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

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Probably don’t want to know

Fifty Shades Room.

OP, frankly I have no idea how this works and doubt that it’ll be a problem I ever have to deal with from either side, however I I continued to state what I wanted an was ignored my answer would be “ No we do not have a deal, I’ve requested what I need and if you are unwilling to provide it stop wasting my time”
 

69GTX

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I think NDA and associated documents are probably pretty common when bringing a formerly "forgot about high caliber barn find" back into
the eye of the market. This one has been parked since 1961....and purchased in 1952. New owners don't want sellers muddying
up the waters with their "new find" as they bring it back into the market. They want the freshness and sizzle to be optimum as they ready
the car for its next stage of life. This wouldn't really apply to a well known, fully restored classic that had been to major shows and won
ACCA awards. There is prestige, notoriety, and possibly even monetary rewards for being "the one" to "find her" and bring her back to
the hobby after so long. They don't want a previous owner getting in the way or inhibiting their plans....or even blogging about it UNTIL the
new owner has fully exposed it. And even then, I'm sure they don't want a previous seller saying anything different about the car than the new owner states.
 
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I can understand an NDA regarding the details of the transaction, but I’m not sure I would agree to the rest.

I mean, we must be talking about something special here, that has been in the family for a long, long time, so relinquishing pretty much all rights to any claims, stories, maybe even memorabilia, would be quite a big deal to me.

Just imagine seeing it in the future, maybe in a movie or somewhere else and not being able to tell your kids, grand kids, friends that this was once yours, or that it belonged to your family for ages. Or whatever other cool stories might be there involving this vehicle.

Maybe, if we were talking retirement kind of money, what is it now, 2.5-3 mil? Then perhaps I would consider erasing this vehicle from the family’s memory. Otherwise I’m not sure I would do it for several hundred thousands dollars. It’s not a substantial amount these days to have all sorts of demands, basically buying the car and its previous owner with a gag order IMO.

I get what you’re saying regarding what the buyer wants, that’s their prerogative, but I am not sure I would be ready to give it all up for several hundred thousands of dollars, which today is not all that much and definitely not life changing for a successful mid class family. And it’s not like this vehicle cannot be sold to someone else through other avenues.

If the amounts involved are substantially more, then I would consider signing a gag order of sorts.
 
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69GTX

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While the car could be worth $500K+ when fully restored....it's 'barely' a 6 figure car as is....and to some, not even that. So this is not life-altering money. I think they're ready to move on from the car which has been kept and stored at the parents' home for 70 yrs. And it's still there.
My friend and his wife are around retirement age when they'd rather slow things down than deal with old cars and their parts.

Probably wouldn't bother them too much to sign an NDA.....as long as they can see all the terms....and be fine with them. The car is just
a thing. They have the memories of talking about that car with the parents all throughout the 1980's and later. But being off the road ever
since 1961, the remembrances of seeing it driven are very faint....if at all.

My friend's Father-In-Law was quite the collector of old car stuff. Besides some of the classics, he had interest in muscle car parts (ie value) from the late 60's to mid-70's, especially Firebirds. He had a dozen or so Quadra-Jet carbs taken from engines. And one of them was a super rare QJ that only came on the Ram Air 3/4 hi po 455 GTO's/Firebirds in 70/71....supposedly worth $7K by itself. There were several 455 engines. I was stunned to find out he had buckets of old car fasteners he had accumulated....weighing around 75 lbs......which were given away for free because it would be too time consuming to deal with them all. There was some cool stuff put away....including a spare set of doors for the very car we've been discussing.....worth $thousands on their own. He "saved" this car for history....the full story I hope I can tell in the near 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.
Have the buyer sign a bill of sale stating it is on the basis of "as is and where is". I have insisted on that for my sales, even old jalopies for a low price.
 

69GTX

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Have the buyer sign a bill of sale stating it is on the basis of "as is and where is". I have insisted on that for my sales, even old jalopies for a low price.

Yup. That probably works like a charm for 99.99% of used car sales. It's not so clear cut on this one.....at least not for this prospective buyer who highly values pedigree, history, and authenticity of vehicles they buy or broker. And they're trying to protect that interest and potential value. Bringing this car out a 60 yr "tomb" it's important it gets properly screened/marketed by some buyers. While you or I would be happy with a Bill of Sale on this car, some aren't. It would be like running into a rust free, 99% survivor 1970/71 Hemi Cuda Convertible that's been parked since 1980 that everyone has forgot about it.

