The basics of buying a classic car

If you’ve already taken a look at our page on whether or not you should buy a classic car, and you’ve decided that this is the route for you, you next need to work out how to home in on the best model for you – and also how to find a decent example.

Elsewhere in this section you’ll find lots of invaluable advice about buying and running a classic car, but before you fully immerse yourself in the buying process, you need to ensure you home in on something that fits in with your needs. Here’s how to do just that.

You need to ensure you home in on something that fits in with your needs
  • Having looked at the considerations in our page on how to choose the right classic car, create a shortlist of the classics you think would suit your circumstances. Get along to a few classic car shows and talk to people who already own the cars, getting a feel for them.
  • Establish what the running costs will be for your chosen classic; look at how much the insurance will be as well as what specialists charge for parts and labour. Be realistic about maintenance requirements, which will be greater than for a modern.
  • Look at a range of examples of your chosen car before you buy; even if you think the first car you see is an absolute minter, looking further may show it to be not as good as you think, or overpriced for what it is.
  • Give any potential purchase a thorough inspection; it’s worth putting it through an MoT if you’re in doubt. This is effectively a cheap inspection, although you can get a full professional inspection done as an alternative; it’ll be costly though.
  • In terms of where to buy, classic car rallies, classifieds and specialist magazines are all worth a look, along with Autotrader. For the greatest peace of mind it’s best to buy from a specialist classic car dealer, but this will also almost certainly be the most costly route to ownership.