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Cabarrus Magazine

Questions You Should Ask Before Buying Classic Cars

Mar 11, 2021 11:01AM ● By Kristy Huddle

Collecting and restoring classic cars isn’t as simple as buying one from a local store. When looking for a specific classic, you’ll often have to find independent sellers online or through the local newspaper. However, there are key questions you should ask before buying classic cars. Asking these questions can help collectors ensure they’re investing in the right vehicle for their next restoration project.

Is the Car’s Title Clean?

A crucial sign of a classic car’s value is the title. Always ask a seller if they have the title, but more importantly, ask whether that title is clean. When cars lack a clean title, it’s known as a “branded title.” Cars with branded titles have endured excessive damage, which obviously determines whether the car is worth buying for a restoration. Likewise, always check the car’s title is in the seller’s name. If not, consider looking elsewhere for a vehicle.

Is There Any Serious Damage To the Car?

One of the most vital questions to ask a car seller is what kind of damage the vehicle has. You must know if there’s serious damage. Serious damage includes issues such as holes, dents, scratches, or rust. Furthermore, ask if there are any issues with the engine, tires, suspension, and other essential systems.

The presence of these issues shouldn’t instantly drive you away from a sale. Instead, consider whether you’re willing to invest time and money into fixing those issues. Rust might take some time to get rid of, but in many cases, it’s totally doable.

When Can I Test Drive the Car?

To truly get a look at how well the car works, always ask sellers to test drive a classic before purchasing it. That way, you can really get a feel of handling issues, such as pulling to the side or excessively shaking—issues such as these require fixing during a restoration.

Now that you know three of the top questions you should ask before buying classic cars, you can avoid making simple mistakes before the restoration even begins. Pro tip: find yourself an owner’s manual for the classic you’re buying and research the original parts.

Many car collectors prefer rebuilding classics with their original parts, which requires a bit of research. For example, if you’re restoring a classic WWII Jeep, there are telling signs whether the gauges are original or installed by the previous owner. Knowing the vehicle inside and out helps collectors restore old-school cars to their former glory.

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