A car's provenance certainly affects its worth. What about its backstory, or facts about its previous owner? Does that matter, and does the car's new value feel right?
Those are the questions Jay Leno and renowned auto appraiser Donald Osborne ask on Wednesday's episode of CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage."
They evaluate three classic cars with three unique stories. Can you guess which car's past has the biggest effect on its current value? This time, even Leno struggles.
This car, nicknamed "The Pagoda" because the center of its sloped hardtop is lower than the sides, is the most aerodynamic of the three. At an MSRP of $6,897, it originally sold for the highest amount, too.
As Osborne tells it, there was once a woman who was reluctant to go to Los Angeles with her husband. In an effort to convince her, the husband told her he would buy her a California dream car. When they got there, he gave her a Miata. She hated it.
"Yeah," concedes Leno.
But then, on her 40th birthday, the husband made up for the disappointing present by buying her a better one, this 230SL.
The Mach 1 is fully loaded with the 351 optional engine, four-barrel carburetor and sports seats.
"Here the story is one of great friendship," says Osborne.
Andy and Al went to the Ford dealership in 1971. Andy bought a candy-apple red Ford LTD convertible and Al bought this Mach 1. It's retail value was $3,268. Then, after 39 years, when Al realized he wasn't making use of it, he decided to sell it to a grateful and excited Andy.
"There's nothing wrong with this one," Leno says. It's unique, modified by its second owner to look more like a Maserati or Ferrari. The edge-less sides are reminiscent of one of Magnus Walker's Porsches.
The current owner, Garth, bought it seeking to quench a deep feeling of nostalgia. Garth's dad bought the car in the 70s, and Garth was heartbroken when his father sold it.
Unable to forget it, a decade later, Garth tracked down the owner and bought the car back.
Which of these stories is the most touching, and does that mean the corresponding car will be more valuable? Watch the video to find out.
CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EDT.