Author Topic: Fair Price for Barn Find  (Read 1174 times)

demichae

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Fair Price for Barn Find
« on: May 03, 2022, 17:14:08 »
I might have the opportunity to purchase this 1965 230SL that’s been sitting for about 30 years. It’s in rough shape.  Any idea as to what  a fair price would be?

Cees Klumper

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2022, 17:36:40 »
They keep coming out of the woodwork!

As you can guess the answer is 'it depends'. Mostly on whether there's rust and, if yes (likely) how much. Second would be the mechanicals - is everything there, has it been protected from the elements? Is the engine stuck, is there coolant in there that may have wreaked havoc on the engine internals/cylinder head? Is the injection pump frozen?

Also very important - do you want to/can you carry out the recommissioning/restoration work yourself? Do you not mind investing beyond what makes economic sense?  I am just now finishing a restoration on a Lancia that would have cost me around $70K more if I had all the work done professionally. A full-blown Pagoda restoration these days is probably around $150K?
Cees Klumper
1969 Mercedes 280 SL automatic cream white
1972 Lancia Fulvia Coupe 1.3 rosso corsa "Luigi"
1968 Triumph Spitfire MK3 1.3 midnight blue
1990 Ford Bronco II 2WD colonial white

MikeSimon

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2022, 19:36:01 »
Considering the fact that the W113 in its 3 incarnations has reached collector status and prices are constantly rising, with some in the stratosphere, I would put a fair price on your barn find of something over $15K, under $18K. It is difficult to make any assessment from a remote point and off the pictures you posted.
For that kind of "investment", you could always part the car out and sell in pieces and still come out ahead.
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner

mdsalemi

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2022, 21:12:13 »
Interesting. Yes, Cees, they keep being found--like there's no shortage of barns, or cars in them. They are still finding 300SLs in the same manner, a car considerably older and one they made very few of.

The reason why cars are left to sit like this for [insert # of years or decades] is that at the time they were rolled or driven in the barn, the then-owner made a decision that the cost to "deal with it" in any reasonable manner, was too much. Now, add those "x" numbers of years or decades, and the following has happened:

1. However "bad" it was, is now worse.
2. Some parts have gone NLA.
3. Other parts are unobtanium or priced like it.

Trust me, I know these things. My car was pretty much something akin to this. Not "found" in a barn, but in a garage. Not found, because it was never lost. Very rough in every possible metric when driven into the garage in 1985, and not uncovered from the tarp until 1999. See the photo when my car was dragged out of the garage. Yes, dragged as the brakes were frozen.

In 1999-2001, my car, in its first and initial restoration, took 1000 hours of direct labor, and probably $30K+ in parts...not including "sublet work" time and money such as chrome plating, instrument restoration, brake restoration, etc. I had a great restorer who allowed me to help. Labor was $45.00 per hour.

So, this car as presented is going to take a very long time, and a boatload of money to bring it back to life.
Michael Salemi
Davidson, North Carolina (Charlotte Area) USA
1969 280SL (USA-Spec)
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
2019 Ford Flex SEL
2019 Ford Escape Hybrid
2021 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks

Benz Dr.

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2022, 01:51:38 »
Considering the fact that the W113 in its 3 incarnations has reached collector status and prices are constantly rising, with some in the stratosphere, I would put a fair price on your barn find of something over $15K, under $18K. It is difficult to make any assessment from a remote point and off the pictures you posted.
For that kind of "investment", you could always part the car out and sell in pieces and still come out ahead.

Some parts move quickly and other things become boat anchors and door knobs. I'm still sitting on stuff from 30 years ago....
1966 230SL 5 speed, LSD, header pipes, 300SE distributor, ported, polished and balanced, AKA  ''The Red Rocket ''
Dan Caron's SL Barn

john.mancini

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2022, 02:38:07 »
It's so hard to put a price on a car based on 4 photos. The degree of rust or previous body damage must be assessed. Restoring one of these W113's in 2022 is far different than restoring one 20 - 25 years ago.
John
68 280SL 906 Blue 4-sp sold
69 280SL 906 Blue sold
70 280SL 904 Blue sold
70 280SL 571 Red sold
70 280SL 040 Black 4-sp sold
66 230SL 162 Blue/Grey  sold
68 280SL 568 Red 4-sp sold
69 280SL 304 Horizon Blue sold
65 230SL 519 Red 4-sp
83 911SC 50K orig miles
98 911 cab, 29K orig miles

johnk

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2022, 11:19:04 »
It could cost $15 to $20k on the chrome alone
John Krystowski
Avon Ohio
1968 Euro 280sl under restoration
2016 Jag F-Type R sold june 2021
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MikeSimon

