When does a car become a classic

Devonian

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After having my SL350 for 8 years I have decided it’s time for a change. I had a thought (probably not a good one) as my car is in pristine condition, not a spec of rust and only 57K on the clock, 2006 model I guess it’s worth Circa £10k, what if I prepped it and stored it in the barn for say 10 or 11 years and took it out when it was then 25 years old, do you think it would be worth considerably more or due to the number around perhaps not. If it was likely to appreciate what do you think the chances of it staying in good condition for that time?


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Wearsafoxhat

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It would stay in good condition if it was looked after and stored in a nice dry barn.
Will be worth more, would you have thought that a Ford Escort RS or Peugeot 209 GTI would fetch silly money yet most Mercedes of that era fetch very little.

Hind sight eh.....

If you can afford to put it away you can be certain of having a nice “old” car in your retirement should petrol still be available


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s5tuart

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I'm not sure many "modern" cars will become classics.
The most sought after classics seem to be those with little or no electronics and are probably maintained easily with that in mind.
Modern electronics go out of date so quickly that servicing them in 15 years time could be almost impossible!
Some of the classic hifi amps from the 70's are already suffering from that.
 

robin.large

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Always assuming you can still use anything other than electric by then?
Slot if really nice cars do tend to appreciate as the average and total miles stays down.
Important to prep interior properly and to dehumidify properly.
Carcoon type enclosures are worth a look if you have space for storage.

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LostKiwi

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If you keep it several years in a barn you will need at least a car cover and ideally a carcoon. If you aren't using it Al all it will need parking up on stands. You will need to drain the fuel tank to prevent fuel oxidation and equally probably drain the oil unless you can run it up to full temperature on a regular basis (and then change oil every 2 years as that will also oxidise). Coolant drain and refill with G48 before storage would also be sensible.

Finally you will need to protect it from rodents. WD40 is very useful for this as the little blighters don't like the smell.
 

robin.large

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I disagree on fuel. If you drain fuel you run the risk of the fuel system 'drying out' seals, pipes etc.
The alternative is to fill it to the brim with 98 octane. The fuel will oxidise as a function of fuel to air ratio in the tank.
Filling the tank means very little oxidation but keeps all else submerged in petrol, which is its 'normal state.

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davemercedes

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Unfortunately after doing all that, you will have a very nice old car that's in a very good "barn condition" so it will need a costly set up to get it back on the road. The tyres alone will almost certainly need to be replaced (would you buy (and trust your life to a set of 15-16 years old tyres)? Many of the rubber window seals etc will be suspect and unless you regularly clean all the leather with a protective/restorative cleaner there could be significant problems there too. Finally, I think there are probably too many SL350s around to make it a really valuable classic in about 10 years. It would also have cost you rental/occupancy of the barn/storage facility plus running and heating costs which all add up.

You will however, have a very nice old car to be reborn!
 

Craiglxviii

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If you keep it several years in a barn you will need at least a car cover and ideally a carcoon. If you aren't using it Al all it will need parking up on stands. You will need to drain the fuel tank to prevent fuel oxidation and equally probably drain the oil unless you can run it up to full temperature on a regular basis (and then change oil every 2 years as that will also oxidise). Coolant drain and refill with G48 before storage would also be sensible.

Finally you will need to protect it from rodents. WD40 is very useful for this as the little blighters don't like the smell.
It’s almost as if it’s more trouble to store a car than it is to use it...
 

peterws1957

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Finally, I think there are probably too many SL350s around to make it a really valuable classic in about 10 years.
I guess that people would have thought the same about MK 1 Escorts and their ilk:). It wasn't that long ago that the Pagoda was £12k for a really nice one, now stupid money. The R230/1 will probably never have the same appeal, but who knows what will happen in the nonsense world that is the classic car world.
 

