While today’s cars are better than ever, there’s still something pretty amazing about some of the cars of the past. Whether you’re a Ford fan or you’ve always wanted to own a Corvette, a classic car is a special purchase, and one that can literally make your dreams come true.
If you’ve always wanted to invest in a classic car, why not start on that plan now? There are a number of different options available to you, and it can be a fun hobby working on your classic car to bring it back to its former glory and get it road-worthy once more.
Here are some pointers about how to buy a classic car so that you can finally own your dream vehicle in 2020.
Is a classic car really for you?
While owning a classic car is a dream for many people, the reality can be very different. For a start, it’s expensive. The cost of buying a classic car can be expensive, and that’s not even guaranteeing that it’s road-worthy straight away. In fact the car might be a long way off from being road-worthy. There are some cheap classic cars worth taking a look at, that might be great as a starter project, before you move onto something bigger.
Next, think about why you’re buying the car. A lot of people invest in classic cars to sell at a later date, which means a lot of work to keep it looking its best, but not driving it very much. Are you buying the car to love as a collector, or are you planning on using it regularly on the road? If it’s the latter, a classic car might not be the right choice for you. If, however, you know it is going to be a hobby car, you should also hold onto your existing vehicle.
Choosing the right car
Now here comes the fun part! You’ve probably already got a classic car in mind – everyone has a favorite, right? But something you need to think about and could lead to disappointment is availability. You’ll need to do a lot of research as to what’s out there and where you can find your vehicle. It could take months or even years to find the car you’re looking for, so that’s something you need to be prepared for.
Some of the routes you can take for finding a classic car include:
- A dealer – you might be able to find a dealer that’s local to you.
- Auction – some sellers prefer to auction their vintage cars to try and earn more money.
- Online sellers – you’ll be surprised at how many people sell classic cars on Craigslist and eBay these days.
- A private party – your dream car could come from someone like you, who has spent time and money doing up a classic car ready to sell.
Hemmings is a great place to start looking for your classic car, providing a detailed search that could help you find what you’re looking for. After browsing what’s available, you could even be swayed into buying a different type of classic car to the one you thought you’d be buying.
Think about your investment
Unfortunately, not all classic cars are an investment. Some of them are very much a hobby, you could eventually spend a lot more money on parts and working on your car than it would ever be worth to sell on. You would need to accept that it’s a passion project, and that would be absolutely fine.
If, however, you want to buy a classic car as an investment, you’ll want to explore all of your options and be prepared to own a car that sits in the garage a lot of the time. You might want to think about investing with someone else, so that you share the workload between you and both share the profits if it ever comes to a sale.
Take a look at some classic cars and what they’re worth to help you determine if it’s the right path for you.
Bring in a professional
When it comes to buying the car, no matter where it’s from, you should bring in a classic cars expert to inspect the vehicle and help you decide whether or not it’s worth handing the money over for. The benefit of using an inspector is that they’ll know what these cars inside out. You could be an excellent mechanic or love cars yourself, but you won’t have as much knowledge as someone who lives and breathes classic cars.
When it comes to classic cars, it’ll be easy to want to go with your heart rather than your head. The benefit of using an inspector is that they will be able to be rational and pragmatic about the sale and guide you into making the right decision. You’ll be glad you got an inspector involved when it comes to finding a car that isn’t as suitable as it appears on the ad.
Understanding the work involved
After selecting your chosen classic car, you need to start investigating everything that’s wrong with it, and what you’re going to have to do to bring it back up to scratch. Some common examples of things that could be wrong with a classic car include:
- A scratched, dented or damaged body, with paintwork needed.
- Corrosion – a tricky problem to solve, that could involve replacing entire panels to try and get over the issue.
- Damaged parts
- Broken mechanics
- Even mold can be an issue with a classic car that’s been left alone for a while.
You’ll be able to take on a lot of the work yourself. While you might need some more expert help for the trickier jobs, you could find yourself getting rid of car dents, replacing parts and completing the paintwork yourself.
After choosing the kind of car you’re going to get, you need to consider where you’re going to find parts to kit it out. Not all parts are going to be available straight away, but that’s the beauty of the internet – it’s much easier to find parts than it was just a couple of decades ago.
When choosing parts for your car, don’t be afraid to invest in new parts that can provide much better functions than a classic part. Sourcing some adjustable coilovers is a way you can improve your car’s performance, without changing the look of the car. Be sensible about parts and do your research, you don’t want to pay over the odds for a part. There’s sure to be room to haggle, or you can take the risk of waiting until the part comes up somewhere else.
Working on your classic car
Working on your classic car can be a lot of fun, but you’ll need to manage your expectations around when you’ll have the time to do it. If you work full-time, it’s going to be an evening and weekend job, and when you factor in other commitments, it might take a while for you to see any kind of progress.
It’s important that you have a safe space to carry out the work, so a workshop or a garage is ideal. If you need to rent somewhere to work, that’s another cost you’ll need to think about. You can learn a lot of what you need to know online, or you could invest in some mechanics books to help you out. Different cars will require different techniques, and with something as precious as a classic car, you won’t want to take any risks by not following proper guidance.
Making a plan
While building a classic car is a great hobby, you should treat it like a project if you want to stand any chance of completing it in good time. Taking things seriously and project managing your activity will help you stay on track and allow you to fit in the various tasks around your free time.
Check out some project management apps, they could be very beneficial for helping you plan out everything that needs to be done, helping you stick to timings and a budget too.
Getting it on the road
After finally finishing your car, it’s time to take it on the road. You might want to get it checked over at a garage first, just to make sure it’s completely road worthy. You’ll also want to look at options for insurance for a classic car, and be prepared for a higher premium than with some cars. You can find the best premium for you using Finder to compare classic car insurance deals.
You’ll want to show off your newly completed classic car – otherwise, why have it? Taking your car to auto shows is a great idea, and can be somewhere for you to get ideas and get inspiration from other classic car enthusiasts.
Investing in a classic car is the perfect way to celebrate your love of motors. Take a look at other great car articles to give you inspiration to help you find your dream car.