High End Classic Car Contracts - is this how the big guys do business?

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A 30 year car buddy of mine has a very unique and valuable classic car that he inherited (fully original and unrestored, and documented
to the hilt....sitting covered since the early 1960's). This is typically the kind of car the Big Players spend $500K on a restoration and go out and win trophies with. He's being told by multiple "connected" sources that his car will be unsaleable to the high end portion of the car market if he dares to place it for sale on EBay Motors, Major Auctions like BJ or R&M, or anywhere else. He was told all the big guys only buy their cars in secret, behind the scenes. They will never buy such a car once it has been openly exposed for sale or auction.

What makes this even more interesting is that one of the well known agents/researchers in this market has been trying to work up a deal with him on the car. They DO have a price they can work with. However, the potential buyer has mentioned there are a number of documents he will be providing that will need signatures from the buyer. The docs would include non-disclosure agreement, some sort of research and pedigree assistance from buyer....even into the future after the car is handed over, and other requirements.....some yet to be named. Despite numerous requests by the buyer to see these documents the seller just ignores him and keeps pushing for a verbal agreement. I'm thinking this potentially opens up my friend to litigation down the road (and $$ claw backs) if for some reason he fails to meet some term in the document....disclosed, undisclosed, vague, etc.). Whatever happened to the bill of sale stating "purchased as is" and handing over a good title/registration to prove ownership? I can't mention the car or any specifics because it might violate the potential buyer's terms that the car remain unknown to general hobby until purchased by them. Still, the car is listed in a major Registry since the 1960's....so it's not totally unknown to the hobby.

Anywhere have a handle on what goes on at this level between the Billionaire Buyers and potential agents/brokers/advisors/authenticators ?
 
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CKN

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A 30 year car buddy of mine has a very unique classic car that he inherited (fully original and unrestored, and documented
to the hilt....sitting covered since the early 1960's). This is typically the kind of car the Big Players spend $500K on a restoration and go out and win trophies with. He's being told by multiple "connected" sources that his car will be unsaleable to the high end portion of the car market if he dares to place it for sale on EBay Motors, Major Auctions like BJ or R&M, or anywhere else. He was told all the big guys only buy their cars in secret, behind the scenes. They will never buy such a car once it has been openly exposed for sale or auction.

What makes this even more interesting is that one of the well known agents/researchers in this market has been trying to work up a deal with him on the car. They DO have a price they can work with. However, the potential buyer has mentioned there are a number of documents he will be providing that will need
signatures from the buyer. The docs would include non-disclosure agreement, some sort of research and pedigree assistance from buyer....even into the future after the car is handed over, and other requirements.....some yet to be named. Despite numerous requests by the buyer to see these documents the seller just ignores him and keeps pushing for a verbal agreement. I'm thinking this potentially opens up my friend to litigation down the road (and $$ claw backs) if for some reason he fails to meet some term in the document....disclosed, undisclosed, vague, etc.). Whatever happened to the bill of sale stating "purchased as is" and handing over a good title/registration to prove ownership?

Anywhere have a handle on what goes on at this level between the Billionaire Buyers and potential agents/advisors/authenticators ?
I wouldn't sign any contract for anything that would have some sort of liability after the initial sale. A nightmare coming to you someday? Nope!
 
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He was told all the big guys only buy their cars in secret, behind the scenes. They will never buy such a car once it has been openly exposed for sale or auction.
I suspect this is due to the possibility that one of these "connected sources" may have a "finder's contract" with potential buyers. This contract may clearly reinforce the value add that they in turn provide to the buyer of being the finder source of said potential sale.

"Danger Will Robinson, Danger!" Only proceed with caution! He also has the option of countering with a written agreement or contract that contains the terms he as the seller is willing to abide by, with these "connected sources" and that they would have to agree to via their execution of said agreement.
 
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Are you allowed to reveal what make & model he has? Must be something pretty special to go through that much to sell it! NVM, I see it has to remain a mystery-whole process sounds like a giant pain, now & in the future.
 
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Multi-million dollar cars sell at Bonhams, Mecum, Sotheby's all the time so that's a crock of bull. They just want to get it cheaper knowing it will bring a lot more at auction. To sell it, all he needs is a title and bill of sale. If the buyer wants any other agreements signed, for dang sure run it by a lawyer first, or just say no.
 
