What to Look For When Buying Your First Classic Car

This post is an edited excerpt from the book “Drop, Throttle, Oversteer: Collecting and Investing in Classic Cars” by Jason Paynter, who is also a certified appraiser of classic cars through G.D. Herring. Contact Jason today at jason@gdherring.com to learn more about he can help you with your classic car appraisal!


In light of our recent interview with ClassicCars.com, I wanted to share some information with you on what to look for when it’s time for buying your first classic car. What type of classic cars should you look for when you hear the all-consuming siren song to have one?

Things to Consider…

There are a few things to consider when selecting a classic. I think the analogy of a funnel works well for this. Start by throwing all your ideas and concerns into the funnel.  When you do this, you’ll find your decision making gets easier. Throw in your price point, how you want to pay for your car, where to obtain classic car insurance and where you will park or store it. Also, decide if this car will be held long-term, or a short flip. Once these parameters have been decided, let the excitement of choosing your new classic begin!

What’s Trending

I like to look for what is trending in the market, as well as what may be unique and rare. Equally as important for me, are memories or the sentimental value of a particular model. Then lastly, how convenient it is to go look at the car? I’ll give you an example; my parents bought a new Toyota Corolla in 1980. Eight years later, I learned to drive on that car. It was a manual hatchback and now these cars are so popular, they are hard to find, especially an unmodified stock model. Regrettably, our car was totaled (not by me, thank you), but if I had the chance to duplicate that very car, I would and I’m in pursuit of one now. There are so many things which will influence your decision, especially when it comes to sentimentality.

“Value Items” for Your New Classic

However, if you are just wanting an older car with no attachment to your childhood commuter,  there are a number of “value items” I’d recommend looking for. Most collectors want two door coupes. Most prefer a stock car as it came off the line from the manufacturer, with no modifications. Most also want low mileage, only one or two owners, and a life spent in a mild (usually southern) climate.

My Perfect Starter Classic

Perfect example of a great starter classic, a 1969 VW Bug. They are popular, affordable, and parts are readily available, so it’s easy to make repairs and improvements. They are simple to work on and there are plenty of blogs and forums for problem solving and troubleshooting.

And these cars can easily be re-sold if you feel compelled to do so. You kind of can’t go wrong with this one as a first collection car. Don’t get me wrong –  wanting an Avanti, Corvair or Matador is understandable! However, go into owning one of these knowing you will likely find these cars and their parts to be pricey and scarce. Add in the difficulty of finding an affordable and trustworthy repair shop to help you keep them running and you can soon find all the fun of owning a classic car has just gone down the drain! My advice for the beginning collector – stick with an “easy” car to get started and work your way up to the rare/complicated cars. I promise it’ll be a ton of fun!

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
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!