LostKiwi

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It’s almost as if it’s more trouble to store a car than it is to use it...
Not really. Just need to be mindful of the pitfalls.
KTEA has been in storage on and off for about 3 years now. Every three months it gets started and driven (have to love monthly VED and online SORN) and every year it gets an MOT (which is a great excuse to drive it). Last year it did 2000 miles of which over 1300 miles was 2 long runs.
 

robin.large

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A problem with many newer cars is that the materials used are designed to look and feel great when new. But are designed only to fulfill the terms of any guarantee.
Unlike wood and leather of old which would last years, but the body work rotted away we now have bodywork and paint that can last year's but many tactile plastics which deteriorate, crack, discolour, go sticky etc.
Main job for storage is drying out as opposed to storing dry as much moisture is held in the car and components. Think exhaust, catalysts etc.
Storing with a dehumidifier running for a couple of weeks is a good start.
Change brake fluid (again to get rid of moisture in system)
Treating rubber components with a preserving seal.
It's a long list and always something gets missed!!

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littlebrooklyn

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I'm not sure many "modern" cars will become classics.
The most sought after classics seem to be those with little or no electronics and are probably maintained easily with that in mind.
Modern electronics go out of date so quickly that servicing them in 15 years time could be almost impossible!
Some of the classic hifi amps from the 70's are already suffering from that.

I am inclined to agree, all the classic cars we've had over the years have been from the late 1950's to 1984 and obviously they have all been mechanical so easy to maintain :D
 

robin.large

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I am inclined to agree, all the classic cars we've had over the years have been from the late 1950's to 1984 and obviously they have all been mechanical so easy to maintain :D
I do remember that advice from Bentley concerning my GTC was that they could arrange to send preservation specialist to prepare my car if I planned to leave it for more than a couple of WEEKS!
But electrics? Always a headache to store.
Having said that a Nissan Micra I bought in anticipation of my daughter passing her test sat outside under a cover for near 2 years.
Started first time, quick valet and it was good to go!!

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Devonian

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Thank you all for your replies, some good comments there. I think maybe the trouble and potential pitfalls of storing are likely to outweigh the gains. I don’t think I would intend to use it as a classic car in 10 years, just sell it at some point- so most likely back to plan A and sell now - Anyone want a mint 350?


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LostKiwi

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'93 500SL-32, '01 W210 Estate E240 (RIP), 02 R230 SL500, 04 Smart Roadster Coupe, 11 R350CDi
Thank you all for your replies, some good comments there. I think maybe the trouble and potential pitfalls of storing are likely to outweigh the gains. I don’t think I would intend to use it as a classic car in 10 years, just sell it at some point- so most likely back to plan A and sell now - Anyone want a mint 350?


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davemercedes

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G'wan... you know you want to really...!

I could be tempted too but especially under Covid rules I have to stay in with SWMBO a lot and one has to be be wary if not fearful of the unknown!
 
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ajlsl600

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After having my SL350 for 8 years I have decided it’s time for a change. I had a thought (probably not a good one) as my car is in pristine condition, not a spec of rust and only 57K on the clock, 2006 model I guess it’s worth Circa £10k, what if I prepped it and stored it in the barn for say 10 or 11 years and took it out when it was then 25 years old, do you think it would be worth considerably more or due to the number around perhaps not. If it was likely to appreciate what do you think the chances of it staying in good condition for that time?


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I think the time required and the electronic/electrical dramas will make that a bit of a gamble.but if you can cacoon it in one of those dry bags you might get a result.
 

Uncle Benz

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I bought my wife an SLK230K for her 30th birthday in 1999. A couple of children then came along which rendered it pretty useless. She didn’t want to sell it, so I laid it up in 2006. It had 22,000 miles on it then. I bought her a CLK430 cabrio for her 40th (I know, I’m a catch ;) ). Last year for her 50th (yikes!) I recommisioned the SLK. I put four new tyres on, big service and changed all the fluids. It’s covered a further 11,000 miles since (!), and has not missed a beat. I did have a regime of running the car once a month, changed the oil annually and brake fluid biannually even though it wasn’t being used. I changed the coolant on its 10th birthday too, as they rot the head gasket if you don’t. Still a brilliant car, and I think values of nice original examples are on the up
 

grahamcol

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Uncle Benz l remember reading about the SLK being recommissioned. My own SLK230K is a fabulous car which l throughly enjoy, although it gets very little use. I've done something like 2000 miles in 4 years. Not quite laid up but used very sporadically and it's at least as good as the day l bought it and now worth more than when l first obtained it.
 

ajlsl600

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I would consider one of those,as in the least complicated version
 

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