My friend Jeff and I went to look at this 1969 MGB GT last year, when it was for sale for about $2000. The seller was the daughter of the original owner, who had passed away a couple of years prior; the car was used frequently until his death, but from that point sat idle outside. The car was reasonably original, and while you can see usual MGB rot in the doglegs and lower front fenders, it was solid underneath. Wheels and tires were in good condition, and the engine bay looked pretty clean, though it wasn’t running when we saw it. There were a fair number of new looking pieces here and there.
The seller had started out very high on the price, close to $5,000, as I recall (I watched the car on craigslist for a year or more). It then went to $3,500, $2,800, $2,500… After inspecting it, I thought it would be a good project and a great start at around $1,200. I almost made an offer, but I didn’t have room for it at the time, and Jeff, who was the interested party thought (rightly) that it was probably too much work for what he personally was looking to do.
All that said, it was a very savable car and would have been a great start for someone.
Imagine how weird it was today to buy a hatch to replace the rusted one on my ’67 GT project and realize, based on the seller’s description of the car he parted out, that I was buying the hatch from that ’69–probably the largest single component of it left in the world. It was mildly depressing, as they aren’t making these cars any longer and that one deserved a better fate. My car does benefit, but at a cost which I would rather hadn’t been paid. (OK, so that is probably over-sentimental crap, but there you go.)
If there is a lesson here, it might be that if you cherish your collector car, make sure your family has the resources to either keep the car or find it a good home after Death lets the smoke out of your wires for the final time. And try not to be too delusional about what the car is worth–I got the impression that the seller of the car had been told over the years to not let the car go cheap, it was worth more than it actually was (she ended up taking $1,000 for it).
If nothing else, leave your loved ones with the names of a few friends/fellow enthusiasts who can lend a hand with assessing the value and maybe even helping to find a new home for the machines–assuming no one in your family has a fondness for rusty heaps (I think I can safely say that would be the case here at Chez Rusty!).