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Old March 20th, 2017, 04:17 PM   #1
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What's it worth, as is (for the brain trust here).

So... I have a family friend... his sister in law kind of inherited this car and I have gotten it running again after it sat for more than a year. Did a few small mechanical repairs on it. Now I am trying to figure out what it is worth as it sits, and what it needs (to be better than it is), and what I'd like to do /would do if I had a bunch of money... Trying to decide about buying it from her (she asked me to make an offer) but because of the relationship and because of the kind of person I am, I am not gonna take advantage of her lack of automobile acumen. Of course I searched eBay ended/sold items for similar cars etc.

PICS ARE HERE: http://imgur.com/a/MmNqI

So: It's a two owner 1971 Olds Cutlass Supreme convertible. Correct numbers on VIN and Fisher Body tag show it to be a Lansing plant car. Olds 350 engine with th350 trans, floor shift, front buckets. Black on black.

Mechanical:
Starts, idles, and runs well. Edelbrock 4bbl carb and intake manifold, MSD cap, newish wires. Leaks a little from rear main seal. No apparent head gasket leaks or exhaust leaks. Has new dual exhausts/mufflers - very clean and fresh all the way from OEM headers to tailpipe exit.

Shimmies at higher RPM or under more load - guess is motor mounts, could be something more serious?

Trans works fine, including kick down, but leaks from rear seal and speedo cable port - ez. Rear end is quiet with no apparent slop.

Steering box is shot. Am looking at the Jeep Grand Cherokeee fix for this. At least one tie-rod needs replacing. Needs all four shocks. Might be missing a sway bar? no pic yet -sorry.

Has crappy wheels and tires...

Has a broken rear brake shoe (!) -- cracked right through, drums seem ok. Front brakes ok. I'd LOVE to install a 4wheel disc system but $?

Electrical - lighting all good except for a little bulb here and there. Heater controls and fan function. No radio (missing - just the single DIN hole in dash where it was). Horn works on OEM steering wheel.

A/C dead. The factory A/C - parts are in place, doesn't work. No belt, but it feels to my hand like AT LEAST the bearing in the compressor is shot, prob the whole compressor needs replacing and the system recharged - mystery of course is other potential issues here.

Body - respray is just "ok" -- Most surfaces are smooth and the gloss paint can clean up nicely. There are a few smallish areas where under-paint crackling can be seen - like when the top coat is put over still wet primer, or one of them is the wrong material and they don't get along correctly. There are some chips along the door jambs where worn hinges allowed impingement, but the metal isn't bent or galled there. No evidence of previous body damage or crashes. Windshield is clear. Wiper motors work.

--Electric top goes down slowly, on return it gets to vertical and the motor continues to whine but it stops there. IF you help it along with your hand, it will complete the journey. the beaded seams above the metal spars are tearing a bit at the end edges, but otherwise in tact. Rear glass is good and it looks like it will be watertight (no other tears). It needs /could use fresh weatherstripping all around it though.

-rear windows are off their regulators and don't really wanna go back on... prob my lack of skill in this regard. Cranks operate and the regulators go up and down as designed...

--hood fitment is fine but needs sound deadening pad reinstalled. Trunk lid seems "off" a bit, and needs new weatherstripping. Both doors could prob be rehung and leveled for best panel spacing/gaps and function. Seats are not cut, but padding in them is flat/worn out/awful. They move correctly on their tracks, and seat back interlocks are ok.

-dash pad is smooth/nice/isn't cracked. Face plate of dash is corroded and the logos/id panels, beauty trim around it is all worn/corroded. This isn't a show car.

--Steering column all scratched from big set of keys swinging around on it. T/S Stalk functions but is completely rusted.

-center console ok, but gear indicator lens is worn/ugly. both interior door panels need replacing - big ugly holes put in them for speakers, other cosmetic damage to them. Door pulls inside and out are ok and functioning as are door locks

--all lap belts are in place and function. I would wanna install retractable 3pt belts for front seats at least.

PICS ARE HERE http://imgur.com/a/MmNqI

Last edited by Alacrity; March 20th, 2017 at 04:17 PM. Reason: made it clearer
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Old March 20th, 2017, 04:45 PM   #2
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If I was buying 10-12kish, if I was selling 12-15kish, looks solid but needs typical tlc that a car that's been sitting would require.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:06 PM   #3
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that's a good range looks very solid, looks like zero rust, buckets the rest is ignored maintenance and maybe some odds and ends. Heck I've spent probably 6 hours on my new Cutlass just changing burned out/rusted in the socket light bulbs.

