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:
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:
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 Loss:
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.

Expert witness:
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, MGB/GT, Vettes LT1, 427, 454, Hemi GTX, Camaro Z28’s, Broncoand Ford 4×4 Trucks to name a few. He’s owned motorcycles such as Harleys, Can-Ams, KTM, Husky, Maico, Kawasaki, Honda Elsinore and Mini trail 50’s. Another favorite are boats and he has owned everything from a 13′ Boston Whaler, 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 has been licensed independent car dealer and appraiser for over thirty 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, Jay Leno, 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, Bob Varsha, Stacie David, Dennis Gage, Richard Rawlings and Ted Nugent to name a few.

Robert’s specialty is with Shelby and Boss Mustangs, he is also a Florida representative for the Shelby American Automobile Club. Robert also has an extensive knowledge of 356 Porsches, both marques of which he has owned, collected club raced and worked on over the years.

Robert has also written auction analysis and summary reports for Sports Car Market and American Car Collector magazines. Robert has been the voice of multiple classic car auctions handling color commentaries as cars are featured on the auction block. This experience also allows him to be informed of real-time values in this ever changing collector car world and to access the most up-to-date data bases to verify and establish actual market values on cars. Robert has been the emcee and chief Judge at the prestigious Festivals of Speed event as well as an official  judge at the Winter Park Concours d”Elegance in Florida. Robert regularly joins the festivities during Monterey Car Week, Amelia Island Car Week, Scottsdale Car Week attending Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and on occasion the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance in south Florida. Robert is a regular attendee at Gooding, Bonham, Russo & Steel, Barrett Jackson and Mecum collector car auctions as well as a Mannheim and a number of smaller car auctions, vintage races and car events around the southeast. Additionally, since Robert’s automotive business background is rooted in the automotive parts industry, he is also a frequent attendee at SEMA, (Specialty Equipment Market Association), which is held annually at the Las Vegas Convention center in Las Vegas, Nevada.


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