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What is a fair price for a ’69 XKE?

HCE

Freshman Member
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Hi everyone,
I am new to the board, but not new to British cars and all of their quirks. In my younger years I owned several including an MGB-GT, two Bug-eye Sprites, a Jensen Healey, and a Lotus Europa.
I have been looking for an XK-E off and on for about 20 years, but I have never found the right car at a price I was willing to pay. I may have found one, and I would appreciate your opinions as to what would be a fair price.
First, some background. I have no interest in a show car. I simply what something which is mechanically sound that we can drive to lunch or dinner on Saturday, or up to the North GA mountains to visit wineries – about 150 miles round trip.
My perfect car would be a 1968 so called Series I ½ because I like the Series I body and the Series II interior. I have also considered Series II cars with the 4.2 liter engine, but nothing after 1969 because of the emissions gear that went on the 1970 cars.
This is the car I am looking at:
1969 - Burgundy w/ black top and interior. Top is in good shape except for a ¼ inch hole behind the passenger seat which looks like a cigarette burn. The rear window is cloudy
The interior is in good original condition, some cracking, but leather is not ripped and seams are good.
62,000 miles, but not driven in 5 to 17 years – more on that in a minute.
Paint was redone in the original color 1982 or 83, but it is faded and there are some scratches and dings. I would probably want to repaint it the original burgundy fairly soon. There appears to be only a little rust along the lower edge of the rocker panels.
The chrome is in good condition, as are wheels. There is a lot of tread on the tires, but they are probably not roadworthy. The owner says it just needs new tubes.
The owner says when he last drove it, it ran strong, with no transmission problems, and no oil burning or smoking issues.
The owner reports some electrical issues and suggests it needs a new wiring harness.
I have known the owner for 20 years. We are acquaintances, but not close friends; but we do share many mutual friends, so I want to pay a fair price.
When I first looked at the car in 1998 the owner wanted $85K and said that it had not been driven in 3 or 4 years. He now wants $25K and says that he has not driven the car in about 5 years, but I have a strong suspicion that it is more like 15+ years.
I figure as a minimum, I will need to flush the radiator, replace all hoses and belts, change the oil and filter and the fluids in the transmission and differential, replace the tires and tubes, flush the break lines and rebuild the master and wheel cylinders. It will probably also need an exhaust system, though the owner says it is good.
The car is in another state and I live in Atlanta so I will probably buy it without a personal inspection.
I know it is difficult to assess a car’s value based on so little information, but any help you can offer is appreciated.
Thanks,
HCE
 

jessebogan

Jedi Knight
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Do yourself a HUGE favor and pay someone to actually visually inspect the car in person, preferably someone that really knows E types. Rust, any at all is a big deal. If it is just the floor footwells, not to big a deal. If there is rust in the sills, it can be a big can o worms. The skin is structural in an e type, so any rust and the strength of the car is compromised. Also, any rust you can see will prove to be the tip of the iceburg The mechanical bits of an E are pretty much readily available (often at a price tho...)but the body is far and away the most expensive and difficult to repair. Still, if the rust is within reason, 25K might not be a bad price. I saw an early 3.8 roadster that was literally in 2 separate halves sell for around 20K on Ebay... Oh yeah, make sure the engine still turns.

Good luck,
Jesse
 

Marvin Gruber

Yoda
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HCE,

Look the body over, if the car hasn't been driven or moved in some time then the tin worm should be showing. Look at floors and rockers first, then the subframes for damage. Put a good battery in it and see if will turn over. If all that is okay then you won't take a bath in price at $25k. If you don't want it, I would be interested.

Marv
 

HEALEYJAG

Jedi Warrior
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DO NOT BUY THE CAR WITHOUT A PERSONAL INSPECTION BY YOURSELF..


Everyones opinion varies..when I sold a series 2 last year


that was a GREAT driver with many new items I was pleased to get 35,000


There is NO way you could put 10,000 in that car an come close to my car.

I would rather buy a DRIVING well maintained car that costs a little more..
 
OP
HCE

HCE

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Thanks to those who replied with advice.

Jesses, I have found someone who restores British cars in the area where this car is located, and he will inspect the car for me for a reasonable amount of money.

Marv, I suspect that as you stated, the rust is more extensive than outward appearances suggest. I know from my own experience that a dime sized bubble in the paint can really be a dollar bill sized problem, a problem that costs many dollar bills to resolve.

And HEALEYJAG, you are probably correct regarding buying this car verses spending more on a car that is already in the condition I want to get this one into. I have decided that a road trip is in my future to meet with the inspector and see firsthand what I am getting into.

I have discussed the car with a restorer whose opinion I trust. Based on the known issues, he tells me I should expect to put $12 to 15k into the car, and that assumes there are no mechanical problems. He suggested that it is not a good deal anywhere over $20k.

Thanks again for your comments. I welcome any additional thoughts the three of you or anyone else may have.