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I'm having a home built and this reminds me of my previous home I sold months back.
Because of a unique room the home has, it was recommended to sell it as a private listing, being assured the home is worth more money to the right person. Because the room would otherwise be shown on Redfin and MLS sites the traditional way.
 
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There has to be some quiet and targeted advertising in the process. Otherwise you attract a lot of noise and the wrong kind of people.

I know of someone who had a valuable guitar. It was taken to a recommended guitar shop in the area. That guy appraised it and then sent out the feelers to known agents who know buyers that would be interested. In the end it was sold to a major country music celebrity and that is all that is known.
 

69GTX

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Are you allowed to reveal what make & model he has? Must be something pretty special to go through that much to sell it! NVM, I see it has to remain a mystery-whole process sounds like a giant pain, now & in the future.

This was the 2nd of 2 special cars that was inherited by my friend's family. The first one was also pretty unique too as a long term survivor and
and nearly 100% original. It didn't meet reserve on EBay. It eventually sold for over $50K. This other car is much more unique with only about 50 originally made and at most half still surviving......almost none of them both original/well documented. This might one of only 2-3 still in existence like this. It's one of the most desirable cars of the 20's to 40's. Very high end build of that period. Only the rich could afford them new.

He's made no great efforts to sell the car other take hundreds of photos. The current offer by this 3rd party is one he is willing to accept....as long as the details make sense. But......the issue is "what are the details" in any "contract" still yet to be seen. These 2 have spent 10-20 hours on the phone numerous times over the past month or more....and many EMails. The current "buyer" has hundreds of photos of the car. In a way the car is now 'known' to insiders I'm sure.....but this guy found out about it through the grapevine. Others must know too. But I guess that's "secret" enough for most of them. Quite a feather in someone's cap to bring this to the hobby/market. Fully document it. Increase your reptation as a "deliverer" of the good stuff. Write a book. Become "the expert" on them.

I could say that my friend's car off the road since the early 60's would be as significant as a 60 yr old barn find Auburn Boat Tail Speedster in decent, no rust, unrestored original condition.....and documented to the hilt. Though they made many more Auburns. And production of my friend's car was a fraction of the Auburn BTS.

Hopefully if this all goes down in the near future I can post some photos and details here. But who in their right mind expects the other party to agree to terms and conditions on a "verbal agreement" to buy when they can't even see them? The potential buyer is a well known national figure in the vintage car circle who does this stuff for a living. I'm sure they bring the best cars to their clients.....and give them the confidence a car is legit and priced right.
 
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I suspect this is due to the possibility that one of these "connected sources" may have a "finder's contract" with potential buyers. This contract may clearly reinforce the value add that they in turn provide to the buyer of being the finder source of said potential sale.

"Danger Will Robinson, Danger!" Only proceed with caution! He also has the option of countering with a written agreement or contract that contains the terms he as the seller is willing to abide by, with these "connected sources" and that they would have to agree to via their execution of said agreement.
I suspect this is the case...gotta keep it hush-hush so only the "special" buyer has access. Sounds like a finder's fee is in the making.

Remember, the car is worth what a willing seller and a willing buyer agree on. "Expert" appraisals on a rare car can be useful to some extent as a reference point. But only that. Look how many cars go to auction and don't make the reserve or blow way past it.

HTH
 

69GTX

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Multi-million dollar cars sell at Bonhams, Mecum, Sotheby's all the time so that's a crock of bull. They just want to get it cheaper knowing it will bring a lot more at auction. To sell it, all he needs is a title and bill of sale. If the buyer wants any other agreements signed, for dang sure run it by a lawyer first, or just say no.

That's just it. He won't provide any of the documents or terms he expects my friend to agree to. He just keeps asking him "do we have a deal now at $XXXXXX"? And that loop just keeps running. My friend says no, I need to see ALL the documents I will have to sign. And the potential buyer ignores that request and asks...."do we have a deal at $XXXXXX." I'm sure these are the high powered negotiation tactics that all these guys live by. Never be the first to give in. If you do, they will nibble away at you until the bones are bared.
 
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69GTX

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There has to be some quiet and targeted advertising in the process. Otherwise you attract a lot of noise and the wrong kind of people.

