The Appraisal Process

General Discussion about the Datsun PL510
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The Appraisal Process

Post by bertvorgon » 25 Aug 2015 10:07

When I finished racing full time, I never really thought much about what my car was worth. I built it both as a vehicle to go racing in, a technical challenge, and, to fuel my love of driving, simple as that.

As both Westwood race track closed and Boundry Bay solo area got smaller, a large collection of close friends sold their cars, for all the reasons. Loss of venue at the time, and for a lot, family came along. The cars were sold for peanuts in the scheme of things. I was fortunate to both be able to keep my car, as my passion for just plain driving was still there, and, recognized, even then, that the amount of money I would have gotten was minimal.
The 510 Cub of B.C. was ticking along well by the time the late 90's finished and fortunately there was a core group of drivers that let us go out onto the open road and have some fun as a collective group.

Then, in the early 2000's, Spencer created this site, which, along with our 510's being featured in a few magazines, re-sparked the interest in our 510's, which in today's world has now brought them into truly cult car status. I have been through three "bubbles" of the 510 being sought after, with this latest one now being a permanent one. When you have the likes of Jay Leno saying that now might be the time to invest in a 510..says SOMETHING! With Dave at FUTOFAB having stepped up to the plate for hard body parts, this also breathes a new life into the ability of our cars to be repaired.

This is all leading to the fact that our 510's are really be coming worth some serious money. I can think of at least a dozen cars locally that would realistically be in the $20,000 - $30,000+ CDN range now, based on what I have now seen with my car. And even at that, how do we ever put a value on our TIME, that went into a build.

For years now, as our road trips go all over the place, it has not been lost on me that I had been sticking my head in the sand as to my insurance coverage, or as the case may be, the lack of it. Our risk exposure to traffic is huge now, just trying to get in and out of the lower mainland, let alone where we go In the lower mainland. A few years ago I had a close call in Langley, where a person changed lanes on me, and I had NO HORNS! That prompted me to get serious about making my car way more street friendly, re-placing what had been stripped for racing. Fortunately, I never cut up any wiring, so it was really easy to put horns, turn signal and a few other things back.

Along with this came my thoughts to get a professional appraisal done on my car. Having fought ICBC a few times over 510 value with our Government mandated insurance company is beyond stressful, let alone the loss you may take, is something I never want to do again, should something unfortunate happen.

This led me to research who is the best available on the lower mainland. You just cannot say my 510 is worth xxx dollars. There is a process that has to substantiate to a certain extent, and proof of what the market is showing/trading/selling as value. This of course is always in a state of flux, and of course, what someone is willing to pay, bottom line. But, as an insurance value, when there is a professional opinion given, this is a no contest amount, payable to me, should there be a total loss, or, a value up to max, for repair.

With that in mind, I found out who the top person is in B.C. and contacted him. His curriculum vitae is beyond impeccable to say the least, which I have attached.

To say I was nervous going over to his house was an understatement, as to how he would perceive our lowly 510. I had an idea of what I thought it would be worth, trying to be as realistic as possible. I of course think of my car as a "race" car, which when I said that to him, I heard his voice checkup, like, Oh, that is not good. He asked a few questions and said to bring as much info on the car with me as possible.
When I drove up to his house, he came out right away, walked around my car, looking very intently, and as I climbed out said:..."You have a hundred in this!!"

I just about fell down, this was a person who has seen a zillion cars, yet with one lap of my car, could see what it was. He KNOWS what it takes to build stuff, the paint and body, the wheels, the STUFF. He was blown away when I opened the hood, more because I think he had a mind's eye picture of a 510, not what a lot of us have built over the years.

I had put together a hell of a package for him too, not hard for me as I have kept EVERYTHING to do with my car. I have every receipt, by the year, since I built this one. One of the big things is that I do have provenance with the car, my log books, a lot of my significant race results, my race license's with my placing's on them, and just a ton of other bits as to what my car has done. That was significant in his eye as part of the valuation. The really big saving grace, as it came out, was that fact that it is street legal...PERIOD! Race cars by themselves present a whole different issue when it comes to insurance value.

We sat down and he asked me questions as to what I thought it was worth, and what I would attempt to sell it for, should I ever do that. He took a raft of pictures and as my car is so low, asked if I could send him some of the undercarriage. I left after two hours of talking and going over things.

Should you decide to go through this process, put together as fine a build sheet as you can, plus any other documenting evidence of what you have done as you can. Should be a no-brainer but make sure the car is as presentable as possible, clean and tidy. You are after all selling your car to this person.

