Lotus Elan

Value of an incomplete project?

PostPost by: breezer » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:39 pm

Hi all, I know this is a nightmare question, but any help or experiences you can share would be appreciated. What would you recommend paying for a 1969 S4 DHC (on Strombergs unfortunately) that's in pieces...I know all the pieces are there, as it belongs to a family member that I trust. I also saw it drive into the garage about 17 years ago, and it hasn't emerged since, but has been stripped down and partially rebuilt.

It has a galvanised early Spyder chassis, which appears to be in great condition. It also has an engine that runs well, but I don't think has been rebuilt. The shell is, frankly, crap - the only good thing I could say about it is that it's there, and it's been fully stripped down so is ready to go to a paintshop for prep and painting. The interior will mostly need replacing (all new carpets, new dash etc).

I was thinking of buying it and doing a full restoration on it - i.e. all new suspension, including Spyder rear wishbone conversion, all new wearing parts etc. I want to drive a brand new car, basically. This doesn't seem that expensive. Even the loom doesn't look too expensive, but I would probably amend it to have an alternator and central locking. What looks expensive is the finishing!

If I could restore it to concourse with 'choice' upgrades, I think it should be worth ?25k+, from looking around. Is this about right, or does it need to be restored by a 'name' to be worth that? I'm going to do an in-depth restoration budget, but I can't see it coming in at less than ?15k of repairs, if I did all the mechanical stuff myself (probably ?5k+ on the bodywork alone, because I'd have to outsource that, being totally unskilled in that area).

What would you pay for the project?

Also, has anyone else done a detailed restoration pricing spreadsheet that I could steal? I'm building one now (that I'd happily share when it's done) but I know I'll miss something important, as this would be the first restoration I've ever tried. I currently drive a near-mint Z3M Coup?, so don't have much experience with older cars...although I am handy with a spanner.

Thanks!
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PostPost by: holywood3645 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:58 pm

Unless you can do a lot of the work youself (for free) it will cost more that its worth. The body alone is a major undertaking. Based on what you have said about your skills in the wrenching area you will be better off selling the car, and buying the best completed item you can afford.

This is just my opnion having completed an S4 project

Good luck either way

James

PS; central locking. :lol:
Last edited by holywood3645 on Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: adigra » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:12 pm

I restored my car over the last three years from basically a similar state (mine was all together when I bought it, but needed complete disassembly and rebuilding from scratch). I did quite a bit of the manual work myself, including a full retrim, but in the end, there was a whole lot I had to have specialist help with. I had the engine the gearbox and the diff rebuilt, instruments and the steering wheel restored, a new loom, new manifold, steering, driveshafts, window motors, dashboard, alternator, radiator, wheels, etc., etc... the whole car... Including a full respray, and some mistakes along the way, I am looking at around ?21-22k on top of the purchase price over the last 3 years. I think if I was to price it realistically to sell today I'd be at least ?5k in deficit. That's not the point for me and I don't regret a single penny (as I have the car and the experience), but if you're after an investment or to turn a profit, it's something to keep in mind.

Anyhow, I didn't make a list of everything yet, but I have a very organized folder of all the invoices, so if there is anything specific you're interested in cost wise feel free to ask and I'll look it up. We've restored 3 Elans in the family in the last 6 years, covering every aspect, and mine was just finished this week, so all info is as fresh as can be.

And if I was buying the car you're describing, as a private, semi-skilled individual, knowing what I now know, I wouldn't pay more than ?5k, and would count myself extremely lucky to get it restored for another ?15k to as new condition.

Regards,
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:24 pm

breezer wrote: What would you recommend paying for a 1969 S4 DHC (on Strombergs unfortunately) that's in pieces...I
What would you pay for the project?Thanks!


After reading your post it sounds like a ?4K basket case but someone on fleabay will probably pay 7K for it :roll: .....just my opinion though
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:17 pm

At the very least ?8k for a proper body restore/repaint these days.
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PostPost by: rodlittle » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:58 am

It really does depend on how much you can do yourself. These figures being bandied about of say ?15K for a restoration may be realistic I dont know I can tell you mine has cost hundreds rather than thousands but then I have done everything myself. only buying what I cant make.
If you are going to pay someone else to do the restoration for you then you have to take account of their labour rate. do it yourself comes free.
You can save time or you can save money but you sure as hell cant do both! :(
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PostPost by: Chancer » Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:10 am

Mmmm, value and worth, subjective and depends on the person.

There are those who quite rightly in their case will say, I will have to sub all of that out, it will cost me X yet I can buy a finished restored car for Y so I would not pay a penny more than Z (Y minus X)
Others dont have a budget that will stretch to X or Y but do have the skills to do most or all the work themselves so will happily pay a multiple of Z.

To me the real value is what cars sell for, not what they are up for or what the individuals would pay but the free market if you like and in that respect Ebay is an excellent reference apart from the perhaps rigged private listings.
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PostPost by: breezer » Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:39 am

Thanks for all the help guys. I could do most of the mechanical stuff, the re-assembly, and a large portion of the electronics and interior myself, but I couldn't do the bodywork, which seems to be the biggest single cost.

