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Market Value Resources



Determining True Market Value

SportsCarLocate strongly believes that Value Research is very important for buyers as it gives a comparison point from which to start the process of determining the true market value of the vehicle a buyer has an interest in. SportsCarLocate supports Value Research by providing quick links to many free valuation services, auction houses and listing services.

Value research is of particular importance to persons looking to buy a Early Contemporary (1991-2000) or Vintage (1950-1991) car as it becomes more and more difficult to comparison shop for a vehicle as it ages. As a car ages the nuances of care, service and condition which differentiates a good car from a great car become increasing more important and subsequently such nuances significantly impact on it's true market value.

In reality there are only two people that ultimately set true market value for any given vehicle, the buyer and the seller. Until the seller places a car on the market and a buyer puts down his money to buy it, the true market value is unknown.  As so many different things influence the true market value of any car it is near impossible to predetermine what it's end value will be. This fact is more true the older and rarer a car may be, as true market value for these cars is less likely to be determined by market facts and more likely to be determined by an individual's emotional response to the car. 

Factors of Influence

  • What is the buyer's/seller's motivation to buy/sell the car? 

  • How strong is this motivation, how badly do you want to make it happen? 

  • What outside influences are impacting on the decision to buy/sell at this time? 

  • What options do they have? 

  • How difficult is it to find a comparable car in the market?

  • What is the documented market value of a comparable car?

  • Is their a comparable car, or is its rarity or condition such that the buyer's hand is forced? 

  • How much will it cost to take a sub quality daily driver and turn it into a comparable car? 

  • Do you have the time, due you have the skills? 

  • Will your restoration budget be blown beyond reason once the project is started?

  • Who are you bidding against, and how bad do they want it?

There are many market valuation guides including Kelly's Blue Book, NADA, Intellichoice, VMR & Collector Car that provide some excellent guidance on US & Canadian market values. While VMR.ca is one of the few online market valuation guides focused on the Canadian market. As well some ideas on Vintage Car values may be obtained through auction houses such as Barrett-Jackson and RM to name a few, by checking their auction results listings.  The links to assist you in determining market value are found at the top of this page

Auction Houses Results - Warning

  • Auction Houses such as Barrett-Jackson and the like are just one part of the collector car marketplace.  Many sellers get the impression that if they see a car similar to theirs at a major auction reach $80 or $100 thousand, then theirs must be worth that as well.  This is a often sadly a serious misconception.  Such auctions at times bring market prices far above the norm for a few very very special cars.  

  • The reasons for such pricing are many:  out of control egos come into play, there's often serious money in the audience and people have come prepared to spend, bidders can get caught up in the moment, and sometimes the cars that show up to an auction are just stunning, one-of-a-kind, mega-buck restorations or cars of unique historical significance.

  • Unfortunately the reality is that, all is not always as it seems at such an auction. Sometimes prices are bid up with "ghost" bidders, cars are reported sold that aren't, and even the bidding can be completely fabricated.  In addition, dealers may bid among themselves solely to create the illusion of both interest and high values for specific cars.

  • Finally, auction reporting tends to be generous in their condition estimates.  Take this into consideration when viewing auction results and the sale or bid price.

SportsCarLocate recommends that whether you are a prospective car buyer or car seller that you take the time to get informed first before you make any commitments to buy or sell. Once you have brought yourself up to speed, take the time to compare the car you want to buy with similar cars, which have sold or are currently available for sale. Keep records of your value research and share it so that all involved can better understand your price point and determine for themselves the true market value. Just remember your research may not be the last word on market value, there are two sides to each deal, listen to each others point of view you may learn something.

Be truthful with yourself when doing your comparisons don't use rose coloured glasses, don't ignore the flaws you observe, be honest when describing the good and the bad of the car. Be fair, be fair to yourself and above all if you want to make the deal be fair to the other party.  Remember you are not buying or selling a factory new car, every car no matter how well prepared will likely have flaws. Don't lose sight of what the process is all about 'buying or selling a car' it's not about wasting each others valuable time, effort and money. Fair play will ultimately result in a successful transaction that achieves the objectives of both buyer and seller.


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