How to Value Classic Cars: Sometimes They're Perfectly Priceless
When it comes to the question of how to value classic cars, we've got some thoughts. At Airkooled Kustoms, many of the classic car restorations we do are what we call heirloom or heritage cars. These are the vehicles of our forebears, our ancestors, the ones who passed onto us a love of vintage steel. We watched grandfathers drive, we washed grandfather's cars...
Well, maybe we'll just show you. (P. Patina here - that's my brother and grandfather's car... this gets me in the feelers.)
Robert Bluck, 68, travelled hundreds of miles for one last drive in the 1934 Sunbeam Dawn, which is one of only eight left in the world.
The retired librarian was researching his family tree when he found old photographs of his late father Bernard and grandfather Albert with the car.
The album, which was called 'Sunbeam in the Dawn', included snaps of them standing next to the vehicle with Scottish mountain Stac Pollaidh in the background.
Nostalgia: Robert Bluck, 68, travelled hundreds of miles for one last drive in the 1934 Sunbeam Dawn, one of only eight left in the world
Heritage: The retired librarian was researching his family tree when he found old photographs of his late father Bernard and grandfather (pictured) Albert with the car in the 1930s
Bygone era: The album, which was called 'Sunbeam in the Dawn', included snaps of father Bernard (pictured, alone, left, and in the car, right) them standing next to the vehicle with Scottish mountain Stac Pollaidh in the background
Survivor: Robert found out that the car was an exceptionally rare 1934 Sunbeam Dawn, which was actually on show in the West Midlands after Googling the registration number 'WF 6882'
Robert found out the green and black car was an exceptionally rare 1934 Sunbeam Dawn after Googling the registration number 'WF 6882'.
While researching it, he realised that the exact same car was being kept on display at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, West Midlands.
It was donated to the museum after it was found by a mechanic rusting in a shed in the Midlands.
Robert has now travelled over 220 miles from his home in Hexham, Northumberland, to recreate the experience of driving it enjoyed by his father and grandfather.
The author, who lives with his wife Caroline, 64, said: 'It is wonderful for me to see the car. It's absolutely fantastic. I was born in 1947 so I don't remember him having it
'But as soon as I put my head inside I could smell the same smells as the Rover my dad had when I was young. It is lovely for me to see my dad's first car because he was quite keen on cars.
Highland holiday: There were pictures of them posing with the car on a trip with the Scottish mountain Stac Pollaidh in the background. There were also pictures of Robert's grandfather, Albert, with the Sunbeam
Pristine: The 1934 Sunbeam Dawn in near perfect condition was on display at the Black Country Living Museum, and Robert has now travelled there to give it a drive, recreating the experience of his forefathers
'It is very posh inside with wooden panels. It's a top of the range car which surprised me.
'It brings back memories of my father and family memories too.
Robert's father Bernard paid £425 for the car in 1935 after he was left inheritance money following the death of his mother Emma.
Bernard, who was in his 20s and lived in Hull, then took his father Albert on a tour of the Scottish highlands in the car.
He sold the car in 1939 when World War Two broke out and joined the army - seeing action in North Africa and Sicily with the artillery platoon.
Bernard, who returned to his job as a bank manager after the war ended, died at the age of 61 in 1970.
Robert added: 'I had the pictures in my father's photo album forever but looked at them again when I was doing research into our family history for a book I'm writing.
'The first picture I saw was my grandfather stood beside the car from 1935.
'I worked out that the Dawn in the caption was the name of the car so went onto Google and got on the Sunbeam website.
'Then I saw some colour photos of the car at the museum and realised it was the exact same number plate and the same car.
Registered: Mr Bluck realised what the car was after googling the registration he saw in the photos, and that is when he found out it had been restored after spending half a century in a shed
Record: This is the incredible photo album that Robert found, showing his father and his grandfather with the classic car, which was of such good quality it was often compared to a Rolls Royce at the time
Hard at work: Robert's father Bernard paid £425 for the car in 1935 after he was left inheritance money following the death of his mother Emma when he was in his twenties and lived in Hull
'I was totally shocked when I found out my father's old car was being preserved at a museum.
'It is a miracle that the car is still around over 80 years later so to be able to come and see it in action is incredible.'
The car was found in a poor state gathering dust in a garage in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, by Jim Pease in 2002.
Mr Pease, a mechanic specialising in vintage cars, bought the car for £3,500 and spent a year restoring it to its former glory before donating it to the Black Country Living Museum.
The car has a top speed of around 70mph with its 1600CC petrol engine but normally travels at around 3mph in third gear.
Mr Pease, 63, said: 'It had been gathering dust in a garage of a private house. The gentleman who owned it was about 90 and it hadn't been used for over 20 years.
'The man who I fetched it for wanted to sell it so I bought it off him in 2002 and spent about 12 months on and off restoring it.
'I had to do different things like realigning the brakes and it had blown a gasket and the radiator was blocked solid.
Restoration: Jim, a mechanic specialising in vintage cars, bought the car for £3,500 in 2002 and spent a year restoring it to its former glory before donating it to the Black Country Living Museum.
Leather seats: The Sunbeams were built just four miles from the Black Country Living Museum, were one of the most popular vehicles in Britain in their heyday. It has a top speed of around 70mph with its 1600CC petrol engine but normally travels at around 3mph in third gear
Today: Mr Bluck took the car out for a final drive at the Black Country Living Museum (pictured, next to a picture of his grandfather, Albert)
'But all of the interior is the original from 1934 and hasn't been altered at all.
'I probably spent another £4,000 on it but it must be worth around £25,000 now.
'It's the last Sunbeam model ever built and the only one to be named. There was only around 500 made and only about eight that have survived till now.
'It still runs perfectly and we use it for corporate events at the museum and as a prop in filming.
'We have a driving day for the public so it is out once a month going around the site for
four or five hours.'
The Sunbeam cars were built just four miles from the Black Country Living Museum, were one of the most popular vehicles in Britain in their heyday.
Their quality was compared to Rolls-Royce and the company broke many land speed records in its day.