Tips For Buying Your First Classic Car

Whether you are purchasing a classic car to fix up and sell, or you want to treasure it for years to come, it’s a hefty purchase that you should take seriously. Classic vehicles can remain in your family for generations, if taken care of properly. But, they need to have a good chance from the get-go.

That means their purchasers must be on top of their game to secure the perfect classic car purchase. These tips are helpful to remember when you purchase your first classic car.

Don’t Rely on Pictures

Never rely solely on pictures before purchasing a classic car. It’s okay to research vehicles for sale online, but you should always inspect them in person. This way, you can complete a thorough classic vehicle inspection to ensure this is the vehicle you want to purchase. A few things you should do during the inspection include:

  • Match VIN numbers
  • Start the car and check for smoke from the exhaust
  • Test-drive the car to check for noises and overall performance
  • Check the interior and exterior for damages, non-working lights, etc.
  • Check the engine and tires

Look for Rust

Bodie Stroud, the owner of the custom hot rod shop, Bodie Stroud Industries, says that he only buys classic vehicles from desert areas of the United States, like California and Arizona. Why? Because cars native to this type of climate usually are less susceptible to weather conditions that form rust on vehicles.

Rust is one of the biggest value-depreciators of a classic vehicle, and once it starts, it can get out of control fast. If it’s not noticeable on the car, check on the bottom areas of the car, like the fenders and under the doors.

Check Mileage

Checking the odometer before you buy any vehicle is important, but it’s especially important for a classic car. The odometer will tell you if the vehicle was used more as a once-in-awhile joy ride vehicle for a weekend trip of hot air balloon rides San Diego offers, or an everyday commuting vehicle.

This can help you gauge just how much life is left in the classic car and how soon you may need to open up your wallet for major repairs.

Ask Plenty of Questions

Purchasing a classic vehicle is a bit of a splurge, and it’s something that’s important to you. That’s why you should be prepared to ask any, and all, questions you have about a vehicle. Don’t feel as though you’re pestering the current owner. If he’s unwilling to answer your questions to form a trust with you before you purchase, then there’s probably something wrong with the vehicle.

The owner should also be willing to have you choose a mechanic of your choice to inspect the vehicle thoroughly before you purchase it.

Check the Numbers

Checking the VIN number of any used car can provide you with a wealth of information about the parts of the vehicle and whether or not they are originals. For a classic car, matching important car parts to the VIN number will help you determine their authenticity.

Check the engine, trim, frame, and gearbox numbers to ensure that they match the VIN number. If so, they’re original parts of the car, but if not, the parts have been replaced and could deduct significant value from the vehicle.

Check for Part Cost and Availability

The costs of owning a classic car can be surprising if you aren’t prepared for them. Unfortunately, it can also be nearly impossible to find certain parts for classic vehicles, and if you do, they’re often ridiculously expensive.

Before you purchase a classic car, research the price for that specific vehicle’s tune-ups, interior or exterior repair, and any other major maintenance costs you may run into if you become the new owner.

Research Insurance Costs

If you’re planning on buying a classic car as more of a hobby than a driving vehicle, insurance costs usually will be less than the insurance for your family vehicles. But, this isn’t always the case if you plan to drive your vehicle, so research different auto insurance policies based on your vehicle. Some insurance companies handle strictly classic vehicles, so they may be a good place to start.

Buy It Only If You Love It

Jeff Allen, a classic car restorer, learned to only buy the classic cars he really loved. Don’t buy them simply as an investment to make money from eventually, because that excitement will be short-lived. Instead, keep searching until you find the classic vehicle you absolutely fall in love with. That way, you’ll never be disappointed with your purchase.  

Kristin Kirk: a former high school math teacher and avid world traveler. After 5 years of living in Colombia, she now calls Boulder Colorado home. Together with her best friend, they started their blog Because I’m Write to follow a long time passion for writing.

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