Classic Car Auctions, A Buyer’s Guide

Heading to your first auction? Read our buyer’s guide to classic car auctions

With Christmas fast approaching, you may be struggling for this year’s ‘big gift’, either for your loved one or maybe even for yourself (we know you’ve thought about it!). With that in mind, we thought we would take a look at buying classic cars at auction, a chance for an amazing present at the right price if you play your cards right.

There are lot of great auction houses up and down the country (this year’s Classic Motor Show at the NEC will have a two-day auction by Silverstone Auctions) and bidding can be fun if you’re well prepared.

Here are some tips if you’re thinking of going to the NEC or attending any classic car auctions ahead of Christmas.

Do Your Homework

You should be able to review and research the cars on offer before an auction starts by looking at printed catalogues or online. Once you’ve identified potential classics and researched them, you can determine the current market values and decide on your budget.

The Auction

During the auction, the auctioneer will introduce cars and provide a little more information, so listen carefully as what’s said at this stage is important and can sometimes help you make or change a decision to bid.

Listen out for things like “sold as seen”, “specified faults” and “no major mechanical faults” to help inform your bidding decision.


Different auction houses may have different rules, so you should look into yours as part of your homework before attending.

Payment methods, bid rules and other elements will be detailed to help you.

Most auctions accept bids with a raised hand or catalogue, so be careful not to accidentally bid your life savings by waving to somebody.

If you win a car, it’s up to you to ensure it is properly taxed, road legal and insured. Lots of auction houses provide a one-day service of this type to allow you to get the car home.

So, to recap, when attending a car auction, do your research, set a budget and get a feel for the particular auction house you’re attending. But most importantly, have fun and enjoy all the stunning specimens on display.

Then all you have to do is get it ready for Christmas morning. With that in mind, here’s one final tip, a classic car will require a lot of wrapping paper so maybe just go for a bow on the car and wrap up the keys instead!

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to give or receive a classic car this year, call us on 0121 248 9304 for all your insurance needs.

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