Buying a Classic
Jul 1, 2017 9:40 AM - 100 Views
If you are looking to buy your first classic car, Replacing a classic that you once owned or looking to add to your collection here are a few things to think about.
Whether you buy online from a dealer in another country or you decide to take your best buddy’s classic car off his or her hands, you will want to inspect the car in person. If you can’t travel to the car’s location, hire a reputable vintage car authority to take a peek for you. If the seller is hesitant to let a professional inspect the car, move on. I understand the “no joy rides” apprehension that a seller may have, but if they are unwilling to let you take a good look at the car before handing over the cash you should walk away.
When you do inspect the car, use your research to ask thoughtful, vehicle specific questions. You will also want to ask more general questions such as, does the seller hold the title? Do you know how many owners the vehicle has had? Do you have maintenance records? If so, how far back do they go?
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a good size folder full of maintenance records is worth a million conversations. Not only will they provide a better understanding of the parts of the car you can see, the information will offer solid clues to the mechanical parts that you can’t. Zero-tolerance engines found in many older imports need regular timing belt service or risk the chance of catastrophic engine failure. The clutch may have been replaced, but with what brand?
Good records will reveal if the issues that you learned about through your research have already been corrected. Did the slow flowing stock water pump receive the appropriate upgrade? The seller may claim performance is sluggish because the engine needs a tune up, but the records show new plugs were installed six months ago. All of this becomes a part of the buying decision and the overall value of the vehicle.
If the car doesn’t run or has been sitting for a long time, look for registration information in the glove box or window inspection stickers. If the owner claims it was “daily driven until six weeks ago” and the car hasn’t been registered in six years, you need to ask a lot more questions or politely move on. Many folks will lie just to get the car sold.
I would add to be careful not to automatically assume an owner is lying if they do not point out all of the bad points on a vehicle they are selling. One thing I have discovered over the years is that a car owner often sees his or her precious baby through rose-colored glasses. Collector car owners are a little like a good parent, they love their car enough to overlook the little, or not so tiny, faults and issues. They may have convinced themselves that the car’s blemishes and shortcomings do not even exist, which is all the more reason that a hands-on inspection is so important.
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