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How do you know what classic car to buy right now?

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In a world of current mass-produced cars, classic cars from the past stand as timeless icons of beauty, craftsmanship and nostalgia. Whether you're a seasoned collector or an aspiring first-time owner, acquiring a classic car is always a thrilling adventure. However, it's essential to approach this journey with a bit of caution and a certain amount of wisdom, to ensure that your investment brings you joy for many years to come. Here are some key considerations we would suggest you keep in mind when thinking about what classic car to buy right now.


Look at the market trends


Before diving into the classic car market, it's crucial to research current trends and demand. Certain models may experience fluctuations in value and demand due to factors such as rarity, their historical significance and cultural relevance. Websites, online forums, and magazines dedicated to classic cars can provide valuable insights into current market dynamics, helping you to make informed decisions that are right for you. Certain cars are generally always desirable, such as Aston Martins, but trends do occur; for example, hot hatches and 911 Turbos are in demand right now, as well as certain Toyotas and Nissans - however certain models of these are in themselves more desirable than others. Which leads us nicely on to our next point…


Do your research


Knowledge is your most potent tool when buying a classic car. It’s vital that you research extensively the make, model, year and any specific quirks or issues associated with the vehicle that you're interested in. Production numbers can have an impact to a degree, but not always. If you are looking to buy as an investment, then knowing which cars are likely to go up in value over time is also key.


If you do find an individual car that you are interested in, it’s then time to get a thorough understanding of that car's particular history, including any adaptations made to it (for example paint work or engine changes), any modernisations made, the mileage and also the original specifications still in place. This type of knowledge will empower you during any purchase negotiations.


Also, your needs will obviously depend on what you intend to use the car for, for example will you use it as a regular drive, or is it really just going to be a showpiece? 


Set a realistic budget


Classic cars come with a wide range of price tags, from affordable items to high-end rarities. It’s so important to set a realistic budget based on your financial situation and also your desired level of investment. Remember to factor in potential restoration costs, maintenance expenses, insurance costs and also any storage fees. While it's tempting to splurge on a dream car, staying within your budget ensures a more sustainable ownership experience and will hopefully avoid you getting stressed about it in the future. 


Inspect and test drive all prospects


Never underestimate the importance of a thorough inspection and test drive. If possible, enlist the help of a qualified mechanic or classic car expert to evaluate the vehicle's condition, including its engine, chassis, bodywork and the interior. If you are doing it yourself, pay close attention to any signs of rust, corrosion, mechanical issues, and modifications. A test drive will provide valuable insights into the car's performance, its handling, and its overall feel on the road.




Visit classic car shows and auctions


Car shows serve as vibrant hubs for classic car owners and enthusiasts, offering opportunities to admire a diverse range of vehicles, engage with fellow collectors, and gain inspiration for your own purchase. Attending rallies and classic car meets gives you the chance to network with like-minded individuals, gather insights from knowledgeable owners, and potentially discover some hidden gems for sale too!


It’s also really helpful to keep an eye on online auction sites, too. You will see what sort of prices your ideal car might sell for, and you can also gauge these sites to see what the most in demand makes and models might be.


Check the paperwork thoroughly


When thinking about purchasing a certain classic car, have a good look at the documentation that comes with it, to verify its authenticity and history. This includes original manuals, service records, ownership history and potentially any restoration receipts. Having a well-documented car not only adds to its value but also provides peace of mind regarding its provenance and maintenance history, and in many cases tends to show that it has been well looked after by previous owners.


Buying your very own classic, whether for the first time or the tenth time, is a rewarding endeavour that requires careful consideration, research and planning. By staying informed of the current market, setting realistic expectations in terms of budget and your intended use of the car, and fully immersing yourself in the vibrant, knowledgeable community of classic car collectors, you will no doubt buy something that is worth your while and that gives you an immense amount of pleasure. We wish you luck, and hope you find an absolute gem!