I know of someone who had a valuable guitar. It was taken to a recommended guitar shop in the area. That guy appraised it and then sent out the feelers to known agents who know buyers that would be interested. In the end it was sold to a major country music celebrity and that is all that is known.


I'm very familiar with valuable collectibles since I've been into them since the 1970's. Muscle cars I know. Classic Cars in the 40's and earlier I know little about.....except the tactics. I know auctions well too....as I did national auctions frequently in the 1980's when looking to buy....and at times when selling things that I either didn't know the true value because they were too rare.....or.....for items I couldn't get sold in the marketplace at major shows.

Putting out too many feelers would make the car "less fresh" to the market. Who wants to be the 6th person contacted after 5 others passed? Eventually too much exposure could or would affect the bottom line value. Most of the top collectors and dealers want to know they had first shot on an item new to the market. And more exposure is often not as good. The car not running, or even be safe to drive or tow can't just be brought to BJ or R&M for bidding. If it was driving that would be an option imo. My friend doesn't want to tow this thing around the country to different venues looking for the best price. He's followed these cars for 40 yrs so in his own right he IS an EXPERT on these cars. He can identify cars with incorrect data plates, tags, parts, etc. pretty easily. And he does know what the top market value range should be. Just that none of these guys will pay that in a "secret sale." And the prices in the price guides no doubt will reflect a very low value for one of these in unrestored shape.

Interesting that just a couple years ago I think a rare Mercedes Gull Wing 40's or 50's car was found in Europe. It got big exposure. And went to auction where it brought a few $Million. I wonder if that car was bought/brokered into the auction.....so that it was the marketeers rather than the long time owner who really profited ?
 
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I would never agree to any kind of sales contract that contains built-in contingent liabilities, NEVER!
The only way to sell vehicles like this are at one of the high-end VIP auctions that only deal in the rarest and most exclusive vehicles such as... Gooding and Company, Bonhams, or RM Sotheby’s. These auction houses rigorously cull the buyers, sellers, and vehicles. Furthermore, because of their due-diligence, they protect the buyers and sellers from any kind of fraud or misrepresentation, and they protect the identities of their clients as requested.
 

69GTX

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Multi-million dollar cars sell at Bonhams, Mecum, Sotheby's all the time so that's a crock of bull. They just want to get it cheaper knowing it will bring a lot more at auction. To sell it, all he needs is a title and bill of sale. If the buyer wants any other agreements signed, for dang sure run it by a lawyer first, or just say no.

Those cars are almost always well known cars that go back through many owners the past 20-50 years. Usually fully restored and able to win trophies at national meets. There's no surprises about them. They are typically not fresh to the market for the first time in 70 years. It's not about the total value of the item.....but the uniqueness and value to the knowledge of the hobby....at least with this one.

A lot of those overly restored $500K to Multi-$MILL cars we see at auction aren't close to being factory correct cars. They have reproduced data plates, tags, docs, and parts as needed. They look great and represent the brand and model well. The more hands these "less than original" cars pass through, and the more trophies they win.....the more "documented" they become. The hobby seems to generally accept that. It's about appearing correct, being super pretty....not so much about dead-nuts factory correctness.

This car really should be unrestored and go to a true enthusiast who for $25K-$50K can get it safely running and driving again. Would be a shame to see this go through a $500K "restoration" and lose all those details and history. It would win trophies though. After that high end restoration....most of these cars sell for considerably less than the total value the owner's have in them. So the line often given to those looking to sell their old originals.....is that it will cost $500K to bring it back....and I'll lose money......to support and justify a lower offer to the seller.
 
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I wonder if this situation is backlash caused by Jerry Seinfeld's purportedly bogus Porsche. Or has it been SOP at these levels for a while now?
 

69GTX

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I wonder if this situation is backlash caused by Jerry Seinfeld's purportedly bogus Porsche. Or has it been SOP at these levels for a while now?

I think you know the answer to that question. These cars in "real" shape sort of disappeared by the late 50's to 60's. Then resurrected as
needed in the 70's with the first bout of stagflation. That brought collectibles to the forefront for the first time....big money was in play. And thsoe collectibles out-performed stocks from 1966-1982. Collectible cars did well from 1971-1990 and again from 1996-2008. And again from 2013-2022 though I don't think the vintage classic cars as a rule have approached their 2006-2008 highs again.....other than ones that are super high in demand or were just left out in those earlier run ups.
 
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