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Fair Price

I have a 1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88 with 15,000 miles on it. It has been garaged and hasn’t been driven for over 10 years. My relative passed away and now we want to sell the car. How do I find a fair price for this car?

I don’t think you’ll be able to answer this in any clear way. First, a “fair pricing” kind if thing, in whatever market, is normally figured by findings “comparables.” You have a 25yr old car with 15K miles on it. There just won’t be many comparables.

The second part of the ambiguity is that it is going to take a lot of time and money to make the thing road worthy again. It will need tires. The ones on there won’t be of much use (or at the very least won’t be safe). The gas tank may need to be dropped & cleaned out - possibly the fuel lines as well. Maybe not - but that’s another crucial things that needs time and probably money. I wouldn’t get in it without tearing the brakes down & putting them back together. All of the fluids need to come out. The hoses and belts probably need attention …

I just don’t think there is any fair price that you can find beforehand. You’re just going to have to put it out there, get offers, etc. If someone makes you an offer you’re happy with then I’d be inclined to call it fair.

You could glance at the Kelly Blue Book value, but I think you’d probably have to list it in “poor” condition. Even then, KBB will produce a number, but I doubt it will be grounded in anything real.

Thanks cigroller
That is not the answer I was hoping for, but I understand what you are saying. Thanks for your reply

No despair. Others may have better suggestions.

If it were me I’d probably do all of the needed work and put it on the road. Most of it is pretty basic.

Does it run? My guess is no, most likely because the gasoline has long since gone bad.

It may cost some money just to get the engine running, not to mention tires, belts, brakes, etc. You could easily spend more than the car is worth. I’m not aware of any pent up demand for 1985 Delta 88s.

I think I’d auction it as is and take whatever I could get. It won’t be much. Good luck.

Thanks I appreciate your reply. There seems to be a common thread here.

This is not a “collectible” car. Therefore it has little value. If it runs you could get $500 to $1000 for it depending on how well it runs.

Getting it running after 10 years of sitting is likely to cost more than you would get back from the sale of the car. The tires aren’t safe anymore due to age. All the fluids should be changed, there could be leaks from dry seals. New battery, and then there is dealing with the 10 year old untreated gas in the gas tank.

To attempt to get it running first requires a new battery. The next order of business is draining all the old gas and disposing of it. Put in about 3 gallons of fresh fuel and see if the car will start and run. Make sure there is still coolant in the motor and radiator. Try to start the car. If it runs and after a few minutes settles into a decent idle you might just have a saleable car. If so, clean it up, wash and wax it, take out all the personal effects, vacuum the interior, take pictures and put it up for sale on Craigslist and/or ebay.

If it won’t run your best option is donate it or call a salvage yard to tow it away. You could contact your local high school or vocational tech school. The auto shop teacher might enjoy this as a project for the students.

I guess just because it is technically a “classic” doesn’t make it a “collectible car” as you said. Thanks for your input

The most cost-effective thing might be to restore it to good running order and then drive it yourself. (By “yourself”, I mean any relative who wants it.) If it costs $1000 to reanimate and you drive it for just a year, that’s less than $100 a month, you can’t get any decent car for that. It won’t have ABS or airbags but it’s nice and big, and you know it won’t have body damage or an engine that’s going to blow a head gasket in two weeks.

Otherwise I’d probably list is for $1000 as is and hope some shade-tree mechanic thinks it would be a good project car. Might take a while to find the right buyer.

A 1990 Olds 88 might be worth as much as $300 as-is, and $400 in clean condition. Your car is probably priced comparably.

In a response you said this car is a classic. I disagree. The term “classic” implies some sort of cache that this car doesn’t have. I wouldn’t consider a 1985 Corvette a classic, even though it is more desirable than your Olds.