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How to buy a collector car or truck Page 1

Before you ever think about buying a collector car or truck please read this article. Don't get ripped off buying your first collector car like so many people have. Hopefully, this article can save you thousands of dollars and save you from much pain if you adhere to my tips and use some common sense when purchasing a collector car.

Friends, My goal over 5 years ago, and still to this day is for Extreme Mopars to HELP people. I want you to make the correct decisions when buying a collector car or buying one to restore.

The information in this article is from my own personal experience. Buying a collector car or restoring one should be a good experience for you. One that you can look back on with good memories. 

This hobby (automobile) is something I have enjoyed personally for decades now. Even now, at the age of 48, I become like a child in a candy store when I attend a car show full of classics and muscle cars.

Problems and difficulties in my life seem to magically disappear when I'm at these events.

And that's what I want for you when you decide to attend these shows and maybe purchase a collector car or truck.

If and when you decide to take that next step and buy one of these cars, you need to know if the owner is asking a fair price for the car or if the owner is trying to rip you off. My experience with the car hobby and the people in this hobby is that the majority are honest and decent folks.But, just like anything else there are a few that you have to watch out for.

My tips on "How to buy a collector car" below will help even the playing field for you.

Hopefully, it will help you obtain a collector car without getting burned. 

This article is NOT about how to get the lowest price for the car.

Rather this article IS ABOUT not going in blindly without any knowledge as to what the general asking price should be for the car. Negotiating on the price you will pay for the car is a totally different animal.

You must first and foremost know what the ballpark asking price should be.

And understand what YOU must do to get at that price.

How to buy a collector car

What determines the price of a collector car?

Oh, No. What should you pay for that 1965 Mustang? Just how much money should you fork over for a collector car or truck?

Where do you begin to evaluate how much the car is worth?

What source of information can you turn to that will help you get to a fair & reasonable #' for the car?

I wish that I could give you a quick and easy answer to these questions.

But, it can't be answered in a sentence or two. Sorry, it just can't.

In order for you to become a wise buyer, you must first know & understand some basic principles.


There are many factors that come into play when trying to answer these questions. Also, these two questions are not the be-all and end-all to questions you should ask yourself. They are rather a start to help gather information to ascertain a beginning number to what the car is worth.

The first thing you will want to do is ask these two questions to yourself. 

1) How rare is the car? 

2) What condition is the car in?

Buying a Collector car

How Rare Is The Car?

Please keep one thing in mind when buying a collector car. Those cars and trucks you see fetching megabucks at Barrett-Jackson, for the most part, are Rare, one of a kind cars.

No, not ALL of them, but most of them are. Especially the one that are Rare and its condition is very good.

Low production numbers. For example. 1970 Plymouth Superbird with a 426 Hemi. Only 135 made.

This car could fetch around a million dollars in top condition.

It's a rare car, hence the price.

Let's say that 100,000, 1970 Plymouth Superbirds were produced with a 426 Hemi. The car would never bring a million dollars. Why? Because there's more of them. With 100,000 made the car is no longer rare.

Same principle applies when you buy any collector car or truck. Make sure this is one of the questions you ask yourself to help in your decision of how much you will pay for a collector car.

Just because something is "old" shouldn't mean anything to you as far as pricing it goes.

1. How Rare is it? That will be one of your deciding factors to consider for the price you will pay for the car.

What Condition is the Car in?

Next? Condition. What condition is the car in? That's your next question to ask yourself before buying the collector car.

Remember this. A collector car with original features in top condition means everything when it comes to determining the price to pay for a collector car.

One that has ALL its original sheet metal and original paint will be worth so much more compared to one that has been replaced with aftermarket parts.

Of course, only if the original sheet metal is in top condition. If the original floor pans are swiss cheese then the originality of these floor pan's are meaningless. The Condition of the original floor pan's must be determined before you decide on how much to pay for the project car. This example includes EVERYTHING from interior to exterior of the car.

I remember one car years ago I was inspecting the guy tells me " Remember those floor pan's are all original". 

And the pan's were so rusted you could see the ground underneath. 

Even the transmission tunnel was wasted. The complete underside of the car would have to be replaced. But, in his mind, he thought just because it was original floor pan's it would justify his outrageous price he was asking for the car.

So remember. Ask yourself. What condition is the original sheet metal in? What condition is the original engine and transmission in? This is very, very important to know before money is exchanged.

What condition is the interior of the car in? 

What condition is the headliner in? The carpet? This will, and should always be one of the deciding factors of how much you should pay for a collector car.

Stop! So far, are two most important questions we will ask ourselves before buying a collector car is?

How Rare is the car?

And what condition is the car in?

These two questions must always be answered before ever making an offer on the car.

How to buy a collector car

Other factors to consider when buying a collector car or truck

Some last thoughts before buying a collector car. Obviously, other questions you should remember is how much  do you really like this car? We have all bought things before and a couple of months down the road we are wishing that we had never seen the car before. Much less to have been crazy enough to have paid for it.

So, really determine if you want to be married to the car, especially if its a project car you will be buying.

Do some homework before buying a collector car. 

Check out Kelly Blue book to get a ballpark number on the car you want to buy. Or NADA classic car section website.

How do you determine if the collector car you're interested in is rare? Do you take the word of the seller? NO!!

Do some homework on the car you are interested in. Google as much information on the car as you can.

youtube is a great place to look as well.

My last word on rarity is this.On your hunt for the collector car you're interested in, you also have to remember that in certain cases the car may be rare or unique to options or paint schemes, but is meaningless if someone is asking an outrageous price for it. One example is the 1970 Pink Panther Duster I have on this web site.

The seller told me the car was "rare" due to the fact that it was a Duster that came with absolutely NO options.

Ok. Yeah, that may be the case. But, in this case, the "rarity", is a  minus for the car. NOT a plus.

The car came from the factory with no options on it.

How can that be something anyone would want? This is not to say the car has no worth. But, I am saying in cases such as this, the RARE no option car would never bring more money than just a standard one of the same kind of car.

Keep that in mind.