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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My 56 was deemed a "total loss" by Hagerty and they are asking $7,500 if I’d like to buy it back from them as a salvaged vehicle. Should I pay the $7,500 and keep it, or let it go?

This photo is AFTER the accident, and all photos in the link at the bottom are from after the accident as well.
Tire Wheel Vehicle Car Hood


All I want is a fun driver that's sensibly safe (I have a wife and two young children to ride in it). I very recently bought this car and I have driven it less than 10 times. It's my first classic car and consider me a semi-novice in car values, repair costs for upkeep/upgrades.

The car runs and drives, but in the next few years will likely need major work done on a lot of the car - exhaust, suspension, transmission, engine, body (probably in that order). I don't ever expect this car to be a show car, or have the straightest body or tightest gaps.

The repair shop working with Hagerty is advising against me keeping it/buying it for the salvaged price. The shop says the car is a "money pit and is dangerous" - dangerous because of the perceived structural integrity of the car. The frame is bent in one place in the driver's rear under the trunk (from this accident), and whoever did the previous restoration seemingly cut a ton of corners (patches riveted in vs welded, some panels only tack welded on). My main concern with the assessment is that the word "dangerous" feels extreme for the current condition of the car. Curious is you all here agree?

So...
The good: a cheap running driving pretty complete 56 that turns heads and will be fun for as long as I want to dump money into it.
The bad: is it potentially a death trap? (I was planning to install four lap and shoulder seatbelts)

All the photos I have of the car are here to show the condition, all are from after the accident.

Major thanks if you read this far, and even more thanks if you gave some advice :)
- Jay
 

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How much was it insured for? Normally when they total a car you can buy back for 10% of the pay out amount. I think it would be worth buying back
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks SLIM. It was insured for $25k, so Hagerty offered a buy back price of 30%. Any tips on getting Hagerty to drop to 10%?
 

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1956 chevy 210 del rey sedan
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so after looking at the pictures on google from the above posted link, I would not say it is unsafe to drive. I would say for $7500 as long as they don't make you do a salvage title it would be a so-so deal. the pictures show some typical lower rot in the body and piss poor repairs. that being said you would be money ahead to buy back after paying out and then take the cash left and fix it all yourself. I have found that typically the buy back is 20% so that would be $5000. I would negotiate with Hagarty on that and find another shop if you can't or don't want to do the work. just out of curiosity what was the estimate to repair at the current shop?? that had to exceed 50% of the insured value. also some shops just do not want to do the work and will bloat an estimate and talk crap about the car to discourage an owner. that would seem to be the case here.
 

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Ultimately it’s your decision based on your desire and abilities. (Financial and future with family). Have you considered buying a good title/frame/body and switching over your engine, transmission, interior etc. and painting as you please? Just a thought to keep the good, fix the bad.
 

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Trifive Certified Restoration Shop
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I was going to look at the photos, but my old antiquated computer is too out dated to open the google drive.
There site recommends updating the google chrome (they stopped providing updates for this computer several years ago).
Updating my operating system (then I'd lose a number of valuable programs on this computer that will not communicate with a newer system).
Or use a smart phone which is very difficult for these old eyes to see well enough to give a proper assessment of anything.

I wish I could help with an assessment, but the best I can do for now is agree with Hotrodg726 since he's looked over the photos and has experience with the trifives.

The shop you have it at is questionable. What kind of shop is it? Collision, newer car Repair, Classics repair, or custom shop?
It's possible that someone in the shop wants the car for themselves, thus they jack the cost up and talk the car down to get you to retreat from keeping the car.
If you don't purchase it back (regardless of the buyback price) Hagerty will turn around and put it up for auction through Co-Part.com and hold out for the highest bid they can get to recoup their cost for the insurance payout.

Best of luck with your decision.
 

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Nomads 55-57,69Z28-RS,72ElCamino, Corvette(5)
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Some states have a requirement that wrecked/totaled vehicles have their VINs removed before the sale...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks hotrodg726! I would be required to obtain a salvaged title. The current shop quoted Hagerty $43k to repair the damage to the drivers quarter... they said to repair that they'd then have to then fix the trunk bed, floors, etc and hence the snowball in costs. I agree when going over the car in-person with the current shop and they were only discouraging me about the car. They said even if I kept the car they would not want to do any repairs on it and wouldn't want to "put their name on it."

so after looking at the pictures on google from the above posted link, I would not say it is unsafe to drive. I would say for $7500 as long as they don't make you do a salvage title it would be a so-so deal. the pictures show some typical lower rot in the body and piss poor repairs. that being said you would be money ahead to buy back after paying out and then take the cash left and fix it all yourself. I have found that typically the buy back is 20% so that would be $5000. I would negotiate with Hagarty on that and find another shop if you can't or don't want to do the work. just out of curiosity what was the estimate to repair at the current shop?? that had to exceed 50% of the insured value. also some shops just do not want to do the work and will bloat an estimate and talk crap about the car to discourage an owner. that would seem to be the case here.
 

