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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks -

Great site! Any advice you can offer to a rather novice fellow looking to pick up his first ride? I'm checking out a 56 2dr post this weekend. Don't know a ton about the car except for it runs (strong according to seller), it has a new drivetrain, engine is not stock but its not recent. 350 3spd column transmission. Floor pans are solid, body looks good in photos but haven't seen in person yet. All chrome is present and said to be in fine shape. Brakes and suspension are stock. Interior is in sad shape.

When I spoke to the seller he mentioned something that made me believe the car was originally an AT and he swapped out the transmission to the 3sp. Didn't really understand and didn't know how to ask without sounding like an idiot ;)

He is asking $10000 - on paper seems like a solid buy if it checks out OK. I'm ok with dumping money into for the interior, new brakes, suspension, rims, tires, etc. I just don't want to find later that I've got a rust bucket held together by bondo underneath the paint. Any advice on things I should look out for, intelligent questions I should ask, etc? Believe me any obvious question to you might not be to me so any advice is greatly appreciated!!!

Thanks in advance!!
-Kelly
 

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Places to Look for rust,

Under the floor mats or carpet in front of the front and back seats.

Look for bad patch panels under the carpet etc.

Look under the car from front to rear for rusted out or badly patched floor pans, also look under the car at the floor braces for rust.

Look at the inner rocket panels for rust.

look inside the fenders to check for repairs or rust.

Check all around the car for bondo work , especially at the botton of the front fenders

look at the trunk floor pan metal above and below, also at the rear of the trunk pan near the bumper.

check the gaps between the doors for correct aleignment.

Probably would not be a bad idea to have a small magnet with you to check the outsite body for bondo.

The magnet with stick to the metal, but bondo will make it not stick.

Take some photos with a digital camera and post here we can help

Otis
 

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Welcome Kelly. Otis is right on the money. You didn't say how far you were traveling to look at the car but if it isn't hours away Otis's idea of taking photos may save you time and trouble. I wouldn't talk money at when you go look at it, the owner has already said he wants $10,000 and "sleeping on it" before you make a decision is always a good in the long run. Look at the car, take photos and post em here for feedback from the many friendly folks in-the-know here on the Tri-Five site. I am a Tri-five novice by most measuring sticks. I recently purchased a 1957 Chevy and the members here have been a VERY BIG help in saving me lots of time and money when it has come to restoring my treasure. Post your photos in the Photo Gallery and let everyone know they are there with a post in the forums and trust me you'll get some great feedback. If you need help on uploading your photos go to "Website Help and Instructional How-To Videos" here in the Tri-five Forums. It will give you step by step instructions. Also here is a trick that I have used several times in the past when buying a car that has saved me hundreds of dollars. After you have decided you want to go ahead and buy the car, go to the bank and ask for the number of hundred dollar bills you need to purchase the car at the highest price you are willing to go. Now split this wad of cash into two piles. One pile is the amount your going to initally offer for the car, this stack goes in one pant's pocket and the second stack of cash goes in the other pant's pocket. On your second visit, don't talk price till you are ready to leave. Ask all your questions about the car that came up as a result of your first visit and then after those have been answered, if you still want to buy the car, pull out the first wad of $100 bills and put them in the seller's hand or fan them out in front of him (if it's not windy, lol). I like to say, "There's $X amount dollars there, when I leave, either that money stays with you or goes with me. It's your choice." Then I am quiet and look them in the eye. If they take it, you've saved yourself money and if they say no deal that is still ok you have more money in the other pocket. Haggle with em a bit after your first offer and you still might have a hundred or two left in the other pocket when you're done. I just know when that money is in view or in hand it really is hard to say no too. The last thing they want, if your offer is any where close, is to hand that money back.

Steve
 

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Great Advice! I'll just add that the headlight caps as well as the filler panel below the deck lid and in front of the bumper are also suspect areas.Many times the lower lip of the deck lid itself is rusty as well.Also check around the perimeter of the rear window for rust and the front windscreen for that matter....tri-5's often rust in those areas behind the mouldings.The spare tire well is also an obvious spot that rusts.Many of the tri-5's you'll come across will have had quarter panel work....they are usually partially replaced with a 1/4 patch or a 1/2 patch.For example,if just the lower 1/4 of the quarter panel was replaced,a tell-tale sign will be a vertical weld near the middle of the rear wheel well,if a 1/2 patch was used,you'll generally be able to feel the weld seam running horizontal.This one is often hard to detect with the wheel in place as it runs right behind the stainless trim and it's hard to get a hand in there.As previously stated,check the "dog legs" or body braces that run perpendicular to the frame....3 on each side and the inner rockers.As stated in a previous post,take some detailed photos and post them here......we'll scrutinize the heck out of them :D By the way.....Welcome aboard the board!
 