There is always more work hiding in these cars than but that car you are looking at looks like a great foundation.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:20 PM   #4
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To me its a $7k car, its a maintenance abused older amateur restoration that needs a lot of work.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:22 PM   #5
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The top mechanism needs fluid possibly due to a leak. Don't run the top motor too much like that. Repop cylinders and hoses if you install are 300.00 +-

The doors probably need hinges. You install them for around 150.00 per door.

The seats need padding and or springs plus the covers may tear while replacing them so add around 800.00 for all that.

The top cover is torn although you may not care it will need replaced at some point. If it matters to you it may cost 1000.00.

The vibration could be a number of things. You kinda need to figure that out.

tires and wheels. $$$

Brakes couple hundred +- if you do it
Shocks. Not a deal breaker but adds up.

the paint sounds bad but check around the usual rust areas with a magnet (not a strong one) to see if it's loaded with putty you can't see. If you repaint it you will have to deal with that.
Check in the trunk and floor around the wheel wells for rust. Rust repair and paint = big money.
A price you offer would depend on how much you end up with. Repairs + purchase price. Comparing total with comparable sales.

I paid 6500 for a 72 that passes inspection but needs trunk floor, quarters, front fenders, top and paint. Looks better on film than in person

Last edited by Gary M; March 20th, 2017 at 05:27 PM.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:23 PM   #6
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To me its a $7k car, its a maintenance abused older amateur restoration that needs a lot of work.


Thank you for that concise and wise response. And I like your signature... ;-)
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:30 PM   #7
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that's a good range looks very solid, looks like zero rust, buckets the rest is ignored maintenance and maybe some odds and ends. Heck I've spent probably 6 hours on my new Cutlass just changing burned out/rusted in the socket light bulbs.

There is always more work hiding in these cars than but that car you are looking at looks like a great foundation.
I think the only time this car has been out of Southern California was when it was shipped here from the factory. No proof of that, just what I was told about the previous (now dead) owner and who he got it from in his west San Fernando Valley neighborhood in 1980. So yeah,.. no rust to chase. I was under it for an hour fighting the shifter cable and snooped around a bunch and banged on stuff and it all sounded nice and crisp with those sharp "TINK" sounds you like when hitting steel with a screwdriver instead of the dead thud sound that rust makes.

Last edited by Alacrity; March 20th, 2017 at 05:31 PM. Reason: typo
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:31 PM   #8
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Your welcome and thank you. As Gary said, when you start adding all the things it needs, it will be a lot of $$$. As you start to dig into it the MAW's (might as wells) will kick in and your project will snow ball.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 06:04 PM   #9
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Hard to find one with no rust. Rust is your worst enemy so your ahead of the game. You gonna resell if you get it or keep?
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Old March 20th, 2017, 06:23 PM   #10
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Considering the no rust part I'm going to have to agree with the higher estimates given above. 10-12000.00. That's about what I encountered back when looking for mine.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 11:11 PM   #11
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Hard to find one with no rust. Rust is your worst enemy so your ahead of the game. You gonna resell if you get it or keep?
This is the question... really. I am completely not a "ragtop" guy, so it's not even something that woulda been on my radar. And the mid-60s styling is really what makes me happy, much more than the 70s stuff (purely subjective - I think these are cool too, but they don't give me that hair stand up on back of neck kind of emotional zing that the 63-68 cars do). And yeah, with enough money this is a great start for a restoMod or perhaps a car that could be taken back to OEM classic/original show quality (but it's not a 442 or w30 etc, so that's prob wasteful).
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Old March 20th, 2017, 11:13 PM   #12
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Your welcome and thank you. As Gary said, when you start adding all the things it needs, it will be a lot of $$$. As you start to dig into it the MAW's (might as wells) will kick in and your project will snow ball.
I am REALLY familiar with the MAW process... That honda cb550 you see as my avatar started out as a rusted dead piece of crap (well multiple pieces of crap, some attached to rusty frame, some in oily boxes).
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Old March 21st, 2017, 06:27 AM   #13
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I was thinking $8k would be a fair price. It needs work but doesn't seem to have any major issues.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 07:02 AM   #14
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Value is what someone will pay for it

