Classic cars are captivating! Need proof? Head out to any classic car show and look at the turnout of folks there to relive the past of automotive design.
I grew up in the auto industry and classic cars were a passion of my father’s that was undoubtedly passed on to me. It all started with his ‘67 Chevy Nova SS, which opened my eyes to the world of classic American automobiles.
While there are several options when it comes to must-have classics, muscle cars like the Corvette, the Camaro, and the Mustang are king.
For anyone looking to purchase a classic car, here are some things to consider so you make the right choice.
The first step in finding the right classic car is figuring out what you actually want. There is no shortage of classics on the road, however, finding the right car can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you don’t have a lot of auto knowledge. What should you look for? What should you know? Where do you start?
Many of us are attracted to vehicles we grew up with. While the classic vehicles from the ’50s and ’60s are considered true classics, modern rides from the ’70s and ’80s are highly sought after as well. It’s all about your personal taste when it comes to choosing the right model for you. Do you want a ’72 Mustang like the one you had in high school? Would you like to drive an ’82 Cadillac, just like your grandfather had?
After choosing the vehicle right for you, it’s time to consider your budget. Are you looking for a restoration project? Are you looking for a vehicle that’s ready to drive and show? These two questions will have a significant impact on how much you’ll spend on your classic car. Once you’ve done the research and developed a better idea as to what you want and how much you want to spend, the hunt begins.
For those unfamiliar with classic cars, or cars in general, hunting for that iconic car can be a bit overwhelming. Start by immersing yourself in the local car scene. You can do this by checking out local car shows and social media. Facebook lists local events, and Ocala Cars & Coffee hosts monthly Sunday meetings. Ask questions about the different models and variations, trim packages and custom options. Ask fellow car enthusiasts and owners about drivability, reasonable pricing, and mechanical information about the motor and drivetrain. The key is to dig deep about the car you’re in search of. This research will help you in finding the right car, while also providing more information on price and availability.
Other great options for classic car shopping are reputable dealers specializing in the classics. Not only will they have leads on the classic car you are in search of, but they are also an incredible source of information and knowledge.
There are also nationwide auctions such as Mecum Auctions or Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. These auctions are more suited for folks looking for classics that are already restored and ready for the show. Private dealers are also a great option and can be another source of knowledge about the industry.
Online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace, Autotrader and eBay can also be reliable options. Just be patient and don’t settle; this is an investment you’ve worked hard for.
Now that you’ve found the perfect car that suits you, it’s time to prepare for purchase. Consider these questions before diving in.
First, consider the vehicle’s history. Find out where the car originated and research as much about the vehicle as possible. Carfax is a great place to start and a title history will give you a sense of the life the car has had. For example, cars from the north tend to have a bit more wear and tear due to time spent on salted roads during the winter months. Obviously, classic cars are old, which means they’ve had plenty of time for accidents and neglect. Understanding its condition can save you frustration and money down the road.
Second, before agreeing to purchase, have a reputable mechanic check out the car. This will give you a bit more understanding of the vehicle. A mechanic can tell you about past accidents that may not be documented and more details about the car that many of us might overlook. This can help you with negotiations and information about repairs that might be needed in the future. It’s an investment and something you will take pride in, so know what you are getting yourself into. This will help you enjoy your classic car for years to come.
Now that you’re armed with the tools necessary to make the right decision, it’s time to get busy. Make your choice, do the research and own an icon.