by Pat Goss
For most of us, a barn find like this old Caddy convertible, well, it’s a dream come true. But in reality, if you don’t do your homework, it could be an absolute nightmare.
Getting the old bus started took a little bit of work, new plugs and a few odds and ends like that, but, it didn’t have oil pressure when we first started it, so we had to prime the system and, well, a little fussing around with it, runs like a new one.
Here’s a budget-buster if I ever saw one. Many times when you’re looking at a collectible car that has been in storage you don’t pay any attention to the fuel system, and frequently the fuel tank will be bad, it’ll have to be refurbished or replaced like we did with this one using a product called Gas Tank Renew. Now, this can set you back several hundred dollars because, in most cases, the internals in the tank are going to be bad as well, and you could easily spend $1,000 on this one item to get it right. Now, in addition to that, while the car is up in the air and you’re checking all these other things, make sure that you check inconspicuous spots, such as we see over here, where this frame mount or body reinforcement is completely rotted away.
Some of the things to look at underneath the car are brake systems, for one. Well, the things that you need to look at in the brake system…everything! But pay particular attention to the insides of the wheel cylinders, or if the car has disc brakes, to the calipers. You can see on this car that the wheel cylinders were completely corroded. They wouldn’t function at all and had to be replaced. So that’s an expense you may not have planned on. Then look at the brake hoses. We can see this hose is badly deteriorated, and that’s typical of car that’s been in storage for a long period of time, the rubber deteriorates. But look at more than just the rubber. Look at the connection between the hose and the brake line. Like this one, well, the break line was impossible to remove from the hose because it was so badly corroded. That meant not only replacing the hose, but replacing that section of brake line as well. And that can be expensive.
Now, one of the things to consider are the spare parts that come with this particular car. You know, lots of times there will be donor cars and lots of parts and so on, examine them carefully because they may be saleable and that can defray some of the cost on the actual car.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.