View Full Version : Flippers, Good, Bad or indifferent

07-25-2015, 08:45 AM
Many people have strong opinions on car flippers and what they bring to or take away from our hobby. Are they good, bad or indifferent and why?

07-25-2015, 09:25 AM

07-25-2015, 11:00 AM
Confession of a car flipper. I'm fickle. Ever since I bought my first car - a 1936 Ford three-window, rumble-seat coupe - there has always been a car that I wanted more than the one I had. So far, I've had 43 of them, and - except for a Lotus Elan that I owned for three days - the cars I sold have all been better than when I bought them. I love the challenge of making a car better, and sometimes making it the way I thought the manufacturer might make it today (with the exception of ECM-controlled crap, which I don't understand.) Two recent cases in point: Several years ago, I bought a 1972 Lotus Europa (because I've always wanted a Europa) that was a basket case. A friend and I picked up the back end - there was no engine, transaxle or rear suspension - and wheeled it onto my car trailer wheelbarrow style. During the two years that I owned it, I replaced the following parts:
New ball joints
New trunnions
New tie-rod ends
New Spax adjustable front shock absorbers
New 9”, 150-pound/inch front springs
New stainless steel brake caliper pistons
New caliper seals
New Brembo brake discs
New brake pads
New rear brake cylinders
New rear brake adjusters
New rear brake shoes
Rebuilt Triumph TR6 master cylinder
New 2-PSI residual pressure valve
New 10-PSI residual pressure valve
New proportioning valve
New stainless braided brake hoses
New polyurethane suspension bushings
New aluminum crossflow radiator
All new coolant hoses
New rigid coolant pipes
New thermostat
New 7PSI radiator cap
New dual fan assembly
New thermal fan switch and relay
New water temperature sender
New windshield wiper switch
New electrically operated windshield washer
New inner rear wheel bearings
New outer rear wheel bearings
New rear wheel bearing spacers
New trailing arm bushings
New universal joints
New stub axle roll pins
New Koni rear shock absorbers
New adjustable lower control arms
Two new 8-gallon fuel cells
New electric fuel pump
Two new stainless steel fuel fillers
New fuel level sender
New fuel filter
All new fuel lines with metal T fitting
Rebuilt Cortina twin cam engine based on Kent block
New water pump
New high-pressure oil pump
New headers
New exhaust system
New Kubota alternator
New voltage regulator/rectifier
New motor mounts
New transaxle mount
New dash gauge electronic voltage stabilizer
Rebuilt distributor
New points
New condenser
New rotor
New distributor cap
New ignition wires
New shift linkage fulcrum pivot
New shift linkage bushings
New 13mm rear swaybar
New speedometer cable
New right-angle speedometer drive gear
New transaxle output shaft seals
New transaxle stub axle inner seals
New transaxle stub axle outer seals
New transaxle input shaft seal
New clutch pressure plate
New clutch disc
New clutch throwout bearing
New pilot bushing
Balanced flywheel
New high-torque starter
New accelerator cable
New choke cable
New coil
New spark plugs
New heater blower
New gel battery
New 75-amp battery fuse
Additional dual-fuse block
New license plate lights
New stainless steel grille
New honeycomb radiator protector
New stainless steel decklid vents
13 X 7 Vector wheels
New 185/60R13 high performance tires
Custom center console
Custom dash pad
New shifter boot and bezel
New 4-speed shift knob
13” “leather”-wrapped steering wheel
New clutch and brake pedal pads
New carpeting
Custom shoulder harness bar
New 4-point harnesses
New door seals
Reupholstered seats
Reupholstered door panels
New Sebring Mirror

When I sold it, it looked like this:

Right now, I'm working on a 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2/4speed that I bought in January. Here's what it looked like then.


And here's what it looks like now (although I'm not yet finished with it.)


