Guide for Buying Classic Cars
Buying a classic car can be an adventure, but it’s nothing like buying any car you’ve ever bought before. Not even a new car, which is a skill in and of itself. Most people have a car in mind when they decide to buy a classic, and it’s possible sometimes to find that car on your local Craigslist page too. Whether that car is a huge bargain or a terrible money pit is something you’ll be able to judge better after you’ve read this short guide for buying classic cars.
First of all, never bother with a car that doesn’t feature multiple pictures from every conceivable angle. If the car is shown from its side or its front, the photographer isn’t just being artsy, he or she may actually be attempting to hide something from view. What might that something be? Classic cars were made of a lot of metal, so there’s a good chance the photographer is trying to cover up some rust spots. If you see rust, that’s your first cue to run for the hills.
You could repair some of that rust, but rust is a problem that never really goes away. Even with a substantial discount, the metal is still eroding.
Mileage isn’t as much of an issue as you might think. It’s true that low mileage vehicles tend to have nice engines in them, and probably won’t break down as often, but you’ll also face some sticker shock. New engines add substantial value to classics, so it’s worth picking up a low mileage car that’s gotten some TLC over the years than it is to shell out for brand new everything but the body. Besides, you wanted to try and put some work into the car too, didn’t you?
Tips and Strategies
When you’re approaching a classic car deal, you want to make sure you’ve got all the bases covered. The first one to tackle is whether you want to drive the car. Buying classic cars can get addicting, to the point where some people try to turn it into a full-time career of buying cheap and selling at a profit. This lifestyle is very tempting. It’s also very risky. The rate of return on cars tends to be low unless you really know what you’re doing. That’s why you shouldn’t touch a car you don’t want to drive for yourself.
It also helps to familiarize yourself with a scale you can use to judge the quality of the car you’re trying to buy. Start with the perfect car (just driven off the lot, and extremely rare), then work your way down until you hit the clunker. Keeping a scale in mind will help you make snap decisions regarding price, and it will help guide your negotiations. You should also do some browsing online for the car you want. See if there are videos on YouTube showing how it drives, or check for blog entries made by actual owners. These are the best indicators of whether the classic car you want will be the car you end up buying.
Also, look at production numbers for the car in question. A car might look vintage or classic, but the manufacturer made more than 10,000 it’s probably not considered rare. That can make a difference when you’re prospecting for cars to try and earn a profit through sale.
Classic cars aren’t the kind of purchase you’ll want to drive across the country, although you may find yourself speaking with a buyer living several hundred miles away from you. In this situations, it’s best for you to ship the car in an enclosed transport unit. The cost will add an additional few hundred to a thousand to the total purchase price, but it’s worth it. If you try to utilize an open carrier, your car will be caked in dirt and dust by the time it’s returned to you.