Buying a classic car on eBay tips
Thinking About Buying a Classic Car on eBay?
Once you get past their make/model/era preferences classic car enthusiasts are all alike. Their dreams are literally filled with antique wheels, they spend hours cruising online vintage auto galleries hoping to glimpse some rare vehicular beauty and occasionally, they spend a working afternoon on an online auction sites like eBay shopping for the hard-to-find rare vehicle of their aforementioned dreams. But unlike a lot of the online shopping we do these days, purchasing a classic car online can mean more work than buying one in person. That's not because buying a car on eBay isn't safe, eBay Motors has actually been ranked the Number One automotive website, it's perfectly safe. But it can also be tricky because the nature of Internet shopping and the requirements of car shopping are somewhat at odds.
You lose the just walk up and kick the tires certainty and the buyer seller back and forth that builds trust during an in person car buy. But you gain a whole world rare vehicle opportunities. Back in July a man in Texas actually found the 1967 Austin Healey 3000, that'd been stolen from him 42 years earlier on eBay. And while you can't realistically expect to be quite as lucky as he was, you can expect eBay to significantly up your odds of sliding behind the wheel of whichever classic car is driving through your dreams. Hopefully these tips will save you time and money and help make your online classic car shopping experience just a little easier.
First, there are the rules of the road that apply to any big car purchase: Be patient, do as much your research in advance as possible and understand the marketplace you're walking into before you walk into it. And remember, don't buy an antique auto to fix up unless you really know what you're doing. If you don't know exactly, precisely, what it'll take to restore a car, you can't know how much it's worth.
Price Isn't as Important as the Car's Mileage and Condition
They're called online auctions for a reason. In most cases the price of the classic car you're after will be negotiable, but its mileage and condition never are. If the car’s mileage is too high or its condition less than restorable, you could throw away money on the sale and still more on trying to fix-up an unfixable.
Single Owner Classic Cars Tend to be Better Than Multiple Owner Cars
It's as simple as this: Buying a vintage automobile that's only had one owner means you'll have a much better chance of getting an accurate picture of that car’s condition, performance and problems from that owner.
Service and Maintenance Records are Your Friends
Just as a general rule, a classic car with well kept records is a classic car in pretty good condition. A car that's been regularly serviced has been well cared for and maintained. If your target car is advertised on eBay as having the (often digitally available) records of that care, that's definitely a point in its favor.
Know the Location Of the Car You're Bidding on and Ask Where it's Kept
It works like this, there are parts of the country Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, etc. that are drier and hotter and not exactly known for their winter weather. Classic cars that have lived their lives in such locales tend to have less rust other damage than cars from more inclement areas. Regardless of which part of the country the car's from, you'll also want to find out where it's actually housed. And for the same reason. A classic car that's been kept away from the elements, in a garage or under a cover, that's been shipped from garage to garage in enclosed auto transporters, is going to be in better condition.
Question the Seller Vigorously, Pay Very Close Attention To Their Responses
Just because you won't be visiting the vintage beauty you're after in person, that doesn't mean you can't kick its current owners tires as it were. Before you even think seriously about bidding, you'll want to ask the seller everything you can think to ask about the vintage vehicle in question and more. And not just to get the answers. You're looking for a seller eager to answer your questions and bursting with stray facts about the automobile they've loved and cared for. If he or she seems hesitant, it's a very bad sign.
In addition to the above, there are a couple of basic "when buying virtually anything on eBay guidelines" you'll want to keep in mind ... Only consider vehicles with enough pictures for you to create a Pinterest Board about it if you wanted to. Photographic documentation of the vehicle will give you a good idea of what kind of shape the vehicle is in and a sense that the seller has nothing to hide. Steer well clear of any seller who wants you to pay by wire transfer. If the seller's in a rush, you shouldn't be. And if you run across a deal so good it seems like it's "too good to be true," it probably is, so approach it carefully.
More than anything else though, what you'll want to remember is that classic cars are fun, vintage automobile collecting is fun. Showing off your an antique beauty of your very own is fun, heck, just taking it out for ice cream is fun. So are the questions you'll get every time you stop for gas, the long looks, the thumbs up, and the waves from admirers as you cruise by. So buying one should be fun too.