I suppose I also have to think about timing - I can see it taking many years, and the only way I could finance it is through selling my current car and going carless. Whilst this wouldn't impact my day-to-day life, it would make me sad!

Maybe I should pass on this and wait until such a time as I can afford a good one - though there is really something attractive about restoring my own (being a perfectionist!).
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PostPost by: jimj » Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:10 pm

though there is really something attractive about restoring my own (being a perfectionist!).

That says it all and it`s for this reason that complete projects are worth a great deal more than ?4-5k.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:38 pm

The body is you biggest problem. The rest can be done a bite at a time. A fiberglass shell is a real time eater to prepare correctly. With the restoration I have just completed, I spent over 1500 hours on the body alone, and that was before paint. I quit counting hours when I reached the 1500 mark. That said, this body was much more complex than the Elan. If you are not prepared to do the body yourself, then forget the project, as the body cost alone will far exceed the value of the completed car.

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PostPost by: adigra » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:18 pm

I am amazed that anyone could properly rebuild a basket case for hundreds. I suppose with access to proper paint facilities and an engineering shop it could be doable. Unfortunately I have neither, but luckily my time is worth more than the specialist rates, so I am happy with my choices.
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PostPost by: AHM » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:37 pm

You don't say how complete or finished the rolling? chassis is? Is it in two parts body/chassis or hundreds of boxes?

When you describe the body do you mean the body or the paintwork on it?

You say the engine runs well so all must be fairly complete... don't think of it as a concours project - how much would it take to get it through an MOT?

If all of the bits are there ?5k between friends - whole or in boxes. If it is in boxes someone has done some work for you... but it is in boxes!

edit - I just re-read your post. If you want to drive a new car, go to a dealer and give them ?30k - Your costs are about right but your time is surely worth more than the 5- 10K difference
Last edited by AHM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: AHM » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:51 pm

adigra wrote:I am amazed that anyone could properly rebuild a basket case for hundreds. I suppose with access to proper paint facilities and an engineering shop it could be doable. Unfortunately I have neither, but luckily my time is worth more than the specialist rates, so I am happy with my choices.



Quite doable if you are lucky with the engine. Viewed as a car maintenance project there are few specialist jobs and the parts are from other makes. There is a tendency around these parts to replace the suspension and running gear with the brakepads.

The only paint facilities needed are some paint, a touch-up brush, some wet and dry and some polish - yours for twenty quid.
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PostPost by: breezer » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:03 pm

AHM wrote:You don't say how complete or finished the rolling? chassis is? Is it in two parts body/chassis or hundreds of boxes?

When you describe the body do you mean the body or the paintwork on it?

You say the engine runs well so all must be fairly complete... don't think of it as a concours project - how much would it take to get it through an MOT?

If all of the bits are there ?5k between friends - whole or in boxes. If it is in boxes someone has done some work for you... but it is in boxes!


Rolling chassis wouldn't need much work for MOT, but it would to meet my standards. It's been rebuilt on repainted standard (albeit lightly used) suspension and wheels. It'd definitely need tyres and probably wheels, but shocks appear fine for MOT purposes. Engine runs fine: it was partially rebuilt, but only by the family member not a professional. Gearbox and diff are fine for 'getting it running' purposes. I'd want to ensure both were as new though while the body is off. Other than that, it's ready for the body and loom to go on.

Body is entirely in bits. As in, there's nothing else to take off it before it needs to go to the painters. This could be seen as a good thing! However, there are cracks and crazing in the gel-coat, and there's a split where someone's bumped a wheel arch. The holes where the roof nipples go are mostly stretched or broken entirely. It'll need an extensive overhaul.
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:39 pm

Well, as I said before, ?8k plus for the body/paint. If you have some mech savvy the rest will come together, with a little help from your friends, given time; these cars are not exactly rocket-science


If you have all the bits, why do you describe this as an "incomplete project"?


breezer wrote:
AHM wrote:You don't say how complete or finished the rolling? chassis is? Is it in two parts body/chassis or hundreds of boxes?

When you describe the body do you mean the body or the paintwork on it?

You say the engine runs well so all must be fairly complete... don't think of it as a concours project - how much would it take to get it through an MOT?

If all of the bits are there ?5k between friends - whole or in boxes. If it is in boxes someone has done some work for you... but it is in boxes!


Rolling chassis wouldn't need much work for MOT, but it would to meet my standards. It's been rebuilt on repainted standard (albeit lightly used) suspension and wheels. It'd definitely need tyres and probably wheels, but shocks appear fine for MOT purposes. Engine runs fine: it was partially rebuilt, but only by the family member not a professional. Gearbox and diff are fine for 'getting it running' purposes. I'd want to ensure both were as new though while the body is off. Other than that, it's ready for the body and loom to go on.

Body is entirely in bits. As in, there's nothing else to take off it before it needs to go to the painters. This could be seen as a good thing! However, there are cracks and crazing in the gel-coat, and there's a split where someone's bumped a wheel arch. The holes where the roof nipples go are mostly stretched or broken entirely. It'll need an extensive overhaul.
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