Collector Car Inspections and Appraisals « Britsport of Seattle


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Collector Car Inspections and Appraisals

Recently, I have witnessed two separate collector car inspections/appraisals conducted in my shop by two different “licensed and bonded” automotive appraisers working for collectors wishing to have documentation to offer insurance carriers, mortgage holders, etc. The first gentleman, a very well known automotive appraiser appearing on television specials as well as a producer of DVD’s focused on the fine art of car collecting and valuation, was hired to inspect a Jaguar 4.2 Litre Series 2 E Type FHC for insurance purposes. The car was available at that time on the local market for $25,000 cash, a decent price if not a bit cheap even these days. I watched him carefully look over the exterior of the car, taking photos as he went, then inspect the somewhat worn original interior and non-detailed engine compartment. At no time did the gentleman inspect the engine or head stampings comparing those with the chassis plate fixed to the bulkhead, or even make a feeble attempt to peer underneath the car to determine the state of the body and chassis. The car was then pronounced valued at $50,000 fair market. I understand that the appraiser is working for the car owner, but a $50,000 valuation for a Series 2 FHC with some needs? The insurance company will not blink, as they have the appraisal in writing, and the premium payment by the owner. What about the poor chap 3000 miles away reading an ad stating the car is professionally appraised at $50K and buying long distance, sight unseen? Just asking…

The second instance was roughly the same. The appraiser, whose business card lists his expertise as “Antique/Special Interest/Sports/Classics/Trucks/Rods and Customs”, was hired to inspect a vintage 1969 Alfa Romeo. His inspection was even shorter, taking sporadic photos, and not bothering to pull the hood cable to see if it indeed had a motor under the hood, and if it did, does it kinda look like an Alfa? His business card reminded me of a old boys card from Oklahoma that was sent to me with some 1917 Maxwell parts I had purchased from him back in the ’70s. Included in his listed professional pursuits was “land, fly swatters and manure”.

If you manage a living at it, I guess you are a professional.

Buy carefully, buy smart, buy right the first time if you can afford it. Quality inspections by marque specialists are always cheap, compared to the rat hole you can find yourself  in with a empty wallet, and a mongrel disassembled in the garage.

We specialize in Jaguar, MG, Austin Healey, and Triumph