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Things You Should Evaluate Before You Sell a Vintage Car

Things You Should Evaluate Before You Sell a Vintage Car

There is no simple answer to whether you should keep or sell a vintage car. There are a lot of factors you need to consider before you can make a wise decision. In the end it all boils down to your unique situation and whether you are in a position to keep and maintain the vintage car versus the lucrativeness of an offer. 


These are 8 things you should consider before you decide to sell that vintage car.

1. Vintage or Not

Is your car really a classic or do you believe it to be because it belonged to your dad and you are emotional about it? It is important to actually know whether your car is considered a classic model in the market. This is easier said than done because there is no one universal definition of classic cars. There are just general guidelines that determine whether an automobile is vintage or not.

However, there are several car collector organizations and groups that have come up with their own set of definitions. The age of your vehicle plays the most important factor here. This is in addition to whether others think the make and model is worth restoration and maintenance. Generally, cars need to be at least 20 years or older to enter the vintage club.

However, some vehicles are termed classics even though they are just a decade old. This all comes down to the interest car collectors have in owning that particular piece of machinery. For instance, all BMW M series – M3, M5, and M8 are considered classics and in high demand. If you own one of these beauties, you may get a fantastic price in the open market.

In contrast, Chevy Citation from the 80s, though older, is no sooner close to being termed a classic. This is because nobody really wants to collect the Citation or restore them. Rare cars tend to be termed classics sooner and oftener than regular ones. For instance, Ford GT 2005 and 2006 models are classics.

In short, your car is a classic only if others think that way. It is best to sell your vehicle quickly before it loses any more value if nobody else is interested in restoring and maintaining it. 

2. Investment

Do you think your classic car is an investment? If you have the means and knowledge to restore your vehicle and keep it in great shape, you could do better by holding on to it for a few more years. Classic cars only appreciate in their value. However, the car needs to be in a good condition which can cost a lot.

You should consider selling the car if you are unable to maintain it. Vintage vehicles that are not in pristine condition tend to depreciate in value. You could get more for it today than you would after two years. 

3. Enjoyment

Do you like driving your vintage vehicle? Do you still take it out for spins? Do you work under the hood every other evening? If the answer to all the above questions was a yes, then by all means you should hold on to the vehicle. It is after all bringing you hours of fun.

However, if you haven’t done anything with the vehicle for a long time and it is just sitting their gathering dust, you should think about selling it to someone who actually wants it. This holds true even if you are keeping the car as an investment. The car won’t be much of an investment anyway if the engine dies because of zero use. 

4. Affordability

One of the most important considerations when it comes to keeping a vintage car is if you can maintain it. Classics need a lot of care and maintenance. Any component that gets damaged may cost you upwards of a few hundred dollars. 

The only time you should stubbornly refuse to sell your vehicle is if you have enough disposable income to realistically keep the vehicle in good condition. Get a third opinion here if you can. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you.

Look at the vintage car and see if it requires a substantial amount of work. Ask yourself if you have the necessary resources. Sell the vehicle if you cannot maintain it. Classics are only as good as the things under the hood. If you can’t maintain your automobile, you would do better selling it right away when you can still get something for your troubles. 

At the very least, you will save on the insurance cost. You need to have bare minimum coverage if you decide to take the car for a spin at least occasionally. 

5. Life Priorities

Life situation and priorities shift throughout. You may have thought keeping your vintage was a great idea when you were unmarried. However, now that you have a partner and a baby on the way – holding on to the gas guzzler may not seem like a great option. You need to put new perspective on things when your life situation changes.

Classic car that you purchased in your youth can become a financial and mental burden as you age. You don’t have the same kind of resources or time as you did before. You are probably unable to even maintain it as regularly as you would like. Think of selling the vintage if having it doesn’t make sense anymore.

Sometimes, life throws a curveball and you need to sell the things you love the most just to stay afloat. For instance, you may need money to pay for your marriage, health bills, your child’s college education, or an unexpected emergency. Classic cars are great investment options and can fetch you a decent amount. It may be worth selling the car in such situations.

6. Restoration

You already know that it costs a lot to maintain a classic car. However, if you happened on one through somebody else’s will or gift, you need to make a realistic assessment of the vehicle. How much will it take to bring it to a well-maintained condition?

It can cost anywhere from a few hundreds to a couple thousands to fully restore a vehicle. And, money is just the start of it. Depending on the vehicle’s condition, you may need to invest serious time and effort as well to get the project up and running. 

Classic car restoration if left on the local mechanic could cost you a lot. Also, there is always the chance the car may never be restored if it’s really old. It has been gathering dust for so many years. What makes you think you can get it started? 

It’s important to be as brutally honest as possible. Get a third person on your action plan for better mental clarity. You should hold on to a classic only when you are completely sure you can restore it. You could end up spending more than you bargained for otherwise.

7. Sentiments

It can be difficult getting rid of a car that was passed on to you after the passing away of a parent or sibling. It is not uncommon for people to give away their precious classics to their loved ones upon passing. Such a situation can be difficult for you to navigate on your own. Sentiments attached to the car and its owner’s memories are not going to make things any easier.

Nostalgia has a very strong pull. However, once again you need to get realistic and take a hard, brutal look at your individual circumstances. Think about the costs of restoration, insurance, maintenance, and tune-up. Do you have enough disposable income to keep up with the various car troubles?

Also, you need to ask yourself if you can bring it to a working condition if the car is not well-maintained. If you don’t know how to restore cars, get a car restoration mechanic involved and ask them for an estimate. Add a few hundred dollars to the estimate because things usually cost more when one gets cracking at an old engine.

If you don’t have that kind of money lying around somewhere, it may be better for you to sell the car in its present condition. It would be a worse insult to the memory of your loved one if you allow the car to rot away in some corner of your property. By deciding to sell, you may just help the car get in the hands of a true car lover who has the resources to restore and truly enjoy it.

8. Practicality

You need to consider the practicality of driving around in a vintage car if you are one of those people that treat their classics as a viable mode of regular transportation. You should know that there are several things you would be compromising on. 

Before you make the decision of investing in regular maintenance, think about all the modern features the car doesn’t have. For instance, there is not going to be any satellite radio service or modern device integrations. Even if you can do without Apple CarPlay, can you really compromise on your safety?

Classic cars lack several modern safety features. You won’t have airbags, traction control, crumple zone, anti-lock brakes and so on. You won’t even have the comfort or luxury of modern vehicles. The car may not have a working air conditioner, which can make driving very uncomfortable when putting the top down is not an option. 

Speaking of practicality, don’t forget that it costs more to keep a classic car road-worthy as opposed to newer models. It will require more maintenance and repair work as opposed to regular vehicles. Also, you may not be able to get it repaired by local mechanics. There are very few auto shops that work on classic vehicles.

Don’t be surprised if the car spends more time in a garage rather than the roads. But that could be a boon since most vintage cars are gas-guzzlers. Sell your car the minute it stops making sense. 

Final Thoughts

Whether or not to hold on to a classic car is a very personal decision. The 8 factors mentioned above should help you take a conscious and well-thought of decision. If you do decide to sell your vintage car, consider Cash Cars Buyer. We can offer a quote for your vehicle in just 60 seconds that is based on NADA guides and KBB. It doesn’t matter if the classic is well-maintained or in poor condition – we will take it off your hands for a fantastic dollar value.

You can know what your car is worth right now by calling us at (773) 791-4363 or using our online form