Factors That Affect Classic Car Pricing

February 22, 2012

Whether you're a buyer or seller, understanding classic car pricing will put you in control of the negotiations and let you buy or sell with confidence.

If you are looking into getting a classic car to add to your collection or as an investment, it is important you understand what factors affect classic car pricing. This would enable you to make a more sound decision as to which classic car you would be getting. Here are some of the factors that affect prices of classic cars today. Keep in mind these are merely guidelines. Perhaps you have already fallen in love with the vehicle; in which case some factors won't matter.

Classic Car Pricing by Age
Age is one of the primary factors that determine the value of a classic car. In general, the older the classic car is, the higher it would be priced in the market. This means that an older classic car would have a higher price tag than a classic car which is of the same model but newer.

Classic Car Pricing by Condition
The overall condition of the classic car also influences its price. A classic car which is in great shape and ready to use would definitely cost more than one which is in poor condition and needs some work done. This is something you might want to consider when looking to purchase a classic car, as you do not want to end up getting one requiring you to spend a lot to refurbish it.

Classic Car Pricing by Manufacturer and Make

Classic car pricing would also depend on the manufacturer and the model of the car. Some of the top manufacturers of classic cars would be:

  • Rolls Royce
  • Ferrari
  • Jaguar
  • Aston Martin
  • Dodge
  • Maserati
  • Ford
  • General Motors
  • Porsche
  • Bugatti
  • Buick
  • Chevrolet
  • Pontiac

Some of the most popular classic car models would be the Corvette, Mustang, Charger and Firebird.

Classic Car Pricing by Authenticity
This is also one of the important factors which dictate the pricing of a classic car. Authenticity can be proven by the VIN number, the RPO codes, the date codes, the casting number, and the transmission and rear end tags. For classic cars manufactured by General Motors, authenticity can be checked by taking note of the protect-o-plate number. These are usually what classic car collectors look for before buying to make sure they would be investing in something that is truly of value.

Classic Car Pricing by Mileage
Similar to how used newer cars are valued, mileage is one of the factors that influence classic car pricing. There are, however, many classic car enthusiasts who say there are times when original equipment and structural condition are far more important pricing factors than mileage.

Original Equipment and Structural Condition
A classic car has a higher value if it has all its original equipment intact and in fair condition. This would include the interior of the car, the seats, the carpets, the pedal rubbers and other items.

These are just some of the factors which can influence classic car pricing. By using these to assess the value of the classic car you are considering, you should be able to have an easier time making an informed choice. These factors can also help decide on a price for a classic car you are planning to sell.

How Much Do Antique Car Prices Appreciate?

Antique car prices never seem to depreciate. Unlike typical car prices, where as soon as you drive off of the lot you lose 20% to 30% of the value of the car, if you own an antique car it is a real gem. Car prices are based on a number of different factors including mileage, condition, mechanical workings, title history, etc. However, classic antique cars are only subject to a few of these price factors. As an antique car, your pride and joy's worth is not determined by the typical factors that often passes judgment on typical cars.

Antiques are based on the body condition, rarity of the car, and the value to which another collector would be considering if purchasing the vehicle. In general, car depreciation approaches 5% of the original value per year it is on the road. However, once a car reaches a certain age that can actually turn around to be anywhere from 2% to 5% appreciation each year. Obviously the fewer miles that are on the car the more it is worth. Thus, if you have a fully restored Model T with very low mileage it is worth considerably more than a similarly restored Model T with several hundreds of thousands of miles on it.

When gauging the worth, and consequently, the appreciation of an antique car, you must ultimately consider how rare the original car was and compare that to how rare it is now. If the original car was a mass produced, production vehicle then it is unlikely it will appreciate much. However if only 500 or so of the vehicles were made, the car's worth increases exponentially. As you consider the appreciation on your antique car, refer to the aforementioned factors of worth and have a seasoned appraiser assist you in a value determination.

How to Negotiate the Best Classic Car Price

For those buyers who are looking for the best possible classic car price, you need to know a thing or two about negotiating to get the value you deserve. Some go into the process without knowledge and they end up paying too much in the end. If you want to avoid this scenario and come out on top, then you must be willing to negotiate and do it well. The best tactics for negotiating the best classic car price have to do with keeping your options open and understand the situation of the person who is selling the vehicle.

