If you are considering buying a classic car, you are probably wondering where to start. Unlike buying a normal car – where you can easily get a price by looking at True Car on Facebook or by visiting their website – purchasing a classic car takes much more research. You need to look at more than just price. Classic cars vary a lot in quality, even for the same model year, so you need to take the time to make sure that you are buying one that is in the condition you expect. Here are some of the things that you need to look for.
First of all, make sure that you know exactly what you want. There are so many different types of classic car that it’s impossible to do research on all of them before you go shopping. Each car has its own particular issues that you need to look for – even the same model can have different problems depending on its year. The price can vary a lot from year to year as well, so you need to know what the target price should be for the year you are looking at. One good place to look for this is Hemmings – this is a large online marketplace for collector cars, where you can see many different models on sale, along with the asking price.
Once you have done your research and identified a car that you may want to buy, it’s important to actually see the car, rather than just buying it on eBay or some other website. You need to check it for any of the problems that were identified during your research, as well as more general problems that occur with classic cars. For example, a classic car may look fine, but it may have had a lot of bodywork done on it that is not apparent just by looking at the car. It’s a good idea to take a magnet with you, since this will let you determine if the car body is made of steel everywhere, or if there have been several fiberglass or aluminum repairs – a magnet won’t stick to these. In fact, take the weakest magnet you can find – this will let you detect repairs where steel has been skimmed over.
Also make sure that you look at the car’s serial number and body tag codes. You should be able to use these to figure out how the car was originally equipped. For example, it can tell you what the original engine was, as well as the color of the paintwork. This can help you to determine if the car has been modified – for example, if the car has a V8 but the serial number shows that it should have a six-cylinder engine, then you know something is wrong. It’s perfectly okay to buy a car with replacement parts – in fact this is normal – but some sellers misrepresent vehicles in order to get a higher price.
Once you have reached the point where you are satisfied with the car – and you may have to go through a number of cars before you are – then it is a good time to get the car professionally appraised. This can uncover issues that you weren’t able to detect – making sure that you are getting what you are paying for. Obviously, you don’t want to do this earlier on in the process, since getting a car appraised costs money – you want to be reasonably certain that you are going to buy the car before you have this done.