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1956 chevy 210 del rey sedan
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DO NOT ACCEPT any settlement that makes you have a salvage title. Having a salvage title causes other problems down the road such as resale or even getting good full coverage insurance. find another shop that is more honest in their estimate to fix what was actually damaged from this collision. From the pics I do not see any where near $43k in repairs. That's the we don't want to do it price and that is why Hagarty wants to total it. FIND ANOTHER SHOP or consider cancelling the claim and fixing it your self. From the pics I could fix it for about less than $10k in my shop only fixing what is damaged from the fender bender.
As a side note here, you said the car was insured for $25k. In my opinion it was very under insured. any shiny paint decent trifive should be insured for $50k minimum. the cost difference is really minimal compared to payout.
remember you are in control here unless you relinquish that control. Don't let anyone screw you over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi FUZZY, the shop only repairs classics from minor to full frame off restorations.

I was going to look at the photos, but my old antiquated computer is too out dated to open the google drive.
There site recommends updating the google chrome (they stopped providing updates for this computer several years ago).
Updating my operating system (then I'd lose a number of valuable programs on this computer that will not communicate with a newer system).
Or use a smart phone which is very difficult for these old eyes to see well enough to give a proper assessment of anything.

I wish I could help with an assessment, but the best I can do for now is agree with Hotrodg726 since he's looked over the photos and has experience with the trifives.

The shop you have it at is questionable. What kind of shop is it? Collision, newer car Repair, Classics repair, or custom shop?
It's possible that someone in the shop wants the car for themselves, thus they jack the cost up and talk the car down to get you to retreat from keeping the car.
If you don't purchase it back (regardless of the buyback price) Hagerty will turn around and put it up for auction through Co-Part.com and hold out for the highest bid they can get to recoup their cost for the insurance payout.

Best of luck with your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I like this approach and was already thinking a second opinion was needed here. And I really appreciate the stern reminder that I get to control this, it is my car afterall, haha. I was starting to feel as if I might be getting screwed over just because I'm mostly new to all of this. Luckily I've got this forum with a ton of people who are not new to any of this!

Curious, whats the cost range for an engine rebuild for a run of the mill 350 SB? This shop said when they do a rebuild it's $7-8k and that crate engines are all "plastic chinese crap." - I felt like that couldn't be true with the popularity of crate motors, so maybe another indication of the shop being discouraging against me keeping it and putting money into it.
 

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1956 chevy 210 del rey sedan
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Some crate engines are crap, but most are really good. A run of the mill 350 rebuild is about 1500-2500 + labor to R&R figure 2 days labor $125/hr avg shop rate ($2000). you need to find another shop FAST.
 

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Tell your insurance company that YOU are going to repair it and they should make you an offer for the damage sustained... If you had 25K insurance limit and they totalled it, then that implies to me that their estimate of the damage was at least 12.5K (50% of the value of the car in order to total it).. OR you can 'sell the wreck to them for 25K, OR you can negotiate with the insurance company for something in the middle... :) But don't let them off the hook on any part of it until you are happy with the settlement...
 

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Hagerty doesn't just give you a set percentage when they total your car, and you want to buy it back. The car will go to a salvage auction, and those auctions are advertised all over the US on the internet. So they base what they think the car will get at those auctions when they quote what you can buy it back for. From the pictures you've posted, I'd bet it will easily get the $7500, as they wont show the buyers all the details you've shown. They'll just show 2-3 exterior views, and a couple inside.
My buddy's '56 caught fire, and from the dashboard forward it was 100% loss. He wanted to buy it also, and Hagerty offered it back to him for $4500. It was a very nice 4 dr. sedan done gasser style, and insured for $23k. I told him to let it go, as sticking the $18k he'd end up with was better used to buy another car.
We talked to the auction house here after it sold, and somebody from Wisconsin bought it for $4600, so Hagerty was darn close on their estimate. Also was told the buyer was very unhappy when he came to pick the car up, as pictures didn't show under hood damage, and the auction pics made it look better than it was.
I would suggest a 2nd estimate on repairs, but I'd also consider looking around at what's available in a replacement car now. Then you can make the decision to either get it repaired, or take the $25k and buy another Tri Five.
 

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I will start by saying I'm not a body man or an expert, but that shop is giving an estimate to "restore" your car, not an estimate of the damage from the accident. From your pictures, the only thing that would concern me is some shoddy wiring and the rubber fuel lines. Easily fixed by anybody familiar with these cars. The rest is rust that was there before the accident. The bent frame at the back should not hurt anything except the bumper alignment, and could probably be pushed back with a porta power. Restoration shops serve a purpose but are VERY expensive places for repair. Talk to some classic car guys in your area and find another shop. JMO
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks 1971BB427 - Originally Hagerty said they would post it to COPART, but then less than 24hrs later told me the buy back would cost $8750 (so not sure if they even posted it?). I asked if I could negotiate that price and they said lowest they could go was 30% of the insured value, which was the $7500.

