Tech Tips

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          You're going to sell Grandpa's truck that's out behind the barn? How could you!!??!!! Okay, these things happen ... Or maybe it's time to thin the herd and you want to move your recently completed frame-off resto. You're asking yourself ...

What's my truck worth?

(19 May 2008)

By Barry Weeks
Several trucks in the Gallery
Hauling Forum Moderator

  Ken Law's 1956 GMC Carryall 4 x 4
Recently restored

        Well, it's not like pulling out the Kelly Blue Book and putting in a few calculations: "Yeah, your truck is worth $8,563.42, and don't take one dime less!"

         What is your truck worth? As with anything, price varies alot with options, condition, etc ... Your truck could be worth $1,000 or $10,000. I would suggest taking your time and doing some research before you sell it so you can advertise it at the right price. You don't want to sell it too cheap and short yourself, but you also don't want to advertise it too high because you will just be wasting your time and money.

Dean Meltz's ~ this truck was actually in the It Ran When I Parked It 2007 contest


         Check out what comparable trucks are advertised for in Hemmings Motor News, or Deals on Wheels, or Round-Up, or whatever else is available in your area. You might also ask around in your area for the local Chevy truck "expert", maybe they can give you an idea of what to ask after seeing it. You can also look on magazine racks for an Old Cars Price Guide, they are published by Krause Publications a few times a year, and have current old car and truck prices.

A note on auctions

    Just because you have the same year and model vehicle that just sold at Barrett-Jackson for $1.5 million (or even $25,000) doesn't mean you can get the same money for your vehicle. The big name auctions usually only accept rare, finely restored or perfectly original vehicles they know will command top bids.

    Sure, a member of this site recently sold an Advance Design Chevrolet Suburban at Barrett-Jackson and did very well -- but that truck was painstakingly restored over about a 10-year period and was perfectly correct in every regard.

    Is your truck like that? Only you can answer, but take a good, hard, long look at your truck and remember that it is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

         These are usually auction prices, and are not always accurate in my opinion. Prices vary in different parts of the country, and depend on demand for that particular vehicle. So do some homework, but don't spend all summer at it because seems to be harder to sell stuff towards winter.

         When you price your truck, it should reflect how bad you want to sell it. If you want it out of here, maybe you should price it 10-15% lower than the typical asking price. If you don't care how long it takes to sell, but want top buck, then you might want to start out 10-15% higher. You might eventually find a buyer.

         One other thing to keep in mind -- your truck may have been an "investment" by you, a "love," or a "hobby" ... it just may not have the appeal to the next buyer. I bet if you ask most of the people on the site if they'd actually get out of their truck what they paid in to it --- they won't want to tell you! (So, ask their wife!). Typically, the higher dollar trucks tend to be the 1/2-tons and the "specialty" trucks (NAPCO's, COE's, canopy expresses, Suburbans and panels). 3/4-ton and up conventional trucks don't command the same values as their little brothers, the 1/2-tons.

         If you hope to sell your truck, study the market and see what people are looking for and willing to buy. Many of the magazines and clubs that Barry mentioned are listed in the Lots O' Links page ... plug in. And don't be shy - go into the Gallery, look for a truck similar to yours and contact the person about how the priced/would price theirs. The Swap Meet page is again another resource -- you can contact the person and take a look at their truck.

Street Rods*

         If you've gone the street rod route (or otherwise have significantly altered your truck from it's original configuration), none of the above conversation applies to you. The hard, cruel truth is most street rods never sell for what was invested in them. If you are seeking an investment, stick with an original / unaltered 1/2-ton truck as it will hold its value better.

         To maximize your return should you decide to sell your street rod, it helps if the work was performed to professional standards and the vehicle shows well overall. Usually, unfinished projects will sell for a fraction of their cost. The same with any vehicle who's workmanship is anything less than high quality -- in those cases, your best bet is probably to part the vehicle out to get the most return for your expensive components.

         Remember -- Just because you like what you've done to a truck doesn't mean anyone else will.


*This section added by John Milliman

Be sure to check out our extensive Forums discussions -- from General Truck talk, Electrical Bay, Big Bolts, Panels and Burbs, Engine and Driveline, Paint and Body, Interiors, Tool Chest -- The Stovebolt Collective can help in your quest and walk you through the mire and magic of working with old iron!

Coolamundo! ~ Bullfoot

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