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What's it Worth?

Not a buyers guide, but comment on the anomalies of a buying or selling and old Land Rover

This is one of those oft asked questions, to which there is really no correct answer. The old adage "What some-one is prepared to pay" is about the best answer, but not hugely helpful, so where do we start.

Well, the price guides in the back of LROi are a good starting point, but aren't that refined. I could elaborate on them but then that would be a mammoth task, and probably completely out of date before I had even begun.

So, I am going to concentrate on Series 3's and push that forward a bit into early 90/110's and back a bit into the last of the Series 2's.

Right, lets start with with why any one might be looking for an old Land Rover. They are not the sort of thing some-one looking for an average car is going to seek out, so they are going to be bought by people who either need one or want one.

If they need one, then they will be looking at a Series 3 because it is the best they can afford, and would probably prefer a later model. If they want one, then they are an enthusiast, and they may prefer a newer one, but be limited by budget, or they want an older one because its a 'classic'.

Now, if we take the former group, looking at a Land Rover on a budget, we find that in the trade there are thresholds. The 'average' car is five years old and worth five thousand pounds. It's bought on credit at about four years old and run for two years before being traded in for the next four year old car.

However, the 'typica'l car, is more like seven years old, and bought for three thousand pounds and kept for eighteen months.

Then you can start looking at buyer profiles.

The person with six thousand to buy a car will typically go to a dealer and get the car and finance together in a package. Moving down the scale, people with three thousand to spend will tend to do the same. At about two and a half thousand, there is a break point. Beneath that, people tend to buy cash.

Consider the scenario, some-one has bought a car at six years old on finance for about three thousand. They have it on two year finance and keep it until the finance is paid off, because until almost the last payment is made, they owe the finance company more than the car is worth. So at the end of the two years, they start looking around at what to do next. By keeping the car an extra six months, they have the opportunity to save six months repayments, and bank that towards the next car. Add that to maybe a thousand pounds they can get for the now eight year old car, and they might easily lay their hands on 1500-2000, to buy their next car outright. At a scratch, with maybe a few favours called in, or extending the overdraft, they might find 2500. After that though, they would need to take out a loan or finance.

This sets the upper limit for ANY old vehicle. Its a natural limit. If its over three grand, then people will be wondering about finance and looking to go to a dealer, and they will expect to be looking at something under ten years old.

So that's your cap. You are unlikely to get more than 2500 for an old Land Rover. Be it Early 90/110, Series 3, or Late Series 2.

Looking at the other end of the market, you can buy a roadworthy car, with twelve months MOT for about 300, these days. Again, its just a ball park, I've seen MOT'd cars on the traders lots "99 - Drive away to Clear", and cars sold privately for little more than the cost of the garage putting an MOT on it.

So, anything without an MOT shouldn't be worth more than a couple of hundred quid. Except we are looking at Land Rovers, and people who need them or want them, not Fiat Uno's no-one cares about, so long as it gets them to work in the morning.

Land Rovers appeal to people who want a 'project' - because they are durable, low tech, and a big mechano kit. So, where you would have to pay some-one to take an un-MOT'd Fiesta off your drive, advertise a 'Land Rover' as spares or repairs, and you will have a queue of people on your doorstep wondering how much grief the wife or mum will give them if they put it on the drive, and how little money they can offer you to let them.

So, the bottom limit is about zero, but maybe not, you might have to pay anything up to 250 for a viable project base with no MOT.

Now, that should lift the value of anything actually carrying a valid MOT certificate, because obviously, its already road worthy and needs no work. BUT, its different markets. If anything it actually skews the prices.

While some-one might pay 250 for what is essentially a bag of scrap and a V5 document, that same person wouldn't pay 250 for the same car with an MOT, because they WANT a bag of scrap and a V5, and expect to get more for their money, than if they try and buy something roadworthy.

So you can get something with an MOT for as little as 200 - 300, if you look hard enough.

So, that sets your thresholds.

