There are a great many reasons for buying a classic car: love for the history of a specific brand, the fun of tinkering with your classic, the experience of driving an old car, and the possible investment potential that many classic cars can offer, to name a few.
The classic car market is hotter than ever and, as a result, many people are looking at classic cars as a great way to invest their money. While that might seem like a great idea, there are also many potential pitfalls of classic car ownership, and just as many reasons for not buying a classic car.
We went through our list and broke it down into five reasons not to buy a classic car:
1. A friend of mine said I should buy a classic car.
Say you have a modern Porsche 911 or Dodge Challenger and your friends think you should buy an old one to go with it. You envision yourself as part of the hardcore, cool-guy crew. This is a dangerous mindset, especially if you’ve come to expect such things as satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and a good, working A/C, which are niceties generally not available on classic cars. And remember, a classic car will be less reliable and require more maintenance than its modern equivalent.
You should only buy a classic car because you want a classic car, not to be part of the cool crowd. We really aren’t as cool as we think we are.
2. I have been thinking of buying a classic car but I do not like working on mechanical things.
Not having experience with working on old cars is not a prerequisite, but you should be willing to learn about making some mechanical repairs. No matter how many mechanics you hire, at some point you are going to have to fix something yourself. Classic car people tend to forget that they spend a considerable amount of time fixing things, often more time that they spend actually driving their classics.
They forget this because they enjoy the process of working on and sorting out the issues that come up with their old cars.
Ideally, you should consider this tinkering to be part of the fun of the classic car experience. If not, think twice about making a classic car purchase.
3. I can afford a classic car but it needs to be perfect because I have just enough money to buy the car.
No classic car is perfect. We are not aware of a single person who has bought any classic car that did not require some amount of money to be spent on it immediately. It is best to budget somewhere between $1,500-$5,000 for maintenance in addition to the price you’re paying for any new classic car purchase, the added cost dependent on the price level of the classic. However, if you’re buying a classic Ferrari, most experts say to budget as much as $20,000 more.
If you cannot afford to pay for the inevitable initial repairs, then you are going to have trouble with classic car ownership from the start.
4. Classic cars make a great investment and I like a sure thing.
There are no sure investments, with the possibly exception of the big-time fine-art world. The classic car market has its ups and downs just like every other market.
Buying a car only as an investment is a big mistake. Old cars take care and attention, making them very different from other appreciating assets.
Buy a classic car only if you really love and want that car, and only buy a make and model that you love and not purely because you foresee upside potential.
Then, no matter what happens with classic car market values, you will still have that car you always wanted.
5. I want to buy a car on TV at an auction, like the big shots.
This has got to be the worst reason to buy a classic car, and every year more people buy cars because they want to be seen on television winning a bidding war. This behavior always astounds us, but we have heard so many people boast about having the opportunity to pay too much for a car on TV.
If you want to be on TV that badly, figure out another way, possibly by starting a cooking show or applying for a spot on Survivor or Shark Tank.
If you still decide to a buy a classic car, take a look at these guidelines and make sure none of them apply to you, in which case you probably should decide not to buy.
Always buy a classic car that you love because you want to own it and to drive it, and you should have a terrific experience.