A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Classic Cars

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They don’t make them like they used to, which is why the cars of our grandparent’s generation are so interesting but can also be intimidating. Appreciating the beauty of the body style and interiors is great for knowing what you like to look at, but how can you translate that to knowing how to invest in one? Researching classic cars used to require a newspaper or special magazine subscription, but not anymore. Hop online and start simply by browsing what you already know. Once you have a handle on the general specifications you are looking for regarding purchase, this site provides help to point you in the right direction for the specifics. Above all though do not forget to take your time and enjoy the hunt. Get lost in a few internet rabbit holes and have fun expanding your knowledge base.

Be a Casual Observer

If time is on your side, then take advantage of the low-pressure level and just observe other consumers in your car community to learn about the process. Car auctions can be somewhat of a spectator sport, and get you prepared for the flow and style if this is the route you choose for your own purchase. There are two types of auctions, live and online.

With today’s digital age, it’s also easy to find auto auction online. This option allows you to shop without going outside your home, making it a simple and affordable way to get a classic car. Unfortunately, the chances of getting a lemon is rather high, unless you do the proper research. If you want to land on a real treasure and avoid being scammed, it’s important to do some research first.

Whether you purchase via an online or live auction, getting information about the car you’re interested in is crucial. In particular, know more about the common repairs required for the said vehicle, as well as its average lifespan.

It would be helpful to learn about bidding strategies. Not all strategies are effective, but learning some tried and tested tricks can be beneficial.

The point of exploring the market before you are ready to pull the trigger is you acclimate you to game and help reduce the occurrence of mistakes when then time comes, essential for first time buyers. This period of preparation illustrates for you how bidding works, the risk and reward that comes with auction buying, and the inventory that you can expect, both in volume as well as vehicle type. Attending live auctions without the intent to purchase can also create opportunities for you to meet other classic car enthusiasts that you can use as a resource for your own plans. A shared hobby will invite conversation and many self-proclaimed experts would jump at the chance to share their wisdom with a newbie.

Consider an Inspector

Auctions really eliminate the possibility of being able to use an inspector prior to purchase but using a dealer or private seller allows the possibility, and for first time buyers, this is a great insurance policy. Inspectors can look at your potential purchase with a different set of eyes than you do. They are looking at facts, function, comparable sale prices, and overall value, as opposed to the buyer who is generally more emotionally invested which can lead to clouded judgement. A few places to look for an inspector are local car clubs, classic car dealerships, or even a restoration shop, even if they do not have someone on staff who can act as your inspector, they might have an industry connection that they can refer you to.

Inspecting a Classic Car

Classic cars expectedly require longer test drives and closer inspection compared to newer models. Having a professional check the car is beneficial in inspecting potential engine problems and damage. If a seller is hesitant about letting an inspector see the vehicle, consider this a red flag.  Carefully consider the car’s history, mileage, condition, and maintenance costs before making a purchase.

Forecast the Future of Your Purchase

Even though you are in buying mode right now, down the road you may want to sell your vintage beauty, or not. It might seem unnecessary or counterproductive to decide before purchase the fate of your car, but really, it is not. First time buyers are generally most comfortable with low risk decisions since experience and knowledge base are still beginner. This train of thought can also help you to determine budget when the time comes. Do you want to make a one-time investment that is yours to keep? That results in one price point, and if you are hoping to use your first classic car parts purchase as a jumping off point to generate a profit and future acquisitions then that has an effect on your wallet as well. Either way, if you decide that resale is going to be important to you, or at least the option, keep in mind that it is going to be a lot easier to sell a mainstream classic with an established marketplace.

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