Selling Your Classic Car

The following is an edited excerpt from Drop Throttle Oversteer: Collecting & Investing in Classic Cars, by Jason Paynter, host of the Classic Car Corner podcast!

So the time has come to sell one of your beloved cars. Your reasons may be multiple and everyone’s reason is different. You ran out of space, you want or need your capital for other things, you’ve really seen a lot of appreciation on one car and want to see what the market will bring. The only thing I’m sure of is you aren’t selling because you’ve given up collecting, right? Whatever the reason, sometimes it’s time to say goodbye and sell. When the time comes, here are some things you can do in order to have a successful sale and get top dollar for your car.

Prepare The Car

This seems like it should go without saying, but clean the car, perform any mechanical work it needs. Make sure all the lights, blinkers, radio, wipers, etc. are all in working order. You don’t have to do all these things and you can sell the car “as-is,” but having everything in proper operating condition, along with all the paperwork when selling, will make it very easy for an interested buyer to say “I’ve got to have it!” when he sees your car. Also, it really pays to have the car detailed. Even if you’ve never done it before, do it now. Your car will look so fine you might even change your mind about selling…

Determine The Price

Do some market investigation. What are other cars of the same year, make and model going for? Are there any for sale in your market? And what is the overall market like right now? Is there a lot of demand? How soon do you need to sell the car? All these are going to be factors in setting your price. So is the actual condition of the car. Take a good honest, critical look at the car. What kind of shape is it really in? Advertising it as “mint” when it’s really “good” will just end up attracting the wrong buyers.


You’ll want to take photos. Or better yet, you might pay a little to have some really nice photos taken. While I wouldn’t encourage you to stretch on the condition of your car, there’s no reason not to photograph it in the best light. Also, have lots of photos. You can’t have too many. You already know car enthusiasts love to look at pictures. Get as many as you can.

Determine where you want to advertise your car. A classic car needs to be marketed with outlets that professionally sell classic cars on a daily basis, in my opinion. You may get lucky on Facebook Marketplace, which can be great and cost effective, but eBay, Gateway Classic Cars, Hemmings and Bring a Trailer, to name as few, should be considered too. You may choose to use a listing service which will cost a bit. Or you may be prepared to wait to sell. Either way is fine, it’s totally up to you.

Write copy for your ad that will draw the searching enthusiast in and make the car real. Interesting attributes, elements and special features included make it come to life. If you’re looking for one of these cars, the copy should enable you to envision it in vivid detail, even without pictures. Also note the things in the car that are not working are listed. You want to give a full, engaging story about your car, but it’s good to set expectations. That way you know when a buyer sets up a visit he won’t be disappointed.

Make The Sale

Some of how this will be done is determined by how you choose to sell the car. If you go with a broker or an auction, you don’t really have to worry about this. But if you choose to sell yourself, online or in print, you’re going to need to do a bit of seller beware. The overwhelming majority of buyers are honest. You bought the car yourself, right? And your intentions are good. So something going wrong like this is rare, but it does happen and if you’re aware that it could, you can practically guarantee that it won’t happen to you. Here are some good rules to follow:

  • Ask your prospective buyer how he heard about your car, and get contact information
  • Always meet a prospective buyer with another person, a friend or family member
  • Be very choosy about payment methods: accept cash, cashier’s check, wire transfer or electronic payment. Cash needs no verification (although be careful on the way to the bank). A cashier’s check can be verified through the bank it’s drawn from. A wire transfer can usually be processed and verified the same day if it’s sent before a certain time. Either way, you should be able to call the bank and make sure the funds are there and being sent. Don’t be afraid to do this! If your buyer is honest, he will understand you need to verify getting your payment. If you get any pushback, my advice is don’t do the deal. No honest person is going to give you a hard time about being careful to get paid.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

More Posts

All About the Humvee Part 1 – with Ian Ipsan!

We cannot tell a lie, we love the Hummer! And so does Ian Ipsan. Ian’s story begins in childhood when he decided he was going to own one of these magnificent machines, no matter what it took. Today, he’s owned three of them! In Part One of this interview, Ian tells host Jason Paynter about his first Hummer acquisition, delves into the history of this iconic vehicle (including where the name came from), and talks some specs like configurations and the differences between military and civilian Humvees. If you love this “car” as much as we do, you’re not going to want to miss this show!

Simple Tips for Winterizing Your Ride

This week as everywhere we look seems to be covered in snow, a repost of an excellent article by our friend Jason Paynter from the Classic Car Corner podcast. In it he shares some of his best tips for winterizing your automobiles, particularly ones in storage for the season. Read on to learn more on how to keep your precious classics in great shape until spring visits us again!

WOW! The classic car event of 2022 with the Bluegrass World of Wheels Custom Car Show crew!

When we say wow, we mean WOW! Greg & Gail Wilson, Kenny & Vicki Hoerter and Ron Rawlins are launching a Custom Car Show this month that is out of this world. Introducing Bluegrass World Of Wheels – the inaugural show featuring 400 cars and exhibits will will be on January 22 and 23 of 2022 at the Kentucky Expo Center. Join in on the conversation as the guys learn about the ins and outs of how to participate and attend this spectacular event that has been over five years in the making! Not to be missed!

Buying a Watch to Retain Value

It’s New Year (2022 if you can believe it) and ruminating over resolutions always reminds me of something my best friend from college once pointed out – why is it that we’re always making difficult resolutions? Why not slip in at least one that would be fun to keep?

The Honda Type R Civic with Lauren and Nick Terrell!

What a show for you New Year’s Day! Classic Car Corner rings in 2022 with Lauren and Nick Terrell. There are Honda Civics, and then there are Honda Type R Civics which prove a completely different beast under the hood. Packing 306 horsepower and a six speed manual shift assisted by an unapparent turbo lag turbocharged transverse 4 cylinder, this is a unique car to say the least. With front wheel drive, yet no torque steer detected from sudden acceleration, the Type R can hit 169 mph. And wait until you hear what Lauren has to say about the “Rev Match!” Listen in and enjoy the ride! And a happy and prosperous 2022 to you from all of us in The Corner!!

The Classic Car Corner Origin Story with Tim Hatzell!

A special episode for Christmas Day 2021! This week our friend Tim Hatzell visits The Corner, but as a host instead of a guest. Tim turns the tables on our host Jason Paynter to learn about how Classic Car Corner got started. The guys also dig into Jason’s love of cars, his car memorabilia collection and so much more. Please join us for this lively conversation all about how CCC came to be. And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours from all of us here!