I agree, up to a point.
But remember that any time you sell a car, you're in competition with a lot of other uses for that money. And at some price point thereabouts $5k, you cross over into very steep competition with the MR2, later Fieros, and a whole forest of Brit cars that have legions of dedicated parts suppliers behind them. Not to mention the front-engine Porsches I like so much.
Quick example: I recently bought a very strong '86 944 for a buddy to turn into a race car, and it's nearly perfect. 90k miles, gorgeous original paint, no rust, never hit, never tracked, complete service history back to the original window sticker, recent belts, rollers, etc., cold A/C, perfect black leather interior, no dash cracks, etc. It's the end of the summer, you know, and it ended up in my driveway for $5k. I don't think he'll chop it up for a race car once he sees it, though. Still, for $5k, who knows?
So from my perspective, an X1/9 of the same year that needs any kind of work at all, coming anywhere near that magic $5k mark is wild. Not to say it can't/won't happen, but around $5k, the competition stiffens up quite a lot and an X car is going to have to not just show exceptionally well, or have exceptional potential, but to grab my stash it would have to actually be exceptional inside and out, top to bottom, interior, exterior, suspension, engine, trans, shocks, you name it.
But feel free to ignore me ... I've owned a few X's but never paid more than $2k for one, even back when they were two or three years old (I paid $500 for a '75 back in '79 ... talk about depreciation!). It was painful to pay $1k for this '74, but it was so sweet I couldn't resist. My next hands-on project is an E-Type coupe, so there you have it -- proof of insanity. Imagine your worst enemy in the world was a car enthusiast, and you wanted to inflict the most agony and the biggest project car nightmare on him. You'd pick an E-Type every time.
(the bearing guy)