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The classic car market can be difficult to navigate. It differs from the new car market and even the used car market, mainly due to very specific factors which are unique to vintage cars. A classic car purchase involves assessing issues such as the manufacturer, rarity of the particular model, the shape the vehicle is in and whether or not it is a collector’s item. For instance, a 1948 Volkswagen 1100 Beetle in fair condition currently carries a higher value, at $7,000 US Dollars (USD), than a 1948 Chrysler New Yorker four-door sedan in excellent condition which is valued at $6,000 USD. With such wide variances in price and no apparent rhyme or reason, vintage car shopping can be quite confusing.
There are three main companies which offer classic car values. Kelley, NADA and Manheim Gold all offer buyers buying resources either online, in hard copy form or both.
Kelley – The Kelley Early Model Guide lists antique car values according to the condition of the vehicles: fair, good and excellent. It is available in two issues a year, one in January and the other in July. There are also regional editions so that the current classic car market is appropriately reflected. The Kelley Early Model Guide is available for hard copy purchase only, there is no online version.
NADA – The NADA guide does not necessarily specialize in classic cars, but offers values on antique cars as used vehicles. NADA does power an online tool which is free to use. Though the values are returned as low, average and high retail, they are fairly consistent with other more specific car blue books guides.
Manheim Gold – Manheim Gold has a super, simple to use online tool which offers detailed classic car blue book values. It is laid out similar to other blue books. Classic car values are listed as fair, good, excellent and show. Users can access cars by make or by year.
When shopping for a classic car, it is vital to know the market value prior to making a purchase. It is also beneficial to have the ability to view the prices according to the condition of the vehicle. If a car is purchased in fair condition, the buyer can see what they could possibly get for the car if they restored it to excellent or show condition. This way they can see the possible return they could get on the vehicle before handing over the money for it. In this, or any, market, it is wise to approach a purchase as well informed as possible.
@ ValleyFiah- Another factor that can influence the price of a classic car is if they are all original or if they have had replacement parts from other vehicles installed on the rebuild. Technically, an all original car doesn't necessarily mean it was never in an accident. As long as all of the original serial numbered parts are salvageable then the vehicle is considered an all original.
The stage of repair or disrepair that a vehicle is in can also influence a vehicles value. A car that is going to be a considerable project to return to good or show condition is going to be considerably cheaper than a car that is road or show ready. Don't think that all project cars are cheap though. Some project cars rival the price of new vehicles.
Many higher end classic cars are also bought and sold with certain criteria taken into account like previous buy and sell prices, awards, previous owners, and magazine write-ups. This can make classic car auctions like Barrett-Jackson, Russo & Steele, and Mecum Auctions good indicators of the market value for certain collectible cars.
The value of classic cars actually changes every year. One year a certain vehicle may be the hot collector’s item while the next year it may become played out. The number of a certain make and model still in circulation can also affect the price of a collector car.
Many car collectors love to see young and inexperienced car buyers buy collector cars with their parent’s money. The odds
of them taking their new investment out for a joyride and damaging it are higher than a collector that hurries the vehicle off to storage. Every time a collectible vehicle is removed from the market, the value of all the others of the same make and model goes up.
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