Q: Greg, I just read your column about the 1968 Mercury six cylinder and if it was worth restoring. However, I totally disagree with your recommendation, and here’s why.
You are right the car will never be worth what a Cyclone with a 428 Cobra Jet engine. But that is not to say his Mercury is worthless. Although they will never bring an equal price as the muscle car, family sedan prices go up. It seems everyone restored muscle cars and scraped out the family sedans so fewer and fewer survived.
Forty years ago, every car looked different. Today, people take children to car shows not just to see muscle cars, but to show them how different cars looked when they were children. Older family cars in restored condition attract a lot of attention, sometimes more than the muscle machines.
You might need $40,000 to restore a muscle car, but you can pick up a nice family sedan that just needs cosmetics for as little as $2,000 to $3,000. A few more thousand and some sweat and you have a nice classic. So, do you spend $40,000 or more to have a restored muscle car or $10,000 or less for a restored sedan?
To restore or not to restore depends largely on what condition vehicle you have to start with. If the 1968 Mercury is a good solid vehicle needing cosmetics, I say go for it. If it needs extensive panel replacements, then I say no. I feel fully restored 1968 Mercury with a six-cylinder and “three-on-the-tree” could bring $8K to $10K.
I have a number of classic cars, and my favorite is my 1971 Torino 500. It has 34,000 original miles and a 302 V8 and is the same as when it sat on the showroom floor. I had a ‘70 Mach 1 (Mustang) with big block and shaker, but I didn’t like it as much as my “family car” Torino.
Never tell someone it’s a bad idea to restore their car solely because it’s considered a family car with low NADA book. When all the family sedans are gone they will be worth more than the muscle cars. Thanks, Dr. Joe Bounds, Ashland, Ky.
A: Joe, if I left you with the opinion never to restore a car based on NADA value, that surely wasn’t intended. Although you make good points, the reader was asking for a specific personal recommendation based on current market trends and the car.
If you re-read, I did say to “go ahead” if he was doing so for personal enjoyment, as I’d never tell a car lover not to restore. I have a 1959 Edsel Ranger with a three on the tree 292 V-8, and I paid less than $5,000 for it … mainly because I wanted an Edsel!
I still adhere to my theory that enthusiasts restore cars either for enjoyment, investment or a combination of the two. The Mercury owner in question wanted specific future worth analysis, which I gave him.
Page 2 of 2 - Still, thanks for your letter and I do hear what you are saying. I hope the “family sedan” does move up in future value, as my Edsel will be worth way more.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for GateHouse New Service and welcomes reader questions on collector cars, auto nostalgia and motorsports at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840 or email@example.com.