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Update: is it worth the effort now?

Update: Sorry about the absence, I wanted to post an update on the whole scenario, I found the ultimate parts car on my summer vacation, it had every part I need for my celica supra. Everything!! Except for a few cosmetic things. The entire exterior was sanded to bare metal with intentions to prime and paint but was never primed and now the entire exterior has all pitted rust, so the exterior wont be repairable but I can cut out sections and use them as guides for new metal for me to cut out for the patch holes in my other supra, I got it for $200 with everything even the engine! The engine doesn't work but it's still there. It even has like 3 more PAIRS of taillights! Really weird but it was a steal! So the car will be repairable and I will be posting more pictures soon. The car is being shipped down to florida in a month and I should be good. And I'll be absolutely sure to sell extra parts that I dont need at not too much of outrageous prices because i know the pain of finding all those damn parts. I'll keep you guys updated. Original post >> "Hey guys! I'm new to the forums but I wanted to ask for your guys honest opinion on my scenario. I bought my 1985 supra in 2013 for a measely $400 because the "engine is bad" We brought it home and started it to see what the problem was because the problem was described as a ticking noise, turns out it was just a water pump so boom I got a $450 supra! And then it sat for 7 years, because at the time I was 9 and there wasn't much I could do because my family wasn't and still isn't the most financial freedom, and we were in a rental house. Anyways it sat and rusted and didn't go anywhere, lone behold as a new man at the age of 16 I take out my sleep in beauty out of the rough woody area we kept her because of fear of complaints for too many cars, because if you have an unregistered car on property in our area the town will impound it if it sits for too long. But anyways the baby is rough... I mean rough. Holes in the hatch the size of my hand on the inside where it's supposed to support the rear glass, rockers rusted out, and the sunroof doesn't open and there is holes in it that i can poke my fingers through to the other side, quarter panel rust the size of a football below the rear side windows. Rain falls through the outside of the hatch and the sunroof, but its hard to see and to think of letting her go, she starts up instantly, better than any old 90's Honda with less than 30k miles on it and it runs like a champ (manual by the way) and I love that car so much, but the ripped interior and the sunroof which I'll probably never be able to find seals for. So give me your honest opinions. I have the complete mechanical ability to make that car look like it rolled off the factory but I barely have $400 to my name. The car is losing mouldings on the exterior and the e-brake button is broken and it's truly hard to find good parts for it. So if you or anyone you know has some spare parts for an 85 supra please inform me, I live in Florida and need a whole sunroof assembly, all mirrors, and all exterior mouldings. So with all that in mind. Do you think the mk2 is worth my limited time and money because I may have to half ass the work I do on it. Thank you all for reading my short story -Celica (Owen)"
 

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The problem with car restoration is that for most cars, even most of the pricey muscle cars you see on those classic car auctions on television, the cost to restore it was much more than it sold for and somebody lost money. Very few cars are "worth it". Consider for example the difference between a 1966 Shelby GT350 Mustang and a 1966 base coupe. They both require pretty much the same work, the same processes and most of the same parts to restore, but the Shelby will sell for $100,000 and the coupe will sell for $20,000. However, the paint job cost $8,000, the interior cost $3,000, the engine rebuild cost $5,000, the transmission $1,500, and probably another $10,000 in miscellaneous parts and supplies. The only people who should bother restoring the lowly base coupe are the people who can afford such an expensive hobby in time and money. By comparison, some people might spend the same $7,500 over five years playing golf or going fishing.

Sounds like your Supra is too rusty even for a well-off retired man to bother with. You could easily spend as much or more restoring a Supra as a Mustang; its a much more complex car and reproduction parts are not made cheaply in China. But the restored Supra would not be worth much more than a base Mustang coupe, at least not in the current market. At 16 and with only $400, there are certainly much better investments you could make, like maybe going ahead taking a college or trade class at the local junior college or even spending it to date a rich girl would be a better gamble. But since the old rusty Supra runs good, keep it for parts and once you start a career, then buy another Supra in much better shape to tinker with on the weekends. If the authorities are hounding you about the car, dismantle it and keep only the non-rusty parts. Maybe spend $30 on some plastic storage bins and tarps and store them in your parent's attic. But no, with fist-sized rust holes, its too far gone.
 

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@pdupler alright thanks for the insight. I'll do my best patching holes to make it so it at least doesn't leak into the interior and I'll keep updated posts, if you want to check out my Instagram I have pictures on in, and an old trans Am I'm restoring. No need to follow or like just check it out on my highlights and posts @owensclafani
 

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Similar situation happened to mine. Parked it for a few years while I was in Iraq. Rust got bad enough, so I just turned it into a race car.
 

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Based on what you're describing I'd say unequivocally no. At your age concentrate on getting your own place and getting a good job first. Get to the point in life where you can take 10, 20, 30k plus in cash and light it on fire and not put yourself in the poorhouse doing that. Cars are an expensive hobby and generally speaking pretty much terrible investments. You can still buy a really nice Mk2 for $10-15k. Figure a nice paint job on what you have is probably 5-10k+ then think of what everything else will cost you.

Probably one of the smartest money things I've ever done was to buy a cheaper commuter car. Then have (now multiple) nicer cars that don't get the mileage and tear put on them and basically last forever. I've had pretty good luck with Corollas and now I'm onto a Civic. I think the magic mark nowadays is a $5k budget and find one with about 100k miles on them. Do good maintenance on them and you'll get another 150k out of them. Worst case is it's going to cost you $5k to drive those miles. Plus they are easy to work on and parts are cheap and plentiful. A new car you'll lose that in value every year at minimum no matter how much you drive it til it becomes a $5k car.
 