  • Optimize options.In order to negotiate the best classic car price, you have to have options. If you lock yourself into buying one particular car, then you give up all of the power in the negotiation. What happens is that people show too much interest in one car and they fall in love with it. When they approach the buyer, it is obvious they want that vehicle over all else. The car owner senses that and is able to capitalize on the new found power they have over you. If you fall into this trap, you can expect a classic car price that goes over what you should be paying
  • Notify the seller that you have options.Let the seller know you have options. One tactic is to bring them listings of another vehicle out on the market that is either just the same or similar to his car. When he understands that he has some competition, the seller will be more likely to offer a better price. This is the basic negotiation tactic that people need to learn, unless they want to end up paying the full sticker price on a classic car
  • Instigate a bidding war. A good way to handle the process is to enter into a preliminary negotiation with more than one classic car seller. If you can get the two car owners to start bidding against each other, then you will be much better off in the end. Get an offer from one of the sellers and take that offer to the car owner of the vehicle you want. If they are serious about getting rid of the car right away and you make a reasonable offer, you stand a good chance of landing the car. If they won't budge, then you will at least have options you can pursue elsewhere

Negotiating makes many people feel uneasy, but if you are smart and understand how power works, you can come away with a solid deal. There is no reason why you should lock in on a single car without checking out the market around you. You might be able to find something you like a little bit better and at the very least, you will be able to use the other options as leverage with both dealers. It's a tricky process, but one that will lead to the best classic car price in the end.

How to Use a Classic Car Price Guide

A classic car price guide is a classic car enthusiast's best friend. Even for classic car aficionados, car evaluation is often a tricky business. A price guide is a reliable reference when buying a classic car. Since it is often difficult to determine the "fair price" for a certain model, it is important to have a guide stating how a model should be valued. Information on classic cars is scarce as compared to newer models, thus the complexity of their pricing. There are several steps involved in using a price guide:

  • Purchase a classic car price guide.Price guides offer precise information on car conditions and their corresponding valuation. In classic car pricing, two identical models can differ because of car conditions
  • Assess condition of the car.As the classic car price guide indicates, every condition is valued differently. Cars are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, a rating of 1 means that the car is in the best condition. Cars rated with 1 are mainly used for car shows. Nonetheless, majority of cars are valued at 2 or 3. Cars that in decent shape are rated 3. While cars not fit for driving is valued at 5
  • Assess the car's originality before pricing. Price guides indicate what components should be valued high or low. For instance, modified engines, custom made interiors or paint can decrease the value of the car

Certainly, the rarity of the car also counts as the final deciding factor. When deciding the rarity, price guides usually give an insight on what models and brand are considered exceptional.

Guide to Classic Car Prices in 2009 and 2010

If you are looking to uncover the recommended classic car prices for your vehicle, then a classic car prices guide can be a great resource. These guides provide details on determining the condition of the classic car and will take into account the demand of the vehicle as many classic cars are one of a kind. Knowing the value of your vehicle is very important if you are looking to sell your classic car, buy a classic car, or are interested in getting additional insurance.

Condition of the Car
The condition of the car is very important and will have a large affect on the price. You will need to take the condition into account when looking for used classic car prices. You will find that a classic car that has been fully restored and kept in pristine condition will cost much more than a classic car that has been driven a lot and barely maintained. The car condition is on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being new or like new, 2 is for show condition cars that have been restored and used a bit, a 3 rating is for a car that is driven and in good shape but has had maintenance done, 4 is for a car that needs maintenance but is still safe to drive, and a 5 is a car that is no longer safe to drive and has major repairs needed.

Classic or Custom?
A classic car is one that has been restored or maintained to the original model specifications. This means if you do not have the original parts, then you have replications. A customized car is a different thing as you may have had a classic car but then changed things to outside of the norm for that car. Classic cars will be much more valuable than a custom car. However, certain aspects such as a newer engine may make the car more drivable. Used classic car prices are falling between very wide price ranges based on the type of restoration or any customization.

Is Your Car Rare?
A car that is one of five ever built will have more value than a car that is one of 2,000. The rarer the car, the more expensive it is likely to be. However, be aware that the rarer the car the harder it may be to find parts or have any repairs done. Maintenance of rare cars can be difficult, and if it is a classic car, then this may be the biggest challenge of them all, as the manufacturer may no longer make the parts for that model.

Mileage and Color
The more a classic car has been driven, then the lower the value. To keep the value high you want to try to keep the mileage low. This can be difficult for older classic cars because they have gone through several owners. You also want to think about the color as this can also affect the value, particularly on classic muscle cars. A red Ferrari is more valuable than a brown colored Ferrari. You can find the latest classic car prices as of 2009 in the latest releases of the guides. This will provide information on how color will affect the price of the car.