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35 cars to sell...been do I get them running?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by mrcob, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. mrcob
    Joined: Jun 22, 2009
    Posts: 60


    Most of what I'm asking about here are post '64 cars, but I think I'm good with this post because this is a pretty cool project I have that I think will sound cool to some of y'all (and because I daily-drive my 60 Chevy).

    I work(ed) for an old man who had lots of old cars. He has passed and I will be selling them off for the estate (I'll post it on the HAMB when the time comes but most aren't very HAMBy cars). Most have been sitting for most of the past 10 to 20 years with an occaisional start up now and then. There are a few late 30s to 40s cars but these are all restored, expensive, and ready to roll.

    My concern is with the late 60s to early 80s cars...some are lame, but there are some Toronados, Rivieras ('66 and up), 2-dr convt. Cadillacs. Nothing to get tooo excited about except that all of the cars are low mileage (like 20K) and in time-warp condition. I'll be in charge of selling them off...about 35-40 cars, I think.

    What do I need to do to be safe about starting these up and running them a bit? I know the brakes have to work before I drive down the road, that kind of thing...I'm talking about a car that hasn't been started in years and not wrecking the motor because of insufficient oil circulation, or damaging something by trying to start a car with a seized motor. Ideas?
  2. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,306

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    1) Make sure they have fluids in them and charge up the batteries, maybe replace them.

    2) Get in turn the key and start them up.


    If they won't run due to skunky gas etc., then it gets a little more complicated.
  3. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,818

    from KCMO

    check everything out, BEFORE you break it.
  4. mrcob
    Joined: Jun 22, 2009
    Posts: 60


    That's funny....BEFORE you break it. Should I put oil in normally or would it be good to remove the valve covers and pour it on like chocolate sauce on my ice cream? I worry about everything being dry.

    Good point about gas...pour some fresh gas in the tank? Gas drier stuff? Other additive?

  5. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,195

    from Minnesota

    I would be checking the brake systems.
  6. phukinartie
    Joined: Oct 8, 2008
    Posts: 965


    Sell them as projects if they dont run and drive easily...I like to be the first one hearing it run if it has been sitting a long time
  7. junk yard kid
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 2,718

    junk yard kid

    Man if your asking these questions. How long is it going to take you to get 35-40 cars running. Each one will need different things, from parts to just a wire.
  8. stevechaos13
    Joined: Sep 11, 2008
    Posts: 419


    I would be selling them as is, where is.
    I don't think it's even feasable to attempt to get 35-40 cars that have been sitting ready to drive off. How long have they been sitting?
    My main concern would be with the rubber products. Rubber ages and become brittle. So that means dry gaskets that might not like suddenly being heated up again, belts, coolant hoses, vacuum hoses, break hoses, etc.
    You advertise em as running vehicles you're gonna have people expecting to drive em home. Could go very badly.
  9. PM me about the Rivis, Caddys, and any of the '30's to '40's cars that can be done Westergaurd style...
  10. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,871


    There are some crazy dedicated folks who follow Rivieras and Toronados-as in "I will spend big money on these cars because i love them". Advertise in Hemmings and they will come running-even if the cars don't. :)
  11. Outback
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 1,375

    from NE Vic

    I agree, realisticly how much more will you get for them if they are running? When all these bits will have to be done any way. And how much time will it take you to problem solve them... I'd say make sure they will roll, so loading them up will be easier. Pump tyres up etc.

    Just my 2c

  12. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856


    You're selling them for an estate. Why do you care what condition they're in or how much money they bring? Are you getting a commission, like an auctioneer does?

    If you're getting a commission, then you have to weigh the difference in commission earned versus the cost of work you put into them. Obviously, you're not doing the work otherwise you wouldn't be asking the question.

    I know a guy that owns about a dozen Rivieras from a dozen years. They're all registered and insured, too. Fanatic.

    If the cars are as good as you describe-- low mileage and time warp condition, there's an opportunity for some fixing up to bring alot more money. Question is, who's footing the bill for the fix up and who keeps the excess money?
  13. pug man
    Joined: Apr 9, 2007
    Posts: 1,010

    pug man
    from louisiana

    Selling them as is where is and you will save yourself a lot of grief...... SELL EM!!!!!
  14. stevechaos13
    Joined: Sep 11, 2008
    Posts: 419


    Damn good point that makes it all sort of a moot discussion.
  15. mrcob
    Joined: Jun 22, 2009
    Posts: 60


    Wow...lot's of comments. I am motivated to get the best price because it's my job and I'm being trusted with it. I will try to negociate a percentage, though.

    It's interesting, the comments about the potential buyer wanting to roll it away and hear it run for himself the first time. I was thinking most any buyer would want me to say it's a running car...otherwise they'd have to wonder if it would ever run. I'll think on that and I'm curious what y'all think.

    Yes, it will take forever to get 40 cars running but I'm not in a rush...I can do it over months if need be.

    Someone commenting above was right about rubber and seals...could be my worst enemy but these are garage kept 60s and 70s cars so maybe it's not so bad. I'll get under a few hoods tomorrow and check 'em out.