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@ OP you have some options but overall the answer is a firm NO.

So what can you do?

Well you do have a running 5M, and I assume the drive train is working properly. Essentially you have a working rolling drive train and with any luck a few working good condition accessories.

If that were my car I would strip all the good working components, (bodywork also) and then cut the rest of into small parts to take to scrap.

Things I would save.
Engine
Trans
Suspension
100% of the nuts and bolts, having a tool box with assorted authentic bolt / nuts is really handy
Any good trim / interior parts you have.
Any good window glass / bodywork that's not ruined
Electronics that work / wiring harness

POTENTIALLY the entire front clip, drill the spot welds and remove everything from the firewall forward. (why?) Because the fire-wall back on the same era 4cyl Celica is the same, (regarding the body) This assumes the front clip on your car was never in a wreck and is straight.

Front fenders and Fender flairs (assuming they're good)

Inner fenders, Window glass that's not damaged / broken (not the front wind shield)

Mirrors, etc..

Wheels also.

As for the Uni-body; peel the Vin numbers cut it in to small bits and take it to scrap. (KEEP THE VIN / TITLE) so you can prove the origin on your front clip if you live in an area where inspections on re-built cars is required.

With the front clip you can convert a Celica 4cyl car to a Celica-Supra, but to truly go the whole way you need rear axel / suspension / electronics / and several features that the celica base model does not have.



I hope this helps you make a wise choice.

As for 400 bucks to your name; it's a shame you don't live in WA state because I could put you to work next week for roughly 1.5 months making a decent wage that could get far closer to buying a running car or improving your situation..

With all things in life the most important thing is to have a goal, and figure out how to achieve that goal, and then put forth the effort into achieving that goal.


If you need advice on building these cars, there is a massive wealth of information these forums; don't give up on your dream to own a Celica-Supra, but I would consider that car more or less a loss, and that's unfortunate because there are fewer of these cars by the day.
 

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PLUS ONE to the post above.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


Things I would save.
Engine
Trans
Suspension
100% of the nuts and bolts, having a tool box with assorted authentic bolt / nuts is really handy
Any good trim / interior parts you have.
Any good window glass / bodywork that's not ruined
Electronics that work / wiring harness

You will have enough parts to make your money back and more. Rare cars demand a premium price tag.
OK,the body is toast.The running gear is $$!
 

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Doesn't sound like much of a parts car, but it does sound like a solid runner though (with a little work). I've been driving a beater 85 myself for far longer then I'd like to admit. I love the car but its best attributes is it has cost me pretty much nothing up front or to keep it going (mind you have a huge stash of used parts from nicer mk2s to throw at it) and I have no delusions about restoring it. Its got a solid motor and drivetrain and it gets me to work every day. The money I've saved on car payments or even just buying something newer and nicer have really helped me get ahead over the years. Best part, it still drives like any other (well worn) supra and is fun to flog around town.

When I was your age, I had a sort of sketchy mk2, and I ended up doing everything to that car. Engine overall, performance stuff, fixed up the interior, stereo, gas tank replacement etc etc. Most of my firsts were to that car. Then when I landed my first career job and started making a decent income, I promptly sold it and found the best mk2 I could find (took 9 months to get what I wanted!). I do miss that car, but no regrets, I made the right choice.
 

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I'd part it out at this point. The body sounds like it is too far gone. If you are interested in parting it out, I am looking for the front center console, speedo like the one you have (130 mph), radio bezel, steering column top and bottom trim. Interior pieces can be any color as I plan to change the color anyway.
 

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I sure wish you would post some pictures of your supra, I think you can't still get some good money for a part out. Pictures really help! but anything is possible its tough when you are young to make good clear choices
this is a great forum and the give out good information, good luck young man.
 

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Our OP hasn't posted back in a week but it seems like now that we've declared it a loss, the vultures are swooping in. Yes, parting out is an option. Not sure how lucrative given the description of condition, but with most cars, the value of the parts are greater than the value of the whole car. I used to do it, but back 15 years ago, there was very little demand for "running gear" because everyone's local salvage yard still had a few Celicas, Supras and Cressidas and you could still get most mechanical parts new or rebuilt anyway. Plus nobody wanted a 5m engine or most of the driveline because the big thing was engine swaps. Mostly people wanted "crash parts", trim, interior and electrical and that's what I was trying to save from the crusher. Now the salvage yards are empty, there's less new and rebuilt available through parts retailers and there's a little more interest in stock restoration from Gen X'rs who are trying to recapture their youth with a dream car from their high-school years. If the vultures are any indication, there's demand for those parts if you want to put in the effort.
 

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Well you do have to be aggressive to get the good parts. Sort of "the early bird gets the tinworm". For about twelve years I was trying to get a perfect black upper dash pad, but every time one was posted for sale here on the forum, it was sold within no more than a couple of hours of posting, some within a few minutes. Vultures may not be pretty birds to look at like a macaw, but they do serve a noble purpose. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm sorry for the delay in responses, but just posted an update today, tell me what you think
 

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Vultures seems a bit harsh, how about "fellow Supra owners trying to restore their cars"?
your not wrong but you do have to snag up the deals quick its the reason I have a storage shed full of extra parts.
I also have parts above the garage and a a few shelves in the garage....

someone ever decides to buy my car they will need a semi-trailer LOL
 
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