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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #95: When you sell that car, should you share the wealth? | Hagerty Media

Remember the story of The Little Red Hen ? The bird who did all the work to bake a loaf of bread while the cat, the goose, and the rat all sat around and did nothing? Then she ate the bread all by herself, because she was the one who did the work?
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-95-when-you-sell-that-car-...
37 REPLIES 37
thehackmechanic
Detailer

As human beings, we all have the power to determine the ending of our story, but few of us exhibit that level of determination and control over our lives.

As writers, we have the power to not only determine the ending of our story, but to actually WRITE it as well.

Great ending, Jack.
Chris_Tonn
New Driver

Jack, if you need a hand getting the 993 running, you know where to find me. I won't Jean Valjean any breadcrumbs.
danio3834
Intermediate Driver

I have been in this situation and where people donated their time for something I benefitted from, I compensated them. Mostly because I valued their acquaintance.
johnmarianmarks
Intermediate Driver

Wow, Jack. Great thoughts.

And here I am counting down the days until the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in the Year of the Lord 2038, for my two-year old. My joke is that I am a very liberal parent; she can be whatever kind of an Opera Singer she wants to be!

On the subject of spark plugs: Moi aussi. The #1 spark plug on my Citroen DS21 was under the dashboard to the extent that there was a little pull-out plug on the dash, and a special snakey socket-wrench extension to change that plug.

amb,

john
drjim
Detailer

Great story, Jack!
Germanicus
Intermediate Driver

I understand how you've arrived at this point with your old 911 as to everything there is a season. The season of the Porsche is over for you, but you still have to be its caretaker as it will kickstart a new one in your son's life.

Unfortunately I have a feeling the new buyer of your 911, if that's the path your son chooses, won't drive the hell out of it like you did. Now that 911s are worth real money, they don't get driven because "muh value." To get a great new 911, i.e. a GT3, you have to establish a relationship with your dealer, which is the most nauseating thing to me. It's sad as 911s especially were meant to be driven, not a part of your investment portfolio, or a discussion topic to namedrop when you have friends over.
AlpinaC2
Pit Crew

Thanks Jack, I enjoyed the article
Tsaxman
Detailer

Many years ago, I bought a Kentucky-horse-bard-find Shelby Mustang KR convertible. It was in pieces. I paid a local Mustang restoration shop to put it back together. I sold it when my daughter started college, joining her older brother at an in-state university. Double college tuition is an incentive. That car is now worth quite a bit more than the sum it fetched for me. Sometimes, we do the right thing, and live with the consequences.
Tsaxman
Detailer

*barn find. 

topside
Detailer

Yes, and as always, It Depends. The proper thing to do is to compensate friends and workers for their efforts as those efforts are being contributed. And to help friends in equal measure with their projects. After all, cars & property can be bought and sold, but friends...not so much. Yet, the monetary or physical value of some things increases to the point that in a distant retrospect, they become unattainable to experience again. Like a young lady you were desperately in love with 30 years ago, or my 73 1/2 911T CIS...which could lead to a parable about the value of experience in the moment vs. greenbacks or things we didn't or can't predict, and the risk of a snap-oversteer spinout into a mental minefield of alternate and non-productive supposition...
Mr. Siegel comment probably frames it most wisely.
Gary_Bechtold
Technician

What a great story. Now for your challenge re-write it in Dr. Seuss speak. It will be edgy and controversial.
Swamibob
Instructor

Now that's funny right there. 🙂
I volunteer to do some of the writing, but someone else will need to help with the illustrations. 🙂
Swamibob
Instructor

Dynamite article Jack!

I've, like a lot of car club members, been in a similar situation and have gladly given of my time to help friends with projects more like the Weissrat Chronicles. I have a lot of parts in my shop that landed there by some force and await someone else's need. My shop is just that sort of Hot Rodding trading post.
In your example many years passed, and the Little Red Hen got a lot of use out of the vehicle before the value skyrocketed. So I ask myself, if the car was sold much earlier, say after 5 years and it sold for no more than any other used car, does the little red hen owe anybody anything? I say no, Presuming she said thank you to those involved in the first place, it's just good manners, she owes them nothing. So, after the car sells for a ton, I still say she owes them nothing. That said: If I were in that situation, I would find some way to give them something more than a hearty handshake, because in my soul, that would be the right thing to do.

