Classic Car Sales, Auctions and Classifieds

March 28, 2012

Information on where to find classic car sales and auctions, where to find classic car parts, and how to bid without losing your shirt.

Although there are many classic cars sales that offer competitive prices, it's beneficial to inspect any potential purchase to find out its overall condition, repairs conducted, and the quality of parts installed in the vehicle. Although some classic cars require plenty of work to make them roadworthy, other vehicles may have already been restored to working or even mint condition.

Before selecting any particular vehicle, find out which original parts have been changed. Bear in mind the cost of repairs you will initially spend on modifying the vehicle you purchase, and find out the cost of insurance and type of coverage you need. When researching insurance options, read the terms and conditions included in the insuring agreement and make sure you obtain sufficient coverage to protect your investment. To find classic cars for sale, look for reputable sources in the following categories.

  • Online dealers. There are several online dealers that sell antique or classic cars. Before selecting any online dealer, look up the company with the Better Business Bureau to avoid online scams. Some good resources for classic cars include ClassicCars.com and Timeless Rides. Most websites allow you search vehicle listings by filtering your search criteria according to make, model and zip code.
  • Auctions. To find classic cars auctions, you could either research the Leake Auction Company for upcoming auctions in your state or visit Barrett-Jackson or RM Auctions online.
  • Newspapers. You can look for classic cars sales in newspapers or magazines. You may not only find antique car sales, but also research auctions happening in your area. Alternatively, visit local used car dealers in person to find out about classic car events or auctions in your state.
  • Private sellers. Look for private seller listings on the Internet and in your local newspaper. You may be able to negotiate a better deal when purchasing a vehicle directly from a private seller.
  • Local deals. It's best to deal locally when making a used or classic car purchase. Avoid making payments online without first inspecting the vehicle and finding out vehicle history.
  • Online reviews. Read online reviews to find out more about the classic car make and model you intend to purchase. Research the value for classic cars, in order to negotiate a good price. If you're buying from a dealer or auction house, you may be able to find reviews on the seller as well.

Vehicle Inspection and Replacement Parts

Have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic. Look for rust in particular and find out the cost of replacement parts to make sure you buy the right car. One of the advantages of purchasing a classic car is that the resale value of the vehicle doesn't diminish even after several years. You should thus evaluate the originality of the car before selecting it. Although good replacement parts increase vehicle performance, originality increases its resale value. Find out if you can obtain the desired replacement parts before making a final choice.

How Classic Car Auctions Work

While classic car auctions seem rather simple on the surface, there are many details you need to understand before you walk into the auction house looking to buy a car. Knowing these things will help you win at the auction and help understand what is going on when you are at the auction house.

Terms

Make yourself aware of the terms that the auction house operates under by reading their terms and conditions, which should be readily available. These will let you know what commission you will be expected to pay on purchase, which is crucial to calculating your budget.

When you show up to classic car auctions as a buyer, you get a buyer number and a motioning device from the person running the auction. Those people who are coming to the auction to sell their vehicle register that car and give out information about it.

Research

Once the sellers or auctioneers highlight all the positives of the vehicle, it will be presented to the buyers. Collector car auctions can make it difficult for a car to be examined properly so, if there is an opportunity to do so, examine the car prior to the auction so that you know exactly what you are getting. This may also provide an opportunity to make the auctioneer aware that you are a serious buyer. Obtain a copy of the auction booklet to study the car's details.

Reserve Price and Opening Bids

Depending upon which classic car auctions you attend, there will be different rules on who gets to set the opening price. In some cases, the seller will set the opening bid, whereas the auctioneer will make the decision in other cases.

In the case that there is not much interest for a certain vehicle, that car will not necessarily go for the minimum bid. There are regulations in place to make sure that sellers get a minimum amount for their classic car. This is done to prevent manipulation and to make it a fair deal for the seller. With many auctions, the item will go for as low of a price as possible, but this is not the case when talking about highly valuable things like classic cars. Sellers are allowed to set a reserve price, meaning that the car won't be sold unless the winning bid is over a certain price.

The thing that makes auctions kind of complicated is that the reserve price is unknown to the people doing the bidding. This helps to push the bidding higher, because people who really want to purchase a car will have to make sure that they big enough to clear the reserve number. Auction houses do this intentionally to make things more interesting and to attract sellers to their classic car auctions. Some sellers are known for their high reserve prices, while others are more willing to gamble. Especially if they have a strong desire to unload the car quickly.

Attitude

Auctions can be exciting and frenetic places so it is important not to get caught up in the atmosphere as it can leave you paying too much or missing out completely. Try not to be intimidated by the situation and, if possible, take up a position in which you can see the other bidders so that you can view your competition. It is often easier to keep things in perspective when you have company, so attend with someone else.

Bidding

Though you may know exactly which lot you want, do not be too eager to bid. Being the first to bid or immediately countering another bid can be a sign of inexperience which the auctioneer can use to drive the price higher and pit bidders against each other.

When you make a motion with your number, you are putting in a bid for whatever price is going at the time. These are legally binding proceedings. If you make the winning bid, you are obligated to pay. It's important to be sure about things when you make a move.

How to Find Classic Car Auctions in Your Area

You can still find out information on classic car auctions the old fashioned way, but the Internet has made life much easier for potential car buyers and given the ability to find even better auctions than they might have in the past.

Local Classic Car Clubs

The first thing to do is search for all of the local classic car clubs in your area. Most cities and towns that are reasonably big will have one of these clubs and they should have a website. One of the primary reasons for having a website if you are a car club is to inform people about upcoming events. Since these clubs will be the most likely sponsors of such auctions, you will find the best information there. Likewise, car club magazines or newsletters are a good place to go for information like this.

National Classic Car Websites

Another way to look for this information on classic car auctions is by going to a national classic car website. With more people owning these types of cars and looking to get involved in the hobby, there are plenty of websites to help. These sites are dedicated to listing all of the car auctions around the country. When you go there, you will have to sift through plenty of auctions that do not appeal to what you need, but that's quite alright. You will eventually find one that is close enough to your area to make it feasible. The best sites will allow you to search for events using a city name or a zip code, so this can really save time.

Newspapers

Since classic car auctions are big events, they will generally get an advertisement or another type of mention in the local newspaper. Likewise, people who live in small areas might find their local classic car clubs do not have a website.

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