Next you need to look at specification and condition.

Very few people are going to be all that interested in concourse commercials. If it has a van back on it, or a pick up back on it, its a working truck, and people are merely going to be interested in the state of the engine and running gear, and how much you are asking. And in all likely hood, they are probably going to be more interested in a LWB than a SWB model.

Take note, generally Long Wheel base models fetch a lot less than short wheel base models. But it's likely you'll sell a LWB pick-up before a Short Wheel Base Pick up.

The 'most' desirable models are the County Station Wagon variants. The long wheel base of which was a five door. Many short wheel base CSW's do get converted from other variants into CSW's. The distinguishing features are the fitment of seats in the back, windows and the little alpine lights in the curve of the roof. Its a lot harder though to convert a long wheel base to CSW spec. Basically, while they have a second row of seats, they also don't have a bulkhead behind the drivers seats, and they have extra outriggers on the chassis. Some parts of the LWB CSW body are interchangeable, but essentially, if its a LWB CSW it has always been a LWB CSW, and if that is the varient you want, pay the premium, don't try and get a commercial and think you can convert.

Any way, the CSW's are the most desirable, because they are the closest to a family car. They have seats and windows and sometimes carpet.

Van backs, are less sought after, but are easily converted to CSW spec by cutting windows in, and some people prefer them without.

Two types of canvas top Landy exist. Full tilt has canvas from windscreen to tail gate. These are probably the more sought after of the two. The other is a 3/4 tilt, and has a pick-up back with a canvas cover.

A full tilt SWB is almost as desirable as a SWB CSW, but obviously sells better in summer. A full tilt LWB, is difficult, its probably more desirable than a pick up or van back, but certainly not as sought after as a CSW.

Right, that's the kind of overview. Next question is specification. Generally, people like to see lots of extras for their money, and these Land Rovers can have in abundance, as they have so little to start with!

Now, take not on 'modifying your Land Rover', because a lot of mods or accessories don't actually add much value, and can detract from value or saleability.

Land Rover optional Extras were many, but few buyers are probably interested in the Power Take off to drive a bailer. What is sought after is an Over Drive unit, which on its own is worth about 150.

Free Wheeling hubs - these are useful, but don't add much value - they are not hard to come by, and are available brand new for about 75.

Interior trim. Sound proofing, door trims, carpets and all that kind of soft stuff. Bought separately and new, can quickly add up to a lot of money. But pay close attention and have a good look at it if it is there. If sound proofing and carpets have been fitted to a rusty foot well, they could accelerate the rate of rusting and make the job of cutting back and making good a lot harder for you, at the end of which you will probably have to throw a lot of rotten upholstery away.

Seats - again, new seats can be expensive, but not horrendously so. Seats salvaged from newer cars DONT add value, and often make the driving position less comfortable, even though your backside may be better supported.

Twin tanks. You get two sorts. The LWB CSW had a tank under the rear over hang. The Military had a second tank like the main one, but under the passenger's seat.

Look carefully at how they have been fitted, especially around the filler area, as the panel has probably had to be cut here to fit the filler. Also look to see how the system works and if it has a switch over tap, and how you measure the quantity of fuel in each tank.

As for what value it adds, again, not a lot really. New tanks are about 50, so its not hugely expensive to fit twin tanks. But filling up a twin tank Landie is horrendously expensive, so unless its been used for lots of long runs, it will rarely have been filled all that often. And empty tanks rot faster. If you are looking for an 'expadition' vehicle, it may be worth while, but otherwise, not really much of a selling feature.

Fog Lights, Reversing Lamps, and hazard warnings lamps. Most S3's were made before these were compulsory fitment.They are useful to have though and many people have fitted them as an accessory. Again, do not add huge amounts of value for these, but make sure that they are wired properly, are fused and have appropriate switches and dash-board 'tell-tale' lamps.

