Classic Car Buying Guide

With increasingly more people seeking to purchase a classic car in pristine condition or a wreck for a future restoration project. It’s usually a decision based purely on your personal passion and enthusiasm for classic cars, rather than trying to achieve financial gain. However, before making a purchase please carefully consider the full costs of ownership with a classic car including ongoing maintenance, fuel, service charges and replacement parts. Then create a comprehensive budget forecast if looking to start a restoration project.

Classic Car Buying Guide – What’s your favourite?

Also, when searching for a suitable classic car establish your ideal vehicle, whether it be a nostalgic car your dad drove or hot hatch from the earlier days of your youth when you couldn’t afford the particular model. Or do you simply wish to own an iconic piece of motoring history with a vehicle that defined a specific era? Finally before embarking on the journey to find your dream vintage, classic or retro car be realistic with your budget and decide whether you physically have the determination time, energy and commitment to complete a restoration project.

Classic Car Buying Guide – Restoration Project

If you are not mechanically minded and have very little practical skills with maintenance and repairing vehicles relying on classic car restoration specialists and outsourcing work can become very costly. Also, before committing to purchase a classic car have the vehicle thoroughly inspected. To check for rust and any signs of corrosion, structural repairs, welding and replacement panels that can soon swallow up your budget.

Classic Car Buying Guide professional vehicle inspection

Ideally, we recommend contacting an impartial professional mechanic to inspect the vehicle for any hidden horrors or poorly executed repairs by checking the chassis and bodywork. You must also carefully inspect the engine and components including the head gasket for general wear and tear or any evidential signs of neglect that could potentially write the classic car off. Remember to also look underneath the car with a light around the box sections and sils for any signs of corrosion perforation rot. If you notice the engine starting to smoke this usually indicates a more serious underlying problem that could be potentially very costly.

Classic Car Buying Guide – Service History

When contacting potential sellers be careful to ensure that the classic car is genuine. Ideally, you are best purchasing a car with provenance if affordable and within budget. Generally, classic cars with a fully documented service history that are supported by a folder. Containing expired MOT certificates and road tax disc renewals, repair and service bills can provide reassurance that the vehicle has been carefully maintained. Also, investigate the classic cars service history documentation for any gaps to determine the vehicles full whereabouts since new.

Classic Car Buying Guide – Rustproofing Treatments

Unlike newer retro cars that commonly have galvanised bodywork to prevent corrosion, older classic cars do not have this additional protection benefit feature. Due to this reason review any old paperwork and invoices related to the vehicle for evidence of rustproofing treatments including under-body chassis underseal coatings and cavity wax injection. Remember even though cars with well-documented provenance usually increases the price, please be aware that this information will become a real asset and add significant value to the vehicle especially if you decide to sell.

Classic Car Buying Guide – Fully Restored Marque

If you are looking to purchase a fully restored classic car it’s imperative that you conduct research to check that the vehicle has been properly rebuilt by professional specialists. Within the classic car restoration sector, you will usually find accredited experts and professional who primarily specialise with specific brand marques. It’s often wise to check with them that the classic car has been restored to an acceptable standard especially when investing a substantial amount of money to purchase a rare or expensive marque.

Classic Car Buying Guide – Private Sale or Professional Dealer

Be very careful if purchasing from a private seller especially if the price is very attractive, you could be taking a big gamble. If you are not a qualified mechanic or restoration specialist it can sometimes be wiser and safer to purchase a classic car from a professional dealer. Generally speaking buying from a reputable classic car dealer with a long-standing reputation can ensure you avoid being stuck with a faulty vehicle or worthless wreck.

Classic Car Buying Guide – Attending Auctions

If you are looking to attend classic car auctions and start bidding for your dream vehicle, please be aware that they never provide any after sale support. Also at car auctions, it’s usually difficult to thoroughly check the car with limited opportunities before the event commences. Our main advice before purchasing a classic car is to conduct your homework and research everything about the desired vehicle.