How to Find and Purchase a Classic Citroen

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With many firsts to its name, including the world's first mass-produced front-wheel drive car, the French automobile manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen group began manufacturing its Citroen line of vehicles in 1919. Finding classic Citroen cars is much easier when you know what you are looking for and where to look.

Part 1 of 6: Calculate your budget

Before you begin researching and finding your classic luxury car, it’s important to calculate your budget so you know exactly what kind of classic car you can afford. Doing the financial part first will save you time and energy, and prevent the finding a car you love only to find it’s out of your price range. This is also an important step to ensure you don’t overextend yourself financially even if you qualify for higher payments.

carmax calculator
Image: Carmax

Step 1: Calculate your monthly payments. You can find a variety of sites online that offer calculators to help you figure out how much your car payments will be, including trade-in value and annual interest rate. Some sites to use include:

Use the total amount of the tax, title, tags, and fees when you calculate your monthly payments to get an accurate amount. CarMax has a useful calculator for figuring out how much these fees will cost you.

Part 2 of 6: Search online

The easiest way to find a Citroen is to look for it online. Buying a classic car follows the same process you use when purchasing any other used vehicle. You need to compare the asking price to the fair market value, take it for a test drive, and have a mechanic check it out.

ebay search
Image: eBay Motors

Step 1: Check online. You have a few options when it comes to finding Citroens online.

The first is eBay Motors. The U.S. eBay Motors site has a few listings to peruse, whereas eBay Motors UK has many more listings to choose from. Another good site to find classic Citroens for sale is Hemmings.

hagerty site value
Image: Hagerty

Step 2: Compare to the fair market value. Once you have found some classic Citroens that you are interested in, you need to determine how much they are worth.

Hagerty.com offers a wide selection of vehicle descriptions, including suggested price according to vehicle condition. The site further breaks down the listings according to vehicle model, year, and trim level.

Step 3: Consider additional factors. There are a few other factors that can affect the overall cost of a classic Citroen.

Some of the other factors to keep in mind include:

  • Customs: Car enthusiasts wishing to import a Citroen to the U.S. from overseas will have to deal with any taxes or import fees. You should also keep in mind that no Citroen newer than 25 years can be imported into the U.S.

  • Insurance: If you want to drive your classic Citroen on roadways in the U.S., you will need to get insurance and register the vehicle.

  • Inspections: You also need to make sure the vehicle is roadworthy to drive in your state. Depending on the state, as detailed at DMV.org, you might need to bring your vehicle up to speed when it comes to emissions before you can drive it.

  • License plate: If you decide not to store it, you need to register the Citroen and get a license plate for it.

  • Shipping: The main concern with buying a classic Citroen is shipping. You can find the vehicle in the U.S, though you might opt to have it shipped from Europe. In that case, shipping to the states can get quite expensive.

  • Storage: Once you receive the Citroen you bought, you have to decide if you want to store it. There will be fees associated with storage facilities.

  • Test drive: Chances are, if you want a test drive performed, you need to hire a professional inspector to perform it for you - especially if you plan on purchasing the Citroen from an overseas seller. If buying from a seller in the U.S., have a trusted mechanic take a look the Citroen while on the test drive to make sure everything is working properly.

motortrend citroen review
Image: Motor Trend

Step 4: Read reviews. Read as many reviews as you can find about the specific cars on your list.

  • Edmunds began as a book in the 1960s and is ranked the best third-party automotive website by JD Powers
  • AutoTrader attracts over 14 million users each month and has helpful calculators to help you with the review and buying process
  • Car and Driver is known for its depth and rigor and offers critical reviews of cars
  • The Car Connection provides a score for each car it reviews and and offers an easy to read list of likes and dislikes
  • Consumer Reports has been publishing reviews and comparisons of products for 80 years - they accept no advertising and have no shareholders, so you can be sure the reviews are unbiased *MotorTrend first appeared in September 1949 and has a monthly circulation of over one million readers

Part 3 of 6: Finding a dealership with your chosen classic car

classic usa site dealership
Image: Citroen Classics USA

Step 1: Check your local dealerships. Once you’ve chosen the luxury vehicle that you would like to purchase, check your local dealerships.

If the vehicle is available at a local dealership, you will be able to get it more quickly, and you won’t have to pay a shipping price.

Call your local dealerships, check their ads in the newspaper, or visit them. Many luxury dealerships also have their entire inventory available on their website.

  • Tip: If you are able to find your vehicle locally, make sure to take it for a test drive before you purchase it.

Step 2: Check out other dealerships. Even if the car you want is at one of your local dealerships, you should still check out some out of town dealers.

