Buying classic cars: what you need to know

Buying classic cars: what you need to know

As nice and slick as a new model may be, with its futuristic features and the additional extras you can have made to order, any serious driver knows that a truly stylish drive can only happen if you're doing it in a classic car! A beautiful older model really lets you feel the road underneath you, and for many, the love of classic cars dates back to childhood – remembering that dream machine you imagined driving and are now being able to make that a reality.

Zuto can help finance rare and classic vehicles but buying a classic car isn't always as straightforward as buying a newer model, and there's a few extra things you need to consider – especially as the weather is starting to get warmer and interest in classic convertibles ramps up.

1. Research the car – and the seller

An important point for buying any car, not just a classic, is to do your research thoroughly. Check classic car forums and resources online to see reports from other owners on how these models hold up today, and what sort of maintenance needs you can expect. Be sure to budget accordingly for repairs and spare parts, as classic models will certainly need them, no matter how carefully you drive. You should also check up on the seller too, just search out their name and location online and see if it throws up any red flags in regards to reliability. Here at Zuto we like to reassure you about your intended purchase and can offer both a free vehicle history check and free valuation.

2. Avoid rust

A very basic one, but if you see rust on a prospective classic, walk away. A car that's started to rust will cost far more money than you're likely to be willing to spend, and you'll have to replace so many parts that it will hardly be the same car anymore.

3. Don't forget the garage

Classic cars need a little more care and protection than newer models. A dry and secure garage will be essential to protect the car and keep your insurance premiums to a minimum. Having plenty of space to store parts and carry out repairs is also essential. If you don't have this kind of space at home, it could be worth looking into rental storage.

4. Get the right insurance

Insurers treat classic cars a little differently to newer models. They will make the assumption that you'll be doing fewer miles in a classic model, for example, and will probably take better care of your motor. But be wary of how insurers value your car as you may have a different idea of how much it's worth. An agreed value policy, which sets the value to ensure a pay out that reflects the car's worth, could be essential.

Don't forget to consider spare parts cover, in case valuable and hard-to-replace parts are stolen or damaged, as well as laid-up cover to keep your classic car protected against damage, fire or theft while it undergoes repairs or stays in the garage over the winter months.

5. Keep your eyes on the tyres

The standards, measurements and technology of car tyres has changed a great deal over the years, so ensure your dream classic has road-worthy tyres, and that you'll be able to secure affordable replacements should you need them. Be sure to inspect your tyres regularly, and ensure that any new tyres you purchase are the right size, as many older tyre sizes don't have modern-day equivalents.

6. Consider resale value

More like a house than a new car, classic motors can gain or lose value massively. Cars with a low mileage, that were made as a part of a limited production run, which come in popular colours, and have subtle modernising modifications (such as powered windows, say) are very likely to increase in value, giving you plenty of opportunity to trade up.

7. Make sure it's something you love!

A classic car will cost you money and time – there's no two ways about it. Don't settle for something that you think will more-or-less do, and don't buy something just because you think you might be able to flip it and sell it on for more money – those roads only lead to disappointment. Classic cars are a lifestyle choice – make sure it's the right one!

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