The Fox's Den
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From: Dave Stragand
Date: 23 Nov 2000
There is no such thing as a cheap DeLorean.
An important bit of wisdom was imparted to me early on in auto restoration: "The difference between a $15,000 car and a $20,000 car is around $10,000."
It's strange but true. You can almost always get a better deal (when all totaled) by buying a car that is great to begin with, than by fixing up one that needs work.
Now I, on the other hand, bought -my- car for the express purpose of fixing it up. The process itself is what I'm interested in, more than the end result. Will I have a $15,000 car if I spend $15,000 restoring it? Most likely not. And to make financial matters worse, I will have invested a couple-thousand- hours of work to boot.
Sometimes though, the journey is better than the destination. My '58 Plymouth has around $27,000 invested in it, but is still only a $17,000 car. Where did the $10k go? It bought one heck of a lot of fun. A LOT of fun. And it's worth it, IF you can afford it.
I see a lot of posts asking for a cheap D, by someone who will finance. Originally, that's how I approached the original owner. I did pay him cash though when the deal was struck - I wanted to start with a clean slate. I do remember what it was like to be young, and dreaming of that perfect car. You'll do nearly -anything- to get it. However, trust me on this one: DO NOT BUY A COLLECTOR CAR UNLESS YOU HAVE THE MONEY TO MAKE IT RUN AND KEEP IT RUNNING. Now it doesn't have to be perfect at first, but at least drivable. If you spend every cent buying a car that'll need tons more money before it's streetable, you will stress yourself to death. You'll start to see the car as an endless drain on your wallet, and it may be years before you ever get to drive it. Besides, it's a race against time. The longer it sits, the more it will need. Eventually, you end up selling the car for less than you layed out, and you'll be depressed as well as carless. This is what my friends call the "Project Car Spiral". Avoid it.
I'm at a point in my life where I have most of the cash and time I need to responsibly restore a car. If you don't have enough of both to begin with, then you won't be happy when you get the car. It took me -12 years- to finally get my '58 Plymouth. It took -15 years- to get my D. If it's worth doing, it's worth waiting, and that advice works on a lot of levels.