Tips for buying your first classic car
So, you’ve been eyeing that classic muscle car or Model T and you're seriously considering taking the plunge. Unless you're an experienced car buff, it's likely you know more about your 2010 Honda than about what it takes to buy the right vintage vehicle.
Consider these suggestions from the National Motorists Association before buying a classic or vintage automobile:
Don’t be swayed by unusually low mileage: The adage is if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. That definitely holds for cars. Of course, original parts are the most desirable. However, even though many miles on a car can mean a great deal of wear and tear on the engine, lack of use can be just as hard on a car, leading to brittle seals, rusted parts and contaminated fuel and fluid lines.
Avoid testing cars that have been pre-warmed: When you test drive a classic car, make sure you’re allowed to do so from a cold start. Some sellers may try to warm it up in advance of your arrival, which can mask some of the real problems with a car, especially when it comes to the engine.
Check your state's safety and emission requirements: Depending on where you live and the age of the car you’re planning to purchase, there may be some safety and emissions requirements it can’t pass. These repairs may lead to additional costs for the vehicle beyond the purchase price and normal maintenance. Some auto experts recommend making it a condition of sale for the vehicle to be brought up to state requirements.
Don’t neglect having a mechanic check it out: As with any other major purchase, it’s important to get a second opinion.
Consider your storage capability: You’re thinking about buying something special and rare, so make sure you have a good place to keep it out of the elements. You also want a place where you can work on it, whether it’s a garage or a driveway. If you don’t have a garage or enough space in it, rent space from a neighbor or a storage facility.
Don't forget about insurance: If your car is rare or valuable, you'll probably want to get collector car insurance. Unlike conventioinal car insurance and since many collectibles aren't daily drivers, some insurers may limit the number of miles you drive each year, while others may not limit the miles but restrict use so that it is not your basic transportation.
Maintenance will be necessary: Unlike modern vehicles, many classic and vintage rides need almost constant, ongoing upkeep. Search out the best classic car specialists for your new purchase by signing in to Angie's List Classic Car.