The ones I talked about when I was looking were 10-12 range asking price, at least the ones I looked into but I don't know what they sold for. Must cars don't go for asking price. A lot are asking way over what they are worth so without seeing it in person it becomes hard to nail down a firm " this is what you should offer" price. The title would need to be good (not salvage) and in the name of the seller for me to be interested.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 07:13 AM   #15
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This is the question... really. I am completely not a "ragtop" guy, so it's not even something that woulda been on my radar. And the mid-60s styling is really what makes me happy, much more than the 70s stuff (purely subjective - I think these are cool too, but they don't give me that hair stand up on back of neck kind of emotional zing that the 63-68 cars do). And yeah, with enough money this is a great start for a restoMod or perhaps a car that could be taken back to OEM classic/original show quality (but it's not a 442 or w30 etc, so that's prob wasteful).
If you decide to part with it, I would like to throw my name in among the interested parties....
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Old March 21st, 2017, 07:15 AM   #16
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I paid $8,500 for mine and it needs a lot more work than that one. Looked around for a while, didn't find much better out there. Needs floor pan, door hinges and trunk work. Typical rust in all the wrong places & full paint + new top. 70 non AC motor in a 71 AC car with a 68 hacked 2 barrel. New trans and SS break lines all around once I got it home and now its a driver. Should have paid about 7-6.5K, but Cutlass lust got the better of me.

However, the one you have pictured, in NY would be considered better than nice. I would agree on the 10-12K. Except for all the after market stuff on the motor there is not much there that would stop me from being a buyer. It needs a lot of the typical work & has the typical hacking but as others mentioned, it's a solid car.

You mentioned you're more of a 60's era person. You could give it the "necessary" TLC and trade it for what you are looking for. Agreed, It's a Cutlass and it usually won't bring big dollars, so flipping it at 12K with the full repairs probably wound't work out. I've seen very nice convertible 71's listed from 18 - 27K but doesn't mean they bring that $$$.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 08:24 AM   #17
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I would pay $10K for it. Engine compartment looks serviceable and has a few Edelbrock goodies added to it- not original but I would want the intake and carb upgrade.
Lots of interior work to do and I would want that all restored.
The chrome looks good? That is a big plus.
If you get it I would budget $5K in parts to go through suspension and brakes, interior and top (labor is on you)! That $5K is a hip shot and I am probably being optimistic.
Fixing the A/C could be a few hundred $ or a complete Vintage Air for $1500 (I am in the same boat with mine).
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Old March 21st, 2017, 08:58 AM   #18
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Two things can't be argued with and pertain to the value of this car - I) when the top goes down the price goes up & II) nothing is more expensive & time consuming than rust repair. A drop top with AC kind of gives you the best of both worlds. It looks like it can be cleaned up to be a nice driver with not that much work. Not every car needs to be a 1000 point restoration. As far as your preference for mid '60's, re the value of this car, while you prefer the mid '60's the 70-71 tend to bring more $$. With all these factors I'd tend to agree with $10K to $12K if it is as rust free as it appears.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 09:14 AM   #19
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I am going to revise my post to say although I would pay $10K for it it may very well be worth more than that. It is a convertible which adds value that frankly I would not pay.
To be fair to all parties $12K would be acceptable. Haggerty values a true condition 3 car at $14.4K but this car is what a 3 minus? Cannot be sure from the photos.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 09:51 AM   #20
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Haggerty values a true condition 3 car at $14.4K but this car is what a 3 minus?
Of all the used car pricing guides out there I value Haggerty the most. I use them to insure my 71 98. I guess I may have been cheap saying only $8k.

There seem to be quite a few 60s and 70s A bodies in my area most of the time though. Plus, they are generally in good shape since cars don't rust here. I guess I am biased.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 10:55 AM   #21
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it's complicated

Well, the question now is if the original poster going to buy it to keep or trade. If to trade or sell he has to buy it and leave room on the price to keep from possibly loosing money or getting stuck with it when he sells or trades. As long as the seller ( since she is a family friend) knows she may be ok with leaving some meat on the bone for him. The other option could be an arraignment where he gets a commission for helping her sell it. Depends on the relationship.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 10:56 AM   #22
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FWIW I paid $14,000 for my 72 convertible a couple years ago. It appears to me at least this car is in close to the condition mine was when I bought it, some things worse, some apparently better. I drove it home and so far have put only a few hundred into it, and some of my own labor. I didn't buy it to show, just enjoy, so I'm happy even though it still needs some work.