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2022, 12:33:31 »
The cost of restoration depends on your own personal standards and where you want to end up. If you are looking for "better than new" and show quality, it is more expensive than "functional" and driver quality.
I have seen used body parts, doors, hoods, fenders totaling more than $15K. In addition you have the driveline, FIP, P/S Pump, ignition parts etc. And if the car has a hardtop, add another 3K
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner

mdsalemi

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2022, 14:13:57 »
The cost of restoration depends on your own personal standards and where you want to end up. If you are looking for "better than new" and show quality, it is more expensive than "functional" and driver quality.
I have seen used body parts, doors, hoods, fenders totaling more than $15K. In addition you have the driveline, FIP, P/S Pump, ignition parts etc. And if the car has a hardtop, add another 3K

Yeah, well sort of. But not exactly. There are many parts that are ONLY available on the used market, and install "unrestored" at your own peril. Anyone buying an FIP or engine, without having it seen running another vehicle is just asking for trouble. Even for seemingly simple things, you can create headaches for yourself: been there and done that. For example, in my initial restoration, the restorer sent out the starter to a local automotive electric shop for "rebuilding". When it came back, the solenoid [which was new] wouldn't disengage. Back to the shop it went, and another was fitted. Same issue. Finally, I took control of the situation and did what I should have done in the first place: take the &^%$ thing to a local foreign auto parts store as a core, and get a Bosch factory rebuilt. That went in perfectly, and is still in today. In retrospect, trying to save a few $$$ ended up costing me more in labor as we had to pull and reinstall the unit twice before the last one went in. You can extrapolate that anecdote to any number of other pieces and parts...and such is the nature of work on any old car.

If you choose that kind of route, and do your own labor, expect to be re-doing a lot of what you do as parts don't fit, don't work, or are rejected "in situ" for one reason or another. If you are paying for labor, you are just wasting money.

While "Concours quality cars" are rated on a [very subjective] 100 point scale, it's not like you can ask a restorer, or set your own goal, to create a "60 point" car at 60% of the cost. I suppose you could ship your chrome off to Tijuana and save some $$$, but goodness knows if it will all fit if you indeed get it all back. The best way to save is to do your restoration and rebuilding of pieces and parts yourself. Many of us here have done that, some more than others, many with astounding good results. But it takes a lot of time, and sometimes, a bit of research. It's not going to happen quickly.

So you don't want to spring for a new paint job. But you had to replace a metal panel. Are you going to get 10 Dupli-Color rattle cans and just do the replaced panel? You can set up your own paint shop (like Cees has done) and "learn the trade" but not all can do that. Are you going to ask a body shop for a "mediocre" paint job, 60 points, to save money? Pretty much every shop has its own set of quality standards. Motoring Investments and Hjeltness and Paul Russel will all be a bit higher than Maaco... ;)
Michael Salemi
Davidson, North Carolina (Charlotte Area) USA
1969 280SL (USA-Spec)
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
2019 Ford Flex SEL
2019 Ford Escape Hybrid
2021 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks

waltklatt

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2022, 19:11:16 »
Also depends on what you and the seller can agree on.
Bring some documentation to prove to the seller that the car is worth this range.
Also verify the vin number matches the title/paperwork, why, because you say its a 1965, but looking at the picture of the dash, the end vents of the dash are partially painted dash color(that was the earliest 230SL's)  Maybe the seller painted them??
Bought mine 23 years ago and it had sat outside in the storage lot of a dealership for 24 years(abandoned by original owner to the dealer).
Walter
1967 220SL diesel, slowly gathering parts to make it back to an original gas motor.

demichae

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2022, 19:23:05 »
I really appreciate the comments.  I’ll find out in two weeks what the price is and will update this thread

Nickw

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2022, 00:26:45 »
Hey buddy I just noticed your ad about the Mercedes you found in the barn wanna know if you bought it and if you want to sell it I am a cash buyer please let me know call or text me at 703-839-6603 thanks

J. Huber

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2022, 00:35:22 »
Did I miss the ad? Thought this was a valuation question.
James
63 230SL

demichae

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2022, 00:38:38 »
I didn’t post an ad….I plan to keep it if I get it!

