. After the car is mechanically sound and safe to drive, the cosmetics come next. Patina is nice, but there are times that you have to paint just to preserve. You can spend an unlimited amount of money on paint, or you can have it painted to a 20 foot looks good. If you are going to be driving your car, that perfect multi thousands of dollars paint job is going to get just as many paint chips as the lesser cost paint job. Every one of my cars has had paint work done, either to repair physical damage, or to preserve the metal under the paint. A car should always be as presentable as the owner can afford, and the owner should know their limits as to how much they can spend beforehand. A number of people that I know have said that they "will never sell the car", to which I reply, possibly your executor might. Take good care of it while you are alive, and hopefully so with the next person to own it will also, whether they are a relative or a stranger.

Bill Marcy
06-28-2017, 08:38 AM
I like what Kurt said. We had more fun with the Pontiac before we had it painted and repaired. When it needed everything, people got a huge kick out of seeing it. Now after spending a good many dollars on it, we have lost interest in it.

There are many restoration horror stories. You can spend all of your money and not get the results you are hoping for. Give it lots of thought Russell, that is my advice to you.

Gus Boucher
06-28-2017, 09:58 AM
I would keep it original as long as you can and then if you do anything keep the same color. I have had and have cars with color changes and I just am not happy. Just my 2 cents.

Kurt Arends
06-28-2017, 08:20 PM
A, well done, color change including door jambs, firewall, etc. is rediculously expensive. If you don't do the door jambs with a color change, you are wasting your money.