If you were a full time auto dealer/apprasier/authenticator/restorer how would you bring that car back to realize it's full value? I'm sure you could make mistakes by not carefully considering the where, how, when, it is presented back into the hobby.....to generate max interest and excitement, and of course potential buyers when it comes time for that. If it were me I would try to find a way to get the car to where major players.....like the Pebble Beach/Monterey car week.....which is only a week away.

The previous 3 lookers that made offers on this car might have been fine with a bill of sale. But, I think 1 or 2 of them who were quite sharp in how the high end classic car market really works, would have provided a contract as well, with possible NDA's included. There's nothing wrong with an NDA.....as long as the seller can read it before signing anything and decide if they can live with those terms.
 
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Sounds like this guy could just be jerking your buddy around. "Bringing this car out a 60 yr "tomb" it's important it gets properly screened/marketed by some buyers." Sounds just pretentious. Is he buying it to flip? Is he buying it on behalf of somebody else? Do you even know he has the money. I would turn the tables around a bit. Ask the buyer for a bank letter of credit or his bank statements for the last 3 months. See how he responds to that.
 
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I don't see how limiting the market to one potential buyer is helpful to the seller, either in terms of getting the best price or in making a quick simple sale. There's no benefit to the seller in keeping it secret that this car exists and is for sale. Other one of a kind items with high emotional value such as real estate and artwork are not bought and sold this way.
 

69GTX

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I don't see how limiting the market to one potential buyer is helpful to the seller, either in terms of getting the best price or in making a quick simple sale. There's no benefit to the seller in keeping it secret that this car exists and is for sale. Other one of a kind items with high emotional value such as real estate and artwork are not bought and sold this way.

The benefit is that this current guy is the highest offer by FAR....out of 4 pretty knowledgeable national players who know their stuff. The current guy is connected to the Billionaires at Pebble Beach and national meets. He's appraised over a $BILL worth of classic cars and performs authenticity/pedigree checks down to the tiniest details. That's what he does for a living. He finds the best cars and presents them to these guys....who pretty much only want to buy their cars discretely and out of public view. They don't buy their cars off EBay Motors, Hemmings, Auto Trader, etc. He's already had 3 offer for quick sales, "as is", at much lower prices. If fact 2 of them stated unequivocably that their offers would be the highest he could find anywhere in the country. Of course my friend did not agree with them despite their flowery credentials.

I do believe for now that there is a benefit in keeping this car mum....and having insider sources eventually place it. If that's the game the Billionaires want to play...and you want top dollar....maybe you should play it. EBay Motors is not going to cut it. He learned that lesson the first time around on his other superb survivor classic car. But, there's a limit to how much "gamesmanship" anyone can take. It's getting close to that limit.

Having been immersed in other collectible markets and witnessed many well-heeled collectors and dealers working along the way, they prefer the same, under the radar buying. They want first dibs and will pay up for it. Start shopping your collection or item around and they lose interest pretty fast. None of them wants to be the highest buyer out of 6 to 10. They just want to be the 1st buy who had a legit chance of coming away with the item(s) at a price they can live with....and they know will be safe at. While they might compete at a proper "sealed bid" auction, they don't like their offers shopped around to see if you can get the next guy to beat it by 5-10%. You go back to them after that and they will tell you the original offer is gone....might now buy at 10-20% under their last offer. Most or all of these Billionaire buyers have experts and managers working their collections. They don't buy anything unless Mr. Xpert authenticates and appraises the car for both initial value and ultimate restoration costs. This guy.....is one of those guys....and probably knows all the other guys who do this. My friend has talked to one other such agent who himself is a millionaire but finds and works the deals for these clients. They don't do a thing w/o his OK.
 

69GTX

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Unless there was a famous owner, I agree. Where it's been doesn't matter.
Where it's been has a lot of say in the value of the car. You want a good story, long term ownership, and lots of indications the car would have or could have never been messed with. Most of these classic $500K and up cars can't trace their history back past the 1970's or late 1960's. This car is pedigreed back to 1952 with bill of sale, DMV registration, etc. When the first 2 offers were made on this car, some of those documents hadn't been located yet. They weren't with the car. But after months of going through piles of misc paperwork in the house, those "missing" car docs to prove w/o a doubt this car was all there and with proven provenance. So both of those first 2 people didn't value it high enough. And one of them even thought it could be altered/faked car w/o those "lost" docs going back to the 1950's. Well, now they're there. It's got bullet proof history. And this current prospective buyer could probably link up the history from the first owner (who is known by name) to my friend's family in 1952. I'm pretty sure he will do that and make this one of the few of these cars in existence with that kind of history. There are some other details in the 1952-1956 I can't reveal here that add to the story. But they only cement the notion this car is the real deal. None of that altered chassis stuff.