john.mancini

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2022, 14:02:40 »
I hate to sound like a "Negative Nellie", but the other issue is time. Trying to find a restorer, (if you are not going to do the bulk of the work yourself), who can fit you in and have your car completed in the next 24 months is near impossible. Mercedes restorations, from driver level to concours, are very time consuming. I can not tell you just how much time and money you will save yourself by finding a W113 that is a solid, good driver. Finding a W113 like that would allow you to enjoy the car, and, you can patiently improve the car during your ownership. Much more rewarding in this day and age, IMHO.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2022, 19:46:56 by john.mancini »
John
68 280SL 906 Blue 4-sp sold
69 280SL 906 Blue sold
70 280SL 904 Blue sold
70 280SL 571 Red sold
70 280SL 040 Black 4-sp sold
66 230SL 162 Blue/Grey  sold
68 280SL 568 Red 4-sp sold
69 280SL 304 Horizon Blue sold
65 230SL 519 Red 4-sp
83 911SC 50K orig miles
98 911 cab, 29K orig miles

MikeSimon

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2022, 16:37:59 »
Very good point, John! Friend has a 1976 Porsche 914 that was rear-ended. Needs body repair. Cannot find a bodyshop that wants to do it.
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner

Rolf-Dieter

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2022, 17:58:28 »
Hi, demichae,

I would never touch a barn find, it is too difficult to establish what additional hidden items one has to deal with. I recommend the purchase of something you can drive and get it inspected by a knowlagable mechanic. Pay the inspection fee that might run you $200- or there abouts, including a written report (you can then establish price for labour and parts for each item). Then if you plan to purchase it you can plan to address the items that need attention one by one in priorety.

Doing this you have a fair idea of what it will cost you in the end, also you can drive and enjoy the car in the summer while the work you plan to undertake is being scheduled and done in the wintertime. This will also give you a good way to negotiate a fair price.

I know of a owner that purchased a car requiring lots of stuff to be done, was not able to drive the car for 4 years and paid lots to get it all done. You don't want to do that.

Good Luck!

Dieter

PS. Plenty of good and reasonable cars out there you can drive to a garage to get inspected before you purchase the car.
DD 2011 SL 63 AMG and my 69 Pagoda 280 SL

JamesL

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2022, 05:22:49 »
Ah but the romance of a fixer upper that you only paid peanuts for. We all (maybe Mr Caron aside)  have those moments, be they cars, bikes, sheds, houses…. We all KNOW the sensible option at a time when even those with the skills, space and time need deep pockets, but…
James L
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Benz Dr.

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2022, 22:19:19 »
Ah but the romance of a fixer upper that you only paid peanuts for. We all (maybe Mr Caron aside)  have those moments, be they cars, bikes, sheds, houses…. We all KNOW the sensible option at a time when even those with the skills, space and time need deep pockets, but…

No, I'm not immune. I've paid far too much some and got real deals for other stuff. The trick is being able to walk away even if you want it badly. Very easy to buy a problem and even the best appraisal can miss all sorts of things.  The only way to really know a car is to have worked on it and gone through everything. Some things will be obvious but not everything.
1966 230SL 5 speed, LSD, header pipes, 300SE distributor, ported, polished and balanced, AKA  ''The Red Rocket ''
Dan Caron's SL Barn

Bonnyboy

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2022, 16:53:36 »
That's the great thing about this hobby.   Participants get their kicks out of different parts of this same hobby.   

Some people prefer to go to a concert to listen to the performers - others prefer to be a performer in the concert to play for others - others want to do both.    To me - driving the car is like going to a concert where working on the car is like I'm part of the concert.    Finding a barn find and figuring out what it needs to be running again is one of the most exciting parts of this hobby.   I just make sure that the price I pay is low enough that if I run into trouble I can get most of my money back and the amount I lose I put down to "entertainment expense" - holds true with free finds as well -  they say there is nothing more expensive than the FREE boat.

My Dad always had an outlook on projects which I adopted years ago -  if say a concert costs an average of $40/hour to attend - If I lose less than $40/hour on a project / barn find, I got a deal on entertainment.    If I make money, then good on me for taking the risk and making the effort. 

     
Ian
69 280SL
73 CB750K
75 MGB
78 FLH
82 CB750SC
94 FLHTCU
08 NPS50

AndrewB

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2022, 19:15:47 »
Having embarked on restoration of a barn find, I would say : walk away now. It will save you a lot of time, trouble and money.

I don't think a car that has been rotting in a barn is salvageable. The parts are getting very hard to find, and unless you can yourself do a professional standard of sheet metal work, you are going to have to find a sheet metal worker who has the skills to do very complex shape repairs. These cars were handmade, and I don't know if enough of the skills exist where you live to be able to get the job done properly

The barn find I bought was supposedly complete and salvageable. I got an expert opinion on this from a very well known and highly regarded restorer of these vehicles. It has taken twice as long (COVID has not helped, but the shortage of skills do the work properly has also impacted), and will cost a LOT more than it was supposed to. Once the car was stripped, much of what was on it was too far gone to be useful for the rebuild, even though the initial expert opinion was that it was all good and could be stripped, restored and re-used. 