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Old March 21st, 2017, 11:07 AM   #23
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If I was buying 10-12kish, if I was selling 12-15kish, looks solid but needs typical tlc that a car that's been sitting would require.
This one looks like it sums it up at the end of the day. Only post #2 also.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 11:45 AM   #24
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Lots of good thoughts here guys. THANKS!! One thing I haven't mentioned is that I kinda don't need additional stress in my life. And worrying that some f-tard is gonna stick his pocket knife through my roof ... is among the things I don't need. We are also just a four hour drive from the Mexican border. Nobody asks questions about southbound traffic... and all too many of these kinds of cars end up down there where they get "laundered." So keeping something like this would be fine if I had a multi-car garage or covered parking area and only used it on weekends or where I could park it off street in guarded pay-lots. As a daily driver, where I might go to dinner or park on the street in DTLA etc, I worry about... worrying. So this one may not be for me to keep. I might do a split-profit arrangement with the owner/inheritor. That would assuage my guilt and cover my time (2 days spent so far...not counting "shopping" online) and $ invested (just a couple hundred so far). I am doing a spreadsheet layout of "must-do" stuff to make it nice enough and am up to $3000 in parts with my labor (exception being that I don't really wanna try (again) a convertible top replacement. Once you've stapled part of your hand by mistake, you kinda don't wanna repeat that little moment of joy. ;-) I have a good friend near here who is a super-skilled pro interior/ragtop guy -- does high end hot rod work as well as the regular stuff. In fact, I'll give him a plug fwiw: Lou Loyola, Loyola Auto Interiors in Gardena CA. It'll cost extra, but it will fit right, won't leak and there will be less blood.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 12:54 PM   #25
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Your friend got a car for free. You have a better idea what it is worth now. If I were you I'd help them sell it as-is and move on. Most folks don't get all the money out that they put in.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 09:50 PM   #26
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Your friend got a car for free. You have a better idea what it is worth now. If I were you I'd help them sell it as-is and move on. Most folks don't get all the money out that they put in.
The other advice on this thread is really good BUT this is the best advice IMO. Otherwise, you're opening a potential "can of worms".....labor/hours-wise, where-do-you-stop-wise, headache-wise and who-knows-what-else-wise.

On the other hand - Happy Trails's words are just WISE.....without the negative "add ons".

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Old March 24th, 2017, 07:49 PM   #27
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FWIW I paid $14,000 for my 72 convertible a couple years ago. It appears to me at least this car is in close to the condition mine was when I bought it, some things worse, some apparently better. I drove it home and so far have put only a few hundred into it, and some of my own labor. I didn't buy it to show, just enjoy, so I'm happy even though it still needs some work.

Are you kidding? The pictures are rough but that's a 14-16K car all day long.
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Old March 24th, 2017, 07:51 PM   #28
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Lots of good thoughts here guys. THANKS!! One thing I haven't mentioned is that I kinda don't need additional stress in my life. And worrying that some f-tard is gonna stick his pocket knife through my roof ... is among the things I don't need. We are also just a four hour drive from the Mexican border. Nobody asks questions about southbound traffic... and all too many of these kinds of cars end up down there where they get "laundered." So keeping something like this would be fine if I had a multi-car garage or covered parking area and only used it on weekends or where I could park it off street in guarded pay-lots. As a daily driver, where I might go to dinner or park on the street in DTLA etc, I worry about... worrying. So this one may not be for me to keep. I might do a split-profit arrangement with the owner/inheritor. That would assuage my guilt and cover my time (2 days spent so far...not counting "shopping" online) and $ invested (just a couple hundred so far). I am doing a spreadsheet layout of "must-do" stuff to make it nice enough and am up to $3000 in parts with my labor (exception being that I don't really wanna try (again) a convertible top replacement. Once you've stapled part of your hand by mistake, you kinda don't wanna repeat that little moment of joy. ;-) I have a good friend near here who is a super-skilled pro interior/ragtop guy -- does high end hot rod work as well as the regular stuff. In fact, I'll give him a plug fwiw: Lou Loyola, Loyola Auto Interiors in Gardena CA. It'll cost extra, but it will fit right, won't leak and there will be less blood.
I'll take the additional stress for 11K shipped and I'm as least a weeks drive from Mexico so no worries there.
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Old March 27th, 2017, 01:08 PM   #29
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Are you kidding? The pictures are rough but that's a 14-16K car all day long.


Thanks, sometimes I wonder, but that's the nature of these beasts I guess. It does have a nice body and a lot of originality.


Thanks again.
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Old March 27th, 2017, 01:37 PM   #30
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I'm usually at the low end of estimates, but I also agree that this car is in the $12K-14K range (asking price) as it sits, at least here on the east coast. Rebuild the front end, fix the minor detail items, clean it up, and ask $20K. The biggest problem I see is the hacked up dash. Mechanical stuff is easy.

