Preparing Vintage Cars for Market: Pantera and Morgan Case Studies
Sam Alam manages the vehicle branch of Hughes Estate Sales and is an expert in preparing vintage cars for sale. Sam grew up in the Pasadena area with automobilia in his blood, completing his first full restoration on his father’s 1969 Fiat 850 Spider in 1996. Since then, he has been involved in every aspect of the automotive subculture ranging from brokerage to fabrication. Having a 1973 De Tomaso Pantera L and 1962 Morgan Plus 4 DHC up for sale through Hughes, at the same time no less, is a thrill for Sam.
Each of these rare vintage cars required a variety of mechanical and cosmetic upgrades to prepare them for placement on the market. Sam’s expertise of what type of treatments add value to a vehicle, and what types don’t, pays off big for our clients. In this video, Sam discusses the work done to get these two vintage cars ready to be placed on the market.
According to Sam, vintage cars in need of restoration are like blank canvases to an artist, so the goal is to maintain the cars as close to their original factory state as possible so that the new owner can make the creative decisions, if any are chosen at all.
1973 De Tomaso Pantera L
1962 Morgan Plus 4 DHC
The Morgan, incredibly, has its original paint. Even though there are small areas that are missing paint due to usage and wear, it is far preferable to keep the vintage car as is and let the new owner make the decision on whether or not to keep the paint original as part of the vehicle’s patina.
Sam also talks about the importance of working with mechanics who are experts with the specific vintage cars. Good mechanics may have a stockpile of original manufacturer parts, known as NOS (new old stock) that can be used in the vehicle to get it operation and roadworthy. Luckily, the Pantera’s owner was an avid enthusiast and amassed a small collection of hard to find parts, still in their original packaging!
Since the engines of these vintage cars are mechanical and so different from today’s engines that rely on computers to operate, it is essential that an expert mechanic be involved in any repairs. This is where the skill level and artistry of a specialist comes into play, as many vintage cars are actually tuned, much like a piano or other complex instrument. Ideally, any repairs made to get the car road ready should be “non-invasive” and not detract from the car’s factory state. For example, the Pantera had a rusted out gas tank due to gas sitting in it for over ten years, so the tank was actually removed, cleaned, re-coated and placed back into the car.
Establishing the provenance of a vintage car is just as important to a car collector as it is to an art collector. Sam says that anything that can be used to provide proof of how the car had been cared for and how many owners it has had are key to establishing its value. Car collectors, like any special interest collector, enjoy a “story”… documentation, pictures, and narratives are highly valued and can mean the difference between a deal handshake or disapproving nod.
This Morgan was incredibly a one-owner car and had meticulous records of its care.
The Pantera was owned by its second owner for nearly 40 years. For many of those years, the owner was an active member of local Pantera clubs.