The big story Buy­ing a clas­sic pro­ject

Any clas­sic saved is one more wel­come scrap­yard sur­vivor

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

‘Projects add real per­son­al­ity to any sale’

Pro­ject cars – some of which end up landed with the ‘ barn-find’ moniker – have proved in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in the past few years. From slightly shabby cars in need of a bit of paint and in­te­rior tidy-up, to the down­right down-at-heel, projects of­fer a great way into old-car own­er­ship.

In some cases it’s a way of get­ting a car that would be oth­er­wise un­af­ford­able, while DIY buy­ers will be look­ing at a car where they might not be able to tackle all the work, and farm out the rest.

Projects of all ages add a touch of real per­son­al­ity to any sale: from the pre-war once-glam­orous lux­ury sa­loon to a rot­ten Mor­ris Mi­nor, plenty of clas­sics are cry­ing out for some form of res­ur­rec­tion and, con­se­quently, sal­va­tion. And any clas­sic saved is one that’s not scrap­yard-bound.

Re­cent clas­sic projects that fired par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est among buy­ers were the 1967 As­ton Martin DB6 that His­torics at As­cot sold for a cool £147,840 and a 1950 Lagonda 2.6 drop­head (Bon­hams, As­ton Martin Works sale) that found a buy­ers for a rather more af­ford­able £19,550.

As with so many lux­ury cars from smaller man­u­fac­tur­ers, restora­tion costs can be high, and th­ese prices need to be taken into ac­count when look­ing at a pro­ject car. Me­chan­i­cal work is ex­pen­sive, but of­ten isn’t as dear as sort­ing out rot­ten panels and chas­sis. In the case of some sports cars, the tubu­lar frame on which the body panels are mounted can push restora­tion costs to as­tro­nom­i­cal lev­els that won’t be re­cov­ered come sale time.

Com­plex­ity and cost shouldn’t de­ter would-be own­ers from hav­ing a go, but for the buyer farm­ing all the work out or the DIYer tack­ling most of the work it’s im­por­tant to have at least some idea of how much work will be needed, from pric­ing re­place­ment panels to know­ing what the hourly rate is at the spe­cial­ist

firm who is tak­ing on the restora­tion work.

On a more af­ford­able level than the afore­men­tioned As­ton Martin and Lagonda mod­els, Brightwells’ last auc­tion saw a 1958 Mor­ris Mi­nor two-door sell for £1110. It looked tidy, but if the paint-strip­per re­vealed poor panels there would be no worry about hav­ing to re­sort to a spe­cial­ist panel maker, thanks to the Mi­nor’s first-class spares sup­port

The same sale saw a 1969 Jaguar E-type pro­ject sell for £6600 – a price low enough to kick off its much-needed restora­tion.

Brightwells’ star pro­ject proved that you can still bag an E-type for less than £7000.

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