    I'd love to find some Riviera/Toronado fanantics...not to get their money but because these are such good condition cars it would be fun for a fanatic to find one.
  16. stevechaos13
    Joined: Sep 11, 2008
    Posts: 419



    It's interesting, the comments about the potential buyer wanting to roll it away and hear it run for himself the first time. I was thinking most any buyer would want me to say it's a running car...otherwise they'd have to wonder if it would ever run. I'll think on that and I'm curious what y'all think. [/QUOTE]
    Depends on who you're trying to sell em to. Guys like us would come out and look at em, check a couple of things and decide if we thought we could get it running. If it was something cool enough we wouldn't care.
    But I suspect you're not trying to sell em as rebuilders. You're wanting to sell them as runners and drivers so that you can get as much out of em you can. I understand, and can't say I blame you...but it's probably not worth the stress. With a running, driving cars, you're going to attract all kinds of tire kickers. "As is, where is" is a lot more straight forward.

    Someone commenting above was right about rubber and seals...could be my worst enemy but these are garage kept 60s and 70s cars so maybe it's not so bad. I'll get under a few hoods tomorrow and check 'em out.
    My 49 was stored inside for 20 years as well. Fan belt looked great. Disentegrated within a mile down the road. Both front break hoses looked great too. Both where shot. Don't risk it. You sell someone a running, driving car, they expect it to do just that...and safely. Don't skimp on it.
  17. the whole collection could be deemed a enviromental hazard ... beware how this is handled
    (find keys/titles first)
    look for the ones run in the last 5 years

    look over engines vitals .. static condition

    check all fluids esp oil /anti freeze/ level... signs of
    gas /fluid leaks under the car ... missing parts ? if good move to next step
    drain all the gas safely( absolutly no spills wanna catch the whole lot on fire!)
    add 2- 3 gallons fresh
    (be ready to deal with hundreds of gallons of bad fuel!)
    add quality battery/ battery assist
    try to start be prepared for fire and movement ?????
    some will turn over some will smoke some will blow water etc.
    so now after getting say 5 running with out being able to drive them -?????? brakes , tires , exhaust?

    you have invested your time($)
    expense gas , batteries disposal of old gas ...

    to gain????$$$$$ on those few

    which are the most desirable ones left to mess with ?

    any repuable auction company can list these cars get them moved safley to a location for sale,advertise over a reasonable amount of time , provide supervised viewing ...
    if you are trying avoid these costs ???????
    consider junking the bad ones right away(wrecks w/o titles) to provide funds for the sale of the rest they all ain't cream puffs i will bet on that ...

    sell them one by one as they sit ... and wait and wait for buyers ????

    trade some off to get others worked on or moved around
    (1 days tow truck rental or skid loader can do a lot!)

    knowing how estate / family matters go they want the money for these cars like... yesterday any thing you do that keeps them from that money or cost a little more out of pocket or adds more in attorney fees will be a hardship for .. you
    no matter how good your intentions are...........

    thats why people buy at auctions and estate sales for the good deals seldom to help the family get more cash..
    good luck keep us informed here add pics as soon as ya can
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  18. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,272

    from California

    first thing I'd do is go get a battery and see which ones will just start and run like they were parked yesterday.

    depending on how that gas tank filler is in relation to the tank I would look inside with a flashlight and see what the gas and insides of the tank look like. when I recently got my old dodge running again I knew I was in big trouble when I peeked inside the tank... had all kinds of rust and junk in it. the fuel sender/float/pickup looked like it was found on the Titanic... it just about fell apart when I pulled it from the tank.

    the main safety thing would be the brakes... don't want anyone losing a wheel cylinder on thier first stop. inspect all the hoses, and pull the drums and have a look at the brake guts. I've had more than one resurrected old car lose the brakes soon after getting it going.
  19. after further thought dividing them into groups
    by years say 40- 50's 60's etc
    or by brand gm ford ...

    or as pairs of like cars one good the other as parts

    advertised in this way will help the final out come .

    some one will buy them and the odd quality truck or say.. Ford on the GM sale day will not become an orphan ..
  20. slefain
    Joined: Apr 6, 2009
    Posts: 229

    from Atlanta

    Sell them as is, where is. You will end up spending $$$ to get them all running.
  21. I think he's just asking about getting engines running, not flying down the Autobahn.

    Check oil. Check spark plugs. Maybe turn the engine over with socket and breaker bar or similar. Good deep cycle battery. Fire extinguisher. Starting fluid. Be careful if you have the air cleaner off because it could belch gas and start a fire. If the gas and/or tank is bad then you could come up with a safe way to connect a gas container to the carburlater.
  22. V8edmini
    Joined: Feb 23, 2011
    Posts: 21

    from Salina, ks

    This is what I would do if I were in your position. This for cars with mechanical fuel pumps. I would buy 1 good battery with top and side post, about 8ft of fuel line, a 5 gal can of gas, and some starting fluid. I would check the oil for water being in it. If that is good. I would then hook up one end of the fuel line to the fuel pump and put the other in the gas can. This way you by pass any bad gas in the car's tank. Hook up the battery and spray some starting fluid down the carb and see if it will run. Then I would make a note of which run. Then you can tell your customers which ones do. The cars won't stay running if the fuel pump is bad. If you are not going to check the radiator for water, don't leave them run long. This would be just a quick way to see if the motor will run. Don't forget to check the spark plug wires. It may Start and with one or two broke. It will just run rough.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  23. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535


    I would be real concerned about using the gas that is available today with gas line rubber from 4 or 5 years ago. This new gas eats those old rubber products. You may put a couple gal of gas in a tank, get the thing to start then on sale day a few weeks away the gas will run out of the old hoses and could start a fire.

