View Full Version : Would you buy a Studebaker with a salvage title?

04-06-2013, 11:55 PM
Back about 2 years ago I was trying to find a new home for a pair of Studebaker's for a lady that her husband passed away, at the time I was in Springfield for the international and at that time she ended up calling the local wrecking yard and gave them to them, when I got back and found out about it I went to the yard and asked about the 2 Studebaker's they had gotten 2 weeks ago they said at this time they are not for sale so nothing more happened until today I heard that they were for sale now. Nibbs 53 and myself went over and checked them out some but didn't have a lot of time to really take pictures as they were closing but they did say they were for sale but would be with a bill of sale as the original title and plates were turner into the state as required by state law. So my question would any one touch cars like this not for parts cars but for drivers or even something better? one is a 63 Lark 2 door sedan 259 V-8 with 3 speed overdrive, the car has a bad dash, and needs a repaint but body looks to be rather good, the other is a 65 Cruiser with a 350 small block V-8 and auto, power steering, power brakes, air, and had been redone on the inside, not original but nice driver. body looks to be good also, price has not been talked about yet as I will be going back tomorrow if they are open and get down to the talk of buying the cars, both ran when passed owner was around and drove them, in fact they hauled the 63 and drove the 65 to the wrecking yard so they only had to make one trip. I know in the state of California I can get a new title but it will have salvage stamped across the front, these were scrapped just to get rid of them not because they were damaged, so do other have problems in other states with something that has salvaged title??

04-07-2013, 12:00 AM
If I were in that situation I would probably work out a deal just to save them from getting crushed, especially if at least one is still in good enough condition to drive it. As long as the cars weren't stolen and given salvage titles because of that, I wouldn't be too worried.

04-07-2013, 12:01 AM
If that '63 is running (and stopping!), and you can get photos of both, I'd be interested in either at the right price. I've owned a few brand X cars with salvage titles. They don't scare me.

04-07-2013, 12:05 AM
Heck I bought my 59 Silverhawk without a title, but then again obtaining a title in the state of MN is'nt to difficult. Honestly, Id go for it.

04-07-2013, 12:26 AM
Heck I bought my 59 Silverhawk without a title, but then again obtaining a title in the state of MN is'nt to difficult. Honestly, Id go for it.Isn't that the truth. Don't you just need to take a few pics of the car, fill out the form, and have a good reason why there's no title? I lived in MN for a few years, and my biggest regret was not taking advantage of the title laws there to get a new title for my grandpa's Lark. Ah well, live and learn.

Warren Webb
04-07-2013, 12:33 AM
It's a shame the junk yard put salvage titles on them knowing full well that they would be worth more without that stigma. Regardless though I too would not have a problem with a salvage "pink". I presently have an 2000 Saturn that I bought from an old neighbor. He had it since new & maintained it to the tee when he was "t-boned" & called me to advise who he could take it to be fixed. The next day he was told it was a total & asked me if I wanted to buy it. I did sight unseen knowing how good the car was & how much the estimate came to. The only pain in the butt was I had to get a "brake & lamp" inspection. Finding a place in California that does it is a pain. Cost me 70 bucks for that plus the smog inspection but the tires on the car were just a few months old & they alone were worth almost the cost of the car.

04-07-2013, 01:16 AM
I'd buy 'em. As I don't build cars with the intention of ever selling them it's super immaterial what the 'value' is or will be after I'm dead....if it's not for sale it has ZERO value! Of course if a person's interest in cars is heavily supported by wheelin' & dealin' a salvage title might be be cause for lost sleep Never could bring myself to adopt that Used Car Dealer viewpoint.

04-07-2013, 01:22 AM
My last three cars were salvaged. Back in 1992 I bought a 1988 Turbo Coupe for $1,500. Like Warren said you have the brake and headlight check. I drove that car for 10 years as my daily driver. It was hit (again) and I got $1,400 for the repair. I waited a while and got a matching color door at Pick A part for $30. Ultimately it failed smog. I kept about $600 in parts, sold about $250 in parts and sent the carcass off (free) for scrap. So, I figure the car was basically free after the second accident. And, I made/retained an additional $850.

The car that replaced the salvaged Turbo Coupe was a salvaged 1991 Mazda 323. My brother gave it to me for FREE. He bought it at 36K and gave it to me at 137K. I drove it for 6+ years (192K) and failing its smog test, I sold it to the State smog abatement program for $1,000. If your counting at this point I've had two salvaged daily drives for 16 years and have made (not spent or lost) about $1,850!

