Claims People Make When Selling a Classic Car (Part 1)

I have seen it all when it comes to claims owners make on their classic car. Sometimes they are erroneous claims that could be considered honest mistakes. Other times, a more nefarious plot is underway. As a prospective buyer it really pays to do the due diligence and verify each claim a seller makes about their car. Here are some of the claims I have heard over the years… along with the reality behind each claim.

CLAIM: “The car is completely original.”

REALITY: They didn’t know it had had a colour change, electronic ignition, later wheels from the same model etc. Their father’s mechanic always changed the components to modern ones when he serviced the car. Luckily their father kept all the original components in boxes in the garage. Even the original rear axle. This made a huge difference when it came to selling it.

CLAIM: “One owner since new”

REALITY: Their father never mentioned he bought it when it was 1yr old, it had always felt like new to the kids.

CLAIM: “The mileage is original”

REALITY: Their father never mentioned the broken speedometer cable that went unfixed for a couple of years, twenty years ago.

CLAIM: “Original paint”

REALITY: Many people can’t see that their car may have more than one colour paint or don’t notice the overspray on the lock mechanisms.

CLAIM: “Never winter driven”

REALITY: Their father drove the car to work all year round for the first three years before it was stored every winter.

CLAIM: “1956 Thunderbird with only 2500 miles on it”

REALITY: The car was originally raced by a Ford dealer in Florida. It was then disassembled and put in boxes. Later it was restored to better than new, the owner at this point had the mileage set to 1956, the year he got his license. Original mileage unknown!

As you can see, there are different ways that a classic car can turn out to have a story that is quite different than what is originally reported. Take your time to find out the verifiable facts when purchasing – or hire a professional to conduct a professional pre-purchase inspection. It can save you a fortune.

Stay tuned for Part 2.


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.

Selling Your Classic Car Can Attract Bad Actors

When you advertise on Kijiji or similar sites, one expects occasional bad mannered responses — this is a mild one.

As we all know, the Internet gives some people the chance to vent. When selling a classic vehicle, expect to hear from this sort of person.

As experienced professionals, Bramhall Classic Auto is prepared for these people and we insulate you and your vehicle from them. These people are mostly just an annoyance and an unpleasant part of doing business. Other responders may have more nefarious intentions.

Furthermore, we do take great care to qualify potential buyers so that as few people as possible get to see the vehicle being sold. This protects your vehicle as well as the transaction from one of the many potential pitfalls that can be experienced while selling your classic car.

Update: The vehicle cited by this Kijiji keyboard warrior has recently sold to a qualified buyer at a fair price in a smooth transaction brokered by Bramhall Classic Auto.


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.

Rare Cars are Valuable

One of the biggest myths in the classic car world is that “rare cars are valuable.”

Here are some of the rules:

A rare car is worth nothing if no one wants it (see many rare cars that went out of production from 1900-WWII).

1960s Mustangs were made in large numbers, demand for all models remains very high.

Ultra rare editions are more valuable, special dealer editions often attract little extra value.


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.

Demographics and the Classic Car

A number of years ago I received a call about a Rolls-Royce Phantom V advertised on my website. A Phantom V is the model that HRH The Queen used for years for public parades. In her case it often had a glass roof for better visibility, this one was a normal limousine. They wanted to buy it for their father-in-law. A price was finalized and the car was delivered. My salesman went to get the cheque from the intended user, it turned out he was 92 yrs old and wanted it so he could sit in the rear and have his breakfast served in it. He had previously had one but had sold it to the Middle East and regretted it.

Who buys these cars now? Who will buy them in 2060 when they are around 100 yrs old? Will there always be an exemption for “Classic Cars” when all normal cars are running on electricity or hydrogen? Will gas stations disappear like phone booths have? Will there be Safari Parks where you will take your gas powered car and drive it around for a couple of hours and have an exhaust recycling pipe fitted that stops the CO2 from escaping?

When I’m asked what a “classic car” is, I always say “a car built before 1975”. Is this valid anymore? Maybe any car or bike that is over 15 yrs old that is NOT a daily driver qualifies. We will see, if we are around to see!


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.


1974 MGB RoadsterIt was 1991 and had just spent 6 years in the restoration business restoring the most beautiful classics in the Toronto area. I was driving along North Queen by the auto wreckers when I saw a white MGB parked against their fence. I stopped and checked it out. The first thing I noticed was how straight the panels were and no corrosion. I had a friend in the trade who did engine swaps for them. He arranged to borrow the car for a pre-purchase inspection

We discovered that mechanically it was in good shape, body wise it had had front nose damage that had been poorly repaired. The paint on the hood had a line in it where they had blown it in, they didn’t even bother to paint the whole hood. The panels in front of the radiator were missing.
I arranged to buy the car for $3,500, the mechanic did about $500 of work and I drove it to New York City and back on vacation.

1974 MGB RoadsterJust after I bought the car and I was driving it downtown Toronto, someone approached me on the street to ask me if I wanted to buy their recently wrecked car. I think I paid $500 for it and I placed it with my mechanic and we split the income from selling parts and he took the engine for a project he was working on. The car turned out to be very reliable.

It had one regular problem, every year when I took it out of storage, I would get it to the top of the driveway and it would quit, the fuel pump needed attention. I was told to use a hammer and hit the fuel pump a couple of times to wake it up, it always worked.

A remarkable aspect of the car was that it still had two six volt batteries, it had never been converted to one twelve volt unit. I think I had those batteries for most of the 15yrs I had the car. Eventually, reluctantly, I converted to a Honda Civic twelve volt which just fitted into the space of one six volt holder.

In the years I had the car I did three major updates. I was at an MG club meet when I had a chance to buy two used leather seat covers, which I did. I gave them to John Kokal, interior trim artist, to install, plus Wilton carpeting. Rebuilding the driver’s seat was one of the best improvements I ever made along with changing the gear box to overdrive. A Stayfast convertible roof was next.

I drove it uneventfully for years. One thing I noticed was that on the highway, because it was white and relatively low, trucks tended to not see me in their right side mirrors. My son drove the car away when leaving his wedding. Towards the end of my period of owning it, I had a chance to have the body redone and the colour changed to BRG (British Racing Green) at the local body shop school. They did a great job and it transformed the car.

After the colour change many more people asked me about it than they had before. After 15yrs, I got bored. I even bought a license plate, 2B NOT2B, because I couldn’t make up my mind about keeping the car. I sold it for good money to a nice home, I then bought a four seat convertible, a 328Ci BMW, my logic was this way I could get my two grandchildren in the back. If they have been in the car 12 times in twelve years, I’d be surprised.