By being thorough in your search, you may be able to find the vehicle for a much better price, or with options or color schemes that you prefer.

  • Tip: If you find the luxury vehicle that you want but it’s out of town, you can still go and take it for a test drive. During this process, you can figure out what features you would like for your car.

Part 4 of 6: Negotiate with the seller and purchase the car

Once you have decided how much the Citroen is worth and what you are willing to spend on it, it is time to approach the seller with your offer. If you were able to have a test drive performed and the Citroen inspected by a trusted mechanic, you can use any information learned about the condition of the car in your negotiations.

Step 1: Find a lender. Compare rates and terms with several lenders and select the one that offers the best option.

  • Tip: It is a good idea to know what your credit score is before talking to a lender. Your credit score helps to determine what kind of annual percentage rate, also known as the interest rate, that you qualify for.

A good credit rating means you can get a lower overall rate, paying less money over the duration of the loan.

You can check your credit online for free using Credit Karma.

Step 2: Apply for a loan. Apply for a loan and get a notice of approval. This lets you know what kind of price range you can look at for new vehicles.

Step 3: Know your trade-in value. If you have another car that you want to trade in, find out the value of your trade-in. Add that amount to your approved loan amount to see how much you can spend on a new car.

kbb value site

You can find out how much your car is worth on the Kelley Blue Book site.

Step 4: Negotiate the price. Start negotiations with the seller by contacting them via email or phone.

Make an offer you are comfortable with. It is a good idea to offer a little below what you think the vehicle is worth.

The seller might then make a counter offer. If this amount is within the price range you want to pay, then take it, unless you think you can negotiate further.

Keep in mind anything that the mechanic found wrong with the vehicle, and remind the seller that you will have to get it fixed at your expense.

If, in the end, the seller refuses to give you a price you are satisfied with, thank them, and move on.

Part 5 of 6: Finalize a domestic purchase

Once you and the seller have agreed on a price, it’s time to purchase your classic Citroen. There are several things that need to be done before the car is legally yours and ready to drive.

Step 1: Make payment arrangements. Most often, sellers have a preferred method of payment. This is usually specified on the car listing.

Step 2: Sign the paperwork. Sign all of the necessary paperwork.

This includes the title and bill of sale.

You also need to pay any taxes and other fees, such as registration, when taking possession of the classic car.

Step 3: Line up your insurance. Call your insurance company to add your new car to your current policy.

You also need to purchase GAP insurance to cover you until your vehicle is covered. This is usually offered by the dealership for a small fee.

The dealership should also make you out some temporary tags to display until you can get your vehicle registered and put on a license plate.

DMV registration site
Image: DMV

Step 4: Register your vehicle. Register the car and pay sales tax with the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

Part 6 of 6: Finalize an overseas purchase

Now that you and the seller have come to an agreement on a price that is satisfactory to both of you, you must set up a way to pay for the vehicle, make shipping arrangements, and fill out the necessary paperwork. Keep in mind that you might have to use a liaison if purchasing the vehicle from an overseas source.

Step 1: Arrange for shipping. Once you are sure the vehicle is yours, contact a company that specializes in shipping vehicles overseas.

You can do this one of two ways: approach a company in the U.S. that ships items from overseas or contact a shipping company near where the vehicle you want to ship is located.

homeland security
Image: PDF Filler

Step 2: Fill out the paperwork. In addition to the title and bill of sale, you need to fill out the appropriate paperwork for importing the Citroen.

The shipping company, vehicle manufacturer, or even your local DMV can help you fill out the paperwork that you need.

You also need to pay any duties or import fees before shipping the car to a U.S. port.

Step 3: Ensure the vehicle conforms to U.S. standards: Any vehicle entering the U.S. must conform to any emissions, bumper, and safety standards.

You will need to hire a certified Registered Importer to bring the Citroen into conformance.

Step 4: Make payment arrangements. Arrange to pay the seller using their preferred payment method.

Remember to take currency exchange rates into account when making payment.

If you plan on traveling to the seller's location to pay in person, give yourself enough time. Funds transferred internationally take longer to clear the banking system than in the U.S.

  • Warning: Beware of car importers that require payment through Western Union or other money wiring services, as this is most likely a scam to steal your money. Work with your bank, which can provide you with instructions on how to get your money safely to an overseas source.

While buying a classic Citroen might seem like a lot of work initially, especially if purchasing from a seller overseas, you can make the whole process easier by following the steps above. Remember to research any vehicle you are interested in, and make sure you understand the importing process when buying abroad. If buying your vehicle in the U.S., you should also have a pre-purchase car inspection performed by one of our expert mechanics at YourMechanic before buying.


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