So far, I've replaced the following parts:
New rear brake cylinders
New rear brake shoes
New rear brake hose
New rear brake hardware
New power brake booster
New dual chamber master cylinder
New vented disc brake rotors
New front wheel bearings
New single-piston calipers
New disc brake pads
New front brake hoses
New aluminum radiator
New dual 10” puller fans
New adjustable fan thermostat
New power steering hoses
New R2 fuel pump
Rebuilt Paxton SN92 supercharger
New air filter
New supercharger ducting
New drive and idler pulleys
New drive belts
New boost line to fuel pump
New rigid and flexible engine fuel lines
New fuel filter
New Avanti water pump
New rubber fuel tank lines
New stainless steel oil pressure flexible line
New upper and lower radiator hoses
Rebuilt Delco window distributor
New points
New condenser
New spark plugs
New oil cooler hoses
New oil filter
New stainless steel mesh radiator guard
New engine ground cable
New battery
New battery cables
Rebuilt Delco starter
New two-speed heater motor
New heater squirrel-cage blower
New heater control valve
New voltage regulator
New defroster hoses
New throttle linkage
New sealed Edelbrock 1406 Carburetor with AFB top
Restored carburetor bonnet
New PCV valve
New hard vacuum advance line
New electric choke
New 235/60R15 tires
Rebuilt windshield washer system

And I haven't even started on the interior or exterior, but I already have my eye on a Porsche 914 with a Chalon body and a Chevy V8. So, I may sell the Avanti before too long and I may even make a few bucks, which could bring my labor rate up to 50 cents per hour for all the hours I worked on the car. So, do I flip cars? Yes, I do. I flip them when I have conquered enough of the mechanical challenges to satisfy myself and when another - more desirable?- car is calling me. At 75 years of age, there are not that many "must have" cars in my future, so perhaps my flipping frequency has increased to the point where it now matches my testosterone-charged adolescent rate (three cars by the age of 17.) If you want to read about it, pick up one of my books, either KENNY'S KEMPS* or DAVIES LAKE EPISODES, and you'll learn about the adolescent life of a car- (and girl) flipper.

Chris Pile
07-25-2015, 11:05 AM
Have done it myself. Don't see anything wrong with it.

Pat Dilling
07-25-2015, 11:07 AM
Ginetta I hardly believe that what you are doing is "flipping cars."

My vision of a flip is buying an under valued car, doing some minor repairs or improvements and then selling it at market value. Sometimes repairs are not even necessary. I am fine with people doing that. I do object to folks that buy a car and do questionable or shoddy repairs then sell them to unsuspecting buyers. Especially those who represent the cars as rare or high value when they are not. To me, that is fraud. It also bothers me when a person does find a rare car in need of repair and does lousy work to repair it for sale.

07-25-2015, 11:12 AM
Many people have strong opinions on car flippers and what they bring to or take away from our hobby. Are they good, bad or indifferent and why?

Silly me!.....When I read the heading for this thread, I thought you meant the window 'flippers' used on certain Studebaker hardtop models! :woot:

07-25-2015, 12:53 PM
I see all these car shows where they take an old muscle car from the 60's that they just paid $3000 for work on it for two or three weeks, new paint and wheels and sell it for $30000. I just gotta wonder how good a job they did and what they do to the market for collector cars.

07-25-2015, 01:04 PM
I do not consider myself to be a flipper. I have owned more than 100 cars, of which more than 50 were Studebakers (plus three Avantis). I enjoy owning and experiencing different cars. I have owned cars from a matter of days to as much as 15 years. The ones that I kept for a short period of time were usually improved by me before I sold them. Some I made money on and some I lost money on and that is without counting my labor. I never wanted to have it where it seemed like a second job.

Neighbors, friends and co-workers used to come to me first when they needed a second car or a car for a child of theirs. My previous next door neighbor bought several cars from me. These people knew that I knew cars and checked out many before buying and went over the cars after I got them. By going to me, they eliminated all of the waste (to them) of time, etc. I enjoy searching out, checking out and purchasing used cars. To most people, this is an undesirable chore.

One unusual example is a Wildcat that I took in trade on my Riviera GS. A co-worker was sponsoring a Vietnamese family. The guy needed a car to get to work. I sold the Wildcat to them for $125. I had allowed a true $100 for the Wildcat on the trade, painted a front door and fender and did a few other things. The following year, I found out that the guy had driven the car everyday with the only repair being a can of stop leak.

