Buying a classic car from a relative

My sister has an 83 Camaro Z28. With T Top 8 cylinder, and Tune Port injection. She needs some cash, I like the car. I have zero idea how to set a price on this. I want to be fair but not pay no more than a 10% premium. I have seen prices from $9K down to $3K but those are asking.

Any suggestions on a fair way to appraise this thing?

Try the Kelley Bluebook. They’ll list various prices based on condition. Since you know the condition of the vehicle, and KBB is a reputable third-party price estimator, your & your sister should be able to use that reference as a good, fair place to negotiate a final price from.

What condition is it in? Body? Interior? Miles? Maintenance? Which transmission? How long has she owned it?

Only buy it if you really want a 30 year old car. Lots of problems to come, part of owning a car like this.

I find reasonable sales prices by looking at Ebay’s ‘completed listings’. Looking there for '83 Camaros, plain ones get bid to $2000-$3000, super clean to $6000, best in the country to about $9000. So condition has a huge impact on price.

Remeber to get an inspection and not to blame her for anything that goes wrong afterwards, Old motto if you want to keep a friend don’t sell a car to them. EZ test offer her $500 more than carmax will give.

My old car guide is a few years old but it shows about 9 to 10k on a Number One grade car and the odds of the one you’re considering being a No.1 are very remote at best. Number one means pristine and showroom new from one end to the other.

Average condition it’s probably a 5k car. Keep in mind that trim parts for these cars if needed can be very pricy. I remember pricing a set of T-Top seals (Hurst tops) for a Z like this and they were 900 dollars. Just the rubber seals; not the glass tops which were 2500 by themselves.

Buying from a relative could possibly be a problem unless both sides are on the same page and are willing to stay on that page even if problems surface.

It’s NOT a “classic” car…It’s an emissions nightmare…The “Cross-fire” injection is in reality two TBI units on the same intake manifold…Which is much better than the smog-carbs most cars still used…But it was a unique and short-lived setup…

I checked eBay for completed listings, five cars have been offered during the last month, none have sold. Asking prices $2500 to $6000. Here is an example:

Hagerty Insurance has a feature on their website where you can estimate what a particular car is worth. They give these a value of $8,000 in really nice shape with $5,000 being the most for an average example.

You probaly ought to pass this up,I’ve found out that selling intra-family can cause some backlash-Kevin

@kmccune I agree; if I had a “classic” car to dispose of and had a keen relative, I WOULD GIVE IT AWAY!

Any classic car is a can of worms and may have very expensive problems!

I like the car, I raced one for 10+ years, without the fuel injection. As @Caddyman says, it is a Cross-fire injection system, not the TPI or TBI systems found on later cars. It is problematic and now a great big orphan as far as parts are concerned. You might want to pass on this.

I got suckered into buying some kind of 60’s Chevrolet from a brother. I think it was a 390, but that is by memory. Very powerful. Had Positraction, and couldn’t be driven once the snow started falling. When I mentioned this, everyone who had never owned a powerful car with Positraction told me either I didn’t know how to drive, or didn’t know good traction when I got it. That last one is a real silly thing!

Those who had owned Positraction agreed you either put studded tires on all 4 or parked the car all winter.

Anyway I chose to sell that car. A fellow worker was looking for a car. I told him right up front, “You don’t want it. It will be nothing but trouble. That car is for a young lad with a death wish.”

He insisted, because of the price. Later, someone told me he was really negative, because in a month or two he had to replace the radiator. Replace the radiator on a $250 car, 13 years old? Who would’ve thought?

Yeah, selling cars to family or fellow employees can be a bummer.

Docnick: I would not recommend giving a vehicle to a friend or relative. My wife and I purchased a new 1985 Ford Crown Victoria. 10 years later it had about 110K on the clock and had been designated a spare car for about 4 years It was in good condition and scheduled maintenance was current. We had discussed getting rid of it as it was more of a PITA than an asset. In June 1995 a couple who were good friends and “working poor” unexpectedly ended up with no car. My wife thought it would be a good idea to help them out and give them the Crown Victoria. I agreed. We were financially comfortable and in the past had secretly assisted those in need. About 3 Months later we were informed that the radiator hose close to the ground had “popped off”. They said a friend had replaced the clamp and fixed it. 4 Months later in January 1996 we had an unusual cold snap with single digit temperatures. The crown Victoria ended up with a cracked block. Before giving the vehicle away the anti freeze check was -15 degrees, I suspect their “Master Mechanic” who replaced the clamp had filled it up from the garden hose! The “kicker” is that the poverty level couple thought that the couple who they consider wealthy should be responsible for the $2,500 repair for the car that we GAVE them! I still laugh when I remember this.

After my dad replaced the family Minivan with his Honda we had one of my cousin’s ask if the old van was for sale. We couldn’t bear to sell that unreliable vehicle to anyone we knew. She ended up finding a similar but much newer van.

I think a deal could be done between siblings ok. As long as the sibling-owner has clear title and discloses all the known bad points as well as all the good points about the car, including any registration issues. And the sibling-buyer understands that it is as common for a 30 year old muscle car to blow a head gasket or experience total transmission failure as a newer econobox to have a headlight go out. The Kelly Blue Book as mentioned above is a good way to arrive at a price. I think the service is provided free online. You have to factor in miles and options and interior and exterior condition and there are various prices, like what a dealer would pay as a used car, what a dealer would sell it as a used car at retail, private party price, etc. Maybe just average all three and call it a day.

It's NOT a "classic" car...It's an emissions nightmare..The "Cross-fire" injection is in reality two TBI units on the same intake manifold...Which is much better than the smog-carbs most cars still used...But it was a unique and short-lived setup.

That all depends on where you live. Around here, anything 25+ years old is an emissions DREAM, because it’s exempt.

Actually, I think a early/mid 80s car would make an interesting hot rod: bodies were light, handling was at least as good as a decade prior. Power was down, stock, because of smog rules that firms didn’t yet know how to master–but 25+ years later, you can bypass all that…the engines are frequently the same mills as the previous generation…just fix the engine-management. Hull values are low enough that you don’t feel stupid actually DRIVING it.

I’m sure somebody’s waiting in the wings to call me an eco-sociopath for building an '83 is if it were a '73. Strikes me as awful arbitrary to me to distinguish between the two old cars (or even if one just looks old…replicas are usually exempt, so putting '73 sheet metal on a '83 car makes for a bone-fide legal cause to delete emissions!)

@meanjoe75fan - looks like lots of those '83 Camaros have been modded just as you suggest. When I looked at the ‘completed listings’ on ebay several had new(er) crate engines…

30 year old muscle car

Muscle car, really? At roughly 170HP in a 3200lb car. Wow I never knew our 2012 Camry 4cyl with
175HP and weighing about 3300lbs would be a “muscle car”.

@PvtPublic - those were different times. My '83 VW GTI with 90 hp was a “Hot Hatch”.

@Sarge,been there,done that,indeed,“no good deed goes unpunished” oft times Family are the worst,makes me want to shout"No Familia!"-Kevin

If you aren’t experienced with older cars and don’t know what to expect, don’t buy, especially from a family member. I hope you don’t invision this thing as a daily driver.