Buying your first Classic Car can be a stressful task. You will need to make many decisions, depending on what kind of car you want. Some people might think that driving a classic car is just about sliding behind the wheel and starting the engine up. But if you don’t know what’s required before actually buying one, chances are you’ll be frustrated with your investment down the line. In this article, you’ll find six tips classic car enthusiasts like Eugene Bernshtam use to make your first vintage automobile purchase a pleasurable one and hopefully prevent some frustration from setting in.
1. A car is an investment. Therefore, you must view your purchase as an investment, not something to be consumed every day or week for transportation purposes. To many people, spending large sums on a car can be intimidating because it represents a very real economic commitment… one that you will be stuck with long after the initial sales transaction takes place.
2. There is a trade-off between condition and price. Any time you pay more for a classic car, there is some risk that the vehicle will not be as good as represented and that you will end up with a car that is not worth the price paid. This is due to depreciation and because all vehicles require maintenance and reinvestment of capital back into them if they are to run properly.
3. Buying from an individual (i.e., “For Sale By Owner”) may be less expensive, but it carries a higher risk. It is important to understand that there are no guarantees when purchasing a car from an individual, regardless of whether they have owned it for years or just a few days. Regardless of what was promised to the seller, the only warranties you will get on any vehicle are through a written contract and a personal guarantee from a bank when you finance the purchase. Many cars are sold when families relocate when divorce occurs when they have too many cars in the garage or for any number of reasons. The necessity of selling quickly must be balanced against how much you will pay for a particular vehicle.
4. Ask for documents and records when viewing a vehicle at an auction. It is important to know if the vehicle has been repainted, restored, or repaired. A bill of sale and title document may state that it’s a ‘no accident’ car, but if records show otherwise, then this information should be disclosed.
5. It pays to thoroughly research any model you’re interested in before going out and making a purchase. Information such as the original price, production figures, values, and other important data can be found online. Gathering as much information about the particular model you are interested in will strengthen your buying power and give you the ability to negotiate a better price should you choose to purchase privately or at auction.
6. Never buy a vehicle without thoroughly examining it first. Any time you purchase a classic car, no matter the source, you should have an experienced mechanic inspect it before putting any money down or signing any documents. If you are buying at auction, ask if the seller has any warranties on the vehicle. If you are buying privately, make sure that there is some written warranty (preferably backed by a bank) to protect yourself in case there are expensive problems with the car.