Should You Buy A Car With A Branded Ownership?

A number of people call our classic car appraisal service looking for help with an insurance dispute over the value of the vehicle that they have been offered by their insurance company. They start out by explaining how little the insurance company has offered. As I dig deeper with more questions, I discover that the vehicle they have has a rebuilt, branded ownership. In this situation, the insurance company normally reduces the average market value of the vehicle by 40%. 

This comes as a big shock because people grossly underestimate the value penalty for a branded ownership vehicle. The branded vehicle that they buy may look like new, and the salesperson may be very reassuring as to the quality of the vehicle, but of course they never mention its true value due to its branded status. It’s very common that the owner does not know who assembled the vehicle after it was written off, this can be important in assuring the integrity of the rebuild. 

 

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.

Do you know what kind of coverage your Insurance policy offers your vehicle?

An enthusiast buys a special interest car to restore and put on the road. They pay $15,000.00 for the car and flatbed it to their mechanic.

They call their regular insurance company and obtain a policy for it, and when asked how much they paid for it, the owner says $15,000.00. The owner doesn’t think a thing about it until a total loss occurs.

They had $12,500.00 put into it before it went on the road (for a total investment of $27,500.00). Then, a total loss was caused when the car was parked in their driveway. The insurance company had put a “19 endorsement” on the policy which limits them from paying any more than the $15,000.00. Due to this limit, the car is a write-off.

The lesson in this story is that you have to read the fine print at least on the page where it lists your vehicles and their respective coverage.

A “19 endorsement” limits the amount covered, a “19A endorsement” covers an Agreed Amount for a specific period of time, usually five years.

 

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.

Why Do Dogs Belonging To Rolls-Royce Owners Bite Me?

It started with a Rolls-Royce Corniche, I was demonstrating to the owner how to use lambswool over carpets and I did not notice their little terrier on the front passenger seat. Next thing I know, there’s a dog hanging off one of my fingers and me dancing around the front garden after it let go. The owner of the car and the dog said very little. The next day, he phoned me to apologize for his wife’s lack of compassion explaining that they had previously lived in Texas, and they were certain that I would immediately hire a lawyer to sue them like everybody in Dallas does.

A second Rolls-Royce dog was a rescue dog, I was getting on fine patting the animal while sitting in the living room taking a small libation when suddenly my left hand was on its way down the dog’s throat. Blood was coming from a wound on my hand, I dash to the sink to wash it, I’m telling the couple that own the dog about my experience, they tell me about the other people he has bitten with not a care in the world. Now to be fair to Rolls-Royce owners, I had a big black poodle (owned by a BMW 3.0 owner) have a go at my knee cap, my trousers saved me from damage.

My most recent experience was with a custom motorbike owner’s dog who inflicted enough damage for me to go to a walk-in clinic. That experience left me “dog shy” for a while.

 

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.

Why Keep Records for your Car, Bike or Truck?

I was just going through my service records for my daily driver and my summer toy. I’m also involved in selling several classic vehicles at the moment that have undergone extensive restoration but no one kept records. One vehicle is a one owner unit, but the owner never told his family where the records were kept. Luckily, the two most recent service facilities he used are still in business and were able to print out the work orders. The original selling dealer threw all their records out 6 years ago when they moved location and started with a whole new software regime. When selling a special classic car at a normal price, prospective buyers know that they are buying the care and attention lavished on it by the previous owner(s). If no records are available, it’s natural that they will question the quality of the vehicle.

When going through the records for a car, look for long periods of inactivity. Inactive cars are like inactive people, they don’t fair well. Throw every bill and work order in a file folder, there’s a good chance they will be valuable one day.

Keep them in a safe place, not in the glove box!

 

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.

An Appraisal Now Protects You in the Future

Telling your insurance company the true nature of your collector classic by employing an appraisal is a very good precaution for when things go wrong. The craziest things happen to cars. They go up in flames, they get damaged by floods.

I had a client who had a highly modified modern classic car. His insurance agent had not requested an appraisal and the car had no specific value on the policy. The owner of the car had spent $125,000 total on the vehicle. There was a midsummer storm which caused widespread flooding and, in his case, his garage was situated under the house and the car ended up in 2 feet of water. The insurance adjuster explained that the insurance company would make no effort to restore the vehicle because the wiring system and engine management computer had been underwater. The car itself appeared “as new”.

The insurance company appraiser came along and explained that you could spend a fortune on one of these cars and still not make it any more valuable than the base unit. My research indicated that there were cars in the U.S. that were restored and modified in a similar manner that were selling for twice the amount that the insurance company was offering.

The end result was that the insurance company paid the client the amount I had indicated and he kept the car salvage for free. He was able to sell the salvage to the vehicle’s restorers, which allowed him to recoup all the money that he had invested in the vehicle.

Another precautionary tale involved a gentleman who went to New Jersey to buy a brand new Japanese car that had been flooded on the dock after it had been unloaded from the shipping vessel. When he got it back home, he discovered that purchasing the computer modules was going to cost him more than the vehicle was worth, and because the car was so new, there were no used modules in any wrecking yards. He was paranoid because he had never explained the situation to his wife, yet.

The moral of this tale is that a simple car appraisal is a very powerful tool in case the unexpected happens. A small investment now can protect you from huge losses. Contact us for a professional appraisal you can count on.

 

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.

Does Your Classic Car Need a Will?

I often get to meet the widow who has been left the cars. Some widows have a hard time letting go of their deceased husbands cars and they need help with the process of moving them to a new home. Some cars stay in their garage so long we have to drag them out with a tow truck. I wonder if it would help the widow if the husband left a will for the disbursement of the cars?

I once had a client who sold his car to a dealer friend because he didn’t want his two sons fighting over it. Guess what? When the children saw the car for sale, they came in and bought it to share it.

Sometimes I’m the one explaining that the treasured classic that the husband has boasted about for years, is not the pristine wonder that they have been led to believe. I just had a client who asked me for my assurance that when he went, his daughter could call me and get help to sell it. He was unusual in that he wants it to receive a full paint restoration so he can enjoy it even more in the time left. Many people I meet mention that they want to leave their car to their sons but it’s said at such an age that they have no idea if their son will want it.

Of course the one that takes the cake is the lady who complained to me that the City of Brampton wouldn’t allow her husband to be buried in his Corvette. I guess you have to know if your wishes are realistic!

 

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.

Classic Car Scam Just Around The Corner

The vehicle was a very desirable 1969 Mustang model and listed on ‘American Listed.’ The owner was working overseas for a world wide major commercial brand. She was a real person with a high profile career, visible on the internet. As she didn’t have time to meet a potential buyer, the car was being stored with a storage facility in Washington State.

An interested buyer could send the $60K USD asking price to the storage company and then you can go and inspect the car. At this point you’d have 7 days to decide whether to buy it. If you don’t buy, you’d get your money back.

That was the story, anyway.

The reality was that thieves had completely assumed her identity and the car was a complete fabrication designed to perpetrate this crime. The storage company was non-existent and was used to make the buyer’s money disappear.

When the lady was contacted, she explained that her identity has been falsely used for the last 3 years in the scam.

This story highlights the importance in working with an experienced, trusted professional to handle your classic car transaction (buying or selling). We have ‘seen it all’ and know all the scams to watch out for and act on your behalf to protect your funds and classic car investment.

 

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.