Of course, it's difficult to judge the quality of body work through the interwebs...
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Old March 28th, 2017, 11:45 AM   #31
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I'm usually at the low end of estimates, but I also agree that this car is in the $12K-14K range (asking price) as it sits, at least here on the east coast. Rebuild the front end, fix the minor detail items, clean it up, and ask $20K. The biggest problem I see is the hacked up dash. Mechanical stuff is easy.

Of course, it's difficult to judge the quality of body work through the interwebs...
Indeed. So based in LARGE PART on the very sound advice I've received from you guys about this car, here is the current plan (to Joe and anyone else following). I am gonna help her get this vehicle cleaned up and in the best shape possible as it is now with no further mechanical work except to check fluid/pressure leaks vs function with the top motor and pistons (the work limited now by my time/her budget). I will take the car out and shoot many hi-res, detailed photos and some video as well, and I will post all of these in the classified section on this site first, (before flea bay or craigslist or auto trader or hemmings etc) with the known issues, the "just guessing" issues, the "maybe/could be better" issues clearly stated... full disclosure, etc. Her goal here for her is to sell this and have enough $ to buy a safe used modern car for her 16 year old kid.
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Old March 28th, 2017, 12:06 PM   #32
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As far as the convertible top goes it probably just needs some fluid added to the motor. 442.com has a section on that site that shows how. Others on here will advise you on what type fluid.
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Old March 28th, 2017, 12:27 PM   #33
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As far as the convertible top goes it probably just needs some fluid added to the motor. 442.com has a section on that site that shows how. Others on here will advise you on what type fluid.
Thanks Gary: I'll check it out (my recollection from what is left of my memory says... ATF)?
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Old March 28th, 2017, 01:46 PM   #34
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Sounds like a plan, GLWS.
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Old March 28th, 2017, 05:40 PM   #35
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Lots of good thoughts here guys. THANKS!! One thing I haven't mentioned is that I kinda don't need additional stress in my life. And worrying that some f-tard is gonna stick his pocket knife through my roof ... is among the things I don't need. We are also just a four hour drive from the Mexican border. Nobody asks questions about southbound traffic... and all too many of these kinds of cars end up down there where they get "laundered." So keeping something like this would be fine if I had a multi-car garage or covered parking area and only used it on weekends or where I could park it off street in guarded pay-lots. As a daily driver, where I might go to dinner or park on the street in DTLA etc, I worry about... worrying. So this one may not be for me to keep. I might do a split-profit arrangement with the owner/inheritor. That would assuage my guilt and cover my time (2 days spent so far...not counting "shopping" online) and $ invested (just a couple hundred so far). I am doing a spreadsheet layout of "must-do" stuff to make it nice enough and am up to $3000 in parts with my labor (exception being that I don't really wanna try (again) a convertible top replacement. Once you've stapled part of your hand by mistake, you kinda don't wanna repeat that little moment of joy. ;-) I have a good friend near here who is a super-skilled pro interior/ragtop guy -- does high end hot rod work as well as the regular stuff. In fact, I'll give him a plug fwiw: Lou Loyola, Loyola Auto Interiors in Gardena CA. It'll cost extra, but it will fit right, won't leak and there will be less blood.
Let me know when your ready to sell and as far as been close to the border I don't have to worry about that I live in Lynwood which is practically Mexico!
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Old March 28th, 2017, 05:45 PM   #36
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Let me know when your ready to sell and as far as been close to the border I don't have to worry about that I live in Lynwood which is practically Mexico!
HAHA!! Yes it is. But in the best way! I am gonna post in the classifieds. I figure it is the right thing to do to give the enthusiasts on this site a shot at it before letting it fall into the hands of the enemy (like chevy people, for example).
;-)
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Old April 2nd, 2017, 06:59 PM   #37
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Spent all day yesterday on it. She starts and runs well now. Shifts well, Kicks down correctly. There are plenty of issues for the next owner to sort, but this 71 is already a "driver..." :-)

http://imgur.com/a/ZcUBE
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Old April 2nd, 2017, 07:23 PM   #38
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couple videos... idling at the tailpipes... http://sendvid.com/35h0220j
(I shoulda removed the license plate... I shot the video and the owner asked me to obscure it for privacy reasons).

And under the hood: http://sendvid.com/37jay7zi
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Old April 2nd, 2017, 07:33 PM   #39
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Starting up...(and yes I will stop now). http://sendvid.com/z66u62p3
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Old April 2nd, 2017, 07:38 PM   #40
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What you need to do next is place a Car for Sale ad in our Classified section. Post the pictures, videos, a good description, the location, and an asking price. GLWS
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