Top tips for buying a classic vehicle
There’s something magic about a vintage model. With the signature of the (actually human) team who built it practically marked on each and every piece, comes a certain sense of responsibility and a certain pride. You’re not just driving a car, you’re preserving an artwork and a piece of history.
However, with any piece of ageing finery (people included) comes great responsibility and important considerations. Buying a classic car for the first time might seem daunting, but here are our tips for making sure your purchase is the best investment for you.
Work out what it’s for and stick with it
Are you buying your classic beauty to drive? Or as an investment? Pick one, and stick with it as the two very rarely mix. If you’re buying it for the romantic feeling of owning a piece of history and want the world to see it, keep in mind your regular drives along scenic routes will decrease the value of the car and will cost a lot in repairs and maintenance. If it’s for regular trips, try opting for a sturdy model that was produced in greater numbers – something like the Mercedes-Benz 300CE has an air of class but can be driven every day.
Similarly, if you’re investing money in the item, consider how it will be stored and how you will preserve its beauty – classic models are incredible to own but, as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. Look after your investment as you would do a fine piece of art.
See rust? Lose trust
While there’s a certain romanticism in rescuing a vehicle from the scrap pile and certain death, there’s only so much money that can be invested in a vehicle before it becomes a bottomless pit for money and it’s far easier to go elsewhere. Severe rust, above nearly everything else, is a sign a vehicle may be beyond saving and there comes a point after replacing so much of the vehicle that it’s practically a new model anyway. A few bubbles in the paintwork aren’t the end of the world, but patches of rust on integral parts of the structure might be a sign to look elsewhere.
If you’re looking for an investment, keep your eyes out for cars with original (or major) components that match. You can check by keeping your eyes out for dates, casting numbers, model numbers, VIN (Vehicle Identification Numbers) and codes. Most classic motors will have the last six digits of the VIN on them, while parts like the transmission and rear end will often have date codes. Having eagle eyes and ensuring you look out on the most expensive pieces will make sure your investment is worth it and will make you the most money in the future.
How handy are you with a spanner? And do you know how to do basic repairs on your vehicle?
You’ll find your ignition timing will need servicing every few months and learning how to do basic (non-critical) servicing like this could save a fortune in the long-term.
Similarly basic aesthetic repairs like buying your own replacement vintage plates or replacing key internal features can keep the car in ship shape condition without a huge expense. Try considering a basic maintenance course to up your skills and keep your vehicle in prime condition (perfect Sunday afternoon activity in our opinion).