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Newbie said:
........ Also here is a trick that I have used several times in the past when buying a car that has saved me hundreds of dollars. After you have decided you want to go ahead and buy the car, go to the bank and ask for the number of hundred dollar bills you need to purchase the car at the highest price you are willing to go. Now split this wad of cash into two piles. One pile is the amount your going to initally offer for the car, this stack goes in one pant's pocket and the second stack of cash goes in the other pant's pocket. On your second visit, don't talk price till you are ready to leave. Ask all your questions about the car that came up as a result of your first visit and then after those have been answered, if you still want to buy the car, pull out the first wad of $100 bills and put them in the seller's hand or fan them out in front of him (if it's not windy, lol). I like to say, "There's $X amount dollars there, when I leave, either that money stays with you or goes with me. It's your choice." Then I am quiet and look them in the eye. If they take it, you've saved yourself money and if they say no deal that is still ok you have more money in the other pocket. Haggle with em a bit after your first offer and you still might have a hundred or two left in the other pocket when you're done. I just know when that money is in view or in hand it really is hard to say no too. The last thing they want, if your offer is any where close, is to hand that money back.

Steve
No offense intended Steve....
But if someone tried to manipulate me with such obvious tricks, I would laugh and then tell them get off my property...... It's not like trifives are hard to sell......


Just deal straight up....
 

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Well i agree with Otis` advice on where and what to look for. And on the offer tip, most sellers set their price with a little haggling room, at least thats my way of selling stuff. I set my price and if someone pays it great, if they want to dicker then i have some give and take room for that too.
Terry
 

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Kelly, As everyone has said, look for rust, or rust repairs. I also looked for "hammer marks" to see if my car had any obvious dents pounded out. You can see the inside of the front fenders, by popping the hood, and using a flashlight to look over and in back of the wheel wells, for any hammer marks on the inside of the front fenders. For the rear, look up inside where the wheel is. Any serious damage that has been bondo'd over, will be revealed on the back side, at least if it's bad. If you pop the trunk, you can look deep in the back, and up at the rear package deck, and see if there's rust. A leaking rear window will puddle in that area. If you don't know exactly what you're looking for, those are my simple tricks...oh and definatley bring a thin refrigerator magnet. They're great for testing suspicious areas.

John
 

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wear old clothes, bring a couple of flashlights and some lode stones. try not not to get caught up in the passion of owning your dream car but instead use your business sense. i know it is very hard to do however it can and will save money that can be spent later on the rebuild.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks!

Hey Guys,
Thanks for all the great tips! I was definitely looking for tips on how to ID rust, etc. I am armed with more information than I had yesterday! I'm trying to connect with the guy today so I will either be seeing the vehicle today or tomorrow. I'll let you know what happens. Thanks folks!
-Kelly
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
checked it out....

Hey Guys,
Thanks again for all the valuable advice I received. I checked out the 56 belair 2 dr post today. I've posted some pics to my Photo Gallery. Unfortunately I took some really crappy pics. You can find the remainder of the pics here: http://kellysheffield.spaces.live.com/

More information about the car:
The guy did his own body work and sprayed the car himself. It is a mediocre job at best and something I will want to have repainted in the next few years after I get other stuff taken care of. He replaced the rear quarters and it looks ok. Magnet stuck in some places but not others.

Engine fired right up and sounds really good. He has replaced the transmission with a 350 auto. Car drove well with the exception of the braking. Brakes are crap but I expected that. It has the power steering option and all electrical works.

Interior is crap. No carpet, seats are beat. Headliner is original and 'good' but faded a bit.

My guess/conclusion is that the car wasn't/isn't a rust bucket. My guess is the bondo makes up for his crappy bodywork. So if I end up with this car and have it stripped I likely won't find lots of rust but possibly lots of metal work to deal with.

If I was to end up with this thing my plan would be to do the following immediately:

Disc brakes - at least in the front.
I'd even like to get an estimate on throwing in a new front end.
New rims
New seat covers and carpet kit and probably door panels as well.

What I am trying to determine now is whether it is worth it to get this car and do the aforementioned - only the interior I would tackle myself as I've no skills to do the front end OR find a vehicle with this stuff already in place. Seems like to find what I want already in place I'll need to lay out another 15k or so and then some more dough when I want to improve the exterior paint.

I know I'm just rambling and haven't asked any specific questions.... but
I appreciate anybody's thoughts on this with respect to buying less and adding on myself or just finding the car already complete.

Thanks!!
 

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Of course, it depends on what you're looking for...it sounds like a pretty good car, and it might have a few surprises when stripped, but that's where you get some negotiating room. Let us know what you decided.
 

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My advice would be to buy the best car you can afford to start with.If you are patient,often times you can buy a car for much less than the investment the owner made to get it to that point.However,the car sounds like a decent car to start with and you could rejuvinate it as the funds become available....just depends on your individual situation.Let us know what you decide!
 

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Buy a dry southwestern car, the sheetmetal is where you get into the most expense! The expertise to cut it out and make it look right going back in is hard to find. If you are not an experienced auto body man, get a dry southwest car, make a vacation out of it! If you have to pay to have it transported it will still be worth the aggrivation and expense of chasing rust. There is so much after market stuff around for the trim and mechanical that will not be a problem but even the most expensive sheet metal parts are hard to make look original! Welder with 36 years experience. Unless its OEM its hard to even find good body panels that will fit properly.
 
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