Buyers Guide - Classic Used Cars

Cash In on Classic Cars

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Buyer’s Guide - 10 Steps to Buying a Used Car 011965 Porsche 356scIn tough economic times one person’s misfortune can be another’s good fortune. This is especially true where it pertains to disposable items like muscle cars, jewelry, boats, and recreational equipment. When the urgent financial obligations of the family simply must be met immediately, it is often the classic, vintage, or collectible car that goes on the chopping block.

There are also individual collectors that will regularly sell their current project vehicle in order to move-on to the next.

Much like any other commodity, classic car prices are subject to supply and demand. Right now the supply of classic, vintage, and collector cars is up and demand is down. That makes it a great time to buy such a treasure, whether it is for personal pleasure or as an investment.

Getting the Best Deal

1965 Ford MustangWhen times are tough, the best deals are usually found in complete cars. Motivated sellers normally sell completed cars for less than it cost to rebuild them. Of course, if you enjoy the thrill of the build, you’ll want to buy an unfinished car. Use caution when purchasing a classic, vintage, or collector car because you can’t compare models as easily as you can when purchasing a late model vehicle. Emotional and sentiment value is also a factor when considering a car of this type. If you love Ford Mustangs, then only a Mustang will do – even if you have to pay a little more for a nice one.

Investment Cars

1972 Chevrolete C10If you are buying a classic, vintage, or collector car as an investment, then choose one that is popular and easy to resell. When buying a car, stick to popular model coupes because sedans are not as popular and will be much harder to sell. Investment protocol dictates that you continue buying low and selling at a profit so that you can buy an even more lucrative model in the next go-around. Classic pickup trucks can help you to turn a dollar but you must obtain one of a few popular models. Whatever the make and model, restoration to factory condition seems to be the most practical solution when it comes to investment potential.

Vehicles with “matching numbers” are generally in greater demand than those that have undergone engine, transmission, or differential swaps. Complete cars with original equipment possess more potential regardless of their condition (within reason) than “resto-mod” vehicles.

Incomplete Cars

When shopping for a project or unfinished vehicle; consider your own personal preferences. If a project has been undertaken with options that you dislike, then this is probably not the right fit for you. The best project cars are the ones that are mechanically sound. They have running engines and can be driven to make sure that the transmission and differential are in decent shape. Cars with frame damage or excessive structural rust should be avoided unless you have significant tools and experience that you can bring to bear.

High-Dollar Cars

1968 Yenko Camaro SSAs you “move up the ladder’ in the classic car game, you will be buying more valuable and expensive vehicles. Hone your negotiation skills, have cash on hand, and never appear too eager to buy.

Use some “horse sense” and you can enjoy a classic, vintage, or collector vehicle and make a chunk of change at the same time.

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S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.