How to Find Cheap Classic Cars for Sale

March 18, 2013

By following a few pointers, you can ensure that you get a great deal on a cheap classic car rather than getting a lemon.

Do Your Research
Do some research so that you have an idea of what sort of price you can expect to find for the classic car that you want to buy. This will put you in a position to determine whether any car you are interested in is overpriced or whether you should be concerned that something is amiss because it is underpriced. Have a mechanic inspect the car, or if you have a friend with a working knowledge of classic cars, get some advice from them and ask them to accompany you on your search.

Whether you are purchasing from a dealer or an individual, it is always worthwhile to try some haggling. Determine whether the seller is seeking to make a quick sale and whether they have had any interest from other potential buyers. Use this information to assist your bargaining discussion. Having some knowledge of the car you want to buy can also help you to negotiate.

Purchase with Cash
If you have the means, make the seller aware that you are able to immediately pay the final agreed price rather than merely reserving it with a deposit. You may find that the seller is more willing to give you a better deal if you can confirm that you can pay them straight away rather than by way of installments.

Before You Buy

Purchasing any car can be a minefield unexpected expenses, a situation that only intensifies when looking for a classic car. Do some initial research and bear a few points in mind to make the process easier.

Check Your Insurance
Before you make a purchase of a classic car, determine what the potential cost of insurance will be, or whether insurers will be even prepared to provide coverage. Find out what terms and conditions the insurers are likely to put in place and think about whether you would be able to abide by them. For example, your car may need to be stored in a garage. A classic car that initially seems like a great deal can suddenly look very different with the addition of a sky-high insurance premium.

Consider Vehicle Condition
Have an idea of whether you want a car that is in pristine condition or whether you want one to restore. In the event that you want a classic car to restore, find out whether parts for the car will be difficult to obtain or how costly they will be if they are available.

Decide on Your Purpose
Determine whether you want a classic car to restore and sell, or whether you want one for your own collection. In the case of the former, consider whether you will be able to add value to the car and how you will seek to do this. Do some research to determine whether you will have the time and means to do the work in the timeframe available.

Related Questions and Answers

What are Some Cheap Models for Classic Project Cars?

Classic project cars are normally expensive. If you want to drive a perfectly restored Shelby Mustang or Camaro, you can expect to spend some money. Even if you are buying a project car, the cost can be significant. In order to cut costs, it is wise to look for classic cars that are not as popular. Austin Minis are a good place to start. They tend to be fairly inexpensive and the parts are cheaper than other classic cars. While VW Bugs can be expensive when fully restored, they are cheaper when bought as a project car. Buying less popular years of cars like the Mustang and Camaro can be cheaper as well.

What are Some Reliable Classic Car Finder Sites?

There are a number of classic car finder sites. Classic Cars is an excellent site when searching for cars. Vehicles can be searched by year, make and model. Another excellent site is Auto Trader Classics which is the classic car part of the Auto Trader Magazine site. There are tons of vehicles on this site. It is can be searched by make, model and year. In addition you can narrow down the search by price range and distance from your location. Hemmings is one of the oldest classic car organizations in the nation. They also have the largest classic car marketplace on the web, if you can't find the car you are looking for there, it probably isn't for sale.

What is the Most Popular Avenue for finding Used Classic Car Parts?

You're going to rebuild your classic muscle car and need to know where to find good quality used classic car parts. There are a number of ways to do this. You can search online. You can contact a company called Year One (1-800-YEAR-ONE). You can check specialty salvage yards and lastly, you can check local classic car clubs. What is considered the most popular method is going to depend on the individual person. However, when you buy from Year One, you have a guarantee. The part will fit, it will be in good condition, and you will have a warranty with your purchase.

Who are the Most Popular Classic Car Motor Insurance Companies?

Many insurance providers don't have policies for classic car or motor insurance. This doesn't mean that they won't provide some sort of coverage for your classic Camaro or Mustang. What it means is they most likely won't be able to cover the actual value of the vehicle in case of loss. For this reason, there are a few providers that specialize in classic car insurance. One of these is Hagerty's. Another is Heacock Classic Insurance. Grundy Worldwide has been providing classic and antique car insurance for a number of years and currently has over 1.5 million policies worldwide. One of the most popular for their "Agreed value policies" is Leland West Insurance.

Where Can I Look Up Muscle Car Values for Buying and Selling?

Muscle car values change quite often, depending on how popular a given make and model is currently. The source that most people use for newer cars, Kelley Blue Book, isn't a good authority for older, classic cars. The North American Dealer's Association (NADA) is a very good authority on classic car pricing. If the car you're looking to put a price to is a very popular one, you can also look at the larger classic auto auction houses, such as Hagerty's and Barrett-Jackson. You must remember, though, when checking the auction houses online for car values, these are cars that usually have no defects, and are certified factory stock.

Do Classic Cars Require Special Batteries?

You're looking for classic car batteries. Most antique and classic cars had hard rubber batteries that contained raised letters on the case. Antique cars were 6 volt, positive ground, while, sometime later, the car makers converted to 12 volt negative ground systems. The type of ground used by the car doesn't affect the battery as much as the voltage required by the car. As stated above, many of the much older cars had 6 volt batteries that had either 3.2 volt cells, or 6.1 volt cells. If you're looking to maintain "correctness" of battery design, you should check with a company called Antique Auto Battery. For more info, see Cheap Classic Cars: What to Know before You Buy.

What is the Most Popular Classic Car Forum?

You've got questions about your older car and you're looking for a classic car forum to obtain a sense of community with other collectors. There are forums for specific auto makers, as well as for specific models. Which one you choose is going to obviously depend on what make and model car you own or are looking for. Owners of Camaros should look here. If you own a Corvette, this forum is what you're looking for. For pony car owners, check out the Mustang Forum here. For you Pentastar owners out there, you're going to want to take a look at the Mopar Forum here.

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