Just over a month later a booklet came in the mail, documenting my car, his research through half a dozen resources plus ten hours on-line, looking to see what the real world 510's are selling/sold for, the grading of my car, and of course the final valuation, that I could take to get insured for. He also had SOLD examples of 510's from the Net, even a race car at $40,000.00 USD. One of the things he also looks at is RISK, for is that not what insurance is all about, risk management. I'm not a 20 something kid, that does not know how to drive, that has a 300 HP monster under his right foot. Part of our discussion was how many miles do I put on in a season, so 1,500 - 2,000 miles is very low risk in the scheme of things.

I then went to PELLING INSURANCE ( similar to Haggerty's ) on Granville Street, who copied my booklet for their files. They use a Canadian company for the actual insurance carrier, which I thought was cool, keeps my money in Canada.

They insure me now for everything other than the ICBC required liability insurance, I have 100.00 deductable on collision, 100.00 on comprehensive on a yearly basis, for 755.00. I have never had storage insurance on my car over the winter, again relying on the fact that my car was safe at work, stupid really as places do burn down at times.

I now am appraised and insured for $50,000.00 Canadian dollars, no bullshit, if the car is written off, or whatever, they write me a cheque for $50,000.00 big ones. I walk away with a tear in my eye but I at least have a good financial settlement.


• Advisory Board Member to N.A.D.A.- National Automobile Dealers
Association, Classic, Collectible, and Special Interest Car, Appraisal Guide

• Harold LeMay - America's Car Museum, Tacoma Washington, Current Steering Committee

• Heritage Village Museum Board Member, Burnaby BC (5 years)

• Kwantlen University College, Motor Sports Technology Board Member (04-05)

• Current National President & CEO, National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada

• Past National President, Vintage Car Club of Canada

Chief Advisory Judge to the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation

• Chief Judge for the Vintage Car Club of Canada

• Panel Judge to the Early Ford V8 Club of America

• Certified Senior Judge to the Model A Ford Club of America (MAFCA)

• Master Judge for the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA)

Chief Class Judge, Pebble Beach Concours d' Elegance, Monterey, California, USA

• Chief Judge 2005, 2009, 2012, 2016 & Permanent Honorary Judge, Hilton Head Concours, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA

Chief Judge, Arizona Concours--Current
Chief Judge, Cobble Beach Concours--Current
Chief Judge, Crescent Beach Concours--Current
Chief Judge, Hilton Head Concours, SC--Current
Past Chief Judge, Louisville Kentucky, Churchill Downs Concours
Past Chief Judge, Steamworks Concours, BC Canada
Past Chief Judge, French Lick Concours, Indiana

• International Show Car Association of North America (ISCA), Three time National Class Champion and MAFCA National Class Winner

• NHRA: Started the Jr. Dragster High School racing program in Canada,1989

• Charter member of the BC Collector Car Club Council (2001-Current)

• Honorary ‘Life Member’ (Hall of Fame) of the Vintage Car Club of Canada (VCCC) Inducted 1986

• Honorary ‘Life Member’ (Hall of Fame) of the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation (NAACC) Inducted 2001

• Hall of Fame, Greater Vancouver Motorsport Pioneer Society, inducted 2011

*Recipient of the Lee Iaccoca Award, 2015

• Graduate, University of British Columbia, Double Major, Technology & Industrial Education, British Columbia, Department of Education

John J. Carlson
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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Joined: 12 Sep 2004 19:42
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Re: The Appraisal Process

Post by RONSLYCHUK » 25 Aug 2015 12:11

Good for you Keith. Your car deserves that valuation.

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Re: The Appraisal Process

Post by PoorMtnKid » 25 Aug 2015 15:17

Wow that is awesome!
looking for pass. side arm rest

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Re: The Appraisal Process

Post by gooned » 25 Aug 2015 22:10

Thanks for sharing both the experience and contact, I remember when we had the Baja appraised the only guys we could find in Fraser Valley were Corvette specialists...not very easy to explain VW value to if I recall. That was 90-91 though so pretty early getting a modified import valued.

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Re: The Appraisal Process

Post by JordanTr » 25 Aug 2015 22:15

Wow Keith. That's great!
Jordan | '72 2 door KA project | '94 240sx RB26DETT | '97 Silvia RB25DET | '90 Audi 90 Quattro 20V (DD)

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