10 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Classic Car | Car Finance

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Ten questions to ask before buying your first classic car

We’ve had a brilliant time over the last few weeks sharing tales from our classic car client who has been buying classic cars for over 50 years! In the final blog post of our series, our client has ten questions you need to ask yourself before you make that purchase!

If you haven’t yet taken that first step in to classic car ownership, we suggest taking a read of these top tips…our client really knows his stuff and we are incredibly grateful that he’s taken time away from running his businesses to share some of these pearls of wisdom!

Tips on Classic Car Ownership

  • 1. Where will you store them?

    Most home garages have space for only a few cars so collectors must find a place to store their vehicles. A warehouse, barn conversion or extended home garage is fine, but make sure its as close as possible to where you live. You don’t want a long drive just so you can take one of your cars out for a spin. You’ll also want to make sure it’s easy to heat and keep dry. If it’s where you live you can wander over and play with the cars at any time – perfect!

  • 2. Create space in your garage

    Hydraulic lifts can be used to store vehicles vertically if you have high ceilings but keep spare parts organised and out of the way. Remember it is a fact of life that you always need more space than you think!

  • 3. Think long and hard about your vehicular theme

    Smart car aficionados focus on styles and experts and friends to help shape their collections. Stay focused, but if you really fall in love with a machine, you can make an exception.

  • 4. Make friends with other collectors

    Even if you hate the cars they own, remember that they are like minded. Tell people you are just starting out and look for collectors’ clubs. Half the fun of this hobby is meeting other people who have similar interests. Along with adding a social element to the pastime, clubs and associations can be great resources for technical advice and leads for where to find rare or discontinued parts.

  • 5. Go to Motoring club meets

    Rallies and races have always been a part of my collecting experience. Car collectors come alive when they’re with other people who know and care about them. Remember you can never have too many contacts in the industry.

  • 6. Do your homework

    Gravitate to cars created by visionary designers and spend a lot of time researching makers and engineers. In the process they’ve accumulated a library of catalogues and books – as well as posters, models and other vintage marketing materials. All of these things will add to your understanding of your marque.

  • 7. Make friends with like-minded collectors

    You can’t go to every auction and see every car in person, so it helps if you have a few friends where you trust their opinions and taste. A Jaguar E-Type came up for sale recently in Monte Carlo and I was not able to inspect it. Instead, I asked a local friend to take a look. He knows what I like and after hearing his report and number check, I felt comfortable buying the car. One of my best purchases but you need to trust your friend’s judgement.

  • 8. How much work you want to do?

    Depending on your interest, maintenance and repair work can be either a chore or a source of great pleasure. Understanding where you fall in the spectrum defines what kind of cars to buy. Always thoroughly research the condition of a vehicle before purchase. I like to spend time tinkering on my vehicles, but I also have a network of mechanics that I can hand jobs over to.

  • 9. Decide whether you are an enthusiast, collector or possessor.

    An Enthusiast looks, knows a lot, talks a lot, but is not really committed.

    A Possessor is really just a hoarder who will buy anything that may or may not go up in value and will stick his purchase in a shed or even a field and would rather see his buys return to the soil than let anyone else have them.

    But a Collector gets real enjoyment from his (or her) cars. He assembles his ‘hit’ list that he has always wanted and acquires them as and when funds allow. I think that most classic car people are collectors by default.

  • 10. The golden rule

    Don’t stick your collectable in a corner and forget it. Keep it in good running order – the fluids and battery tip top and run the engine regularly. You don’t have to take them out for a run but sit in, start the engine and enjoy the visualisation – but open the door first!

    I have one of the last Ducatti 998R motorbikes in my collection – to ride the bike scares me to death but to sit on it and go ‘brum brum’ is still a great pleasure and I totally appreciate its divine beauty.


A Final Tip – No Two!

Be careful not to collect too many cars that are just the same – blinkered obsession is just what it says, blinkered.

Be careful to understand that your partner needs to be understanding too, otherwise you could be agonizing over which half of your collection you are going to hand over!


We hope that you have enjoyed hearing the inside-scoop from our classic car collector client. We are delighted that he gave up his valuable time and was so generous with his insights into the fascinating world of classic car ownership and we hope that his stories have inspired you as much as they have inspired us.

If you would like to have a conversation about how you can begin your journey in to classic car ownership, please contact me directly on awise@fcfinance.co.uk or on 01635 785 400. I post regularly about the amazing cars we have helped our clients to buy on LinkedIn, so feel free to connect with me on there if you want to start a conversation about classic car ownership.



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