Investing in a classic car is, for all, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Whether purchasing a prize example of these first car 30 years on or reliving childhood holidays in a fine exemplory instance of dad’s old saloon, classic car ownership is approximately enjoyment and relaxation. However the sheer enthusiasm with which lots of people enter to the purchase can occasionally blind them to the harsh realities of owning and running a classic car.
I have bought and sold many cars within my years running the UK’s largest classic car hire company. In that time I have learnt the hard way how to purchase classic cars well. I bought my first classic car in 1993, an unusual Alfa Romeo Alfasud Ti in black. It absolutely was my dream car, having cycled past the same example everyday while at school. I did my research, buying copies of all available Buyers’Guides and I knew just what to find and what to avoid. Unfortunately, what none of those guides told me was the cardinal rule – buy with your face not your heart. I particularly wanted a dark Alfasud and when I clapped eyes on the car this was the over-riding thought within my head. It blinded me to the truth of the car’s obvious flaws, including suspect electrics and typically Alfa-esque rust holes. Floating on a trend of dream fulfillment I convinced myself that these were idle matters and coughed up the price tag to a probably flabbergasted owner.
Whenever you go to purchase a vintage car keep in mind two simple rules. Firstly, it is not the sole exemplory instance of its kind in the world. Regardless how closely its specification matches your desires, there will be another out there. Secondly, picture the price tag as money in to your hand – this will allow you to to appreciate the value of the purchase. classic cars Very often cars are bought and then paid for later, which gives the required time for circumspection! I strongly recommend that anyone purchasing a classic car takes along a pal who is able to be relied upon to be objective – they can reign you back as soon as your enthusiasm takes ov er.
When I bought the Alfasud I managed to create it back to a respectable standard, nonetheless it cost me to complete so. That taught me another rule of car buying – objectively assess the cost of repairing the car before you decide it. Know industry value of any car you want to purchase – what is it worth in average condition and what is it worth in excellent condition? Objectively assess the value of repairing the car’s faults by researching the cost of trim, bodywork, mechanical work and so on. Do not under-estimate the cost of apparently minor work – scuffs and scrapes on the paintwork could cost hundreds of pounds to put right. If a seller says something is an’easy fix’you’ve to wonder why they haven’t done it themselves.
Whenever you go to see a vintage car do your research first. Check the buying guides. Visit web forums and ask questions which are not immediately answered by your research – generally forum contributors are happy to help. Communicate with the experts – marque experts who repair cars on a regular basis are often happy to supply advice because you may turn into a customer. Communicate with individuals who own similar cars – a great place to begin is with classic car hire companies who run classic cars over thousands of miles every year. I often get asked by would-be owners about the cars I run and I’m always happy to supply advice based on living with classic cars day in and day out. When you view the car ring the dog owner first and run by way of a checklist of questions – this can save you a wasted journey.
Besides the actual car itself, there are two other places to cover particular awareness of once you view a car. Firstly, the dog owner – the old adage about purchasing a used car from a man similar to this obviously applies. If the dog owner is genuine, the chances are that the car is too. And obviously, the reverse holds true too. Secondly, have a look at the paperwork thoroughly – check that the contents back up the description of the car in the advertisement and from the owner. The paperwork ought to be well presented rather than a jumble of paperwork that’s difficult to decipher – if the dog owner can’t be bothered to organise this detail, what else has he skimped on?
Your test should include full inspection inside and out and underneath, ideally utilizing a ramp (local garages are often happy to set up this – the vendor should be able to sort this out).
On the test drive you must start the car from cold – insist before arrival that the vendor allows you to get this done – and you must drive at least 5-10 miles at the wheel. Check for unusual noises on launch – particularly knocking – and monitor the dials throughout the test. Check that the oil pressure and water temperature perform as expected. Check the brakes – do an emergency stop. Rev the engine through the gears and test rapid gear changing. Drive the car quickly around a corner to test the suspension and steering. Test every one of the switches, particularly the heating – failed heaters can be a costly and very inconvenient expense.
if you like the car you’re taking a look at, buy yourself some thinking time. Don’t be railroaded in to a quick decision by the vendor. The seller will genuinely have plenty of interest in the car – if that’s the case, depending on what you’re feeling you must ask for either overnight or at least a few hours to think about it. if you are serious you can offer a small deposit as a display of good faith. It is much better to lose £100 than thousands of by way of a rushed decision. I would recommend viewing the car at least twice in daylight.
This really is inevitably not a radical assessment of what to consider when purchasing a classic car but when you follow these simple rules you’ll stand a much better chance of purchasing the proper car for you. Buy with your face not your heart and buy with a sealed wallet.