To Restore or Not to Restore?

by Joe Ferguson on January 16, 2013

Imagine you’ve just bought a piece of automotive history. The car is as old (if not older) than your grandparents, is rusted beyond belief, filled with a ratty interior, and is by no stretch of the imagination street legal. Despite already dropping upwards of $50,000, what would the benefits of unloading even more cash to restore this relic?

Last May, the eighth oldest Mini Cooper known to man went up on the block at a car auction. It was estimated to bring in between $19,000-$24,000. The rusty little charmer ended up raking in a healthy sum of $65,000, much more than anticipated.

The question here is; what do you do with this car?! Naturally, the temptation to restore and drive the car around would be incredibly hard to fight. If someone has that kind of money to purchase such an expensive item, surely they have enough to restore the Mini properly.

This could be a mistake, though. As of now, it’s one of the oldest un-restored Minis in known existence. Restoring this car wouldn’t only take away this illustrious title, but could actually damage the value of the car in the future.

Surely if the person who purchased the car wanted to just drive a Mini around, they could have found a vintage Mini to tool about in.

Our advice would be to keep the Mini in its un-restored condition. This is a rare case in which doing nothing to fix the car’s maladies may actually increase value over time. Just look at what happened when a Spanish woman couldn’t fight the restoration temptation thought she should fix-up a 100-year-old “ecce homo” fresco of Jesus.

If the new owner does the right thing and keeps the car in its original, untainted condition, who knows what it could take in at an auto auction later on down the road…

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