    I think if I was buying a car from an estate sale, my biggest concern would be getting a car with a clean title that can roll onto a trailer. Then I would want a great body on a car with all the options I ever wanted at a great price. After that, I would like to know the condition and levels of the original fluids and and how long it had been sitting. Beyond that, it would be nice if the motor turned over, but really, I would expect to have to rebuild the engine and transmission and replace all the rubber products in the car, replace all the fluids, replace all the wheel bearings, brakes, master and wheel cylinders, and tires and maybe other stuff.

    If the car looks good, and you tell me it is a running, driving car, I would expect to pay more for a car that I should be able to drive short distances without major problems. If I drove it down the driveway and the brakes went to the floor or fluids started running out from under the car, I would think I had just gotten screwed. If it was not "running and driving" I would expect to have to do things before driving it. I also would have expected to buy it for less money. A nice looking car that runs and drives comes with the implication that it is or would be easily drivable and is or nearly is roadworthy.

    If your not intending on making it roadworthy, produce the proper paperwork, get it to roll, and maybe see if the engine will turn over or if it is stuck, and sell it for what it is. Gene
  24. Left Turn
    Joined: Nov 13, 2009
    Posts: 634

    Left Turn
    Member Emeritus
    from Omaha, NE


    never had gas eat through a line... and that's even if you meant 40 or 50.. instead of 4 or 5...
  25. 33-Chevy
    Joined: Nov 30, 2007
    Posts: 267


    It matters if the fuel line is real rubber or if it is neoprene. Modern alcohol in the gas will dissolve real rubber and send chunks to your needle valve in the carburetor. It will take about enough time that who ever bought the "running, driving car" can get about 25 miles away. He won't be happy. My advice is sell them as is and help them load them on a trailer.
  26. Ob1
    Joined: Jan 21, 2010
    Posts: 411


    If you get them running and dont check them out further, write "Brakes not checked" on the windshield, and take some pictures.

    Might not be a bad idea to have your bill of sale made special to note that while they run, they may or may not be roadworthy.
    Then have the bills of sale notarized on the spot.
  27. mrcob
    Joined: Jun 22, 2009
    Posts: 60


    Maaaaan, that's a lot of good advice for me...especially about the fire extinguisher! One guy was right...I'm not talking about driving them home to Florida...I'm talking about proving the car has a decent motor that runs and you can drive it up onto a trailer and drive it off at your house.

    I like the idea of bypassing the old gas supply with a can of fresh gas.

    Some of these cars are parked 4 and 5 cars deep in one building so I have to be careful not to burn them all down! Also, it would be nice to drive, not push, them all out of there.

    I also appreciate now how important it will be to stress the distinction between a running car and a car to drive around right now (reliable brakes, etc). Thanks for the advice.
  28. forty1
    Joined: Jul 7, 2006
    Posts: 355


    I'm just trying to sell my truck, & the stress of a stranger( & his driving style ) behind the wheel & myself in the front seats is bad enough. They want to immediately hit 70, or burn rubber in any gear seemingly at my expense.. After all is said & done it's just worth it , just to amuse the tire kickers. Especially since it's not the way I treat it myself..
    Good luck
  29. csimonds
    Joined: Jul 24, 2009
    Posts: 546


    Why is this your "job", you say you are going to try and negotiate a percentage? From an estate sale? Are you and employee of an aution house? Is the probate judge ok with you trying to negotiate a percentage? Lots of un-answered questions. If this is a true "probate" issue and you have nothing to do with being an executer of the estate you have no say.

    Somebody previously stated, when it comes to estates the judge wants the money yesturday! Also, if the gentleman you used to work for, who passed away, owes any type of money anywhere you wont see one shiny nickle.

    As almost everybody said, estate sales are "as is/where is" Seller makes no representations on this sale. when the gavel falls SOLD! If you are that interested in taking this venture on do you due diligence and speak the the probate clerk or judge.
    Good Luck,
  30. newrider3
    Joined: Aug 19, 2010
    Posts: 62


    I didn't see if anyone has mentioned this yet, but after sitting for that long, the cylinder walls and rings have long since dried up.
    I feel it is good practice to put a little ATF or Marvel Mystery Oil into each cylinder, and some down the intake, on any engine that has sat for an extended period of time.

    Of course you have to be sure not to put in so much that you hydrolock the damn thing, but that is pretty self-explanatory. You may even want to crank it over with the plugs out the first time, to get out any excess lube.

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