It seems everyone has a story about a classic car they've owned or wish they'd owned. The car on your bucket list may be one you've regretted letting go, or it may be the special car you've always fantasized about someday owning. You've probably imagined yourself sitting behind the wheel of your dream ride many times, the envy of everyone you pass by. If you've finally decided it's time to join the classic car owner club, there are a few things, besides the obvious funding and insurance issues, to consider before raising your hand at an auction or sniping a classic car on eBay.
Plan Your 'End Game'
You may plan to keep your classic car, eventually passing it along to a family member, but if you intend to sell it after a few years, it's important to understand that there's no guarantee you can recoup your investment, particularly if you plan to make significant upgrades to your car. It's better to recognize up front that a significant portion of your payback may not be financial.
Pre-Purchase Checkout and Vehicle Delivery
Buying an automobile, sight unseen, can be risky. For a fee, several classic car businesses can perform an independent evaluation to minimize this risk. One business that provides this service is Cars On Line.
Unless you are lucky enough to find the classic car of your dreams locally, you'll probably incur a delivery expense. You should get quotes from carrier companies who specialize in shipping classic cars, such as Reliable Carriers and Passport Transport. Fees for these services vary, but they are based primarily on the distance the car is transported and whether or not it will be an enclosed shipment.
Part of the fun of owning a classic car is planning the modifications or upgrades either you or someone else will do. If you're not mechanically inclined, you'll want to find someone qualified to perform regular maintenance. A mechanic who doesn't need to rely solely on computer readouts, who can understand upgrades that may have already been made by previous owners, and who shares your passion for your classic will help to ensure that your car gets the attention it deserves.
Older Technology and Creature Comforts
As irresistible as a vintage GTO Judge or a Boss 302 may look and sound, keep in mind these cars were built with 50-year-old technology. Unless your classic has undergone extensive upgrades, you shouldn't expect it to handle as well as a late-model sports car. However, after you've driven it for a while, you'll grow to appreciate the distinctive feel of a vintage automobile.
Also, keep in mind that classic cars may lack many of the normal creature comforts all of us take for granted today, such as power windows, power steering, and power door locks. Air conditioning, which is an option that was available on most cars beginning in the '60s, is one feature that should be high on your priority list when shopping for your classic -- that is, unless it's destined to be a trailer queen. No matter how good your ride looks on the outside, without A/C, it will be difficult to completely enjoy it in summer months.
There isn't anything that will degrade the appearance of your classic car more quickly than storing it outside. Using a car cover will provide some protection, but this should be only a short-term solution. Unless you have an open space in your garage, it's important to have a plan for storing your vehicle, particularly during winter months.
Go for it
Each classic car has its own distinctive personality, which will require compromises, as well as extra attention, but the rewards of owning one of these special vehicles will be well worth it. So, go for it! Now you can mark "Own a Classic Car" off your bucket list.