Spot-lamps. Another popular accessory, as standard lighting is pretty cronic. Look for a Halogen headlamp conversion first though, preferably with non rotting plastic headlamp bowls. These can easily be spotted from inside the front wheel arch.

Halogen headlamps are only about 25, which isn't a lot, but a new set of lamp bowls and everything to renew the lamps can run to well over 100, so if you have halogens AND plastic bowls add 50 to the value. If halogens and standard bowls, just add a tenner.

Don't add anything for spotlamps, but note how they are wired up, and unless they are properly relayed off the headlamps, start taking value off. If there is a row of spot-lamps over the roof, look closely at the rest of the car. Roof mounted spots mean that the owner is either image conscience or a keen off roader. And pay particular attention to how they are mounted - they are often fitted by drilling through the roof, and no matter how much silicon has been gunged around the bolts, vibration and pressure will see to it that the joints leak. Detract value.

Bull-Bars or A-Frames. A trendy and contentious accessory. You can buy an A frame new for about 80, and a full bull-bar for anything up to 200. Don't add value for one. Insurance companies don't like them, so they may restrict choice of insurance company and or lift the premium price unnecessarily. They are also questionable as to their usefulness. In any impact, they may save body work from damage, but instead will transfer the impact force to the chassis. After much debate, the Jury is still hung over these things and whether they actually have any useful purpose, and where that may be.

Lamp guards/grills. These have a little value. They are only about 30 a set new, so don't add anything significant to the value of the car over all. On the plus side hey do an effective job of deflecting small stone strikes, branched and dropped bicycle handlebars from the lamp lens, but at the same time they do reduce the lamp intensity and make them harder to clean.

Parabolic Suspension. This is one of those 'Must Have' upgrades, and yes it works and yes it adds value. But take a good look at it. See 'Parabolic Springs'. As a buyer, you need to make sure that the suspension swap has been done properly, and that the set up is optimised the way you would want it. Ie. If you want road comfort and the parabolics fitted are off road orientated, it might as well have stock plain leaves. A Parabolic conversion will generally set you back about 400 in parts along, if you do it yourself, and take you about a week-end to do. If its already there, then it can add maybe 2-300 to the value, depending on condition.

Engine 'Upgrades'. There are simply hundreds of alternatives that have been shoe horned into a Land Rover engine bay over the years. The most common transplant are Ford Granada 2.8 or 3.0l V6 petrol engines, Range Rover V8's, and a whole variety of Diesel Engines, from other Land Rover models, Perkins, Dihatsu, Ford etc.

A 'good' conversion will have cost the person who has done it hundreds of pounds. To a buyer, well, it's a double edged sword. A seller will probably be well aware of how much the conversion has cost in money, blood sweat and tears, and know just how much of an improvement it is. A buyer will be looking at something that isn't covered in the Haynes manual, that might make insurance awkward, and be a right royal pain to get parts for or fix.

Generally, engine conversions don't add value, and are usually lucky if they don't detract from value.

The common ones are the Rover V8, which can add a bit of value as people really do like having that engine. But, it is a killer of series three transmissions, and if it's been fitted with a Range Rover or Defender box, then there is a question over the permanent four wheel drive set up, as Series axles don't like it. Treat with caution.

The Ford V6 conversion is an old favourite. That engine seems to sit well on a Series gearbox and parts and 'know-how' tend not to be too big a problem, but it is still a converted car, so again, apply caution and check out the quality of installation, and decide if it really adds much value. At best, its only worth a couple of hundred quid.

Next common conversion is to a Diesel engine. With high MPG, a lot of petrol Landies got their original 2.25l petrol engines swapped for 2.25l Diesel engines. If you are looking at a Diesel, pay close attention and try and find out if it has always been a diesel. If it hasn't, even though it is a stock engine, you will need to declare it as a modification to insurance companies, and again, how well has the conversion been carried out?

On the subject of Rover Diesels, next common engine is the 2.5NAD. Not a bad engine, but not great either. This was what Rover put into the 90 & 110. A lot of people think that it is wonderful, and don't even think of it as a conversion, but it is. Again, be sure to check out quality of installation and if you can where the engine came from. A lot were taken out of old DAF/Sherpa vans.

