What's the right price for Joy's '63 Dodge Dart? Today: Tom and Ray do the math.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 2006

Dear Tom and Ray:

My 1963 Dodge Dart four-door sedan was an old-lady car when I bought it in late '63. I have now become an old lady and changed to another, newer old-lady car, a 2001 Buick Century. My Dart and I drove from one end of this country to the other several times -- both west to east and north to south. My maintenance bills were for oil, gas, lubes and an occasional part. I love that car, and it looks basically like it did when purchased. The original upholstery was changed twice due to dog passenger wear. It had two new paint jobs to match the original, and the engine was rebuilt after it reached 40,000 miles. Now I must part with it, and I can't seem to find a value. The Blue Book apparently doesn't go back that far. Can you tell me how to find a fair market price? I have someone interested, but he feels the value is about $300. I see others priced over $2,000, which is about its original price. Your help would be most appreciated. -- Joy

TOM: Well, I, too, owned a 1963 Dart at one time, Joy. It was the apple of my eye.

RAY: Yeah, an apple with more worms in it than an acre of prime Iowa farmland.

TOM: Anyway, I paid $2,200 for it about 10 years ago. But it was a convertible, Joy. Yours is a sedan.

RAY: It also had a body like my brother's: severely weathered. So that's not a good comparison.

TOM: It's impossible to judge a car's value without seeing it. For instance, it might run fine, but it might be getting ready for another engine rebuild.

RAY: But if you want a general estimate, a pristine version of your car might be worth about $4,500.

TOM: But then you need to subtract $1,000 because the paint job is not the original one. Subtract another $500 if the upholstery is torn. And take off another $500 if it has more than 100,000 miles on it now.

RAY: And take off another $2,200 because my brother has publicly praised these cars. That eviscerates their value. So grab the $300 offer, Joy!

TOM: No! Don't listen to him. My guess is that you're looking at a value somewhere in the $2,000-$2,500 range. And rather than sell it cheap to a guy up the street, your best bet is to check out Hemmings Motor News. That's where people who love old cars buy and sell stuff. You can place an ad there. You might get lucky and find a Hemmings reader who knows this car well, and will give you what it's really worth.

RAY: Or you might get really lucky and find someone who doesn't know this car well, and will give you more than it's worth. Good luck, Joy.

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