Two year ago I bought another Mazda (2000 Protege) for $1,900 (95K miles). I'll likely have this car 8-10 years and still get something back when I'm done. Doing the math it will be roughly 25+ years of daily driving and I will have paid NOTHING for the cars. FYI, this car had been a salvaged vehicle in Ohio and received a "reconstruction" title in Kentucky. When the guy I bought it from moved to California there is no "reconstruction" designation (that I know of). Here I think the only options are Clean or Salvaged. So, the State issued a clean title. The only way I knew it HAD been salvaged is the guy was VERY honest and showed me the paperwork.

So, I realize not everyone is going to jump to get a salvaged car. But for me it has worked out fine three times. I think with the age of the Studebaker cars, and the rarity, a buyer would likely overlook the salvaged title - if they were any real kind of "car guy."

Lastly, because people in other states have mentioned cars without proper paperwork are easily dealt with... . Not so here in California. I looked into the matter and was basically told: The vehicle had to be towed to a licensed towing/storage yard. I was told the best way to do this was to shove it out on the street and complain about it. The car is then held in storage and then LEGALLY sold as a Lien against the stowing/storage fees. Sadly, you and everyone else are able to bid on the car. This apparently provides the DMV with PROPER paperwork and you can then apply for title. I was told this by the DMV when my neighbor offered me her sister's Fiat X19 that I was going to convert to an electric car. It sat in her driveway for many years and she wanted it gone. Seeing the hassle I passed this by.

Anyway, that is what I was told. If things are different here in California PLEASE let me know. I was only going by what the DMV told me.


04-07-2013, 04:22 AM
It's no problem till you go to sell it, then it's not worth as much as one with a good title.

04-07-2013, 07:11 AM
Not a problem here in VT as we're a non-title state for vehicles older than 20 years.

Cars like these would be resold with a bill-of-sale only and I think many "title" states have a way to deal with this.

This, of course, presents an interesting ethical delema, to reveal the salvage title or not?

04-07-2013, 08:07 AM
Not a problem here in VT as we're a non-title state for vehicles older than 20 years.

Cars like these would be resold with a bill-of-sale only and I think many "title" states have a way to deal with this.

This, of course, presents an interesting ethical delema, to reveal the salvage title or not?

I purchased my Avanti from a party in VT and the state (VT) provided a document called a bill of sale and odometer reading through the seller. The Michigan DMV looked at the paperwork, went to a Bible of some type that said VT was a non-title state and said good-to-go but you need an inspection to assure the vehicle is operational. So the next day a Deputy shows up, looks at the car, checks the lights-brakes etc, and signs the form. Back to the DMV, pay the sales tax and recieve a temporary title and plates. Not a bad issue, other than the gal at the DMV wanted to know which country an Avanti was built in.

I don't have a problem with salvage titles because there is a good reason for them as I'm searching for the word to describe the cars!!!! Oh I've got it SALVAGED.

I'm not sure what the ethical issue would be, you tell the buyer as that is fact. If only, to protect yourself when the buyer finds out and drags your hiney into court.


04-07-2013, 09:25 AM
From my conversation with the owner of the yard it is the law here in California that a wrecking yard when getting in a car or truck must report same to the DMV and send in plates and title, and can be sold with a bill of sale then when the car or truck is registered the DMV new title will have the words salvaged title across the top and would need to be safety checked to get one, but that does not mean that this information is any where but in the California system, he stated that they are working to get this type of thing to be all states into one system then it could make more problems for other not having this type of system now. I hope to be talking to the owner today and see what we can work out, I just hope I can get them for a price that I can work with since that is what I do, buy a car and resell it and try to make a buck or 2, that is what I would do with these if I get them and selling price would be based on my cost, how much work I need to do, and condition of each car, not trying to get rich but not to loose money and make something on each. Any one interested can PM me and I will post some pictures and description later.

04-07-2013, 09:32 AM
Bob I would most for sure save them as said titles should not be that hard to get. Heck set me a picture of all four side of the cars and one of the plate numbers and I will get you MN. titles for what it costs me.

04-07-2013, 10:12 AM
I'd buy a Studebaker with a salvage title before I'd buy a 2009 Brand X with a salvage title. The modern car was most likely in a flood or accident and will have the kind of problems in a few years that you don't want to deal with. What kind of problems will the Studebaker have that we don't talk about all day long on this forum? Unless they took a Lark or Hawk that was wrecked in the front, and one that was wrecked in the back and grafted them together Frankenstein-style, it's going to be in better shape than the '47 M I bought with no title! No one was going to restore the rusty hulk I started with!

04-07-2013, 12:15 PM
BobWaitz. I've done a number of clip jobs in my day and if done right no one should know and they hold up better than any other kind of body repair that there is. All in how you cut them in half and how you put the two parts back together.

