What is the value of my car?
It's practically impossible for me to answer your most asked question "Hey, what's my car worth?". If I had to answer, it would be - whatever the market will bear.
Ebay has fast become the stock market of vintage collectible items. Final prices of items sold there are the most stable and predictable of any venue for vintage Tamiya. This is because Ebay attracts the largest audience of any Tamiya collector's forum and thus the issues of supply and demand play out in accurately.
The easiest method of checking the value of your Tamiya kit is to do some research on Ebay. Search for your particular car or buggy, compare the final selling prices of those auctions over a period of time. Ebay allows you to search current auctions and completed auctions less than 30 days old. Take into consideration the condition of the item being sold against the condition of your car/buggy.
For some Tamiya products that are rare, you may have to continue your efforts for a month or so before being able to establish an accurate value. On the other hand, buggies such as a Tamiya Frog or Hornet come up for sale quite often. A quick look through the "completed auctions" section of Ebay should be sufficient to determine value on your buggy.
Lastly, prices have shown some seasonal fluctuations on Ebay as well. Sellers tend to do better in the fall and winter months than the spring and summer months. Likely because of Christmas spending and "winter project" syndrome.
And although price fluctuations do occur, what I can tell you is what collectors covet:
Condition of the actual vehicle
This is the single most important thing. What is the condition of the actual vehicle? Mint in box (unbuilt) is the most desirable. If your vehicle kit is in the same condition as it would exist on the shelf of a hobby store 15 or 20 years ago, it will bring in the most money. On the other end of the spectrum, vehicles that are worn, and have home-made (read: hot glue) repairs or parts (read: Popsicle sticks) are worth the least. Typically these are bought for their parts only and hold a low value.
Incidentally, if your Tamiya is in such poor shape, consider selling the kit as groupings of parts. It might be more work, but you are likely to get more money from selling in this manner than selling the whole vehicle. A good example is the rear suspension arms of the Tamiya Frog. Very rare to come by in new condition and so used ones still bring in strong figures in auctions.
Completeness of the kit
In cases, where your vehicle is already built, the completeness of the vehicle is vitally important. The correct tires, wheels and body are the most sought after parts as these typically wear or break first.
Many collectors are also interested in the peripheral items as well. Instruction manuals, decals and original packaging are all items which increase the value of the kit. This is especially true of the original box that the kits came in. They were very large by nature and are highly sought after if they are old and in excellent condition. If you're selling your Tamiya, try to dig up as much of the stuff that came with it as possible. Things that you might find useless (the driver's head that you never used) are valuable to the astute collector.
Resemblance to cover art
In other words, did you paint the vehicle like the instructions said to? Many collectors are looking for buggies, cars or trucks that are painted as it appeared on the kit box. This increases the value of your kit, especially in the case of a difficult paint job such as that for the Sand Scorcher. Or a difficult decal job like the '94 Monte Carlo Mini Cooper.
This part is tricky. If you have added in performance parts to the vehicle, this typically lowers the value of the car unless they are Tamiya parts or it is exceptionally well done. Most collectors are purists; they want their Tamiyas unmolested.
For used vintage vehicles, you find that many added parts from CRP, Hot Trick or You-G to increase performance or durability. For the most part these parts do nothing to increase the resale value of the car. On the contrary, they often reduce the selling price because the original part is missing. The exceptions to the rules are:
Ball bearings - These tend to enhance the resale value as most owners would have installed them anyway. Some purists who display their cars only do build the kits as it came and they might replace the ball bearings with plastic or brass bearings as required, but that's rare.
Tamiya Hop Up Parts - Official Tamiya performance parts do enhance the value of the vehicle. Many Hop Up parts were very expensive when brand new and thus are rare and sought after. It is helpful in these cases if you retain the original parts. One example of a sought after part is the Tamiya Technigold Motor. If memory serves, it's performance is unspectacular compared to the high horsepower units employed in today's buggies. The Technigold was a 16-Turn motor I believe. But collectors really love these motors because they were an authentic hop-up part for Tamiyas.
Complete Transformations - For some vehicles in the Tamiya lineup, sufficient aftermarket parts existed where the entire vehicle was transformed using aftermarket parts. Hot Trick put out a complete refit for the Frog that only retained the front suspension arms and gearbox case. It changed the Frog from a reasonable off-road vehicle to a race contender. Because these kits were expensive and so extreme in the upgrade, they hold a special value with some collectors.
This list is uptodate as of January, 2005
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