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Thread: Questions about a barn find

Forum to discuss Austin Healey Sports Cars

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    Questions about a barn find

    Hello all, I am a new member here looking for some help. To start with, I am a British motorcycle collector and a mid-year Corvette collector and I do my own restorations. I have owned several British cars over the years but I do not have one now. My problem is that I have been asked to help in an estate sale that includes a 1957 BN4. The car has been sitting inside for more than 30 years. To me, it looks to be very complete, including a hard top. There is a lot of what I would call "surface rust" on most of the exterior. Looking at the rocker panels, quarter panels, floors, and inside the trunk I don't see any serious rust that would require metal replacement. At this point, I can't get under the car to see the bottom. The interior looks to be in amazing condition. While it is certainly not fresh, the carpets and dash look like they were in great shape when the car was parked. I understand that it is not possible to value something like this without photos and a lot more information. My question now is what should I be looking for on the car to start trying to determine a reasonable value. I had one immediate offer of $5,000 and I told the guy that I needed to do my homework first. It is not my car, but I would like to get the owner a fair price. Thanks in advance for any help that you can offer.

    Doc

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Doc--

    You ask a big question and I am sure you'll get a lot of answers.

    There are many issues that determine value, the biggest being what kind of work is necessary in order to make the car at least marketable. If the rust is confined simply to the surface of the bodywork then you are essentially talking about a paint job which, including prep, might cost $4-5. However if structural work is necessary due to rust in the doglegs, rockers and/or outriggers or if frame members are compromised then things get expensive. In any case I'd suggest you find a person experienced with Healey restoration to make that determination.

    Some models are intrinsically more valuable than others and unfortunately a BN4 is generally not a high-dollar car. However there is always a market for a good Healey and once you get a handle on the above you can figure out if you want to proceed. There are many experienced contributors to this forum who are always willing to share their experience and opinions.

    Best--Michael Oritt
    1954 Austin-Healey 100 Le Mans
    1958 Elva Courier (FOR SALE)
    1959 Elva MK IV Sports Racer
    1961 Ginetta G4

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Quote Originally Posted by Rwat View Post
    Hello all, I am a new member here looking for some help. To start with, I am a British motorcycle collector and a mid-year Corvette collector and I do my own restorations. I have owned several British cars over the years but I do not have one now. My problem is that I have been asked to help in an estate sale that includes a 1957 BN4. The car has been sitting inside for more than 30 years. To me, it looks to be very complete, including a hard top. There is a lot of what I would call "surface rust" on most of the exterior. Looking at the rocker panels, quarter panels, floors, and inside the trunk I don't see any serious rust that would require metal replacement. At this point, I can't get under the car to see the bottom. The interior looks to be in amazing condition. While it is certainly not fresh, the carpets and dash look like they were in great shape when the car was parked. I understand that it is not possible to value something like this without photos and a lot more information. My question now is what should I be looking for on the car to start trying to determine a reasonable value. I had one immediate offer of $5,000 and I told the guy that I needed to do my homework first. It is not my car, but I would like to get the owner a fair price. Thanks in advance for any help that you can offer.

    Doc
    Depends on where it is? I would pay more than 5k as described if in dry climate. Photos?
    1955 Austin Healey 100/4 (modified Chevy drivetrain)
    1985 Porsche 928S

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Just like on the Corvettes, a lot will depend on the condition of the frame. I'm not sure how much Corvette frame rust you've had experience with regarding Corvettes, but just pretend it's a car from the Midwest and you're looking for similar weak areas.
    Also, check the trunk and the battery area.

    Hagerty lists the car as $19500 for fair (condition 4), with $3000 more for a factory hardtop.

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Additional questions would be, does the motor turn-over, could it be started easily, is it a 2-port or 6-port head, what condition is the glass and hardtop in??????
    Dougie
    '65 BJ8 3000 MKIII GN.29
    '57 100-SIX MM Vintage Racer GN.1 #414
    Team Healey PDX

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Would a 57 have a gallery head ? Carbs standing straight up instead of angled .
    "If it aint broke ....dont fix it "
    " Thats not an oil leak ..........its a special automatic British rustproofing system "
    Best Healey in show ABCD Ottawa 2013
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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Quote Originally Posted by Healey Nut View Post
    Would a 57 have a gallery head ? Carbs standing straight up instead of angled .
    Early 1957's do before Healey upgraded to a 6-port head pattern after their '57 Mille Miglia class winning car # 414.
    Dougie
    '65 BJ8 3000 MKIII GN.29
    '57 100-SIX MM Vintage Racer GN.1 #414
    Team Healey PDX

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    G'day Rwat, your description indicates a Healey worth more that the $5000 offered! Even a gallery head 100 Six. The suggestion to have a Healey club member view the car is a good one. It would need to be lifted on a hoist to assess the frame condition properly.
    Cheers,
    Alwyn
    Fifty second year in one 100, still going strong!

