Must-Know Tips to Make Sure You Don't Get Scammed Buying a Classic Car

Let’s face it: Buying a classic car, whether it’s an MGB, TR6, or even something more obscure like an Arico, isn’t cheap. Even the most affordable models will cost you several thousand dollars. But that doesn’t mean you need to be afraid of picking up any old car and driving it off the lot. Instead, you need to be fearful of getting conned into buying a piece of junk or paying too much for a car that isn’t worth its asking price. 

Know What to Look For When Buying a Classic Car
There are several things to look for when buying a classic car, but there are some key areas you should pay particular attention to, such as looking at a used MG for sale. The first is rust. If the vehicle is old enough to be considered a classic, there will be some rust. You mustn’t just look at the surface rust but also inspect the car’s frame. Look for holes and cracks in the structure and make sure that any rust that you do find is only surface rust and not structural rust. The next thing you need to look for is a clean engine. While you don’t need to be an expert to give the engine a quick once over, you should at least be able to tell whether the engine has been rebuilt or not. If it looks pretty but has a few missing or broken pieces, it’s probably not in good shape. And lastly, you should make sure there are no missing parts or that everything works as it should. Ensure the car’s lights, horn, wipers, and other controls and accessories work and that the car’s seats, upholstery, and other interior components are all in good shape. If anything doesn’t look or sound right, walk away and don’t look back.

Check the VIN, And Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away
Before you even consider buying a car, you need to check its Vehicle Identification Number or VIN. The VIN will tell you the car’s make and model, the year it was made, its original color, and its country of origin. More importantly, it will tell you if the car has been salvaged or branded. If it has, you need to walk away. It’s not worth the risk of buying a car that its previous owner has written off. If the vehicle is privately owned, there’s no reason the owner shouldn’t be able to provide you with a legitimate VIN. If they can’t, they may be hiding something. If you’re buying from a used car dealership, they may be able to provide you with the VIN, but they may be reluctant to do so. Again, this may signify that they’re trying to hide something.

Use a Reputable Seller
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of getting scammed when buying a classic car is by buying from a reputable seller. Reputable sellers have been in business for a while and have a solid reputation for selling quality cars. Reputable sellers are likely to be able to provide you with a car history report, a detailed service history, and a list of the car’s previous owners. They also likely won’t have any problem with you having the car inspected by a third party. Reputable sellers are also more likely to be open and honest about the car’s condition and what work has been done on it. You should always consider their history, and if you’re buying from a used car dealership, ensure that they have the car’s VIN.

Be Suspicious of “Turn-Key” Classics
Some classic car sellers out there like to make their cars sound like they’re in perfect, turn-key condition. They’ll even tell you that the vehicle is ready to drive and needs nothing. Unfortunately, they’re probably lying. Turn-key cars are extremely rare, especially with older, more rare models like Austin Healeys, Alfa Romeos, and Mercedes Benz. You’ll rarely find a car that requires absolutely no work. Even if the vehicle has been maintained regularly and has a history of being well looked after, you can’t expect it to be in perfect turn-key condition. Again, this is where a thorough inspection will come in handy.

Estimate the Actual Cost of Repair and Don’t Forget Insurance
If you’ve researched, you’ll have a rough idea of what the car is worth. But you should also consider the cost of any repairs the vehicle may need. If the car’s engine has been modified, you should also factor the cost of insuring the car into its value. Maybe the car is a classic Ford Mustang and in excellent condition, but it’s also a modified V8. In this case, you should expect to pay more than you would for a stock model in good condition. If the car has been neglected, abused, or not maintained regularly, you should expect it to need more work than you initially thought. And if it’s modified, you should double the amount you expect to pay for its repair.

Ask Lots of Questions and Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away Again
If you’ve found a car that you think is worth buying, it’s time to ask the seller some questions. If the seller is reluctant to answer or directs you to the “fine print” in their contract, you should walk away. On the other hand, the seller should be happy to talk to you about the car and be willing to answer your questions without trying to limit their liability. If the seller is willing to discuss the car with you, you can start asking some questions. Unfortunately, you can’t know if a seller is trying to scam you until after you’ve paid for the car. If you’ve been scammed, there’s not a lot you can do, but if you walk away from a deal, you can try again with a different seller.

Find Out Whether the Seller Owns the Title Before You Pay
If you’re buying a car with a title, you should make sure that the seller is the rightful owner of the title before you pay. And don’t be afraid to ask for proof of ownership. You can ask for a car title search from your local Department of Motor Vehicles, or you can ask the seller for the car’s VIN and run a VIN check online. If the seller has been truthful about the car, they won’t mind giving you the information you need to do a VIN check. If you’re buying the vehicle from a private seller, you may not be able to confirm the seller’s ownership of the car before you pay. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to negotiate a lower price.

In Summing Up
Buying a classic car can be a great experience as long as you know what to look for and are careful. By following the tips in this article, you can make sure you don’t get scammed when buying a classic car, and you end up with a great vehicle that will last for years to come. With the tips in this article, you can ensure you don’t get scammed when buying a classic car and that you end up with a great car that will last for years.