Value & Conclusion
In 1980, a brand new Ford Pinto cost from $4,200 to $5,400. About 185,000 were made in the USA. The Shay was supposed to be introduced at $6,000 for the most standard model, but this went up quickly to $10,000 by 1980. Deluxe models went for $11,000 and Super Deluxe models went for $13,000.
HEMMINGS in 1999
Model A Pickup : Fair $4,900 / Good $6,900 / Excellent $10,800
Model A Roadster : Fair $4,000 / Good $6,500 / Excellent $10,000
FAIR : Presentable condition. Runs and drives and will pass a state safety inspection. May be driven on a daily basis. Generally in need of a cosmetic restoration, but not a "basket case". There are many cars on the road that fall below this "fair" category, and will be priced accordingly. These are commonly referred to as "beaters" and are usually not worth restoring, as the restoration costs will almost certainly exceed the value of the finished vehicle.
GOOD : Very nice condition. In fact, most casual observers would describe the vehicle as "excellent". "Good" cars show very little wear and are driven sparingly. Many are used as weekend drivers.
EXCELLENT : Nearly perfect condition. The vehicle has usually been professionally restored to the current highest standards, but a few exceptionally well cared for original car may qualify. All components are original or are an exact replacement. Most "excellent" cars are not driven more than a few miles per year, if at all.
NADA in 2004
Model A Roadster : Low Retail $6,125 / Average Retail $9,750 / High Retail $14,350
LOW RETAIL : This vehicle would be in mechanically functional condition, needing only minor reconditioning. The exterior paint, trim, and interior would show normal wear, needing only minor reconditioning. May also be a deteriorated restoration or a very poor amateur restoration. Most usable "as-is". Note: This value does not represent a "parts car".
AVERAGE RETAIL : This vehicle would be in good condition overall. It could be an older restoration or a well-maintained original vehicle. Completely operable. The exterior paint, trim, and mechanics are presentable and serviceable inside and out. A "20-footer".
HIGH RETAIL : This vehicle would be in excellent condition overall. It could be a completely restored or an extremely well maintained original vehicle showing very minimal wear. The exterior paint, trim, and mechanics are not in need of reconditioning. The interior would be in excellent condition. Note: This value does not represent a "100 Point" or "# 1" vehicle .
NADA in 2011
Model A Roadster : Low Retail $7,975 / Average Retail $11,750 / High Retail $16,200
T-Bird : Low Retail $9,000 / Average Retail $12,000 / High Retail $17,000 (+15% if V-8)
NADA in 2021
Model A Roadster : Low Retail $10,850 / Average Retail $16,800 / High Retail $22,200
T-Bird : Low Retail $11,600 / Average Retail $18,200 / High Retail $24,300 (+15% if V-8)
When looking to buy a Shay, the best bet you have on quality and price is to try to find the lowest possible mileage on a Shay which is privately owned. Unless pampered or very low mileage, a Shay can age rapidly. Check for stress cracks on the fenders and around wheel wells if it has sidemounted spares. These cracks indicate the car was probably driven carelessly and roughly. Look also at the frame and undercarriage which tends to rust rapidly. In a 40 year old car, expect radiator and heater core fatigue. All brake rubber parts (hoses and seals) have definitely long expended their useful life limit after 40 years and cast iron brake parts will also be affected by inside rust.
If you need an official document stating the above mentionned values for government, DMV or insurance purposes, you must ask a professional automobile appraiser.
How to find a Shay for sale on other Websites? Simply go to the Links Page and follow the instructions relative to the "Hemmings Motor News" and "Collector Car Trader Online" Websites
Most of all, a Shay is not a Model A. And then again, a Shay is not a Pinto. A Shay is a unique fun car in its own right.
If you're looking to buy a Shay, you'll have to accept this about upkeep and restoration :
Some of it can still be done with parts found at regular or specialized car parts outlets (like NAPA, UAP, Speedway Motors, etc.).
Some of it can be done with parts found on the Buy/Sell pages.
Some of it will have to be done by adapting Model A parts yourself (from Le Baron Bonney or Mac's)
Some parts will have to be re-built from scratch (such as the upholstery and top).
The more we move away from 1980, the less NOS Pinto parts will remain available. However, since the Pinto/Mustang mechanics were widely adopted by Hot Rodders in the eighties, this has created a surprisingly varied replacement parts market in that milieu.
"New Shay Owner's Guide" : This is very well thought out advice and check list prepared by Roy Alexander of Canada. It's designed for the new owner who wants to avoid mechanical surprises in his first days and months of ownership. It's full of essential maintenance and safety recommendations.
I had a great English sports car for fifteen years (until an addition to the family forced me to look for a four-seater). As with the Shay, when I coldly analysed each component separately, I felt vaguely disapointed with that purchase on some days. However, when I took a few steps back and considered everything as a whole, it really works quite well and the overall feeling was of great pleasure. And, if your primary goal isn't that of investment, isn't that really what we are all looking to get from such cars?
As the brochure so truthfully claimed: «Crowds gather, motorists are courteous, everyone waves and beeps, smiles greet the Ah-OOO-Gah horn, strangers are like old friends...» and, as one owner added: «Unlike a real Model A, my Shay stops and it doesn't leak!»