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Why are ITVs up for resale so expensive?

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  • Why are ITVs up for resale so expensive?

    I have been asked this a couple times, so I'm posting an email I sent to another interested person some time back to explain what they minimally need to consider and will be up against with a surplus purchase. This is what original buyers faced with costs and the gambles they took. It doesn't even consider facts such as the months that you are out all the money - but get nothing usable.

    Dealing with even the minimal maintenance these Itvees have not received for years is quite costly (like any vehicle), let-alone actual repairs needed, just as it would be if you found a classic car in a barn after 10 years. I hope this helps to explain why the prices increase considerably, at least to cover the risks and costs the original buyer faced. My email is a bit choppy, but this isn't to justify or scare anyone — it's just reality for buyers or re-buyers to consider. Happiness is based on satisfaction, and satisfaction is based on perceived value. Do your thing.

    This is long, but I hope it scratches the surface of what surplus is about. Here's an example of the LSV 4-seat version for sale. These are always "a box of chocolates", so consider everything it tells you (and what it might mean) in the minimal reports and that you can see:

    So for example, it only has 22 miles showing. That's great - maybe - and it looks like a 10-year-old with minimal use that sat a lot. On the flip-side, the gauges are not working, which could be anything from a simple wire connection to a failed system. Unknown. Likewise, it's running and the engine is speckling oil from the open filler hole in the video, so we know it has oil pressure and no blow-by. Yay! Alternatively, the tires and suspension are randomly deflated, so we don't know if the compressor is completely missing (under rear platform) or not, but the CTIS (Central Tire Inflation System on-the-fly tire inflation & run-flat) controller is completely missing on the dash panel ($$$). You can manually air the tires and suspension up; but just making the point that while most of the parts appear to be there that we can see, it could be a lot of work and/or cost to make everything work properly, or a 5-minute fix. Things go bad just sitting, and it has sat a lot.

    Unlike many military hardware that is "lowest bidder", these were designed and built for an experimental program, and were built with mostly high-grade (good-but-expensive) commercial hardware rather than the cheapest thing that would work. This is completely different from the usual surplus situation, which is wonderful in a way, but can cause repairs to be relatively inexpensive or relatively costly. A ball joint may be $10, and a suspension air controller may be $1000+, and that doesn't include time and labor.

    Specialty parts for these are expensive (as all military stuff), where today gypsy trays are going around $250+, winches $1000+, doors $250+ each, etc. Crazy. Especially when you can get a hitch tray for $80 online - but it's not original ITV for collectors. Gah. On the other hand, you can't just buy these cheap-but-"custom" tube-frame doors. Nobody makes them. Yet.

    Positives are that it has (faded) full canvas covering all 4 seats, a fairly rare winch setup and a gypsy (junk) tray with tall jack on the back (both plug into the receiver hitches with one hitch pin). Those will drive-up the price. The rear-steering hardware/hydraulics are there, though the switch is missing on the dash (often there and fell behind the dash... but). One pic shows the front skid-plate is bent (idiot with a forklift) and may be rubbing the driveshaft. Re-bend it. The transmission is "operational" (goes in-gear and moves but otherwise unknown), engine starts, and lights work, which means the electrical power system would seem to be working to some level. With suspension air-up, it may be drivable as-is with minimal required maintenance that hasn't been done in a few years. If you don't see something in the photos, it's probably missing, like the center console cover plate. If it is missing, cut and drill and old stop sign and paint it... LOL But still another thing to do.

    A big positive, is that you can call the crew at the yard in Yermo, CA to ask short questions with easy answers on certain days they're not busy. Sometimes you can visit and inspect. They can tell you if the CTIS controller is sitting in the rear compartment, or missing, or if other stuff is generally good/bad, etc. They can be very helpful with limited info if they aren't busy.

    Anyway, these are getting down to the last ones, so choices are getting thin, and prices are likely up (especially with some fairly rare accessories like doors). They used to sell 5-10 a week. Most are missing/broken stuff and you can buy some of it at the store. Mechanical parts (brake pads, ball joints, switches) - probably. Body stuff and custom to this vehicle, notsomuch. Bidders can sign-up with minimal info. Once signed-up, you can click to see listings of others already sold for reference. <wink>

    The LSVs in SoCal appear to be selling over 10K now, up around $15K or more. Most of these lived/sat at Camp Pendelton near the ocean, 29 Palms, or deployed on-board ship <hint>. The ones occasionally out of Georgia are crazy expensive, though in usually better condition and some are USMC refurbished, going for $25k-$50k. Some are in fairly fresh and almost "drive-away" condition, and there's your difference. Some rationalize that you have room spend $10-30k to refurbish one like a museum piece, and still not lose money. That's up to you, but I'll tend to stick to ones that appear to need little (or things I can handle) to function correctly, or to the level I want. Paint is cheap. Parts and labor are not.

    Don't forget sales tax and 10% fee (I randomly figure 20% over bid price for a safe ballpark). Payment due in 72 hours. It sits in the desert while the DoD and TSC clears you (2-4 months), then you have 8 days to arrange shipping or pick it up when cleared (sometimes negotiable). More money. You get what you get. Auction terms suck. Title (if paid-for) is more time (mine is in the mail from a November sale). Welcome to gambling without cards and chips. They are initially "cheap" because it's raw unknown, and these are not great if you are not handy with automotive stuff or have a mechanic buddy that owes you a kidney. It's exciting if you can get past the stress and reasonable fear of the unknown!

    Have fun and watch your six!

    Last edited by W427; 05-20-2020, 11:05 AM.

  • #2
    Nice piece!


    • #3
      Very Nice. Military vehicles are like most hobbies. Money, money, more money and time!


      • #4
        Don't forget with less tha 400 made, these will dramatically increase in value! Look at a WW2 Jeep today!