(The following article is based on a presentation made to the Northern Ohio Model A Club by Don Crum. Don is currently a certified Model A appraiser for several automobile insurance carriers and is also an experienced contest judge. He has bought, sold, and restored a large number of Model A's and is uniquely qualified to discuss the subject of pricing.)
Tools of the Trade
Pricing a Model A begins with a thorough inspection of the car. The following tools are considered indispensable:
Areas to Inspect
There are four major inspection areas which determine the overall condition of a Model A:
Assigning a Grade
After a complete inspection, the Model A can be graded from 1 to 6 based on the following criteria:
The numerical grade assigned to the car can be translated into an approximate dollar value by checking a price guide such as "Car & Prices" published by Krause Publications, Inc., 700 E. State Street, Iola, WI 54990, 715/445-2214. Cost of this guide is $20.00. Since car prices fluctuate, always check the latest available issue.
The typical values listed in the table below represent average prices compiled during the previous year. Price information is generally derived from auctions and other known sales. Obviously, a given car may be valued higher or lower depending on equipment, accessories, and any special factory options. (Editor's note: Prices shown in the table were valid when this article was first published in 1991. Current prices will differ, but the table is still useful for comparison purposes).
No discussion of Model "A" prices would be complete without mentioning the mint condition MARC of Excellence show cars. A car in this category will receive at least 400 judging points at a National Meet and in Don's opinion can be worth an extra $100 for each point over 400. Cars receiving over 450 points frequently command an additional $5,000 or more on top of this amount. The sky is truly the limit, with a few top cars bringing as much as $50,000! (JCY)
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|# 1 Condition - Excellent: Restored to current maximum professional standards of quality in every area, or a perfect original with components operating and appearing as new. A 95-plus point show car that is not driven. In national show judging, a car in No. 1 condition is likely to win top honors in its class. In a sense, it has become an object of art. It is transported to shows in an enclosed trailer and, when not being shown, it is stored in a climate-controlled facility. It is not driven. #1 condition vehicles are very rare.
# 2 Condition - Fine: Well-restored, or a combination of superior restoration and excellent original. Also, an extremely well maintained original showing very minimal wear. Except for the very closest inspection, a #2 vehicle will take the top award in many judged shows, except when squared off against a #1 example in its own class. It may also be driven 800-1,000 miles each year to shows, on tours and simply for pleasure.
# 3 Condition - Very Good: Completely operable original or "older restoration" showing wear. Also, a good amateur restoration, all presentable and serviceable inside and out. Plus, combinations of well-done restoration and good operable components, or a partially restored car with all parts necessary to complete it and/or valuable NOS (New Old Stock) parts. This is a "20-footer." That is, from 20 feet away it may look perfect But as we approach it, we begin to notice that the paint may be getting a little thin in spots from frequent washing and polishing. Looking inside we might detect some wear on the driver's seat, foot pedals and carpeting. The chrome trim, while still quite presentable, may have lost the sharp, mirror-like reflective quality it had when new. All systems and equipment on the car are in good operating order. In general, most of the vehicles seen at car shows are #3s.
#4 Condition - Good: A driveable vehicle needing no, or only minor work to be functional. Also, a deteriorated restoration or a very poor amateur restoration. All components may need restoration to be "excellent, " but the car is mostly usable as is. This is a driver. It may be in the process of restoration or its owner may have big plans, but even from 20 feet away, there is no doubt that it needs a lot of help.
#5 Condition - Restorable: Needs complete restoration of body, chassis and interior. May or may not be running, but isn't weathered, wrecked and/or stripped to the point of being useful only for parts. This car needs everything. It may not be operable, but it is essentially all there and has only minor surface rust, if any rust at all. While presenting a real challenge to the restorer, it won't have him doing a lot of chasing for missing parts.
#6 Condition - Parts Car: May or may not be running, but is weathered, wrecked and/or stripped to the point of being useful primarily for parts only. This is an incomplete or greatly deteriorated, perhaps rusty, vehicle that has value only as a parts donor for other restoration projects.
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