When you are shopping for a classic car, the same rules that apply to buying new vehicles do not apply. If you are not prepared for the experience, you may end up spending too much money. There is no point in buying a classic car is you can only enjoy it in your driveway. As a first time buyer, you need to do your research so that you have an arsenal of knowledge when you are making an offer. Here are some valuable tips you must consider before buying your new collector car:
Set Your Budget Before You Start Shopping
You always need to have a budget in mind before you start browsing collector cars that are listed for sale. If you do not set a budget, you can easily spend $50,000 or more on a rare classic in excellent condition. What makes buying classic cars difficult is that more buyers are shopping on a limited budget. Write down your budget, consider how much you may have to spend to restore the vehicle, and stick with your budget.
Decide Which Classic Car You Want
If you have a passion for classic cars, you should have an idea of which make and model you want to buy. As a child, you always dreamed of owning that European classic that your father took you for a joyride in. If that is the car of your dreams, you are one step closer to finding it. If you have no clue what type of car you want, consider going to a classic car show. You can see models in person, ask the owners about potential problems, and make your search easier. This step may be difficult for indecisive car buyers but you must decide on a model before you can start test driving vehicles.
Do You Need a Fully Restored Car?
You have to consider your reason for getting a classic car before you make a purchase. If you will be competing in classic car shows, you are going to want a vehicle that can compete. Because of this, you should lean towards investing in a model that has been well-maintained and fully restored. Restoring the vehicle on your own can be very expensive if you are not mechanically inclined. If you plan on showing off the car on the weekends, full restorations are not extremely important.
Inspecting the Classic Car Before You Make an Offer
You will need to inspect a classic car before you make any type of offer. Inspecting a classic car is a bit more involved than inspecting a modern vehicle because these cars do not have computers that can easily be scanned to detect mechanical problems. If you know what to look for, inspecting the car does not have to be difficult. Use a 90-point checklist and make sure you do not let the outward appearance of the vehicle fool you. Here are some of the areas that should be inspected:
- Ask for documentation on the vehicle.
- Start the car and rev the engine to see if it runs hot or makes noises.
- Take the car for a test drive. On the test drive, make sure the car shifts smoothly. Also see how responsive acceleration and brakes are.
- Inspect the exterior of the vehicle, especially for rust.
- Check the electrical system.
- Inspect the interior.
- Inspect under the hood.
- Check the tires and rubber parts.
If you are not sure what you are doing, it is best to bring an experienced mechanic.
Now that you know what to do when you are on the mission to buy a classic car, it is time to start your search. Make sure you go to your test drive appointment with knowledge about the condition rating system in hand, and use this rating system to your advantage so that you can bargain.