Why should one have their vehicle appraised? There are a number of reasons. First, it’s one safeguard that the collector, hobbyist or enthusiast can use to protect their investment. Second, it’s also a way to keep a pulse on the value and condition of your vehicle. In many cases, owners may be car enthusiasts but may not be aware of market changes and trends that may affect the value of the vehicle. Often the vehicle may have received some updates and improvements, or the opposite may be the case whereby neglect, mechanical and cosmetic deficiencies and or loss of interest may have occurred, resulting in a valuation change of the vehicle. An appraisal is often the best way to establish a value. It may be a necessary requirement for an insurance company, a financial institution or an estate.
Ins and outs:
Selecting the right appraiser is as equally important as selecting a car, motorcycle or any rolling stock. Ideally, find one that has experience with the vehicles that are of interest to you and someone with a network of reliable sources and references. Don’t select an appraiser who simply likes cars, took a correspondence course and received a certificate by paying a fee, joining a club and passing a test. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR EXPERIENCE! It’s true, a well rounded appraiser can be familiar with all kinds of rolling stock and produce a good report. If the appraiser has solid basic hands on knowledge, the rest is focus, diligence, common sense and integrity. There are some appraisers who specialize in certain makes and sometimes they are considered authorities. If the task requires authority and special expertise, it may be necessary to retain an expert to verify and authenticate a specific make. This is often the case with very rare, obscure and or valuable vehicles such as vintage race cars or limited production and custom bodied vehicles. For the most part a good seasoned appraiser that conducts his due diligence and research can put a realistic value on a vehicle. The best way to establish values is to have first hand knowledge of actual sales of similar vehicles. Results from auctions are good. They are held frequently and they represent actual completed sales. It’s interesting to note the wide range in values of cars. Many factors are taken into consideration such as location of the auction, name of the auction company, time of the auction, run numbers and certainly the condition of the vehicle. Some of the things that set appraisers apart would be the length of time that they have been in the business, the nature of their experience (i.e. repair, body, restoration, dealer, collector, racer, rebuilder, judge). Appraisals require a complete physical inspection PERIOD – Not looking at a set of faded pictures, some spec written notes and an old car price guide and then guessing at one of three value columns. Verifying or surveying a vehicle for correct numbers, date codes and o.e.m. or reproduction components often involves the use of a lift, drop light, camera, reference material and a substantial amount of knowledge. It is always important to have as much background information on a vehicle as possible. Custom cars, racing cars and one- off bodied cars require more specific documentation as this helps establish pedigree or provenance. Having ownership history since the day it left the dealership such as original bills of sale, warranty cards, build sheets, service bulletins, sales brochures, dealer installed options, service, repair and maintenance records, and any other receipts relating to the car is crucial. And finally, always take the vehicle for a long test drive.
This involves spending some time with a prospective client and discussing their intentions and goals when seeking to acquire a collectible, classic or custom vehicle. The first priority is to set budget parameters. Often people buy what they had when they were younger or something they always wanted and now it’s attainable. Some clients are okay with projects and basket cases, but most want a turn- key driver which can range from running barn finds to total restorations and museum pieces. Frequently, the subject comes up about ….buying “as an investment “ or “investment grade”. I am not a financial consultant. I am only familiar with cars, motorcycles and boats and their respective market values. My job is to help facilitate and procure a vehicle and more importantly see that the client gets what they wanted, is satisfied , and had a positive experience. The most important advice that I can give anyone is, when contemplating a purchase, purchase what one likes. If it goes up in value, that’s a bonus, if it depreciates, one still has a vehicle they like.
Pre-purchase inspections require the same level of detail and examination of a vehicle as an appraisal. It is a relative matter dealing with the objective and the goals of the buyer.
Diminished value automatically occurs when a vehicle is involved in a serious accident and the vehicle sustains serious repairable body and mechanical damage. The simple fact is that when a vehicle is altered in any way from factory specifications as a result of an accident, regardless of repairs, the value has been impaired. The standard rule on late model vehicles would be 20% behind rough book (Black Book). The difference in the quality of the repairs only plays a small part in establishing a post damage value. Most dealers shy away from wrecked cars due to disclosure and liability issues. Therefore, they are wholesaled at auctions or to dealers in more lenient states. Many of the reporting agencies don’t always get the information correct even when a police report and insurance claim has been filed. Self insured vehicles rarely show up at all. The bottom line is that the vehicle is worth less and the deficiency needs to be factored in and the customer or insured reimbursed. Classics vehicles are different, depending on the originality , the diminished value can be substantial. A restored vehicle can present a host of other issues, quality of the restoration, OEM or reproduction parts etc. All this has to be evaluated.
