We all love the look of a well-restored classic car, but adding one to your collection isn’t as easy as signing on the dotted line. If you’re thinking about purchasing a classic vehicle, what do you need to do first? Here are six steps you need to complete before you bring your new car home.
Do Your Research
The first step in purchasing a classic car is to start doing your research. Figure out why you want to buy the vehicle, what you’re going to do with it and what your budget is. If you’re planning on buying a car to restore and sell for a profit later, stop right here. Unless you get fortunate or are prepared to spend a lot of money on a rare or coveted model, you will probably put more money into the car than you get out of it.
Once you choose a make and model, look into things like parts availability. It’s not a good idea to invest in a classic car if you aren’t going to be able to get the parts you need to repair it.
Choose Your Seller
When you’re choosing a classic car, you’ve got three options for purchase: buying from a dealership, an auction or a private seller.
Buying from a dealership means you will probably pay a little bit more, but you will be guaranteed a car that has been thoroughly inspected and is ready to drive off the lot.
Buying from an auction could save you some money, but you won’t have the option to inspect the car before purchase. At most, you’ll be able to walk around the car and maybe hear it turn over.
Buying from a private seller can be extremely good or extremely bad, depending on the seller. Yes, you can save money or find a rare deal, but if you come across an unscrupulous buyer, you might end up with a junker.
Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each type of seller before you make a decision.
Hire an Inspector
Step three is to hire a professional inspector. This won’t help you if you chose to buy your classic car from an auction, but for the other two seller options, having an inspector in your corner can keep you from ending up with a lemon in your garage.
A dealership won’t have any problem with you bringing in your inspector. If a private seller has issues, it’s a good idea to choose a different seller.
Have Somewhere to Store It
The next step is to sign on the dotted line and figure out where you’re going to store this new piece of automotive history. Having an insulated garage ready is a good idea. Not only will this keep your new car safe from opportunistic thieves, but it will also protect it from things like moisture.
It isn’t just a good thing for your car. An insulated garage will stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, giving you the perfect place to work on your new project.
Decide How You’re Going to Use Your Classic Car
Now that you have a classic car, what are you going to do with it? Are you going to use it as your daily driver, or modify it heavily and take it to the track? Are you going to restore it to its former glory and bring it to car shows? Having a plan of attack, even if you don’t have the money or equipment you need just yet, can help you figure out the best way to care for your new purchase.
Finally, don’t forget to invest in some good car insurance. Find a company that specializes in classic cars. It will have a better idea of the kind of coverage you need instead of just handing you a basic policy based on the vehicle’s make and model.
You may not need insurance to purchase the car, especially if you’re buying it from a private seller, but you will need a policy to register the vehicle in your name.
Don’t just jump on the first classic car you see. You don’t want to spend a lot of money to end up with a junker you need to have towed out of your garage. Do your research, hire an inspector and have somewhere safe to store your new purchase, and you’ll be fine.
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