The crazy price of car basket cases

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Many of the older collectible cars have become rust buckets with fewer decent cars available every year. As a result, collector cars become more expensive each year. Total basket case Ferrari’s can sell for hundreds of thousands while even a beater Porsche 356 like the one pictured brought in a cool US $32,600. The lovely Jaguar E-type brought in a cool $30,100 so this shows that for the price of a new Ford Mustang you could buy a pretty awesome older sports car. What’s scary about this is by the time these cars are restored to even driver condition the owner is looking at over $100,000 bucks. Not small change.

This is a relatively new phenomenon, an older driver Porsche 911 that was $30,000 perhaps four years ago will now bring in close to $100,000 or more. Makes me wish I had bought a really clean BMW 3.0 CSI a decade ago.

1968 Jaguar E-Type basketcase
1968 Jaguar E-Type basket case
Porsche 356C basketcase
Porsche 356C basket case

This brings us to the MGB part of the story. While MGB’s have increased slightly in value over the past 10 years there were just too many of them made (over 500,000) to become worth a large amount of cash. A huge number of MGB basket cases are available for cheap and it’s quite amazing to see that so many of them actually get sold. Are they being parted out?

A few dedicated souls are putting countless hours into beautiful restorations but will never see the return on their investments. They are purely doing the restorations for their own enjoyment, fair enough. For most of us, restoring our cars will never ever pay off so where do you say, enough has been done.

Let’s take a look at a few MGB’s that have been for sale recently on Craigslist and other scummy sites. Would someone even consider trying to restore one of these? Considering you can buy a decent driver MGB GT or roadster for around $3,000 or perhaps $4,000 why would anyone start? Even as parts cars I sure can’t see these having much value, too many of them around. If they were Ferrari’s or Porsche’s perhaps but MG’s? These cars do sell however.

Ratty MGB GTs
Ratty MGB GTs
Ratty MGB roadster for sale
Ratty MGB roadster for sale

Then there’s my dilemma. I’ve been putting together a large list of parts required to bring my MGB GT back to being a good driver and more importantly safe to drive. Items like new suspension bushings, rubber boots to keep the grunge out of my steering rack, rubber parts to keep the rain out of the cockpit and much more.

Living in Canada and having to buy many of the parts from the States is becoming scary as our dollar exchange rate is now in the .68 cent range and falling quickly. That $100 seat belt I require is now costing me $145 plus shipping, plus tax, plus brokerage….. over $200 by the time I actually receive it. While many of the parts are actually reasonably affordable the cost almost doubles, not good.

My situation is like so many others. If I want a really clean MGB the best thing I could do is let someone else restore it first. Less work and I would save lots of money. I’m looking at ways to keep the MG going at a reasonable cost without breaking the bank but the labour cost of having some bodywork done on the MG is the same as having body work done on a nice Porsche. The difference is that Porsche’s are going up in value at this point.

Bottom line? If I were to invest about $6,000 and hundreds of hours of time I would have an MGB GT worth about $6,000. Maybe with fewer MG’s available every year some day they too will get the decent dollars. I don’t think I’ll live long enough so may as well just enjoy the car.

MG graveyard
MG graveyard

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Don,

    Your MG looks great. I’m guessing our cars are in about the same condition. At least they are California cars, some of the local ones I see are very rusty in some bad places.

    I’ll look at the other sites, thanks.

  2. The best bet is to start with a car that is preserved, or to buy one already done! My MGB is more needy than I had anticipated, and I am sure I will be upside-down on it financially soon. It does photograph well though:
    http://www.mgexp.com/registry/65GHN3L52370

    Follow Geoff’s adventures on his website, and he did start with a preserved example:
    http://detailenthusiast.weebly.com/blog/original-interior-trim-on-a-mk-1-mgb

    Better to start with an example like this:
    http://bringatrailer.com/2010/04/13/bat-exclusive-38k-mile-1963-mgb-time-capsule/

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