Some car enthusiasts really want to buy a classic car. Sometimes it's for a collection, but sometimes it's for driving on the open road. Of course, few car collectors really know what they're getting into. Classic cars may be fun to own, sure. Owners may love to brag to their friends about having one. But having a classic car is like having a pet: they're a lot of work to handle, they need to be cared for, and they're very expensive.
Classic cars need to be maintained, repaired, and handled carefully if they're going to retain their value and function properly. Of course, the older the car, the more important all of that is to know. Sadly, people make a lot of mistakes when they go to purchase a used classic car. Maintenance, appearance, and budget are all relevant factors, and that's if the seller isn't lying and scamming owners at the point of sale first.
15. Find A Smaller-Quantity Model
Not every classic car was made in the same quantity. Certain makes and models had thousands manufactured, some had hundreds manufactured, and some only had dozens manufactured. People often fail to realize that aspect of classic car manufacturing. The smaller the production quantity of the car, the higher the sale value will be. Most owners can find books or do research online to tell them all the production numbers and relevant information beforehand.
14. Don't Blow Your Budget
Set a budget, and then stick to it. A big mistake classic car owners make is basing the purchase decision on price versus a focus on quality and value, and very few people can afford to make the mistake of purchasing a “bad car.” With the cost of repairs, the lost time, the misery and the profound disappointment, it's easier to just pay a little more and have a bigger budget in return for getting a higher-quality, higher-value car.
13. Recognize Quality And Value Between Cars
People often fail to realize the huge difference in quality and value between one classic car and another, or even knowing how to evaluate those differences. Some differences are based on quality, while others are not, but they still have a significant impact on the classic car's value. Two cars that seem identical can have serious differences that really matter in both quality and value.
12. Make Sure The VIN Matches
The VIN- vehicle identification number- is key. Make sure the numbers match when purchasing a classic car. The engine, transmission, and rear axle all should match the vehicle's VIN. As for how to spot this, most motors have the last six digits of the VIN number stamped on them, which is easy in most cases except for the transmission and rear end, which are harder to sync numbers.
11. Don't Drive The Classic Like It's Modern
A classic car is not a modern car, and should not be driven as such. Driving a classic car with the intensity and frequency with which people drive modern cars is a good way to possibly devalue, damage, or destroy the classic car. Classic cars are older, after all, and older cars have more problems. A classic car simply isn’t road ready when needed sometimes, and therefore, it should not be an owner's primary vehicle.
10. Low Mileage Increases Value
The lower the mileage a car has, the higher the value will be. Owners looking to drive the classic car can save a lot of time and money by looking for something with a few more miles under its belt. Meanwhile, those who want to park a classic car in the garage and wait for it to double in value should find a car with delivery mileage.
9. Test Drive The Actual Car
When possible, test drive the actual car that is going to be bought, not just some arbitrary classic car, or even a similar one. As stated above, two classic cars that some identical can have serious differences, and a similar vehicle can lead to an improper test drive, leading drivers to start out with problems or overlook options that are important.
8. Have A Good Mechanic On Hand
Find a good mechanic and keep them handy. It's difficult to find a good mechanic for modern cars, so it's even harder to find a good one for classic cars. A lot of parts, features, and systems are outdated and may bewilder modern-car mechanics. After all, classic cars are old and often in need of repair, and knowing a good mechanic who knows about classic cars and can honestly and accurately diagnose the problem and recommend a solid repair will save a lot of money in the long run.
7. Avoid Leasing When Possible
Leasing a classic car is not recommended and should be avoided when possible. Getting caught up in a lower monthly payment with risk of driving over the mileage limits will ultimately resort in a bigger expense. Longer leases quantify these mistakes and drag them out. Avoiding a lease, especially a long one, is in the owner's best interest and will give them a more peaceful ownership experience.
6. The Car Needs To Be Intact Enough
via Classic Car Spy
A classic car needs to be intact enough that it's worth saving, let alone worth driving. People sadly assume that enough time and money can make a poor quality car into a good quality car. But some cars are too far gone and are not worth saving, and no matter how much money is put into them, some classic cars aren't more than a thinly-disguised junker.
5. Don't Believe Everything Posted Online
A lot of information and misinformation is posted about specific makes and models of classic cars online. It's often a bad idea to believe everything posted online, because a lot of what’s out there is opinion, not fact, and therefore should not be trusted. Beware of unverifiable information. Further, dealership prices are “bait and switch” prices just to get unsuspecting customers in the door.
4. Unique Options Boost Cost
Classic cars frequently lack features of modern cars, so when a classic car has a unique customization option, such as power windows, the price can skyrocket. Certain classic cars can be one of a kind due to some kind of unique option, which costs more money than a standard make and model of the same kind of car.
3. They're Not For Flipping
Classic cars, unlike classic houses, are not to be flipped. After all, classic cars don't work that way. Well-maintained classic cars tend to increase in value, but it's a much slower process, and often too slow for people who seek to flip it for profit. If buying classic cars is an investment, then think long-term instead of short-term to avoid frustration.
2. Research The Car And Seller Beforehand
It's highly recommended that owners research both the car and seller beforehand. A mistake that even seasoned buyers frequently repeat is buying a car without adequate “accurate” information and knowledge about the classic car or about the seller of said car. While this is extremely difficult to next to impossible when the vehicle is far away, it’s even harder when the seller misrepresents the true condition or authenticity of the vehicle.
1. Run From The Rust
Rust is a deal killer and should be treated as such. The presence of rust often indicates problems, some more serious than the others. When the trunk is see through and floors and the sides are all eaten up, there comes a point when that car is beyond saving and the money is better spent elsewhere.
Sources: mensjournal.com, carprousa.com, myrod.com, allmetalclassics.com