Total losses are generally determined by the insurance company. They typically aim low. Often a third party determination can help establish a higher final value in favor of the insured. In some cases the insured may want to keep the vehicle to rebuild. Settlements can be reached by off-setting the salvage vehicle value and the payoff number.
We can assist with the export of any vehicle anywhere in the world.
If the need arises, with all the proper resources I can provide the necessary testimony to maintain a strong favorable argument in court or in arbitration. The purpose, generally, is merely to establish values, condition and existence.
There is a base fee plus travel, additional reference material and outside consulting.
About the Appraiser:
Robert’s passion for cars started at about age 4. Growing up as a child in northern California, cars were the “in thing”. Inspired by cool hot rods, cruisers and sports cars he began building car models as a hobby. Robert’s strong interest in foreign cars stems from his time spent living in Europe off and on as a child and teenager. Back in the states Robert’s first car was a beater 1965 Austin Healey 3000 MKIII Phase I. His second car was a 1957 Thunderbird that he painted in traditional California rattle can flat black with American 5 spoke mags, metal flake red steering wheel, no carpet or door panels , 312 cid, headers, 4spd and a 7 que ball for a shift knob. Being a hard worker and thrifty, at 19 he found and bought his first Shelby, a 1969 GT 350 rag top 4spd. The list of motorized gismos goes on from there with numerous Porsches – 356, 911, 928, 930’s, assorted Shelbys – GT350, 500’s, Boss 302, 351, 429’s, Pantera, Torino Cobra 429CJ’s, BMW Isetta, 2002’s, Triumph TR6, Vettes LT1, 427, 454, Hemi GTX, Camaro Z28’s to name a few. He’s owned motorcycles such as Harleys, Can-Ams, KTM, Husky, Maico, Kawasaki, Elsinore and a Honda mini trail 50. Another favorite are boats and he has owned everything from a 13′ Boston Whaler to a 28’ Wellcraft Scarab and a 38′ Cigarette Top Gun. His preference for cars are those of driver quality, survivor original cars even in edgy condition because they are only original once.
Robert’s automotive background is quite extensive. After venturing away from the Real Estate business, he started in the car business at age 26 – a vintage Mustang salvage yard which contained approximately 200 classic Mustangs. He then established additional auto salvage yard businesses, where the big toys were loaders, tractors and trucks and the inventory was both vintage and late model cars and parts. Robert was a licensed independent car dealer and appraiser for over twenty five years. He has been a member of various car organizations: SAAC, PCA, SVRA, HSR, SCCA. He has also been involved with building, restoring and club racing vintage cars both foreign and domestic.
Robert currently operates Gulfstream Motorsports and provides rolling stock appraisals, pre-purchase inspections, and diminished value reports. He also produces and hosts a weekly motorsports radio show, Nostalgic Radio and Cars. This is an interesting and informative show featuring interviews with prominent people in the motorsports world along with some cool classic music. Topics cover collector car shows, concours, auctions, vintage and professional motorsports racing events as well as swap meets. Some of the guests have been Carroll Shelby, Roger Penske, Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Johnny Rutherford, Sam Posey, Bobby Rahal, Lyn St James, Shirley Muldowney, Don Garlits, Don Prudhomme, “TV Tommy” Ivo, Barry Meguiar, Sam Memmolo, Dave Despain, Stacie David, Dennis Gage and Dan Woods to name a few.
My specialty is with Shelby and Boss Mustangs, I am also a Florida representative for the Shelby American Automobile Club. I also have an extensive amount of knowledge with 356 Porsches, both marques I have owned, collected club raced and worked on over the years.
I have also written auction analysis and summary reports for Sports Car Market and American Car Collector magazines. I have been the voice of multiple classic car auctions handling color commentaries as cars are featured on the auction block. This experience also allows me to be abreast of real-time values in the fast paced collector car world. I have been an emcee and judged show cars at the prestigious Festivals of Speed events in Florida. I attend Barrett Jackson Scottsdale, SEMA, Amelia Island Concours, Mecum Auctions and Hollywood Car Auctions annually as well as a number of smaller car auctions, vintage races and cars events around the Southeast.