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Dec 7, 2015

The Ultimate Guide To Buying A Classic Car

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Despite the sleek, aerodynamic, and feature-loaded perks of modern vehicles, nothing compares to owning a vintage hot rod, muscle car, or other antique collectible. The dream that never dies, having one of these beauties in your possession undoubtedly instills a sense of nostalgia and joy that only certain era-classics can. Few experiences can top that of sitting behind the wheel of a fully restored Mustang, Camaro, or Charger, except perhaps having more than one of these vehicles in your garage!

Classic Car

As the years go on, the rarity of such cars will only continue to increase, thus making their value rise progressively higher. Of course, there are many factors to consider when purchasing a classic car, such as avoiding vehicles bearing rust and other circumstances that take away from the vehicle’s original condition. Here is how to make your vintage automobile investment a worthy one.

The ins and outs of classic car buying

  • Rust is your enemy – given the severity of the issue, we feel it only important to re-emphasize this point once more. Anytime you see a classic car that has started to rust, it is best to thank the owner for their time and walk away. While a rust-covered body in no way prevents restoration, it does keep you from getting the highly sought after original appearance. For some people, especially high-value collectors, even the slightest discrepancy from factory condition is considered a flop purchase.
  • Do the numbers match? – veterans of the antique car buying game always know exactly what to look for. One key indicator of value is whether the vehicle’s VIN, engine, transmission, and rear axle all link together; in other words, what you want to know is if somewhere down the line one of the original parts was swapped out. The final six digits on the motor should sync with the VIN, but the figures on the transmission and axle will be timestamps that correspond to the vehicle’s production date.
  • The lower the miles, the higher the dollar value – for classic cars in particular, lower mileage odometers are a godsend. Many of these vehicles were not built for low six-figure digits, so it is always a pleasant surprise to find an antique gem with only 50,000. Mileage should obviously not be your sole determiner, however, especially if the owner(s) maintained the car well over the years.

This list is quite far from exhaustive, more of a basic starting point. Other factors to consider include buying vehicles you actually like as opposed to ones you think will get you the highest ROI, performing extensive research before committing to a purchase, and negotiating with the seller for bottom dollar deals.


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