This is a complete on-site inspection and evaluation of your classic or contemporary car, or book/automobilia/tool collection. The appraiser normally covers only the northern California area. $225 and up, depending on car and location (refer to Frequently Asked Questions for more information on rates)
Done by mail or e-mail, as you prefer, this is an economical way for you to have an accurate estimate of a car’s current retail and/or wholesale market value, so that you might buy, sell, donate, inherit, or perhaps settle disputes and estate matters with assurance in the accuracy of your information. These detailed analyses will cite standard references and report extensively on current market conditions, and can give helpful advice on how and where to sell, if required, but they are NOT a substitute for a certified appraisal. $95.00–$175.00, most cars.
Arbitration and Expert Witness Testimony
Should you need an advocate in an arbitration hearing, or Expert Witness testimony, the appraiser is very experienced in these areas, and offers a free consultation to determine if he can be of service to you. Rates for Expert Witness are on a per-day basis, and will vary with location.
Free Phone or E-Mail Consultation
The appraiser would be pleased to offer advice to anyone who needs clarification of their appraisal needs. No values, however, will be given out without a prior inspection or on-line evaluation of your vehicle, and without a fee being received by the appraiser.
Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI)
This is a detailed on-site inspection, test drive and photographic record of the classic or collectible car you are thinking of buying, but haven’t time to come and see for yourself. This type of inspection serves as your eyes and ears, and the appraiser serves as your advocate. $349 and up, depending on car and location. Information on additional mechanical inspection and transport can be provided as well.
Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) Details
Fees and Payment
The base fee for a PPI is $349 + any gas expenditure and tolls incurred. There is no charge for driving time. Payment is made prior to the inspection, either by PAYPAL (preferred method) or by check mailed to my place of business. Refunds, such as might occur if the seller or you changes their mind, or if the vehicle is sold beforehand, will be issued promptly to you in the same manner as payment was received.
What Happens During An Inspection
A Pre-Purchase Inspection is a process that can take 2 to 3 hours to complete, with the inspector examining, photographing and driving the car. Once this process is completed, you will be sent, electronically, a written report describing the car and the road test in detail (no mere checklists!) , soon followed by anywhere from 30 to 50 high resolution photos which will focus on individual aspects of the car that the inspector wishes to bring to your attention. These photos are not beauty shots. Chances are the seller has already provided you with that kinds of photo. Each photo I send you will be identified by a descriptive file name and will reference the written report. These may include body, trim, chassis, engine and interior. In addition, the fee I charge you includes phone time with me, after you have examined the written report and the photographs. If the item is not mentioned in the report, it was not inspected.
What An Inspection Can And Cannot Do
My goal is to provide you with significantly more information than you are likely to get from an advertisement or from talking to the seller. I am your eyes and ears, and your advocate. In a sense, I am vastly improving your odds of getting the car you were hoping to find, or preventing you from making a mistake. An inspection is not, however, a warranty. I am the bearer of good new and bad news. Given the time frame and the constraints of the car’s location, it would be impossible to notice every little defect. Think of the PPI as a kind of filter that can catch the worst things, but not the microscopic ones, nor the hidden ones. Moreover, please remember also that my inspection report reflects the condition and behavior of the vehicle at the time of the inspection. (we do record mileage however).
In addition, I cannot disassemble someone else’s car on your behalf, due to liability issues. Such things as pulling wheels or doing a compression test are beyond the scope of the PPI. If you require a mechanical tear-down, perhaps based on what the PPI indicates, then you and the seller will have to arrange that, and perhaps I can make some recommendations. While I am very knowledgeable about classic cars, and have years of experience, I am not representing myself as a licensed automotive technician. Last of all, if the seller promises to repair items mentioned in my report, this is an agreement between the two of you, and I have no control over how or if these promises are kept.
Inspection vs. Authentication
With classic cars, the subjects of “numbers” and “correctness” often comes up, and these can be quite important for certain cars. Please understand that a PPI inspector is not an Authenticator. He is, by necessity, a generalist. I would be pleased to check on basic VIN and fender tag numbers for you, and, if possible, engine numbers, and reference these to the car’s papers, but there is neither the time nor the facility to date-code a car or research if it has all the factory-correct parts on it . For this you would have to hire an authenticator, and this service can be quite expensive, and take a good deal of time to complete.
Other Factors To Consider
The PPI is dependent upon the cooperation of the seller and the weather. If either one impedes the PPI, the inspector has to work with what he is given, and will do the best job he can under the circumstances. Inclement weather, poor lighting, or the seller’s refusal to allow a test drive will all contribute to a less than ideal inspection. This rarely happens because I take the time to work these things out beforehand; but on rare occasion, surprises do occur and you should remain flexible in your expectations.