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What to look out for when purchasing a vintage car

What to look out for when purchasing a vintage car

Have you ever thought about buying a vintage car? The term ‘vintage car’ refers specifically to one that was made between 1913 and 1930. Cars of this generation were the first ones owned by the ‘every man’ after the First World War, instead of only being a luxury item for the very rich.

It’s not going to be your main mode of transport, instead a vintage car is perfect for a Sunday drive, something special to collect or a project to work on. Any classic car can be considered an investment but unlike money in the bank or art on the wall, this is an investment that you can take out for a spin!

However, vintage cars can be expensive and so it’s important to know what to look out for when it comes to making a purchase. We’ve put together a list of the most important things to consider before you make your purchase.

Know your limits

How handy are you and how much time and money are you willing to put into your vintage car? It’s important that you’re realistic about how much work you want to, and are able to put into the car. Classic cars are given a classification to identify what the quality is like. Some are flawless while others are in need of a lot of work to restore them to their former glory. Make sure you know what work will be required and whether or not you’re capable of doing it, or have a handy mechanic you can rely on.

Check the basics

While many parts of a vintage car can be restored, you ideally don’t want to have to deal with a busted motor or major damage to the body. For this reason, it shouldn’t be bought sight-unseen, and at the very least you should insist on a video call walk-around to better inspect the vehicle.

Balance rarity and practicality

The rarer a car, the higher its potential value. But it also means it will be more difficult to fix and restoring with original pieces will be a challenge. Before buying a rare vintage car, try to find some parts specific to that model. Are there many listings on eBay? Who would you get to help with any repairs?

Ben Finnis from Collectable Classic Cars suggests reaching out to your local Car Club to get some general advice and find others with similar vehicles.

“You’ll often find classic car owners will have one car in their shed to drive and one for parts,” he says.

Knowing how difficult sourcing parts and undergoing repairs will be is important when it comes to assessing whether it’s worth purchasing a rare vintage car.

Check the paperwork

Make sure that the car you’re considering comes with all the relevant documentation. Ideally the car will have a full papertrail, starting with the original purchase and ending with the current owner. Things like the original user manual are always desirable, but not necessarily a ‘must have’.

It’s also advisable to talk to the current owner to find out what work has been done and any quirks the car has.It might not have any original paperwork, but may have been updated so that it’s much more drivable, and this could be more important to you.

Buy something you like

“Buying a vintage car is so much more than just buying a car, it’s about the memories. The memories of the previous owners and the memories you’re going to create with it,” says Finnis.

It doesn’t matter how rare a car is or how good a deal it is, if you don’t like the style of vehicle or don’t want to drive it, don’t buy it. You want something that excites you! A vehicle that you are happy to own and spend time working on and being behind the wheel. A vintage car will occasionally need to be driven around to maintain its health. Long periods of non-usage will cause it to break down, so make sure you buy a car that you want to drive and want to be seen in. They also don’t come with the comforts of a modern car and can have hundred year old brakes, making them notoriously difficult to drive. Regardless, vintage cars sure are head-turners!

Ultimately a vintage car is an investment. It will require money, time and love, but it will provide you with pride, happiness and memories in return for years to come.

Whether it’s being restored in your shed or taken on regular drives across town, make sure your vintage car is properly insured with NRMA Vintage Car Insurance.

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