Adding a classic car to your collection is something of a rite of passage for car enthusiasts, but it’s not something you should do lightly or off the cuff. You should know a few things before you sign on the dotted line and bring your classic dream car home.
Do Your Research First
Don’t buy the first classic car that crosses your path. It might not be the best deal, and it might turn out to be a lemon.
Like any big purchase, do your research before you sign for any car. Check the average retail value, and make sure the VIN on the car matches the one on the title. Depending on the vehicle, it may also match the stamps on the engine block and the transmission, if you’re looking for an all-original classic.
Keep a close eye on things like the car’s history — which you can receive by putting the VIN into a tool like CarFax — and it’s maintenance history to make sure it’s received proper care. Without the maintenance history, you may be in for a lot of work to get the car back into working order.
Stick To Your Budget
Buying a classic car is not an inexpensive proposition. You’re looking at one of two possibilities — either you’re going to pay a lot up front for a fully restored classic car, or you’re going to put a lot of money into restoring it once you bring it home.
That’s why it’s so important to do your research — and stick closely to your budget while you search for your dream car. It’s easy to go over-budget because classics are expensive, but they’re well worth every penny you put into them.
Bringing It Home
You aren’t always going to find the perfect classic car close to home. Getting them home can be a little bit tricky, especially if you don’t have the funds to pay for towing or shipping. If you have a truck with a hitch, you can pull your new car home with a wheel lift without ever needing a tow truck.
Wheel lifts work by lifting the drive wheels — usually the rear ones in a classic car — off the ground, letting the front ones spin freely as you drive down the highway. If your new investment is front-wheel drive, you can lift those wheels instead. You can hook it up to your truck and be ready to drive away in less than a minute.
Have Somewhere to Park It
Before you sign on that dotted line, make sure you have somewhere to store it. Classic cars don’t have the same sort of security that modern cars do, and they hold a high resale value, making them prime targets for car thieves. A garage on your property is ideal, but if you don’t already have one or don’t have the option to build one, off-site secure parking becomes your best bet.
Enjoy Your New Classic Car
All that’s left to do now is enjoy the prestige and nostalgia that comes with owning a classic car. Don’t jump on the first one that crosses your path. Doing a little bit of research can save you a lot of time, money and heartache in the long run.
Scott Huntington is a writer and car fanatic from Harrisburg, PA. Check out his site offthethrottle.com or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.