My thinking would probably go along some sort of line; regarding the cost of parts and the price of their labor that went in at that time and a just compensation for that.

For myself, while working on someone else's project, much like in the Weissrat Chronicles; I want to be a part of it for the experience. I don't need any sort of compensation. If someone feeds me and I get to have fun, doing something really silly, involving welders, mills, lathes, hammers, tongs, lions, tigers and bears... What more do I need?

Regarding the Porsche: I agree, I hope he sells it also and goes on a wonderful adventure! How cool would that be? I also hope he continues to learn throughout his life and never stops playing with mechanical devices and is never afraid to help a friend out on a project. I know too many who get far too stuck on their own compensation (seeing the tree) to see the potential of the experience (missing the forest).

All of that said: Jack; if you find yourself in need of parts for something decidedly more American made, feel free to wander through my shop; you never know what you might find? 🙂
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Don't threaten me with a good time, as the kids say...
JohninNC
Advanced Driver

Years ago I was part of a group that volunteered to help a homeowner in need, we picked an older lady and her house, many people worked for about 3 days fixing up her house, repairing trim boards, painting it, fixing the roof, cleaning up the landscaping, weeding, edging, mulching, pruning, helped her get rid of a lot of junk in and out... she was very grateful. A few weeks later she sold the house! Hopefully the big bump in curb appeal helped her quite a bit in value, but that wasn't the plan, whatever!
drhino
Instructor

Love the inclusion of the “Little Red Hen” story; even if it’s actually the philosophical converse of the mythical 911 story. Ahhh, politics and the Hen... Where to start?

Good stuff, as always.
Orict0015668
Pit Crew

True friends will offer their time and experience, and will do so without the thought of compensation, save an ice cold beverage now and then. If and when it is offered for sale, an offering of some type should be made as an acknowledgement of that friendship and what the efforts made in furthering that friendship, and most, I think, would turn it down it the belief that what ones does for another the other would do for him. Cheers and happy wrenching!!!
John
Intermediate Driver

Once a year I would travel back East to visit my oldest friend. He has a couple of muscle cars that he does not have the skills to work on. So, being a retired ASE Master tech and High School Auto Shop teacher I would do a couple of projects on one each year. I have literally touched every bolt and screw on his Chevelle convertible over 6 years. I would do the work for nothing as I enjoy building cars. However he insists on writing a stupid large check to me every year which I politely refuse once and take as he insists I do. By the way he is quite wealthy and generous. The funds have helped me fund me own project. I always felt guilty taking the money though. That is until I found out what shops in the area were charging him to do work on his other cars. As an example; he had an electrical glitch in the Chevelle that left him with no dash instruments and a battery drain. Three shops and several thousand dollars later the problem was not fixed. It took 5 minutes to find and a couple hours to pull the dash out and repair. If someone helps me I always try to pay it forward either to them or someone in need. It's the right thing to do.
JeffA
Pit Crew

If I made lots of cash on a reno that say three friends helped me, I would split the profit four ways. I bet you that most of the renos readers here have done paid them at least $.15 an hour.( future minimum wage/100) minus the cost of special tools, which you didn't count when you sold it. I bet whatever it is, $10 an hour everyone pitched in would be more money than we could split as profit.
hyperv6
Gearhead

Here is the deal. If you donate time you do so with no expectation of payment or reward. If someone capitalized on this work it is up to them to reward at a later date.

When I donate time wrenching I do so with no expectation of return. Most are done based on relationships I have had or are building with like car minded people. In time they often come back and help me or drop off something to help me.

The bottom line is if you want compensation then charge them for the work being done. That makes it clear what you expect. If someone has the good fortune to make some money on a car more power to em. But I am not going to go holding my hand out.

I never saw car collecting and restoration as a socialistic hobby.
SteveNL
Intermediate Driver

You are fortunate when you have wrenching buddies to help with projects that require more than one set of hands or when they have skills and knowledge to offer that you don't have. Regardless of the value of the cars that are in the shop over the years, the real value for me is the friendships that are maintained by each of us helping the others along the way. So the relationship should ideally have been a two way street of each friend helping the other over the years. I don't care about the realized capital gains that my friends may have received upon selling cars that I've helped to repair, but I'm eternally grateful when I'm up to my butt in alligators and they show up to give me a hand. So when your friends come to help you, make sure that you show up to help them. That should be enough.

