Grading your Opel

  • Value determinations :

    Most value guides are ranked on a scale of 1 - 4, often Level 0 is not mentioned as its a museum piece and unique in some way ( Under 100 original miles, etc.. ), and below level 4 can vary greatly. But since Opel owners aren't like everyone else, I have included level 3.5 thru 7 which used to be included in older price guides.


    Level #0 - MINT CONDITION, Absolutely perfect and totally original, a car with 0 miles and 0 dirt. This car is a Extremely Low Mileage survivor, that has since been stripped and rebuilt with NOS parts ( or its own NOS quality parts ). The undercarriage of the car will be as spotless at the interior. Its so exceptional, its in a class all its own. Other things that differentiate a Level 0 from a level 1, are things like provenance. I.E. Car was owned by the designer of the Opel GT, An original Conrero GT, A Opel GT with a particular racing heritage or a Factory developmental GT, etc..


    Level #1 - A car is 99% perfect, this is a national show winner at major car shows and the Opel Nationals usually have a few that show

    RUST QUOTIENT : 0% (IF this car EVER had any damage, when the body came off the rotisserie you couldn't find it.)


    A FEW Cars have shown at Opel meets that qualify. Such as Roy Bells GT, Gary Farias' GT, Bud Joyner's Kadett Wagon, The way to tell these are #1.. the owner didn't drive them to the meet. They are trailered in a covered trailer. A few exceptions to this rule can be seen in original survivors like Tom Adkins 69 1.1L GT, Jim Ericksons' original condition Mantas that show up too Carlisle, they move up into this level of value due to the fact they are survivors and immaculately maintained.


    Hagerty - Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is "concours."


    Level #2 - (AKA HIGH value in NADA special interest car guide) A car that for most purposes is perfect and original down to Solex

    RUST QUOTIENT : 0% (IF Belly pan had rust, you can't tell without getting the car on a lift and looking for a seam)


    Its hard to tell a Level 1 from a Level 2 driving down the road. OF course the catch is a level 1 would NEVER be driven down the road (With a few exceptions.. like at a car show)


    Hagerty - #2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is "excellent."


    Level #3 (AKA Average by NADA Special Interest guide ) - This is the car that most of us have pampered in our garages and they make up 90% of local car shows.


    RUST QUOTIENT : 5% (Surface rust and light rust under carpet, area around exhaust pipe, lower valance, slight damage to belly pan, rust in battery tray)


    A level 2 driven daily for a year without MAJOR detailing and pampering will be a level 3. This is a car that has been restored by its owner and cared for greatly. It may also be a totally perfect original car with fading paint. Its not a show winner, but in a small local show it will be. Some wear in the interior, paint is clean, rust-free, maybe the lenses are a bit faded or reproductions.


    Hagerty - #3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. "Good" is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.


    Level #4: (AKA Low in NADA Special Interest guide) - This car has oxidation in the paint, a few tears in the interior but is a solid car, a few cracks in the dash (Or a dash cover).


    RUST QUOTIENT : 10% (Above like #3, rust under shock tower caps, behind wheel wells, rockers and floors clean of rust thru, belly pan has been patched)


    It more than likely has some rust in the quarter panels BUT the floor pans and frame are rust-free. Car should have very little bondo if any, if it has bondo, then the paint needs to be in better shape. few small dents. The lenses may have slight cracks or be reproductions. This car is typically a car undergoing restoration, or a well taken care of daily driver. Mechanically it is safe to drive and can pass a state inspection.


    NOTE : While a #4 SHOULD run... a #3 with a mint interior and good body and low rust coming out of a long storage, may not. IN this case its a great deal as its a #3 that just needs cleaning and some mechanical work to be a #3.. BUT as for value it would be a #4.


    Hagerty - #4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. "Fair" is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.

    Level #5 (Not usually in the books.. but often confused by sellers as a #4 ESPECIALLY IF IT IS RUNNING...) - A car in this class probably shouldn't be considered as a restoration project.


    RUST QUOTIENT : 10-25% ( Rust under shock tower caps, rust through behind wheel wells, rockers and floors, rust thru in belly pan)


    But there are a TON of level 5 cars out there that have been restored from 5 to 3, and the owners have severely paid for it. It's the borderline car, it is often the car found on ebay that looks a little rough, but good in the pictures. This is the "running" GT with a bad clutch, worn brakes, misses a bit, has floor board rust, broken side markers (or bondoed over). Dash is cracked up, and seats have duct tape.. It looks as if it has promise, but 6 times out of 10 its a parts car. Many #6 cars have had floor boards patched, and a new coat of paint thrown on them and look like a #4, but if you look its a nice #5. Many a Opel owner has bought a #5 thought it was a #3, and then when they went to go get it painted found a lot of hidden damage under the carpets and behind bondo. Often has structural damage due to rust in the rockers or frame


    Level #6 - This is the one that even a novice would know is a basket case, its a parts car with a lot of good parts. BUT Don'tbe surprised to see it be able to run under its own power (though not overly well).


    RUST QUOTIENT : 25-50% ( Can pull the seats without unbolting them.. Lots of Bondo/Rust in rockers, floors and wheel arches, what belly pan ? Structural damage due to rust is the rule not the exception. NO MATTER HOW CLEAN THE INTERIOR, IF a car has structural rust damage to the frame or suspension mounts it is a #6 )


    Many souls have restored these as well.. Often taking them to a #4. Occasionally though, if you have the time and the ability and are willing to replace most everything on the car from the wiper motor to the rear axle, these can get to a #3 or even a #2 depending on the quality of work and resources your willing to put into it. This is a good car to get if you plan on a lot of customizations like engine swaps, etc..


    Level #7 - Didn't think this level existed? Well its the car in such bad shape (rusted, broken up, etc.) that it doesn't have but one or two good parts on it, if that.


    RUST QUOTIENT : 50%+ ( Seats have fallen thru the floor.. rockers look like swiss cheese, what's a belly pan ? )


    Seeing more of these than before recently. Some are even getting restored. But rarely. A #7 can easy bend its frame getting on a rollback. I came across one for sale for $2000 last spring. It was in a goat pen.. when you opened the hood (that had rust through in many places and lots of dents) the goat poop had made it to the engine.