11th January 2022

6 questions to ask yourself when buying a classic car

It can be difficult to decide which classic car you should purchase. But one thing is for certain, you need to buy something you love. Here are some questions to ask yourself so you can make sure you get it right.

What is pulling at your heart strings?

Often, it may be a vehicle that you loved from childhood, your teens or your early twenties that you couldn’t afford at the time that has always and forever captured your heart. And now, you can make the dream become a reality! But before you jump in headfirst, take a minute to think about these things; Have you ever driven your dream car? Can you fit in your dream car? Does the family fit? Do you want them to…?

How and where are you going to use the car?

It is important that you are realistic with yourself about where and when you are going to use your classic. Is it for quick trips to the pub and around town? Sunday drives? Or are you more prone to long-distance adventures, historic rallying or a bit of everything? Consider all the eventualities of how you want your classic lifestyle to look before you settle on a marque.

Do you want to get in and drive immediately or are you open to a restoration project?

The first thing to consider here is time and money. Restoration projects can seem like a cheaper way into classic ownership, but in reality, it can end up costing more than buying an immaculate car outright and a hell of a lot longer to getting to those dreamy drives or heading to your first show. Most of all, if you do go down the restoration route – make sure that all the components are present, especially interior, and exterior trim parts.

Where are you going to keep the car?

With the UK weather, to keep a classic car in top condition, you really need to be able to house it under a cover. This goes without saying if it is a convertible particularly. It is also worth paying particular attention to whether your chosen marque will fit into the space you intend to store it in. This may sound obvious, but there have been some stories from people who have assumed and later regretted it!

Will you work on it yourself?

If you are planning to tinker with your classic yourself and you are new to the classic world, then consider something pre 1980s. Any later than that and it gets more complicated with the electronics and fuel injection. Although having said that, Golf GTI, Mk1’s and K-Jetronic systems are fairly straightforward to understand.

Where is the vehicle in its life cycle?

Most cars go through a low point at which values have dropped and repairs seem uneconomic. This is when they start to be scrapped and then there aren’t many around on the roads anymore. When the car hits the 25-30 years old mark, it suddenly starts to gain collectability again which makes it a good time to buy. But make sure you’re not buying at the peak when there is a feeding frenzy due to the scarcity of good examples. Things will often settle again. Do the maths and buy at the right time.

Do you have any questions for us about buying your first classic? We would love to help you. Drop them in the comments below!

Information sourced from Classic Trader, The Classic Buyers Guide in association with Footman James.