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Here are a few tips that can turn your dream of collecting classics into a reality.​​​​​​​
Classic cars provide their owners with a feeling that cannot be replicated in a modern automobile. Yes, the technology, safety, and ride quality in a contemporary automobile are dramatically better. However, classic cars evoke an emotion that can't be described.
There is something about a collector car that deeply resonates with you every time you sit behind the wheel. Car collecting isn't something reserved only for the wealthy. Any person with a passion for cars can become a collector.
Here are a few tips that can turn your dream of collecting classics into a reality.
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Deciding to purchase a classic car can be both exciting and scary at the same time. The good news is, it doesn't necessarily have to be a classic yet. The key is to buy low and sell high or if you are Jay Leno, then never sell at all. Every car reaches a point in its depreciation curve where its value could swing one of two ways.
The car can be driven into the ground, where the value of the vehicle doesn't outweigh the cost to maintain it. Those cars usually get scrapped and parted out in junkyards. Then every once in a while a car will come along and become desirable again. This happens to vehicles with nostalgic characteristics. Usually, within fifteen to twenty years, certain special cars begin to stop depreciating and start appreciating.
It's when a car that was once popular during someone's childhood becomes attainable for the first time. Right around thirty to thirty-five years old is when an enthusiast becomes financially stable enough to afford their childhood dream car.
For example, an entire generation that grew up playing Gran Turismo and Need For Speed are now all grown up. Popular cars from the mid-nineties, like the mark IV Toyota Supra and Acura NSX, have all skyrocketed in value in the last five years.
The key is to find a vehicle that was once the bedroom poster 15-20 years ago. A car that is discernible, timeless, and of course nostalgic is sure to have the highest probability of becoming a future classic.
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No one enjoys having to get auto insurance, especially on a car they're barely going to drive. Insurance can be expensive and when it comes to classic cars it doesn't need to be registered as an antique to qualify for classic car insurance.
There are two companies that will provide insurance on your classic with an agreed-upon price. Hagerty is one company that specializes in classic car insurance and prides itself on great customer service. A cheaper alternative to Hagerty is State Farm, with its version of antique car insurance.
There's an application process that requires you to submit a form to a State Farm underwriter. The form asks some simple questions such as what the car will be used for (ie: trailer queen, car shows). Also, you will need to provide them with a realistic value of what your classic is worth. Lastly, you're required to tell them how many miles you will drive the car annually.
They will usually accept any classic car that is in great condition. The main thing is that it's not used daily and only driven a few thousand miles a year. Depending on the agreed-upon value, the average classic car will have a six-month premium of around two hundred dollars.
Owning a collector car can sometimes turn into a love-and-hate relationship. If you don't know how to work on a car yourself, you must have a mechanic that you can trust to maintain your classic. Most dealerships will charge extremely high labor rates and have limited knowledge of how to work on a classic.
Independent mechanics usually have small shops with less overhead and will charge cheaper labor rates. These shops tend to have more experienced technicians with a broad base of knowledge in vintage cars.
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Most people don't have a four-car garage, or better yet, a spouse who is completely ok with a driveway full of old cars. As a result, car collectors resort to putting their cars in storage. However, car storage could be expensive, usually starting at around three hundred dollars a month.
For those of you living in the suburbs, public street parking should not be a problem. A good all-weather car cover will keep it protected from the elements. Just beware of street sweeping times and tattletales who may report it to the city. In certain cities, cars that stay in the same spot for more than three days are subject to being towed. You must check on your vehicle every couple of days to move it to a different spot.
For city dwellers, there are public parking garages that have monthly rates cheaper than most car storage facilities. For peace of mind look for garages that have monitoring security and 24-hour surveillance.
Most mechanic shops will perform a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) on any automobile for around hundred and fifty dollars. The technician will put the car on a lift and conduct a multi-point inspection. A PPI will give you a better idea of what work needs to be done to get your future classic all sorted.
If you're worried about being stranded on the side of the freeway, get a AAA membership. It costs less than a hundred dollars a year, and you do not need to have AAA auto insurance. The Plus Membership is a bit more money, but it provides a hundred miles of towing up to four times a year.
Sources: YouTube, American Automobile Association
Victor Troia is a Features Writer with nine years of experience in the automotive industry. An enthusiast and car collector with a B.A in History and M.S in Education. Victor enjoys writing about the history and impact automobiles have on car culture