5 Essential Things to Know When Considering Buying a Classic Car

Classic cars, which are those that are at least 10 years old and have historical interest based on production numbers or workmanship, certainly play a siren song for many who want to relive memories from their youth. However, before you jump into a classic car purchase, there are five essential things you need to know to make sure you are making the right decision.

Consider why you are buying

The main consideration when purchasing a classic car is why you’re buying it. Are you using it as an investment that you plan to sell? Do you want to restore it so you can drive it around and show it off? For many, buying a classic car is more of a hobby that they can enjoy during their free time. Keep in mind that if you plan to drive the car while fixing it up, those added miles on the road will ultimately decrease its potential resale value as well.

Know the potential

Given that there are some amazing steals out there for classic cars, you might think purchasing and re-selling one could provide a quick buck. However, this isn’t always the case. Carefully consider why the vehicle is so inexpensive, as well as diagnose what problems it might have. By the time you make repairs, you may discover that you put a lot more money in than you will ever recoup when you sell.

Avoid the rust bucket

We’ve all seen those shows where they transform a completely rusted out vehicle into a gorgeous head-turner. However, what those shows don’t tell you is that the car is no longer “factory original” – especially if you have to replace entire panels. A bubble here or there is an easy fix, but if you can see through something that should be solid, move on to another option.

Find an expert

If you have years of mechanic experience under your belt, you’ll likely be able to pinpoint any issues right away, and have the knowledge to fix them. If you don’t have this expertise, you need to find someone who can do a pre-purchase inspection before you buy. Otherwise, you could end up shelling out even more money when you discover the engine or another major component is junk.

Match the numbers

If you are in this for the money, take the time to match the VIN number to the transmission, engine and rear axle. If these all correspond to what was put on at the factory, you’ll be able to get considerably more out of the vehicle when you sell it.


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Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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