The0retical HalfDork
Nov. 17, 2014 3:25 p.m.

So I've been looking for a decent project car for a while but I've been pretty busy with a new house, new baby, and some shoulder surgery in between traveling for 6 to 8 months at a time. The criteria has always been: Rotary and something old enough to skirt Californias smog inspection (pre 75.)

So at work a few months ago I was talking with a coworker about going to the Japanese Classic Car Show to get some bad ideas for the future. He put two and two together and asked if I owned the MS3 in the parking lot and from there the discussion turned rotary powered anything. I mentioned that I wanted something as a project and in particular an RX3 wagon as someone here linked to one in the Chicago area.

The reaction was "Oh really? I have a rust free one I just painted with no engine or trans I want to sell." Price of "make me an offer."

So the question is: what are straight rust free bodies with all the bits and pieces, minus the drive train, worth? I can't find any general prices for the RX3 wagons pretty much anywhere as they don't seem to come up for sale very often. The last ones I saw come up for sale were a fully restored one in FL for 10k and that crusty one in Chicago I think was 5k but both had all the pieces and drivetrains.

Any suggestions on where to start so I can figure a general price out and run some numbers to see if it's something I want to pursue?

I should add that the car was painted a couple of years ago but nothing was done after that. It looks to be well done but I haven't seen it in person yet.

jimbbski HalfDork
Nov. 17, 2014 4:08 p.m.

A solid body and a good paint job should be worth on the low side, $2000 up to $5,000 in most any car of that era. I mean what will it cost you in time or money to make a rough car into one with a solid body and a good paint job not counting the drivetrain versus buying one already done.

Junkyard_Dog SuperDork
Nov. 17, 2014 4:23 p.m.
jimbbski wrote: A solid body and a good paint job should be worth on the low side, $2000 up to $5,000 in most any car of that era. I mean what will it cost you in time or money to make a rough car into one with a solid body and a good paint job not counting the drivetrain versus buying one already done.

Just playing Devil's advocate unless he has a full build diary with LOTS of pictures and/or you're very, very good at spotting a good body repair vs. a bad one the paint would make me LESS likely to buy it. Shiny paint can hide a lot of sins. To me a rusty car is more honest, at least without documentation.

Price it as any other basket case 70s import wagon and maybe add a bit for the shine. I would offer $1000 and see what his reaction is. He will either laugh at you or come back with a number and then the bargaining will begin.

The0retical HalfDork
Nov. 17, 2014 4:42 p.m.
Junkyard_Dog wrote:
jimbbski wrote: A solid body and a good paint job should be worth on the low side, $2000 up to $5,000 in most any car of that era. I mean what will it cost you in time or money to make a rough car into one with a solid body and a good paint job not counting the drivetrain versus buying one already done.

Just playing Devil's advocate unless he has a full build diary with LOTS of pictures and/or you're very, very good at spotting a good body repair vs. a bad one the paint would make me LESS likely to buy it. Shiny paint can hide a lot of sins. To me a rusty car is more honest, at least without documentation.

Price it as any other basket case 70s import wagon and maybe add a bit for the shine. I would offer $1000 and see what his reaction is. He will either laugh at you or come back with a number and then the bargaining will begin.

I believe he mentioned having pictures of the prepaint condition. I was in the process of leaving for a few months, and didn't have the cash right away to make an offer, so I didn't ask for them. I'm sure he does as he's pretty big into the classic Japanese scene as well as through. I'll remember to ask.

I was thinking a 2k start point maybe going to 3.5k or 4k. More than that and the visions of a turbo 13b starts to become expensive to the point that I may as well wait for a restored one.

oldeskewltoy SuperDork
Nov. 17, 2014 5:03 p.m.

At this age... (pre 1975) its easy to build a drivetrain... far harder to get a clean straight chassis. Junkyard_Dog has a good point... bring your trusty frig magnet, and other bits to look for poor repairs

IF the chassis is truly sound and it has ALL the trim and bits (finding that stuff can drive you nuken futs) then I'd say $4000 might not be too extreme.....

Kenny_McCormic PowerDork
Nov. 17, 2014 6:44 p.m.

Does it have a (useable) interior? All the little trim bits you want/need? Usable suspension under it? Not full of bondo? If yes to all of the above, I can see 3-4k, but I'd probably offer $1500 and go from there.

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