Buying a classic car for the first time, or even the tenth, can be a huge step into the unknown. One minute you’re browsing the classifieds on a car club forum, the next you’ve driven 150 miles and you’re stood on a stranger’s driveway by the object of your affection, wondering whether that noise should be worrying you or not.
You could be new to the classic car world, or a seasoned collector looking for something you’ve never had before. Either way, knowing what to look for – the potential pitfalls or challenges – is essential when considering a new purchase.
Our friends at SLSHOP, who specialise in restoration, servicing and sales of classic Mercedes models, have put together some thoughts for us to share on what to consider when buying a classic car.
Before you go anywhere…
Our main advice is to take your time. The digital sphere has enhanced our ability to buy classic cars quickly and impulsively within a few clicks. These digital channels include traditional classifieds and online auction sites, the latter of which make it much harder to do due diligence. We strongly encourage prospective classic car buyers to research and inspect a vehicle before buying, and to get expert advice along the way.
Pre-purchase considerations for classic cars
The first question we’d always suggest asking yourself is, what do you intend to do with the car? Is it for investment purposes, or for regular use? The SLSHOP motto is ‘drive more, see more, do more’ – we love it when a classic car owner wants to put miles on and enjoy driving their classic! But if you’re buying for investment purposes, you might not be planning to drive it much at all.
Your plans for the car will probably dramatically alter your initial budget and the funds you need to maintain the vehicle throughout ownership. For both collectors and ‘drivers’, you’ll need to ensure that you have access to a specialist who can regularly service and support you with your vehicle.
Beyond this, it’s worth thinking about:
- Have you considered costs to insure, service and maintain the vehicle if you go ahead with investing? Are you going to be living in future low emissions/clean air zone cities? All of this could affect your choice.
- Do you have adequate storage for the vehicle that will protect its structural, mechanical, and cosmetic state?
- Do you have time to view the vehicle in person, if you’re currently viewing a car online?
- Do you know what to inspect when viewing a classic car? Have you understood the likely issues that you need to look out for, and is there someone you can take with you to help with this?
Questions to ask when viewing a classic vehicle
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