In either case, don't add any value for a 2.25 Diesel or 2.5'NAD'. The former is stock fitment, the latter's slight performance advantages mitigated for by not being original fit.

Next on the list, a popular conversion these days is to the Montego 'Prima' Perkins 2.0l Turbo Diesel. Its a much vaunted conversion, and they reckon that the engines a good one, and that there are plenty about. Much of its virtue is that it offers reasonable power and good economy, and is pretty cheap to do. Adapter kit with all the bits and pieces you need to fit one comes in at around 500, and with 250 for a 'Good' donor engine, it is one of the cheapest conversions about. It's even cheaper if you can find a scrap engine for 50 and can make up all the brackets and stuff yourself. How much value does a prima conversion add? Again, discretion. How well has it been fitted, and would it be something you would consider. At most though, it should only add a couple of hundred to the overall value.

As for other engines, like Dihatsu or Perkins - treat with caution. The engines advantages are probably more than negated by the question marks

Wheels & Tyres. After-market wheels don't add much to the value of a vehicle. More important are the type and condition of the tyres. After-market steel wheels start at about 25 each, and are actually cheaper than original equipment items. Tyres start at about 40 each, with most about 75 up. So the wheels are less than 1/3 the value of the tyre on them, and if you need new tyres, it is often cheaper to get a 'wheel deal' and buy a set of tyres on after market wheels, than it is to get new tyres put on the old wheels.

So, what wheels does it have? If they are rusty old Land Rover wheels, you might think that a set of nice shiny new eight spokes or modulars would look good in thier place, but what tyres are on them? What size? What tread Pattern? What construction? And how much tread is left?

If the tyres are near the legal limit, subtract 200 from the value, as that is the starting cost to fit a new set of remoulds. If they still have good tread, then fine, but don't add much for bigger tyres or brand new tyres, especially Mud Terrain's or remoulds. Remoulds aren't too much to worry about on an old Landy, but they aren't expensive to start with, and Mud Terrain tyres wear faster on tarmac.

Paint-work. Now, people like nice tidy body panels and shiny paint work. And it is expensive. A full respray can easily cost 1000. But the thing is that a Land Rover is Aluminium, and a working vehicle. Nice paint work isn't essential. More important is the state of the chassis and what the steering gear is like.

Add 100-200 for a good clean paint job, but no more, and don't let shiny bright work steer your decision over good mechanicals.

That said, if you are selling, there are plenty of people who will buy a shiny heap of junk, rather than a dull gem.

So, we are down to the nitty gritty. You want a good chassis and a good bulkhead. Some rust and even the odd hole are acceptable, as they can be plated, but too much and you really need a full body off restoration to set it all straight.

Galvanised chassis are much vaunted, as they are so much more corrosion resistant, but again, they unfortunately don't add that much more value. 2-300 extra no more. Galvanised may not rot so easily, but it is also a lot harder to weld if/when it does.

After that, there really isn't much that you can tell by just looking, so its down to receipts and paperwork. Look carefully at any that is available. Sellers will often have reams of the stuff, but quite often there will be twenty receipts for tyres bought individually. Look close. Are the dates close together, and what are the types of tyres bought? It's all well and good a seller saying 'receipts for thousands', but that could include ten sets of quick wearing MT tyres, and its only got one set on it now!

Could also point out the fact that the seller has been replacing tyres at an alarming rate, rather than fixing knackered steering. So look at the receipts closely, and decide what is actually worth while in them.

Then judge the car as a whole, both as a serviceable vehicle, and against what use you want to put it to, and decide just how much it is worth to you, and be prepared to walk away, if you are buying, or have a lot of tyre kickers if you are selling, because at the end of the day, a Land Rover is a specialist vehicle and it's value and saleability is highly dependent on who comes to see it.


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