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Thanks everyone, it sounds like the same issues are true for a Healey and a Corvette. This car looks to be a great restoration candidate. The owner bought it new and it looks like she kept everything original. The odometer shows 38,000 miles but I don't know if it works. From the condition of the car, I could believe that it might be accurate. A new issue has come up with the estate that may complicate things. Two guys who appear to have been stealing from the original owner for years have suddenly surfaced again. It turns out that they are the source of the $5,000 offer. I don't have a dog in this fight but I have a real problem with people who make their living abusing elders. When and if we get that resolved, I will pull the car out and post some photos. Thanks again for the help.

    Doc

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Quote Originally Posted by Rwat View Post
    Thanks everyone, it sounds like the same issues are true for a Healey and a Corvette. This car looks to be a great restoration candidate. The owner bought it new and it looks like she kept everything original. The odometer shows 38,000 miles but I don't know if it works. From the condition of the car, I could believe that it might be accurate. A new issue has come up with the estate that may complicate things. Two guys who appear to have been stealing from the original owner for years have suddenly surfaced again. It turns out that they are the source of the $5,000 offer. I don't have a dog in this fight but I have a real problem with people who make their living abusing elders. When and if we get that resolved, I will pull the car out and post some photos. Thanks again for the help.

    Doc
    People like that really p*ss me off! Although my car is a lot better than the usual BHCC offering, it is rough, and needs a lot of work. I paid more than $5k.

    For what could be a decent, original car - of course, pictures will help to tell the complete story - I would think that is probably way below a fair price. Granted, a BN6 may be worth more than a comparable BN4 (or not?). I hope the executor understands what's going on, and can do something about it.

    I enjoy getting a good deal as much as anyone, but it's just a crime to take advantage of old or sick people. Unfortunately, I'm starting to better understand both demographics...

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Jim 58 BN6; 05-09-2017 at 01:03 PM. Reason: typos, as usual

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    The hardtop by itself is worth $3000!. If the car is complete and reasonably solid its worth a minimum of $15000.

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    It does sound as if the car should bring much more than the offer mentioned. One can also question whether the early 100-6 cars really are worth less than many of the later Healeys. Many owners replaced the original gallery head engine, which makes cars that still have those engines relatively rare. The early Longbridge cars also have various other features that make them unique and interesting. Some would pay more, not less, for a car like that.

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    At some point the longbridge cars may get their appreciation. At one time the early Porsche 356's were also the lower value cars because of the same reason, under-powered and less desired driving characteristics. But now they are finally being realized for their uniqueness and the values are MUCH higher than their later brothers.

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Engine Power can easy increased with few simple MOD to close to the BJ8 and 100 6 weight are a lot less

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Quote Originally Posted by healeyblue View Post
    At some point the longbridge cars may get their appreciation. At one time the early Porsche 356's were also the lower value cars because of the same reason, under-powered and less desired driving characteristics. But now they are finally being realized for their uniqueness and the values are MUCH higher than their later brothers.
    Isn't this what has happened with the 100 over the last decade or so. When I got my BN1 in 1984 they were not particularity cherished when compared to the later 3000's, but that has really changed in recent years.

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Quote Originally Posted by healeyblue View Post
    At some point the longbridge cars may get their appreciation. At one time the early Porsche 356's were also the lower value cars because of the same reason, under-powered and less desired driving characteristics. But now they are finally being realized for their uniqueness and the values are MUCH higher than their later brothers.
    A similar thing is also happening with Porsche 928s, although they still have a long way to go before catching up with the value of the earlier air cooled 911s. Lately, much of my time has been devoted to sorting electrical gremlins on a 928. The electrical complexity of those Porsches (reminds me of the innards of an Airbus or 747) makes the Healeys look downright simple and makes one appreciate the Healeys all the more.

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Quote Originally Posted by blueskies View Post
    A similar thing is also happening with Porsche 928s, although they still have a long way to go before catching up with the value of the earlier air cooled 911s. ...
    OT--a little--but it's probably not a good idea to 'ass-u-me' perpetual price inflation in classic cars (or in real estate, comic books, tulips, etc.):

    https://wolfstreet.com/2017/05/17/cl...ubbles-unwind/

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob_Spidell View Post
    OT--a little--but it's probably not a good idea to 'ass-u-me' perpetual price inflation in classic cars (or in real estate, comic books, tulips, etc.):
    Good point. When everyone wants an electric car, interest in our fine old gasoline powered cars may well decline.

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    Re: Questions about a barn find

    Quote Originally Posted by blueskies View Post
    A similar thing is also happening with Porsche 928s, although they still have a long way to go before catching up with the value of the earlier air cooled 911s. Lately, much of my time has been devoted to sorting electrical gremlins on a 928. The electrical complexity of those Porsches (reminds me of the innards of an Airbus or 747) makes the Healeys look downright simple and makes one appreciate the Healeys all the more.
    Yup. Mines an '82 and I have been daily driving it for over 10 years now.
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