04-07-2013, 02:11 PM
You've got a good name wih studebaker people, and if you explain why it says salvage, and that it was not actually ever wrecked I don't most of us would care. You'll of course get a little less for them even if the new owner believes you, just cause the resell value will go down a bit. If it was a new car this would be a little scarier, but so many really great classics have been "salvaged" even if that was only a recovery from a junk yard and never a wreck, most real car enthusiest's should be used to this kind of stuff, and not too scared of it.

04-07-2013, 02:30 PM
I have bought quite a few salvage title vehicles.. and when it came time to re sell as long as I was honest with the buyer they understood and I didn't have any issues coming out ahead or atleast break even every time..

04-07-2013, 02:32 PM
Documentation is a lot of it. At least in the states I've lived in, that salvage title is going to follow the car--DMVs do talk to each other electronically. But if I know that the car was an estate car that was sold to a salvage yard and then rescued (instead of wrecked and rebuilt) then I'm going to feel better about it and wouldn't hesitate to buy it if the price was adjusted accordingly. As others have pointed out it will be worth less due to the title branding.

04-07-2013, 05:12 PM
This is a common occurrence with older cars and not a deal breaker, in any way. Barn finds and cars located in fields usually don't have a current title and are sold with a "bill of sale" only. Most states require an inspection to verify the vin# is not on a stolen list and a few forms need to be filled out to get a bonded title. Sometimes it's best to not transfer a salvage title and work from the "bill of sale".

Mark L
04-07-2013, 05:38 PM
Yes, I'd buy one.

The rules vary from state to state, but as candbstudebakers points out, many states have laws which require scrap yards to report vehicles sold to them as salvage vehicles, because they aren't necessarily licensed as automobile dealers. Branding a title as "salvaged" is designed to protect downstream consumers so they know what they are getting - a vehicle which may have some undesirable problems. I bought my Land Cruiser from a scrap yard. The owner gave me the latest original title without writing "salvage" on it because it was so old, but he did make it clear in the bill of sale that it was a salvage vehicle to comply with the rules he operates under.

It does concern me when someone from the government of California says they are trying to make a system the same across all 50 states. I'm all for standardization, but California is not in the greatest of shape, so I'm leery of following their lead on anything.

I elected to turn a Crown Victoria into a salvaged vehicle after a very minor auto accident. The cost to repair the dent in the right rear fender and replace/repaint a cut bumper shroud exceeded the value of the car. It was a huge hassle, but once I jumped through all the hoops, I sold the car to a woman who wanted a heavier car for her daughter. I was up front with her and she bought the car.

Mark L

04-07-2013, 06:54 PM
yes.. i would buy

04-07-2013, 07:00 PM
I'd buy a Studebaker with a salvage title before I'd buy a 2009 Brand X with a salvage title. There ya go! Any one of us is going to evaluate the condition of a Studebaker based upon its condition, not its title. The fact that a salvage title is available in your state will only make it easier to re-title in other states that require something more than a bill of sale. I would not hesitiate on the purchase, once I had examined the vehicles.

04-07-2013, 10:59 PM
Today I got into the wrecking yard and took a lot of pictures, more than I will post here today, but some of the straight forward ones, the main person that is in charge of selling the cars was not in and will not be until Tue. so buying price is still up in the air, one of the workers said something like $2500.00 each if that is the final price on them I will more than likely back off as there is to much work on my part to do things and still try to offer them at a sale able price, my thinking if I can make a deal where I move them for $3000.00 each then I would go for the deal so only Tue. will I really know.They both are pretty much rust free except for some small areas, frame, floors, trunk floor, hood, trunk lid and most body parts rust free, the 65 has a little starting in the roof edges and the 63 has a golf ball size in the driver door, the pass door has bubbles starting. here are a few pictures of each, more detail to any one that is really interested. the 63 also has some starting at the roof edges.









04-08-2013, 08:40 PM
For a vehicle over a certain age: I don't think a salvage title would hurt its real world value assuming everything 'legal' is in order. :)

04-08-2013, 09:25 PM
For a simple (so you can check the basic frame and body), older car (without a lot of stuff that could go wrong) like a Lark, I don't see the harm.
Of course I wouldn't spend $30k on a restoration for it because the title might scare off potential buyers in the future, but for a nice driver quality car, why not?

I'd be wary of an Avanti though....too many things could be hidden...and again the resale issue. But if you're going to turn it into a Bonneville racer, (after checking the frame and redoing the brakes), no harm.

04-08-2013, 10:16 PM
In Missouri, there is a process that can use to take a vehicle from a "Salvage" title brand to a "Prior Salvage" title brand (so that it can be registered with license plates and driven like any other car). Some people see a Prior Salvage vehicle as being worth less, but others are realistic about the fact that it is more of a bureauocratic lable than a judgment on the value of the investment. I fall into the latter category.