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Old Cars Auto Restoration Guide

 Old Cars Auto Restoration Guide

Old Cars Auto Restoration Guide

 About 15 years ago, I employed the “$5,000 rule.” I haven’t heard of anyone else with this same rule, but it worked for me and could have been applied to many others. If you were in the mood to buy a basic old car back then, it would cost the accumulative amount of $5,000. That could be realized several ways. If the car was purchased for $1,000 you could expect to put another $4,000 into it to bring it up to par. That might mean some engine work, interior work, and new paint with a fair percentage of work also being done yourself. If the car cost $3,000, I expected to put $2,000 into it—probably for brakes, exhaust, carburetor rebuild, boiled gas tank, the general process.
That rule held up well. Of course, there were exceptions.

Understandably, an ultra-expensive Classic or super-rare model would be above the $5,000 figure. The amount was mainly applied to what could be called bread-and-butter cars, the basic transportation of the bygone day. So Fords, Chevrolets, Chryslers, Dodges, Mercurys, even medium-priced Packards and especially Studebakers, Hudsons and Nashes from the 1940s and 1950s were prone to the rule.
Exceptions at the extreme low end were not covered by the $5,000 rule, either. This would mean a near-basket case car or junked car (with numerous parts missing) could have sold for $200 but it would have taken the equivalent of $8,000 or more to make the vehicle presentable and reliable.

Today, you could apply a new version of that rule with the dollar
amount around $20,000, given higher costs for restoration and repairs. With this in mind, if you plan to purchase a 1964 Studebaker Hawk or 1935 Plymouth, you will probably have an accumulated expenditure of $20,000 before the vehicle is reliable and presentable. If you want a 1957 Corvette or Thunderbird, the amount will be higher. As for a Packard Twelve from 1937, $20,000 could be a small puddle in a big bucket, since initial purchase price will be high, not counting successive upgrades. Nevertheless, the idea of a $20,000 rule will hold in many common purchases.



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