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Home / Articles / Columnists / Happy Motoring /  Owning A Classic Car
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Thursday, September 1,2016

Owning A Classic Car

By Teresa Aquila  


A nother Hot August Nights Car Show and Shine in Reno, Nevada is in the history books. After 10 days of Classic Cars, Swap meets, dancing, classic music and showing off your beautiful car, many people come away wanting to own one. So what should you know before you race over to an auction or comb the classifieds for that perfect ride? 

Owning a classic or vintage vehicle is not as easy as it looks. Let’s review a few things one should know prior to dishing out the cash. I know they look beautiful but what does it take to maintain and how much does it even cost to purchase one. These old classics can carry a hefty price tag depending on the make, model and rarity. First you need to know, why do you want to own one, are you really passionate about it, or are you just caught up in the moment? Do you have the funds and the time to devote to car shows and upkeep? If you are not mechanically inclined, then you will have to depend on a mechanic to maintain if for you. If you purchase one that needs restoration, then you better break out that piggy bank and hope it has lots of cash in it. Interior, body work, mechanical and paint come at a premium price. You do not want just anyone to work on your baby; you need to find a mechanic that knows old classics. If you plan on buying a gasser or hot rod, then the price just went up to include the upkeep.

I have found that those who rush out to buy a classic vehicle after drooling over cars they saw at a car show will most likely lose interest not long after the purchase. Some even buy a vehicle solely on looks and never have it checked out by a mechanic only to find out; it was not all that it was advertised to be. Cars, even classics, need to be given the once over, the body work, mechanical, undercarriage, title (a clean title), frame and paint. Are the floor pans rusted or in good condition, if not, that will be costly. How rare is the car, are there parts available, etc. Then there’s insurance. Make sure you insure the car for its worth, not the price you purchased it for, there may be a huge difference.

So you decided you really are serious about owning a classic, where do you start? It all depends on where you live. Are there car auctions nearby where you can give it the once over before bidding, check the internet or the car classifieds. If you are going to purchase a car a distance away, see if you can find a mechanic in that area that would be willing to check it over and give you a report card on its dependability. Never buy sight unseen, you may be buying a lemon. There are still many classic rides out there and you can still land good deals if you wait and do not buy on impulse. So follow these tips.

1. Buying a classic car is a vastly different experience than purchasing a typical vehicle.

2. Determine what you´ll be using the classic car for. If it´ll be used as a daily driver there is no need to find a "show condition" vehicle. If you plan on entering classic car competitions, you´ll have to find something all original and spend slightly more. If you know the model you are interested in, narrow it down to dos or three years (e.g., Corvette 1963-1965). This will help with your search. If you don´t know, research what changes were made each year and what suits your needs/wants best.

3. Know the classic you are interested in, and research what "problem areas" the vehicle may have and check if the problem has been resolved.

4. Check with local classic car clubs for any people who own, or have owned the type of classic you are interested in.

5. Have a vehicle appraiser look at the car. 6. Do a used vehicle history report on the car to make sure it has not been stolen and to check how many people owned the car previously.


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