What Determines Your Corvette's Appraised Value?
A multitude of factors are considered when estimating the ultimate value of a vehicle. Some factors include the type and exact model of the car (i.e. a '63 split-window will automatically be more valuable than a '77 coupe), whether or not it is modified, and the extent of those modifications. Is it a frame-off or a ground-up rebuild? A total custom fabrication or mildly personalized?
Other factors include the craftsmanship of the work performed, the dollars spent, the extent of modifications, the components used, the uniqueness and creativity of the Vette, its overall appearance, and who performed the work. Who does the work on a car can have a big influence on its final value. Because of name recognition and a reputation for quality, a Corvette built by a Boyd Coddington or Newman's Car Creations would be worth somewhat (maybe much) more than a home-built car, even if the actual workmanship is identical.
Many custom cars have a great deal of one-off fabrication, and that time must be taken into account-including the time involved in R&D. The value of aftermarket components; any polishing, plating, or special finishing; and the labor involved with adapting them to your application are all important factors. Even if the Vette was built in your own home shop, your time is worth something as well.
The more attention that is paid to details in a classy way, the more the value of your car will increase. Jeff points out that details such as welds that are ground smooth and the use of stainless steel button-head Allen bolts can add up when it comes to the end value. Inversely, shoddy workmanship and cut corners can likewise detract from the total value.
Receipts are good supporting material for an appraisal, but not every dollar that is spent will necessarily add to the end value. Most obviously, if you spend $10K at one shop that screws the job up and you end up spending $20K at another to get it fixed, an appraisal will only reflect the cost to replicate the job once the right way.
Jeff emphasizes the fact that an appraiser can only base the Vette's value on what is visible. There's no way an appraiser can verify that you've put thousands of dollars into internal engine work. He'll likely make a note of what the owner tells him, but an appraiser can only add value for what he can see.
Also, a degree of notoriety and exposure can increase a car's value somewhat. Winning your class at a major show and/or being featured in a national magazine, like Jerry's car has, makes it more recognizable and can add to the conventional value.
What Will It Cost?
According to Jeff, it should cost you $200-300 for an appraiser to come to you, spend about an hour or so inspecting your Corvette, take all the appropriate notes and digital photos, and supply you with two appraisal booklets-as long as you are within an hour or so drive from their office. The finished appraisal should be hand-delivered or express-mailed to you within 2-3 days. "Believe me," says Jeff, "if you ever have to file a serious insurance claim on that Vette, it will be the best money you ever spent!"
Should something happen to your special ride and it had not been appraised before hand, don't despair quite yet. It's often possible for a quality appraiser to put together an "after-the-fact" appraisal for your insurance company-based on clear and detailed photographs and as much detailed information as you can provide. Obviously it is far better to have the car evaluated ahead of time and base your insurance policy around the agreed value of your Corvette. But all is not lost as long as you have plenty of good photos so the appraiser can see just how nice the car was and how much work went into it. The same is possible for long-distance appraisals. It's possible for an appraiser to provide an appraisal for a car "sight unseen," but he is required to say so on the appraisal. That means that his valuation is based solely on whatever photos are provided and what the owner says was done to the car.