Classic Car Investing: Why You Need an Antique Car Appraisal

Your classic car appraisal will be the best weapon you have against potential scams. Antique cars are only as valuable as the parts that make them up. As an investor, you may be able to look at a car's condition and know whether you think it to be a good investment. This is where an appraiser offers great value to you.

Original Parts and Replacement Parts

An appraiser will know the difference between original parts and replacement parts. Many antique cars will require replacement parts, but the key is to assure the individual who made the adjustments used originals instead of duplicates or fakes. For example, having the wrong engine in a classic car will reduce its value. In fact, even including materials, like modern vinyl instead of original leather for replacement seats, can greatly reduce your price.


You can estimate the condition of the vehicle, but an appraiser is going to do a more thorough job of checking an antique car's systems. You want to assure a car is fully-functional to get the maximum value. Even cars that are used for show must be able to run in order to hold their value over the years.


Your appraiser will know the market preferences. For example, if you are purchasing an antique sports car, you may question whether this particular model is the most valuable or if there is another model with modifications that will be more popular. This is very common with sports cars where variations in engine performance reduce the price of a particular model. Ask your appraiser if this is the most valuable version of a particular model of vehicle.

Auction Pricing and Ease of Sale

Your car is worth little as an investment if it cannot be sold. Your appraiser should be able to give you an idea of how many of this model are currently available compared to how many prospective buyers there may be. For example, if the car appraises at $180,000 but the last sale was made for $160,000, you may note there are not likely a lot of buyers on the market currently looking for this type of vehicle. This can make it harder to sell the car, directing you to multiple auctions and car shows before you can profit.

Picking the Right Appraiser

Since the appraisal is a key protection when purchasing an antique car, it is critical to select a good appraiser. Your appraiser should have specific knowledge about the make and model of the car. Your appraiser should also have a track record of quality investments. Ask your appraiser if his former clients made money on their purchases.

It is also important to ask whether they ever advised any one against a purchase. A good appraiser should be willing to warn you when the purchase you are considering is not likely to be profitable. Finally, a good appraiser will have a reputation among the auto restorers and auctioneers in a particular area or of a particular vehicle. Ask around in these circles.

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