If you love classic cars, you’ll know how expensive they can be. And not just to buy. Even running the darn things can make a hole in your wallet.
With that said, some people manage to pull it off without any apparent damage to their finances. And it’s those individuals we want to follow.
The purpose of this post is to list some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to your classic car obsession. Here’s what you need to know:
Do: Plan Your Budget
The first thing to do is plan your budget. You want to find out how much you’ll need to spend to engage in a classic car hobby.
Most people are surprised by just how much it costs. There are many additional expenses besides the initial car purchases, including servicing and storage. For instance, you may find that you need to build somewhere to house your vehicles and keep them out of the weather to prevent them from turning into rust buckets. You might also need to work with specialist aftermarket suppliers who are experts in building OEM-style parts that are no longer available to order. Naturally, all this is expensive.
Don’t: Buy On Impulse
It’s a bad idea to buy classic cars on impulse. While they might look fantastic in the showroom, looking after them is often a different story.
Some vehicles are cheap to purchase upfront, but there are reasons for this. For instance, you can often find luxury Bentleys and Rolls-Royces for a fraction of their as-new prices. However, these vehicles require constant maintenance to keep them on the road, which raises costs significantly. Simply replacing the clutch with something acceptable could set you back thousands (nearly as much as you paid for the vehicle in the first place).
Therefore, always take your time to research vehicles thoroughly. Be patient and take time to explore them fully. Find out other owners’ experiences and get to know people who can help you.
Do: Consider Your Financial Health
At the same time, you’ll also want to consider your overall financial health. Buying a classic car is not essential, so it’s something you’ll want to do once you get everything else out of the way.
Avoid dipping into your emergency fund to pay for your car. It’s better to have security first before taking on additional responsibilities.
Don’t: Skip Maintenance
Manufacturers didn’t build older cars to the same standards as those available today. Even twenty years ago, the technology wasn’t anything as precise as it is now.
Therefore, you’ll want to stick to a rigorous maintenance schedule. Ensure you replace damaged or defective parts quickly to avoid harm to components elsewhere in the system. Get out of the habit of believing an annual service is sufficient. That’s a modern car standard. It doesn’t apply to older vehicles that require weekly attention to be at their best.
Do: Explore Financing Options
You also want to explore various financing options to make purchasing a classic car more manageable. Spreading the cost out over several months and years can have a profoundly positive effect on your budget.
Some lenders offer credit for classic car purchases. This way, you can reduce risk and avoid making large payments upfront that could eat into your financial well-being.
You can also sell junk cars for cash if you have one sitting in your garage. This money gives you liquidity to carry out repairs or upgrades on the new vehicle.
Don’t: Customize Your Vehicle Too Much
While customizing your classic car a little can be fun (and often necessary if you can’t source original parts), making too many changes may do more harm than good. Customization is expensive, but it also makes the vehicle less original. Putting in a modern engine instead of servicing and renovating the original can lower the value and prevent resale.
Of course, whether you customize is a personal decision. You might intend to keep the car forever and want it to be unique and original. In that case, changing it is okay. However, if you view it more as an investment, sticking to the original format is a much better idea.
Do: Join A Community
Whenever you buy a classic car, it is essential to join a community of people who know how to own and manage them. Having this network makes it less likely you will make serious mistakes.
Communities are helpful in all sorts of ways. Many will provide you with valuable advice and help you choose a classic car that meets your requirements. These groups will also share resources with you, including tools, letting you fix your engine without buying everything yourself (which could get expensive).
Don’t: Forget The Insurance
Insurance is also essential for classic cars, as it is for new ones. However, many owners overlook it, forgetting that their classic vehicle is also something they will take on the road with them.
Fortunately, numerous companies now offer insurance for older vehicles. This reality means you can get competitive quotes or even add the car to your regular policy.
Do: Enjoy The Journey
Owning a classic car isn’t easy. Maintenance is often a labor of love, taking up hours at the weekend. It’s more than a hobby because of the sheer dedication levels required.
That’s why successful owners find a way to enjoy the journey. These individuals understand it will be challenging but steel themselves for the journey. Ultimately, it isn’t about the finished product but the fun of getting there.
Don’t: Expect Your Car To Appreciate Immediately
Finally, don’t expect your car to appreciate immediately. It can take years for values to rise (and often depends on other models falling out of use and into disrepair).
Smart classic car investors look for vehicles they believe will soon go up in value but aren’t expensive right now. These can rise in price sharply with each passing year if they become cult classics. Recent vehicles in this category include the original Audi TT and the Citroen Cactus.