Top ten classic car buying tips

Mark Wilkinson, the Managing Partner of Heritage Classic Car Insurance offers his top ten classic car buying tips.

1. Always buy on condition

2. Always buy on condition

3. Always buy on condition – If there is one piece of advice I could give it is this and it will mean different things for different people. If you are mechanically minded, you may actually be looking for something to fix up, maybe something to tackle as a project with your son or daughter. But be mindful of what *really* needs to be done, how long it will take and how much it will cost.

However, if it’s your first foray into classic car ownership and are not mechanically minded, then look to spend a bit more and get a car that has been meticulously looked after, pampered and maintained. Ideally a big file of photos and receipts to show what has been done over the years.

Surprisingly, you can often find vehicles that have had more spent on their restoration than they are actually worth. These are definitely ones to look out for.

4. Join the relevant car club – You don’t have to be an owner to join the car club. Here you will find masses of information and like-minded people who are more than willing to share their stories of car ownership so you will get a very clear picture of what owning that type of car will be like. You may even get one of them to let you have a drive in theirs!

5. Buy a car you’ve always wanted and works for you – It’s definitely a commitment to own a classic car, so make sure you are really sure about the car you are after and that it suits your lifestyle. If you are married with 2 kids and a dog, is a two seat TVR really the right car for you? Maybe it is…!

6. Stay within your allocated budget – It’s very easy for the heart to rule the head, so try to stick to whatever limits you have set. Man maths doesn’t work all the time.

You also have to realise that those funds will be stored in that car while you own it. If you suddenly need ready access to funds, it will take time and effort to release them from the car

7. Take into account storage and maintenance – Purchasing the vehicle is only the start. Have you considered where it will be kept over winter and how much it will cost to keep running, insurance requirements, or what needs fixing? It’s also worth having a fund available ‘just in case’. All too often the unexpected goes wrong which costs a lot and keeps the car off the road. Classic cars do not take well to being run cheaply.

It’s also important to understand that the cost to run and maintain a car will probably negate any increase in value, so view cars as an investment with open eyes.

8. Ensure your partner supports your decision – Make sure you are not introducing a third party into your relationship!

9. Get to know your local specialist mechanic – You’ll probably spend more time there than you would like to, but having a local expert will be a lot cheaper in the long run, plus providing credibility to any work you have had done.

10. Most importantly – enjoy your car!


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