"I would suggest a 2nd estimate on repairs..." Thank you! This is my next step I think.

Hagerty doesn't just give you a set percentage when they total your car, and you want to buy it back. The car will go to a salvage auction, and those auctions are advertised all over the US on the internet. So they base what they think the car will get at those auctions when they quote what you can buy it back for. From the pictures you've posted, I'd bet it will easily get the $7500, as they wont show the buyers all the details you've shown. They'll just show 2-3 exterior views, and a couple inside.
My buddy's '56 caught fire, and from the dashboard forward it was 100% loss. He wanted to buy it also, and Hagerty offered it back to him for $4500. It was a very nice 4 dr. sedan done gasser style, and insured for $23k. I told him to let it go, as sticking the $18k he'd end up with was better used to buy another car.
We talked to the auction house here after it sold, and somebody from Wisconsin bought it for $4600, so Hagerty was darn close on their estimate. Also was told the buyer was very unhappy when he came to pick the car up, as pictures didn't show under hood damage, and the auction pics made it look better than it was.
I would suggest a 2nd estimate on repairs, but I'd also consider looking around at what's available in a replacement car now. Then you can make the decision to either get it repaired, or take the $25k and buy another Tri Five.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks davidc, your insight here is great. I'll have to figure out how to connect with some local San Antonio classic guys... FaceBook maybe. I hadn't even had the chance to get the car to any meets/cars & coffee 🤪


I will start by saying I'm not a body man or an expert, but that shop is giving an estimate to "restore" your car, not an estimate of the damage from the accident. From your pictures, the only thing that would concern me is some shoddy wiring and the rubber fuel lines. Easily fixed by anybody familiar with these cars. The rest is rust that was there before the accident. The bent frame at the back should not hurt anything except the bumper alignment, and could probably be pushed back with a porta power. Restoration shops serve a purpose but are VERY expensive places for repair. Talk to some classic car guys in your area and find another shop. JMO
 

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My 56 was deemed a "total loss" by Hagerty and they are asking $7,500 if I’d like to buy it back from them as a salvaged vehicle. Should I pay the $7,500 and keep it, or let it go?

This photo is AFTER the accident, and all photos in the link at the bottom are from after the accident as well.
View attachment 355783

All I want is a fun driver that's sensibly safe (I have a wife and two young children to ride in it). I very recently bought this car and I have driven it less than 10 times. It's my first classic car and consider me a semi-novice in car values, repair costs for upkeep/upgrades.

The car runs and drives, but in the next few years will likely need major work done on a lot of the car - exhaust, suspension, transmission, engine, body (probably in that order). I don't ever expect this car to be a show car, or have the straightest body or tightest gaps.

The repair shop working with Hagerty is advising against me keeping it/buying it for the salvaged price. The shop says the car is a "money pit and is dangerous" - dangerous because of the perceived structural integrity of the car. The frame is bent in one place in the driver's rear under the trunk (from this accident), and whoever did the previous restoration seemingly cut a ton of corners (patches riveted in vs welded, some panels only tack welded on). My main concern with the assessment is that the word "dangerous" feels extreme for the current condition of the car. Curious is you all here agree?

So...
The good: a cheap running driving pretty complete 56 that turns heads and will be fun for as long as I want to dump money into it.
The bad: is it potentially a death trap? (I was planning to install four lap and shoulder seatbelts)

All the photos I have of the car are here to show the condition, all are from after the accident.

Major thanks if you read this far, and even more thanks if you gave some advice :)
- Jay
Jay,
I absolutely love the shaved & custom look of this body. Personally, I would hang onto the car and stick some money into it. If it were me, I would shop for a completely new frame and suspension at Woody's Hot Rods. You can get a brand new original style frame with upgraded suspension components and brakes for $10-$15K. And I know that sounds like a heck of a lot of money to start with but it would give your car a solid foundation and definitely make future repairs to the sheet metal and anything else on this car worth doing. Plus you increased the value of your car by doing so. If you're going to drive this car with your family inside it, you want it to be safe and solid. I agree with the others. Shop around for competitive rates on insurance and up the value to $50K.
 

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I don’t have the expertise that some of the guys that have posted, but I’ve done floors and quarters to a reasonable level of success (the guy that painted my car said so, at least).
From what I can see, the car is fixable and if you take it on yourself, for less than crazy money (note I didn’t say cheaply).
I’m in San Antonio and can lend a hand as I’m available. PM me, if you’d like.
 
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