Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Things to Consider When Buying a Classic Car

Written by Jordan Parker

It doesn't matter if you're an experienced Classic Car buyer or one just getting started, there are certain things you should look for in order to get the best bang for your buck. First things first, talk to as many people who own classic cars as you can! They will be able to point out the good, the bad, and the ugly of buying and owning a classic car. Here are several tips that will hopefully help you in looking for an original that's as unmodified as possible.

1. Know your price range and stick to it.
As you may well know, classic cars take a lot of care and can be quite expensive when buying and restoring. Recognize that this car will need to be taken care of properly, and well. Be careful not to be sucked in to the beauty of a car as it is. Keep in mind that the cost of owning a classic car is a whole lot more than owning a family car. Calculate the total amount of investment that you can make for the car and check with the reality. Parts and service costs are a lot higher than newer cars out there, but the enjoyment factor is higher too!

2. Prepare your lifestyle and environment for a classic car.
If you’re looking into buying a vintage automobile, then you are obviously one who will not be satisfied until that beauty is exactly how you want it. Knowing that, you will have to prepare your lifestyle and home beforehand. Otherwise, you could risk not having the sufficient space and/or time to devote to the car. It is also helpful to identify the purposes for which you are buying a vintage car. What will you use it for? Whether it is for car rallies and shows that you want to participate in or just to have something to drive during relaxed weekends, it is really up to you to find out all the ins and outs of your buying purpose, and then buy accordingly.

3. Know where to look.
Of course you could search online, but that sometimes takes away the thrill of the hunt! Check out vintage shows and fairs around your area. You may be surprised at how much is out there. These provide the biggest opportunities for learning and exchanging knowledge about the old beauties. The chrome bumper MPG would be the perfect advertisement to look for in newspapers when you are hunting down vintage cars. Going to auctions with high end vintage cars that come with authorization is also a best bet. Be patient, looking for “the one” takes time. Look at more than one car. Take your time. Do not buy anything until someone who has classic car experience has looked at it with you. Being there in person is an important element for vintage car lovers. These fairs are extremely delightful and provides tons of contacts and information.

4. Get the details.
Knowing as much as you can about the vehicle is essential when investing in buying one. Ask yourself these questions:
• Is the car registered?
• Where is the car from?
• What states has it been registered in?
• Has it been registered in a state where the roads are salted when it snows? (Salt causes corrosion and rust which eats metal like a cancer.)
• Do the numbers match? Is the engine code right for the engine that is in the car? The vehicle identification number, (VIN) is coded with engine size, transmission type, body style, and more.
• Is the engine and drive train the same as what came in it from the factory or has it been modified?
• Did someone take out a six cylinder and put in a 396 big block? If it did not come from the factory, it can take away from the value.

5. Take it for a ride.
If possible, take the desired classic on a ride that lasts about 20 minutes. This amount of time is usually sufficient in finding out if there are any performance problems.

6. Take a good inventory of the body and inside the car.
Make sure you carve out plenty of time to check out the body, the interior, underneath the car (where rust loves to lurk). Here are some reminders as to what to check:
• Look down the sides for any signs of damage.
• Check out the seam gaps between the doors and hood — are they straight or do they look uneven? If it’s even, you’ll be able to roll a marble smoothly down. This will determine if the car has had body damage repairs.
• Check for rust — most common places are underneath the car, inside the wheel wells, and in the trunk, where the rear window glass and package tray meet.
• Are the seats original and upholstery original?
• How does the dashboard look? What about the badges and emblems — are they intact?
• Do the floor pans look like they’re in good shape or do they have rust?

Buying a classic car is a large investment and should be treated as such. Get as much information as you possibly can — do lots of research, and you will thank yourself for it! You’ll also be better off when negotiating the purchase. Once you own a classic you will enter a whole new world. It’s a memorable experience that certainly doesn’t have a pricetag!

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