michael platt
4 min readJun 28, 2018


Plattmotors : How To Buy a Classic Car : The First Step, Figure Out Your Reasons — Classic Cars

Classic cars carry an aura that makes most of us dream of owning at least one in the course of our lives. For most people, the idea of taking a rundown automobile and restoring it to its former glory holds an undeniable appeal which is why the vintage car market has been booming in the past years. However, buying a classic car is not as simple as dropping by the car dealership at the end of the workday: if you really want to enjoy your classic, you need to put the time and effort to do it right. To help you out with your research, we’ve compiled a Beginner’s list to buying classic cars:

How to buy a classic car — the first step, figure out your reasons

Do you see yourself and your spouse riding your vintage car into the sunset as you embark on the romantic getaway of a lifetime? Sure, classic cars can make even the shortest journey feel glamorous. However, romantic weekends are often few and far between, and may not necessarily justify the price and time associated with having a vintage automobile.

The first and most important lesson you need to know before buying a classic is that it’s an investment. Buying a classic car just to have one is like purchasing a classic painting and putting it in a vault. Cars are built to move and few things can bring you as much pleasure as driving an all-time classic.

Before you decide the brand and model of the classic car, you need to set up a budget (we will talk more about how to do so in the second part of this piece). The price of the classic car is often determined by its condition. If you have the time, money and dedication to restore a rust-bucket car, then certainly, go for it! If you’re a busy professional with a family, however, a ready-to-drive model might be a better option for you.

To restore a classic to its former mint condition you also need to have access to dry and secure garage not only to tinker but to store the spare parts for your vehicle. Most classic cars don’t do well when parked on the street and insurers usually expect them to be put in a garage at night.

The age of the car also determines how much maintenance it will need. Older cars in general demand more attention, especially if you plan all-year-round use. Even a 1960s classic cars will require servicing every few thousand miles which means you’ll need to put aside the time and resources to maintain your classic vehicle.

Classic cars can be a great and incredibly safe investment, especially in this era of volatile markets. The Fiat Dino’s value, for instance, increased by 113% between the end of 2015 and 2016 alone, which highlights the potential such an investment can have. However, to make sure it’s a savvy financial decision, make sure you do your research.


Classic cars come in more prices and conditions than you can probably imagine. A near-mint condition Model T can cost you anywhere between $10,000-$15,000. If you’re dreaming of a Porsche, however, you’ll need to invest far more to get even a project car.

To get a rough idea of the price you can expect, it’s best to check price guides in a reputable classic car guide book. Think about what you can realistically afford, and try to understand your dream car’s strengths and weaknesses. In most cases, newer models might be significantly more desirable than earlier ones but that’s not true for every classic car.

As a rule of thumb, the more money you spend upfront, the more money you’ll save throughout your classic cars life. Many people invest in run-down classics which appear inexpensive at first but the restoration process can involve hundreds to thousands of labor hours (and let’s not forget about the spare parts).

When looking around for a classic car to buy, it’s critical that you set up a budget. Don’t just rush into the decision and buying the first vintage model you see. Think about what you can reasonably afford we cannot emphasize this enough and make sure you knock off the cost of insuring the car from your budget. Think about whether you’ll need to tax the classic car and, if you plan on going through an auction, whether you’ll be required to cover the auctioneer’s fees.

Where — and what to look for

Buying a classic car isn’t that much different from buying any vehicle but it does come with its peculiarities. In most cases, you can get a great vintage automobile from an auction, private party or a classic car dealership but whichever you pick, you need to be vigilant, patient and careful when making the final purchase.

If you’ve got your eyes on an older car, make sure to ask whether it has been restored before most older cars have but the question is how well. Ask about the car provenance the history of the car and make sure you get all supporting evidence (service books and invoices) but also check it yourself before you commit to buying it.

Look for rust, rot and poorly executed repairs bodywork and chassis can be repaired for less money than the oily bits. Rule number one for buying classic cars is to look for one that has as little body rot as possible. Make sure to look under the car, inside fenders, rocker panels and at the bottom of the doors rust there is a tell-tale sign your classic car might be more trouble than it’s worth.

A final piece of advice: regardless of what classic car you decide to buy, make sure you love it. Starting your research from an investment point of view is good but in the end, you shouldn’t invest in a car you have no desire to drive.