This is separate from the hundreds of cars that I purchased and sold for car dealerships that I worked at.

To the initial question - I have nothing against it in general. It is a free enterprise system. Most of these cars, others have had the same opportunity to purchase them. Some people do not like the "hunt", others do. Of course, like with anything, there are a few people that "abuse" the system and give others a bad name.

I have greatly slowed down on this. This is not due to age, but rather due to the increasing New York regulations, title expense ($50), sales tax (8.125%), insurance, state inspection, registration fees (including a surcharge for the MTA!), etc.

07-25-2015, 01:35 PM
I am a resource re-allocator, not a flipper. I never did much with cars, but quite a bit with tractors, farm equipment and more recently, chainsaws. I have taken some hits (lost 8K on a tractor and Bushhog I auctioned), but overall I have come out ahead. I have owned over 65 cars and trucks (with about 3 dozen being Studebakers) and about 70 tractors in my lifetime. I am always looking for a way to pass something along and make a buck in the process.

What I did object to were the people I would encounter at swap meets that would tell me how much they needed a part for a car they were working on only to find out later it was purchased for resale.

Commander Eddie
07-25-2015, 01:36 PM
My opinion varies depending on what they are doing too and with the cars they buy and sell. I watch the TV shows of guys buying, fixing up, and selling cars. Some of what they do I like. Most I do not. But, I don't have to like it. I figure if they could not get any money out of the cars they buy and sell they would not do it.
To be honest, I have bought a couple of cars that I turned around and sold. One I held on to for 5 years and put a lot of money into it. I sold it for less then what I had invested but I had gotten a lot of enjoyment out of the car for myself and that made up the difference in my opinion. The other one I held on to for only about 3 months. I sold it after I decided I needed a truck more. I had not put much into it. I sold it for about what I had into it. So, as a flipper, I would starve to death. I just could not do what some of these guys do. My hat is off to them if they can make a living at it.

07-25-2015, 01:59 PM
I have never been a flipper, because I tend to get too attached to the cars that I buy. That means that any advantage that may I have seen gained by buying an under valued car is usually lost by holding on to it too long.

All used car sales people are flippers, but just on a different platform. I find no problem with someone selling a car to someone who needs it more then he does, or the case of and old car, putting it in the hands of someone who appreciates it more then the salesman. Making money on a car purchased for resale is always a crap shoot, there is always the chance of loosing money too. I can understand the negative emotion of turning our hobby cars into a commodity, but I think much of the negativity is just jealousy.-Bill

07-25-2015, 02:02 PM
Pardon my sentence structure on #11, that's what you get when you proof read after you send the message.Bill

07-25-2015, 02:17 PM
Pardon my sentence structure on #11, that's what you get when you proof read after you send the message.Bill

Just click on "Edit Post" Bill.

t walgamuth
07-25-2015, 07:45 PM
Nothing wrong with buying with the idea of making a profit. I've done it a few times. I've made a little money on several cars I have owned....more than several, but also have lost on many more. Overall I am ahead because of one car which I made a lot on.;)

07-25-2015, 08:54 PM
The flipper's theme song :D https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azEOeTX1LqM

07-25-2015, 09:06 PM
from 2008 to 2012, i flipped quite a few cars - mainly 80's thru '04 that i found at a low price. i'd usually just detail them, change fluids and sometimes replace a sensor, brakes or a little body work to make them looking good and roadworthy.

most of them i did make $$$ to finance parts for my older cars, maintain the daily driver(s) and get another one to "flip".

since the "cash for clunkers" program and the rise in "crusher" prices earlier this decade, the price for vehicles i was looking for has gone up considerably. with that, medical bills, the ability to turn a car over quickly due to health problems (plus the $$$ lost due to the "ex-Mrs. Corvanti"):mad: - i've been out of the flipping market since '12. i hope to supplement my income again doing so - but i don't see that happening soon.:(