6 Must-Know Tips & Tricks for First-Time Classic Car Buyers

If you’re on the fence about buying the classic car that’s caught your eye, don’t waste another second rationalizing this purchase. Consider these unignorable benefits of vintage car ownership and cruise your way into the life you’ve always wanted.

Classic cars packed full of character and that widely coveted wow factor. On a highway with bumper-to-bumper Toyota Corollas and less-than-eye-catching Subaru Outbacks, you’ll be sure to stand out and make a bold statement with your classic car. Remember, your wheels are an extension of you. Show the world your style and vintage flair by purchasing a sleek, classic, show-stopping vehicle.

The benefits of owning a classic car are limitless. Between one-of-a-kind road trips with your roaring four-wheeled friend and a flourishing vintage car community, you’ll be itching to purchase the next vehicle to add to your collection. Before you fork over the cash, make sure you follow these tips and tricks for first-time classic car buyers.

Shopping local vs. buying a classic car out-of-state

Once you’ve committed to classic car life, you’ll need to decide whether to purchase in-state or ship your new classic car from out-of-state. Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to scout a reputable seller who can offer you your dream car.

If you end up spotting your ideal model out-of-state, reputable classic car transport providers will ensure the shipping process runs seamlessly, scraping one potential concern off your plate.

If you choose to stick to a local dealership, you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons of purchasing from a dealer, auctioneer, or a private advertisement. Dealers offer detailed inspections and bartering freedom, but their bottom line as a middleman is to make a profit.

Auctions offer a high-energy environment for aspiring classic car owners. Should you choose an in-person auction over an online alternative, these events present unique finds but ding customers with premiums and limited inspection abilities.

If neither an auction nor a dealership interests you, spend some time seeking out local advertisements. Although this method requires a bit of digging, dealing directly with classic car enthusiasts is an exciting, community-building opportunity, as well as a business transaction.

Use inspectors

Don’t let the excitement of classic car ownership lead you in the direction of scammy transactions. Utilizing vintage car inspectors is a surefire way to ensure you score a deal that isn’t too good to be true.

These inspectors have specialized knowledge and are there to advocate for your wants and needs. Classic car communities are exhilarating to be part of, but you’ll want to ensure you are dealing with people who aren’t looking to take advantage of your hobby in-the-works.

Hobbies vs. Investments

Most classic car owners will attest that purchasing and maintaining their vehicles is a hobby, not a potential financial investment. However, some drivers within the community flip and sell vintage cars for a living.

Generally speaking, most car enthusiasts aren’t in the market to buy and sell in quick succession, as the maintenance of classic cars—especially for those cars driven frequently—can cost a pretty penny.

Note that the more money you spend upfront does decrease the amount you’ll likely pay overtime. However, first-time owners should be prepared to fork out some cash as they delve into the ins-and-outs of the classic car lifestyle.

Choose wisely

Deciding on which classic car to give your stamp of approval isn’t an easy task. Unfortunately, this part of the journey is up to personal preference, meaning drivers can’t adhere to a step-by-step guide and wait for the vintage car of their dreams to appear out of thin air.

Because classic car ownership is a hobby, not strictly a financial turnaround, following your heart is imperative to true satisfaction. If you’re not completely enamored and confident about a particular classic car, it’s better to be patient and take your business elsewhere.


Classic car ownership is a seductive, hands-on hobby. Should you choose to try your hand at vintage car ownership, you’ll be able to network with a genuine and passionate community of car enthusiasts. When boiling it down to the basics, first-time owners should check forums, patiently search, and get ready to invest in their new, show-stopping automobile.

If you have any questions, please ask below!