Are you considering buying a classic car? Unless you already have your heart set on a particular model — often for a strong sentimental reason — you will first have to wade through the confusing amount of different definitions. What makes a car classic? Some, like the Classic Car Club of America, hold the term to rather high standards; according to them, a car has to be distinctive and fine as well as manufactured between 1915 and 1948. Others, however, would consider those cars to be vintage or post-vintage.

What to Know When Buying a Classic Car

State regulations are more likely to define classic cars as those built over 20, but less than 40, years ago and which have been maintained in their original condition — with any restoration work strictly adhering to the same principles, and using the same materials, as the original build. Yet others will require a car to have started rising, as opposed to dropping, in value, and for the model to have made a lasting impact. Anything less and, you could easily argue, the car isn’t a classic. It’s just old.

What practicalities do you need to be aware of when you are shopping around for a classic car?

Where Can You Buy a Classic Car?

You essentially have three options. Classic cars can be bought through specialized dealerships, which go through a thorough process of appraising and inspecting the car, but also charge a premium. You can also buy a classic car at auction, which is an exciting experience but offers fewer inspection opportunities. Buying a classic car privately is your final option. You will be able to find out much more about the history of the car when buying it from someone who has proudly maintained the classic car for decades than in any other way. The buyer will be responsible for having inspections carried out in this case.

What Do You Need to Know About a Classic Car Before Closing a Deal?

A full professional inspection will take care of all these details, but interested buyers can also go through the process on their own. The car has to have a clear title and a VIN number that corresponds to the tag present on the car itself. Always take a classic car out for a test drive when you can (that is unless you are buying at auction), and assess the car’s entire exterior and interior, including for rust damage.

It is often possible to get a steal on a classic car — but be aware that these “great deals” may not be as good anymore once you discover, as the new owner, what kind of restoration work has to be performed to return the classic car to its original state. The higher the price, the better the condition of the classic car is likely to be.

Is it Difficult to Insure a Classic Car?

Actually, no. When a vehicle is officially registered as a classic car, regulations that limit drivers to certain locations and speeds will be in place. Overall, this makes it less likely that a classic car is going to be involved in an accident. Classic car insurance rates are often lower for this reason.

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