P.S. A 993 for a 16 year old? I owned one of them for a while. Very fast and very frustrating to work on. Someone who is just learning to service and repair old sports cars doesn't want to start on a 993. An NA or NB Miata is a better car for a new mechanic and driver. But who am I to give you advice?
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I don't know how fast it will feel from his perspective --- he's 11 years old and has been racing karts for a while now. Frustrating to work on? Couldn't agree more.
CJinSD
Advanced Driver

Assuming the Little Red Hen really spent her 911 loot on a basket-case 356 that she'll need to have restored at retail prices; she'll at least learn an appreciation for what the cat, the goose and the rat gave to her when the lowest estimate for duplicating their work is over a quarter of a million dollars. Or will she? Some people might just assume that the past project was a good time enjoyed by all, and some people feel entitled to take advantage of others no matter what. Has she at least been exposed to perspectives which reflect that she should have shared her windfall with those who made it possible?

Zephyr
Advanced Driver

Somewhat related, California has a law that says that if you buy a work of art and then sell it at a substantially higher price, even decades later, you have to share the profit you made on it with the original artist.
Rider79
Instructor

Of COURSE that law is in California.
CJinSD
Advanced Driver

I would never buy art in California. It's like playing Russian Roulette by yourself.
The-Dill-Man
Pit Crew

"Because he doesn’t realize it, but he was a partner with me in the whole enterprise, starting the moment he was born. No, he didn’t restore the car with me, but he restored me. He found me as a dissolute, binge-drinking, serial-and-parallel philanderer with a quick temper and a love of 170-mph motorcycle runs on the freeway. Eleven years later, he has managed to project-manage me into a sober, contemplative fellow who works for an insurance company. Without him, the 993 would have been wrapped around a tree a long time ago."

Because I am still relatively early on in my time as a father, this resonated very, very deeply. I get it. It changes you.
-Nate
Detailer

Fatherhood is (can be ?) simultaneously the most rewarding and frustrating job you'll ever have .

-Nate
SuperDeLuxe
Detailer

Thanks for yet another great piece Jack! Not sure what kind of person has the gravitas to share their good fortune, but most of us who lend a hand, not for glory or gold, but for the love of the machine. Your boy is one lucky kid to have a dad like you, as you are blessed by him.
eighthtry
Intermediate Driver

Well.........that is an interesting take on things. Where were you when I was 16? My order would have been for a 67 427 Corvette. Of course I would have been dead long before now, but with a smile. And my buds would be happy because I let them work on my car. Who doesn't want to work on a 67 427 Corvette. I could have charged them a mint to do that in the old days. It is only fitting I keep it when I sell it.........Right?????????.
Ark-med
Intermediate Driver

I read this moments after watching the spellbinding "My Octopus Teacher" on Netflix. There are parallels, but they are separated by magnitudes.
manorborn
Pit Crew

I didn't realize hens had prostates...but as you wrote "it's 2021," so who knows?
Vern
Intermediate Driver

Nice Story, Jack! It's great that you found yourself restored in your son.
georgeh
Pit Crew

If the Little Red Hen has reciprocated equivalently with Cat (found mice), Goose (avoid gravage) and Rat (carting cheese), then she doesn’t have to consider sharing.

Ckackerman
New Driver

Yes! What thehackmechanic said. This is the quality of writing and communication of truth that makes me value Hagerty over all other car/driving oriented sources. Thank you. Keep up the great work.
-Nate
Detailer

As a single father I concur with Jack .

However, mostly folks either do the repair works them selves or pay to have it done...

I work on a lot of others vehicles for free and all I expect is a place to wash up and some dinner after...

I suppose I should have bought that original 1969 Porsche 911S graymarket car for $1,600 in the early 1980's but, hindsight you know .

-Nate
ChevyDave
Intermediate Driver

Jack,
Plenty of time for more 170-mph motorcycle runs on the freeway once your son is off to college....
60 is the new 40 dontcha know! Hahaha