I will let you know what I decide to do.
HCE
 

HEALEYJAG

Jedi Warrior
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Best of Luck..


One more word of advice...bring some CASH with you...money talks ..you might be surprised what he might take if you put a WAD of money in front of his face.

Pete
 
OP
HCE

HCE

Freshman Member
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Ok, I bought it. I drove down to Orlando last week and did the inspection. It turned out to be a ’70, not a ‘69. The body was in better shape than what had been described. Interior is said to be original and is in OK condition. The owner admitted that he had not driven or started it since 1996.

I was delivered today.

I have ordered fuel, gas and air filters, alternator and water pump belts, and a hose kit. Those parts should be here next week.

Today I pulled the plugs and gave each cylinder a one ounce shot of Marvel Mystery oil. I am going to repeat this tomorrow, but with a smaller amount of oil.

I am going to start by flushing and refilling the brake system and the clutch, but I can’t find anything on brake fluid specs. Suggestions are appreciated.

It needs a battery and tires before I can take it on the road. Verdstein Sprint 185 15’s have been recommended. Anyone have recommendations regarding either off these needs?

The car has only the outboard portion – the two point part – of the seatbelts. Strange.
 
D

Deleted member 8987

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DOT 4 unless the fluid is purple/blue or the proper DOT5 placard attached near the fill point.
I know XK's unlimited has seatbelts for these. Probably SNG Barratt.

96 is a long time to sit.
May need a whole lot more than fluid flush in the hydraulics.
 

Marvin Gruber

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A 205/70/15 will work fine on the car and not cost you as much as the Verdsteins. As TOC said, you're going to need a little more work to get it reliable. The S2 cars always ran hot. Pull the radiator and have it cleaned out thoroughly.

Marv
 

MikeP

Jedi Knight
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You may also find you develop leaks from the drivetrain after awhile. If it's been sitting that long the various seals and gaskets exposed to oil and other fluids may have dried out and they don't always rewet and completely reseal.
 
OP
HCE

HCE

Freshman Member
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Thanks. Others have suggested I wait to change the fluid in the transmission and differential until after I have driven the car for a while to see if I have any problems.
 
OP
HCE

HCE

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Re tires - That’s what is on the car now. Doesn’t that size give you an error in the speedometer reading? If so, by how much?

Regarding the radiator, I had planned on wrapping the fan motors with shrink wrap, then hitting it from the back with a pressure washer.

It is showing just under 83k on the odometer. The previous owner said the car had had the valves “done” @ 80k and that the cooling system had “been renewed.” Not sure what that means but I am sure I am going to find out.
 

HEALEYJAG

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How about some pictures???
 

Marvin Gruber

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Don't recommend pressure washing the radiator. Those fins will bend over very easy, then you'll be using a small screwdriver to straighten to fins back, the ones that don't break off. An inside flush will do more good than outside cleaning. Maybe use oven cleaner on the outside if its oily or grease caked. If you are not that concerned with looks, don't paint either, rad will cool off quicker w/o paint.
 
OP
HCE

HCE

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Pete
I only have a few pics. I have been too busy sorting out the issues I am finding and working on the to do list.
I have had a number of surprises, the biggest being electrical, but so far, I am pretty happy with what I bought.

BTW –I sent you a IM
Harry
 

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HCE said:
Pete
I only have a few pics. I have been too busy sorting out the issues I am finding and working on the to do list.
I have had a number of surprises, the biggest being electrical, but so far, I am pretty happy with what I bought.

BTW –I sent you a IM
Harry

Post a warning notice next time you include pictures.....drool and slobber aren't compatible with keyboards!!
grin.gif
LoL
 

HEALEYJAG

Jedi Warrior
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About the tires..its a personal thing..but if you compare the look on my series two pic a few posts ago to your car with the bigger tires..I kinda like the 185's better. Also might rub on a complete turn....

Pete
 
OP
HCE

HCE

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Pete,
My car right now has 195 75 15’s but they are not useable.
Everyone I speak with has a different opinion, most in the direction of larger tires. This afternoon I spoke with a person who really seems to understand these cars and his recommendation was the 185 R 15 that came on it. He believes this is the best fit for the original wheels, it is the correct look, it will give me clearance over speed bumps, and that anything wider will rub under some circumstances.
Thanks for the comments.
HCE
 

MikeP

Jedi Knight
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I don't know if the wheel well sizes are the same, but with my Series 1 I found that with 205 size tires the rears were fine but if I was turning and hit a bump or dropped in a pothole then the rear of the tire on the side towards the turn could move high enough to grab at the well at the joint between the body and hood mounted parts. I'd say 205 size on the front could be a problem on occasion.
 
OP
HCE

HCE

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That seems to agree with what I was told. I ordered 4 Vredestein Sprint Classic’s from TiresByWeb for $708, including FedEx ground shipping. They should be here next week.
 
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