Whether you are considering investing in classic cars, wondering whether your old Rolls Royce will fetch anything, or going through an anxious fit over whether you made the wrong decision by purchasing a classic car. This blog will answer the question “how hard is it to sell a classic car?” in the most brutally honest way possible. Buckle up, because this ride could get bumpy.
How hard is it to sell a classic car?
The difficulty at which one can sell a classic car depends on the classic car itself. Generally, common classic cars will be difficult to sell, whereas rare classic cars will have a high demand and an interested buyer at any given time. However, this is not the case with every rare classic car as some classic cars may be few in numbers but the demand for them and their fanbase is miniscule.
So to reiterate: how hard is it to sell a classic car? Super easy when you buy a blue chip classic car, but rather challenging when you attempt to sell a common classic car. Read on as we dissect this matter even further.
Factors that affect the difficulty of selling a classic car
The classic car industry is a small but growing market. This affects the speed at which transactions occur as the smaller the market is the less frequently sales are made, and thus the more difficult it is to sell a classic car. The exception to this is famous cars such as the 1968 Plymouth Road Runner which even non-hobbyists understand the investment value of and therefore this car experiences a much higher demand than the average classic car and henceforth an easier sale.
Choosing the right car
The main determinant of the difficulty of selling a classic car is the car itself. You decide how difficult or easy of an investment cash out you are going to make when you purchase a classic car. Do your due diligence and research your classic car purchase well, and that endeavor will bear fruit for you.
However, if you get caught up with a bad vehicle with too much mileage or one that has been maintained poorly, you will face a lot of difficulty in selling it. It’s important to note that classic cars from brands such as Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, and Aston Martin should only be maintained by highly trained professionals of which there are only a few worldwide.
For example, a Ferrari 250 or E-Type Jaguar will only be considered by a knowledgeable collector if these vehicles have records of visits to such known mechanics and classic car experts. Any evidence of a fix that was done outside of these parameters for these particular vehicles may very well be the reason this kind of buyer passes on purchasing the vehicle.
Valuating a classic car
Putting a value on a classic car and then measuring its change in value over time is rarely something an average joe can do. The first and most difficult step of selling a classic car is putting the right price tag on it. Experts say a price that is only 5% off can deter prospects. Luckily there are specialized third parties that will do this for you at a cost and their verdicts are generally respected. What these experts take into consideration are factors such as the vehicle’s rarity, the demand for it, recent market trends, and the vehicle’s value during its time of production.
It is also important to note that a large part of classic car pricing is speculative. We delve into that later on in this blog.
With all that being said, there are several avenues that make classic car selling easier. Here are our favorite methods.
Classic car events
One of the biggest opportunities for selling classic cars is by attending classic car events. I do not know of an area that does not hold at least one annual classic car event. This is an event where usually a large space is reserved and classic car owners from far and wide gather and bring their vehicles together to spend the day with other classic vehicle owners. Often times there is some form of competition and awards ceremony.
Although these events usually have a heavy social element to them, they serve as a highly active buying and selling ground for classic car enthusiasts. These events are great for showcasing the vehicle you want to sell and also for conducting some market research on what is turning heads where you are, what could constitute a profitable classic car investment, and how much vehicles like yours are going for. Not to mention the high networking value these events bring.
Classic car auctions
Online auctions are all the rage as of late. But when it comes to classic cars, a real life auction is the way to go. There are websites that advertise real life classic car auctions such as https://www.classiccar-auctions.com/. It’s just so much easier to attend a car auction in person than from behind the screen of a laptop, so if you are ever presented with the option, always go with the real life version.
Other venues for selling your classic car online
Selling a classic car online can really go two ways. Good, or horrible. The latter usually happens when you rely on a normal vehicle classifieds site to sell your classic car. This is because the people over there will not understand the value of you car since the only concept they know is “older model vehicle means cheaper.” However, when you list your car in a specialized classic car website, you receive all the right attention, and a lot of it.
Will classic cars lose their value?
Not all classic cars will lose their value. Blue chip classic cars are generally always bound to increase in value over time. However, common classic cars are more subject to value decreases. This is because pricing in the classic car market is mostly speculative. Which means classic cars are bought at higher prices than what they are worth in hopes that with the passing of time it will rake in even more money.
It is important to note however, that this speculative bubble could burst at any time. The ease of acquiring monetary loans is what fuels this kind of bubble. Another factor that affects the rise and fall of the value of classic cars is the demand for that vehicle. Although the majority of the fans of a certain vehicle are individuals who have at some point driven or been involved with the classic car when it was still new and being introduced to the market, there are newer and younger hobbyists that admire classic cars on a more historic and engineering-oriented level. It still remains a fact that the main driving force for a majority of these vehicles (older folk) could reduce in numbers due to old age, thus diminishing a large demand for said vehicle ages. But its also worthwhile to consider the new cars being added to the ranks of classic cars as well as the new fans that are being born everyday.
What are the disadvantages of classic cars?
The main disadvantages of owning a classic car is the cost and frequency of maintenance. Generally, classic cars will break down more frequently than modern cars and will cost more to fix. Its also important to note that classic car parts aren’t easy to come by, but the internet has made things easier in that regard.
Do classic cars have a future?
Classic cars do have a future. With the commotion caused by certain regions announcing the phasing out of gas-powered vehicles by 2035, it is important to note that these laws only apply to the production of new gas-powered vehicles but not the operation of them. Blue chip classic cars will always have a future due to their historic value, but common classic cars might finish last in this race.
The reason for blue chip cars (or rare and valuable classic cars) having a future is similar to why artifacts and antiques go on auction for ridiculous prices: they provide a portal through which people can look into a different era.
Now that you have the answer to the question “how hard is it to sell a classic car?”, you likely want to know how profitable the matter can be, or if you are more adventurous you will likely want to answer the question: are project classic cars profitable? Read that and more by clicking on the previous link.
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Classic Cars A to Z is a classic car and automotive focused media company. Although we don’t sell and buy classic cars at the moment, we sure can help in guiding you in the right direction. Navigate to to our classic cars section to find everything you need about classic cars.