Are you interested in buying a classic car but are unsure about its history or some of its characteristics? You may likely wish to inquire what makes the vehicle you have considered buying worth the price compared to other similar models. First, it’s important to define what a classic car is. The definition may vary slightly, although many people agree that this term generally applies to cars that are over 20 years old. These types of vehicles have become increasingly popular. According to IBISWorld, the classic car dealership industry in the United States grew at an average rate of 0.7% between 2014 and 2019. Additionally, the size of this market in the U.S. in 2020 has been estimated to be $1.8 billion.
What to Look for When Buying a Classic Car
A car is a valuable asset that will constitute an essential part of your life. Therefore, if one automobile catches your attention for any reason, it’s imperative for you to learn as much about it as possible. Here are eight questions to ask when deciding to purchase a classic car.
Is the Title Clean and Clear?
A vehicle title is a form that establishes who the legal owner of said car is. It’s not just important to ask the seller if he/she has the title to the vehicle. You should also verify that the title is clean, which means there is no designation stating the car ever sustained any significant damage. A clear title is one that lists no lien or other type of legal encumbrance on the car that could potentially make its sale more complex. It’s especially important to check the status of a vehicle’s title if the car is an old model whose title and registration may be inaccurate or not recently updated.
Is the Title in the Seller’s Name?
If the name on a car’s title does not match the seller’s name, the issues you end up facing due to this may be similar to the ones you would encounter if the vehicle had no title at all. Certain states require notarized signatures on car titles, so be sure to stay informed about what exactly your home state mandates.
Are You the Seller, or the Seller’s Representative?
Many people interested in purchasing a vehicle speak to a representative first before anyone else, and this is fine. However, you will eventually benefit more from speaking directly to the actual seller because he/she generally knows more about the car than the representative. Additionally, a representative may needlessly prolong and complicate the selling process, whereas a seller might be more straightforward in his/her sales approach.
Is the Vehicle Registered?
Aside from the title, a car’s registration is another important document that should always be current. If a vehicle lacks a registration, this may be due to the fact that it was transported for years from one car show to the next, for example. Always take the time to follow up on this subject.
How Long Have You Owned the Car?
Except in a few understandable cases (e.g. a couple expecting a baby), a vehicle that is owned for a very short period of time should raise some red flags. In cases such as these, the owner may simply be attempting to turn a quick profit and may not have taken the time to learn much about the car.
Is There Any Rust on the Car?
If the seller tells you the vehicle has rust on it, you should ask for more specificity. Is the rust structural, or merely surface-level? One effective trick to use to uncover how much rust a car has involves using small magnets to test all body panels for body filler.
What Condition Code Would You Give the Car?
A classic or vintage vehicle’s condition is typically evaluated on a scale of one-to-six. Here is what each rating signifies:
- 1 = Excellent
- 2 = Fine
- 3 = Very good
- 4 = Good
- 5 = Restorable
- 6 = Parts car
Can I Test Drive the Car?
If the seller allows you to test drive the vehicle you’re interested in and also permits you to take it to a local shop for inspection, this is a very good sign. If there is any hesitation about this on the part of the seller, you should think twice about your purchase.
Other questions you can ask before purchasing a classic car include how often and how far the vehicle is usually driven.
Contact a Professional Auto Restoration Shop
Speak to the professionals at Robs Customs & Restorations in Manassas, Virginia to learn more about what to inquire about before buying a classic car. We provide complete restorations for classic, vintage, antique, and muscle vehicles. Our work includes frame and rust repair, as well as custom paint jobs that can make your car stand out and look sleek. Regardless of the type or amount of repair you are seeking, Robs’ team of experts will work tirelessly to give your vehicle a brand new appearance. Call Robs Customs & Restorations today at (703) 552-5001 or contact us online for more information about our services.