The other part of the "where" that matters is that this car spent its entire life in a dry and warm state. The vehicle didn't rust. It didn't see much if any humidity. It wasn't stored outdoors. A famous owner would be nice. But I guess they were well known in that region as a businessman and wealthy enough to afford the car. My friend sent me a photo of his in-laws standing by the car in the 1950's....pretty cool. And from that photo to the garage shots today, the paint hasn't changed much. His in-laws were only 26 years old when they bought this car in 1952.
 

JHZR2

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Sounds like games with the “poor” to me. Your friend would be a fool to play them without a lawyer to review the said contract. Personally I think he already made a big mistake by agreeing to the 3 concessions without any written agreement. In his mind he probably thinks it will help with the sale, in reality it just reinforces the buyers stance that he/she has the upper hand. Which by now it sure looks like it.
More concessions are sure to come IMO and the buyer has not given anything up thus far. Think about it for a second 🤔
I agree. I’d stop the whole thing and let the car sit a while.

For this friend being well versed supposedly, it sure seems like either they want/need to get rid of it for the money, or else don’t really know what they’re doing.

People on BITOG probably don’t either.

If the car is truly valuable, the friend needs a lawyer working in their interest.
 

JC1

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Interesting turn of events today. Potential buyer wants to arrange for his "expert" to check out the car in person in the next week or so.
And he says he is now working on the sales contract for my friend to review. Those are certainly good words and intentions. But will he
follow through? And then to give another concession to the prospective buyer on this visit....and allow valuable car details to
go back with them w/o getting a thing in return.

I'd want to see that sales contract BEFORE the expert's arrival. That would show good intentions and fair dealing. They have a couple days to get that done before the person might be arriving. In my mind my friend has given all the concessions so far ......3 of them (dropping the orig asking price 25%.......sending them 900 photos of everything he had including all the documents and written histories......potentially agreeing to giving up all the valuable spare parts at no extra cost.) Yeah, you read that right.....900 photos. You could "build" a car with those. And now this 4th one.
I'd say if he wants all those conditions met on the contract the prices is doubled. I'd shut up for that hassle.

As they say, "money talks and BS walks".
 
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After giving it a bit more thought, I must admit this must be a pretty tough spot to be in. You know you’re sitting on something valuable, but everything you read, or “experts” you talk to, say you need to keep this treasure hidden or the value will drop, or high end buyers will lose interest.

I honestly, would seek advice of others in this kind of business. You don’t need to be specific, just in case all this hush, hush stuff turns out to be true, but to get a general feeling how things can be done. The car has been sitting in the garage for all these years, what’s few more to make sure you’re not being taken advantage of?
 
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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 ?
If this car really is as stated, maybe a museum would be interested. If the price was acceptable...might be a lot less hassle. Henry Ford in Dearborn...or something else on that level?
 

69GTX

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After giving it a bit more thought, I must admit this must be a pretty tough spot to be in. You know you’re sitting on something valuable, but everything you read, or “experts” you talk to, say you need to keep this treasure hidden or the value will drop, or high end buyers will lose interest.

I honestly, would seek advice of others in this kind of business. You don’t need to be specific, just in case all this hush, hush stuff turns out to be true, but to get a general feeling how things can be done. The car has been sitting in the garage for all these years, what’s few more to make sure you’re not being taken advantage of?

My friend has softer "connections" to some very informed sources in the industry. And he's discussed some of these tough questions with them. They haven't told him anything that conflicts with how the first several people who have seen the car have acted. Now either half a dozen "experts" are somehow all in collusion (not likely) or this is just the way things operate for those guys.

Not of the quality for most museums to take it on since a $500K restoration is needed....and those costs climbing all the time. But, it could be something a "different" kind of museum would take on having other un-restored (ie not driving) cars around. I doubt most of them wouldn't want it either for much over $15K-$25K....or even donated to them. My friend is at least considering having the engine turned over/started to verify the condition of that. Making it fully rolling again with breaks and good suspension might be a $5,000-$10,000 or more ticket. I would think whoever the next buyer of this car is......is that they want the car in the "as is" found condition....though I'm sure they would appreciate having a running engine turned over to them.

Yes, this is all painful and drawn out. It's been a year so far getting inputs/contacts and finding all the important. paper work for the car. Thanks for all the varied inputs so far.
 
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