What is a core engine worth?

Friends,

This question just came up because a guy thinking about building an aircraft engine asked it after seeing several listed on Ebay, one for over $1200. I went and looked because I thought he might have slipped a decimal place.  He didn’t. One guy in South Carolina is selling several Corvair engines, listed as aircraft engine cores for very, very high prices. I don’t know the seller, because in the wonderful world of Ebay he is identified only by the email address “H20less”.

It is a free world, and people are allowed to try to sell anything they want, for what ever price they think they can get. I am not angry at the guy for trying, and neither should ‘H20less” be angry at me for telling builders that they are not worth anywhere near what he is asking. At least when I express this opinion, you get to know who is saying it.

I don’t care how much people sell other things on Ebay for, it isn’t my concern. The reason why this is an issue is two-fold, first I treat people building Corvair flight engines as if they are friends of mine. We run a business, but it isn’t aimed at seeing how much money we can take from people at an auction, it is just aimed at teaching people how to build engines and selling them the parts to do this at a good value. Every single person with a running Corvair aircraft engine would tell anyone about to pay $1200 for a core, or $450 for that matter, that they are about to spend way too much money. The second issue I have is that a guy like this has a vested interest in justifying his price by creating the impression that these engines are hard to find, which they are not. As evidence that they are still easy to find, reading the ad closely, it states that he just bought all of these engines and is reselling them. That tells you they can be found, and I am sure he paid a lot closer to the realistic core value of $150-$250. We still have lots of builders who buy their core for $100.

The place where most builders find their core today is Craigslist. If you don’t know how this works, google search the term and look at the city near you and search the word Corvair. Craigslist is a giant on-line service that works just like the classified ads in newspapers. It is localized, because you don’t really need to know that a guy in Auckland NZ is selling something that a guy 30 miles away is also selling. It isn’t a game like auction of hidden prices like Ebay either.It is just ads for people selling things. The best part is that you can run an ad stating what you are looking for, people in your area will read it and contact you. This second method is how 50% of the builders who got started last year picked up their core. I polled them at Oshkosh last year, and the average price they paid was less than $100. For all we know, they guy selling the stuff on Ebay used Craigslist to buy it. Ask any of your friends if they have bought things on Craigslist and you may be suprised who much stuff is sold there. I bought our trailer, my motorcycle and many Corvair engines off Craigslist. The cost of each of these was far below the loest price I had ever seen any of them sell for on Ebay.  One more thing, Craigslist is free. If you’re looking at a core, a conversion manual and a disassembly DVD from us are good tools. Even if your yet to get these, you can still write me and ask about a core you are looking at. I will gladly answer, because I don’t want to have any builder, a person who I regard as a friend, get started off on the wrong foot by paying way to much for a core engine. – William

One Reply to “What is a core engine worth?”

  1. William. The link I use allows a core searcher to find Corvair items (or anything else for that matter) quite easily from Craigslist and at any distance the searcher may want to travel.

    http://www.searchtempest.com/

    Check it out.. if you see value as I have perhaps list it on your College information?

    This search engine also shows E-bay listings (which I tend to ignore), but primarily it allows an easy systematic search over distances that the searcher determines for Craigslist item sellers.. and it finds the listings determined first by the nearest by zip code. There is one irritating negative of SearchTempest and that is one will find expired Craigslist listings that are still displayed. I overlook this because the search is free other than one’s time. Not a bad deal for a new CorvAir builder!
    With what is now available for the conversion from your and Dan’s efforts, even the less desirable early cases can be utilized. The clearance cutting on a early case can be done with a drum sander available at ACE hardware and a homemade profile gauge. Basically..just cut a circle from cardboard at the correct diameter and drum sand the locations needing clearance until it fits the profile. The search for the correct heads are really not difficult either. As you recommend, CORSA chapters usually have at least one Corvair engine stashing member and 64-69 95hp or 110hp heads are quite common. The early heads from FC trucks and wagons usually already have the valve rotators on the exhaust valve from GM. Keeping the valve train items other than the valves themselves and this is one more USA made item that could be reused.

    Vern

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