Advice Please

Discussion in 'Newbies Hangout' started by Shaun Harwood, Feb 6, 2024.

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  1. Shaun Harwood

    Shaun Harwood New Member

    Feb 6, 2024
    My mother has recently lost her partner and he was the proud owner of a 1957 Thunderbird. It runs well but has a slight oil leak. Could anyone give us an approximate value to help us sell it and ensure it goes to a good home, where it will be treasured.
    Many thanks

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  2. jackyma09

    jackyma09 Member

    Aug 10, 2023
    New York, USA
    To determine the value of the 1957 Thunderbird with an oil leak, consult a classic car appraiser or use online platforms to assess recent sales of similar models. Emotional value may also influence its worth.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Helmut Visor

    Helmut Visor Only dead fish go with the flow

    Oct 3, 2018
    Three Counties
    Hi Shaun :cool: sorry about the circumstances of the sale, there are plenty of old Thunderbird owners here so am sure they will be able to help. It may be worth asking your question in the Thunderbird section as they may see it quicker as not everyone looks at the Newbie section ;)
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  4. Adie P

    Adie P Crème de la Crème

    Jul 7, 2018
    Hi Shaun. Condolences to you and your family.

    It's always difficult to advise people on the value of a motorcycle and even more so when there's an emotional element attached to the machine and the circumstances of its sale. Nevertheless, on the face of it the 6T you've shown in the picture appears to be in good, largely standard condition - albeit, one assumes, restored and with what appears to be a non-standard or period colour. I'm not very experienced with pre-units so there may well be deviations from original specs. - these are often made to gain better running, reliability and availability of spare parts but they can affect the value and the 'saleability' of the bike.

    Although all are desirable machines, the 650 range of Triumphs, both pre-unit and unit construction suffer from the perception that the Bonneville is THE machine to own when, often, the single carb'd siblings can be smoother, less temperamental and more economical to own and ride. The point is that the perception does often rule the pricing so don't expect to be able to sell the machine for the same kind of money that a Bonnie of similar age and condition might fetch.

    There are other factors to consider, too, when advising or setting a sale price - how much history is available; what mileage is on the machine and can that be verified; how extensive is the oil leak you mention and where is it from; how easily does it start; how well does it ride; who carried out the work on the bike ........ and so on? All these things have an impact, one way or the other on the real world price that you might expect to achieve by selling privately.

    All that said, you're looking for an (approximate) idea of what to ask to ensure it sells - and preferably to someone that will enjoy and treasure it as much as your mother's partner did. It's not unusual to see pre-unit 650s going for high four figure sums but these are, by and large, concours machines with full professional restoration finish, e.g.

    nor is it unusual to see them sold privately for much more moderate sums of close to half of that figure.

    My personal (and wholly non-professional) view would be that you might be looking at a private sale price in the range of £4,000 to £6,000 depending on how quickly you want to sell.

    You do, of course, have a number of options to sell - all the usual 'outlets' ebay; local classified; bike magazines, etc., but you could also consider selling to specialist classic bike 'outlets' and I would advise you to try to obtain a recent copy of the monthly "OLD BIKE MART" newspaper as a number of bike shops - and places like museums, etc. - also advertise 'classics wanted'. Old Bike Mart has an online presence so there may be more information on there

    It might be important for you and your mother to bear in mind that, if you're in a rush to sell and don't mind how much you get for it, then selling to a specialist trader/shop is likely to be far easier, quicker and less troublesome than a private sale with all the attendant advertising/communicating/negotiating/timewasting etc., and be aware that you can, usually, expect to sell more quickly and for a better price as the 'riding season' approaches.

    Good luck with it - it's clearly a nice, rideable and very attractive machine so I hope you get a satisfactory sale.
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  5. johne

    johne Standing on the shoulders of dwarves.

    Jan 16, 2020
    Where the Wolds meet the sea
    Nice bike, good luck with the sale.
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  6. Wessa

    Wessa Cruising

    Apr 27, 2016
    North West England
    Hi and welcome to the forum, good luck with your sale:)
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  7. Glenn2926

    Glenn2926 Senior Member

    Dec 21, 2021
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  8. Tim Gibbs

    Tim Gibbs Member

    Oct 27, 2023
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Samsgrandad

    Samsgrandad Senior Member

    Dec 15, 2019
    Another option to sell the bike would be to contact an auction house and put it in a classic bike auction, There are several different companies around the country and to locate them or a classic bike dealer get a copy of Classic Bike magazine from WH Smiths. Old Bike Mart is a good publication but it is available by subscription only so you won't be able to buy one copy at a Newsagent. Best of luck with the sale
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  10. joe mc donald


    Dec 26, 2014
    slough / burnham
    Shaun Harwood.
    Welcome to the family. What a treasure you have there. The better the service history and miles all goes toward value. And they all had a leak or two so don't let that worry you. That is why there are still so many great classic bike to be had they had regular oil changes. And they are like pets they mark their territory.
  11. Baza

    Baza Elite Member

    Jul 25, 2020
    Home of Amazing Grace
    The one critical factor that has not been mentioned is do the frame and engine numbers match. If they do I would expect a quicker sale at a higher price than if they didn’t. From what I can see it’s a very nice machine and apart from the colour (which is no big deal) I can’t see anything that is not as it should be.

    You will be able to view frame and engine numbers from the nearside of the machine. The engine number is stamped on the crankcase just below the base of the cylinder barrels and the frame number can be found on the headstock, just in front of the petrol tank.
  12. Iceman

    Iceman Crème de la Crème

    Apr 19, 2020
    Hi Shaun, I am sorry to hear of the circumstances surrounding the sale of your machine. Firstly the 1957 6T Thunderbird is a lovely machine that is easy to live with, the colour is correct for that year, although a slightly different shade, but that does not really matter at all, the oil leak is easily rectified, the Thunderbird did have issues regarding oil leaks, these varied from chain case, gearbox, rocker box, etc etc, as said they are all easily fixed on the pre unit models. As Baza says if it has matching engine, frame and gearbox numbers that correspond to the despatch records then the machine will be worth more, than one with non matching numbers. Also if it has the old original card log book, then this is also very well sought after, as is the registration, if it is the original transferable allocated number. It is difficult from looking at a single photograph, but the machine does look to have many of it's original parts, personally providing it runs as you say with no smoke or undue engine noise I would just keep it as it is and enjoy it. As for value you would be looking around £6000, that would increase if those all important items I mention are there. Selling it privately can be fraught with problems as I am sure you will be aware. I would suggest contacting a small number of reputable classic motorcycle dealers and ask if they would sell it on a commission basis for you at an agreed price. GB Motorcycles in Wiltshire has been mentioned and they are reputable, as are Village Motorcycles, Anthony Godin is another very reputable Classic car and bike dealer. Also the National Motorcycle Museum may consider selling it on your behalf on commission, and they can offer a prospective purchaser a service/repair at their cost, or a complete restoration. If you PM me with the numbers I can confirm you the year. Hope this helps and ride safe all from an ageing Rocker.
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  13. nickjaxe

    nickjaxe Active Member

    Sep 2, 2020
    Cheshire UK
    Ask on this group in the link.....these guys are tuned into plder Brit Bikes.

    I would love looks stunning....they all leaked you know.

    Do let it sit to long with out running...with the modern petrol we have to put up with now.,....goes off and can block jets in the carb.
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  14. Baza

    Baza Elite Member

    Jul 25, 2020
    Home of Amazing Grace
    As you are in Essex it maybe worth giving these guys a call. They are in Rushden, just up the road from me.

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