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A classic car can be a great collector's item. However, the vehicle should be in good condition if you want it to retain its value while you own it, and make the most of your money. If you're thinking of buying a classic car, there are a number of things you should look out for to ensure you get a good deal. Here are five important tips to consider:
Watch Out for Rust
Rust is the cancer of cars. If you see it, look for a different option. Once a panel rusts, that rust is there for good, and it will eventually spread. You can replace panels, but doing so does not leave the original car intact. Factory original cars are more valuable as collector's item, so look for a rust-free vehicle.
Look for a Car with Matching Numbers
Each car has something called a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which matches the car with its original factory components. When the numbers in the car, and the all major components such as the engine and transmission match, that means that the car has all of its original components, and none have been replaced over the years. These vehicles are much more valuable as collectors' items, especially as the model gets older.
As the years progress, finding a model with matching numbers gets harder, as many parts break over the years. However, if you can find one in good condition, it will be much more valuable than a vehicle with replaced components.
Check the Mileage
Mileage is important when you buy any used car. In any given case, lower mileage means the car is of better value than a car in similar condition with more miles on it. Lower mileage means that the vehicle has less wear and tear.
Extremely low mileage is less likely with older cars, but it's still something to look out for. That being stated, don't let this be the only thing you consider. A classic car in great condition with matching numbers is still valuable, even if it has a lot of miles on it. It's simply something you should look at, and think about.
Compare and Contrast
If you find something for sale that you really like, compare it to similar options online. In the digital age, it's fairly easy to do price comparisons from home. Simply put, here's your homework to do: compare make, model, and year to other options for sale around the web. You should consider the condition of those vehicles, as they may appear cheaper if they're damaged or worn.
Also do some in-person comparison in your area, and compare options for similar brands and years. It doesn't hurt to shop around, and it will give you an idea of pricing in your city.
Pick a Car You Like
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how valuable a car is if you think it's ugly. Never buy something you wouldn't be proud to drive around town. If you find a classic model in good condition, but you don't see yourself behind the wheel, hold off until you find something better.
This doesn't just go for models. Rare paint colors are often more valuable. However, if you don't like the color of the vehicle, it will be of little value to you, even if it has a lot of value on the market.
Using your eyes is very important while buying a classic car. Look out for rust, and check the numbers on all major components. You should also think about the mileage, though this is not the most important factor involved.
Compare the car with other models on the local and national markets, as this will help make sure you get a good deal. Lastly, but most importantly, make sure you actually like the car. Even if it's a great vehicle at a great price, it's not a good choice if you don't want to be seen driving it.