The smart call would have been to accept that what I paid for the wreck was a sunk cost. It would have been cheaper to walk away and write this off than continue. I know this now with the benefit of hindsight.

I hope to eventually have a beautiful rebuilt Pagoda, but the stress and cost has been more than I bargained for. The guy doing the work has been good to work with, but has also been let down by subcontractors

I already had a beautiful, unrestored Pagoda. I went crazy and added a barn find restoration. It was a stupid and unnecessary thing to do. I look forward to seeing the collection of very expensive sub components reassembled into a final product, which is already a year late, in the not too distant future.

But I would caution against thinking this is an easy or sensible path to take. Romantic - YES, Sensible - Definitely NOT

If you insist on proceeding, maybe a rule of thumb is to expect it to cost 3x your best estimate and take 3 times as long. You should offer 1/3 of what people tell you the base vehicle is worth and once you have stripped it, be prepared to walk away if the bits look worse than expected. There are just too many things you don't know until it is stripped completely (incl the engine)

Good luck !
« Last Edit: May 09, 2022, 19:21:45 by AndrewB »
1969 280SL
1970 280SL (undergoing restoration)
1971 Range Rover Suffix A Kingsley Restomod
1987 500SL
2002 Porsche 996 Targa
2011 Landrover Defender TdCi
2019 Mercedes S560 Cabriolet

mdsalemi

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2022, 19:43:49 »
Having embarked...barn find...I would say : walk away now...expect it to cost 3x your best estimate and take 3 times as long.

"An honest man he is"

--Shakespeare, Othello 5.2.179
Michael Salemi
Davidson, North Carolina (Charlotte Area) USA
1969 280SL (USA-Spec)
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
2019 Ford Flex SEL
2019 Ford Escape Hybrid
2021 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks

Cees Klumper

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2022, 20:16:33 »
Well slightly opposing view, this past year and a half I picked up three absolute basket cases (see 'I did it again' posts in 'other cars') and each has come back in good to superb shape for the next couple of decades, I had a ton of fun and learned lots doing it, and on the first sold made a 200% profit on my out-of-pocket investments. So it is do-able, so long as you watch what you are doing. Which may not be so easy with the Pagoda, where replacement parts tend to cost 5-10 times what they are worth.
Cees Klumper
1969 Mercedes 280 SL automatic cream white
1972 Lancia Fulvia Coupe 1.3 rosso corsa "Luigi"
1968 Triumph Spitfire MK3 1.3 midnight blue
1990 Ford Bronco II 2WD colonial white

mdsalemi

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2022, 14:46:12 »
Well slightly opposing view

Your experiences are uncommon and really not any accurate comparison. Though many members here like to do their own work, in some cases spending inordinate amounts of time and effort to learn how to do something, and then do it, metal work, body work, and painting are "arts". Few delve into that, preferring mechanical work. You have a laudable and particular adeptness at these things.

But the parts issue is the most severe. Certain collectible cars were made in enough volume, and have a large group of small to large "cottage industries" that have sprung up to serve them.

Unless you carefully "buy it right", and do your own work, as you do, it is extremely difficult to make any profit on any car restoration. Chrome plating is chrome plating, for example, and it doesn't matter if it's going on a 1965 Mustang which may top out at $40,000 or a 1965 230SL which may go to double or triple that. But parts!  Yes, OEM MB parts are costly. Ford no longer makes the Mustang parts, long giving that up to 3rd parties. Ditto for the orphan cars, and things like your old VW.

Remember the old adage, "there's nothing more costly than a cheap Mercedes-Benz..."
Michael Salemi
Davidson, North Carolina (Charlotte Area) USA
1969 280SL (USA-Spec)
Signal Red 568G w/Black Leather (Restored)
2019 Ford Flex SEL
2019 Ford Escape Hybrid
2021 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks

AdelaidePagoda

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Re: Fair Price for Barn Find
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2022, 10:18:44 »
Personally, it would be good to see every Pagoda barn find, somehow, someway, find its way back on to the road through the trifecta of love, time and money.
As irrational as this opinion may sound, I think we can all agree there is great joy when you see the resurrection of something seemingly beyond repair, rise from the ashes and look as good as new. For some people decisions of the heart override the head and money very well may be lost (only when you sell it, up until that point it is an investment). The triumph and reward is the end result of another car recycled and saved from irrelevance and the joy and memories such a journey can create.
I hope this barn find, finds such a buyer.
Dave Cleghorn
1964 230SL 4SPD Power Steering
050 050 Black Soft top, Red Leather interior
Italian delivered/ Germany/ Florida/ Boston/ Sydney/ Adelaide (5th owner)

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