Whether buying as an investment or just for exclusivity, buying a classic car is a major decision that requires some due diligence. A car is mostly considered classic if it is more than 20 years old, meaning you will most probably buy it used by several previous owners. While these cars are expensive to purchase and maintain, they appreciate rather than depreciate due to their rarity. However, it is advisable to look for a car that suits your need and ensure that it will be worth the amount you will spend to purchase it. Below are some things to consider when buying a classic car to ensure that you don’t throw money down the drain with the purchase.

The vehicle’s history

Ensuring that the car is well documented before buying is always a requirement for all vehicles to avoid stolen vehicles. A car with a clear history of ownership is also a major asset if you buy to resell. You can ask for documents like the sales contract, owner’s manual and all the other paperwork that comes with a car.

Additionally, you should research more about the history of the model from the manufacturer’s website or any other credible source. You can check the vehicle’s production figures and the rarity of a particular option combination with the given model to determine the vehicle’s value. Rare models have a higher value due to their higher demand and low supply.

Insurance cost

Like any other vehicle purchase, you should check how much it will cost to have the classic car insured. You can compare different policies and choose the one with the best terms at the lowest cost. You should also be aware that the insurer may have additional terms, like the number of miles you should drive the car every year and how you should park your vehicle.

Where to buy

Like any other vehicle, you will get more value for your money if you buy it directly from the owner. Buying through an owners’ club can be a good idea because they take good care of their cars. On the other hand, buying from a recognised dealer may be more expensive, but the risk of getting conned is lower. Most dealers will also be happy to fix faults within the price, plus they may offer a guarantee.

While auctions may turn up some bargains, some buyers get carried away and pay more for classics that need work. If you buy from an online auction, you should ensure that you have seen the car physically before you bid and never pay before getting the keys.


The same should apply when buying at an auction. You should go to the sale and inspect the car before setting your limit.

Rust

You should always be on the lookout for rust when buying a classic car if you don’t throw your money down the drain: Rust repairs can cost more than the amount you paid for the car. You can check every part of the vehicle for bubbling, paint damage and micro blistering. Areas prone to rust include the wheel arches and sills, so you should check them more closely.

When looking for rust from the inside, the areas to check are the door bottoms and the front and rear valances since they rot from the inside. You should also ensure that the rubber seals are intact as they prevent water from getting into the cabin.

The interior

The condition of the car’s interior should also be a big consideration when buying a classic car since it can cost a lot to replace or repair. Additionally, a well-maintained interior is also an advantage for buyers who plan to sell the car in the future. Some interiors, like the dashboard, are close to impossible to replace or restore unless if you get them from a similar classic car that is grounded. If you are buying a convertible, make sure that the headlining, the wood trim and the hood are in good condition as they always need professional help to repair.

Parting words

Whether buying classic cars from Italy or the cheaper Japanese models, the process of buying a classic car should be meticulous due to the high value and the high number of risks. If you plan to buy a classic car, you can use the above factors as a checklist to help you get value for your money.

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