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Suggested reading on this subject
American Cars
Farewell to Model T
Vintage American Road Racing
Encyclopedia American Cars
Pickups Classic American Trucks
Automobile in American History
available at Amazon books
An American dealers view of the old car business

Dealing in Antique Cars.

An article sent from a US visitor to this new site on old vehicles



By way of introduction, I have been asked to, occasionally, wax poetically on the world of classic cars as I know it. (Yes, I use foreign words for no reason... One of those...)

Anyway, aside from other things, I have been buying and selling, owning and collecting, driving and racing these things for some 20 years. Read a lot, too. Have been told I am the thing that comes after the CarNut category - One Step Beyond. Have never even owned a new car and rent when it snows. (Yep, he's gone.) But being on this side of sanity has its rewards, like only paying cheap, collector car insurance. Over time, I will write of cars I've had, should've had, have, will have, and might have - $$ and time permitting.

Classic guys are a little odd, each with their own definitions (one guy in S. England collects Pintos!), perspectives, likes and dislikes. From the start I should tell you that after years of excruciating self-analysis I have come up with my own profile: Avis rather that Hertz, Bentley over Rolls, Corvair over Mustang, Avanti over Corvette, Maserati over Ferrari. You may know the type.

Over the course of my columns - as rare as they may be (I still have to work, you know...) you may come to recognize a distinct philosophy regarding our 4-wheeled brethren and the folks who drive them. For a hint, I think it goes something like this: There are those who look at a car to get from A to B with as little inconvenience as possible. Then there are those who never really cared about B in the first place... For you folks I dedicate this column.

We commence.

Well, wait a minute.

Perhaps I should say something a bit more about the 'buying & selling' for those interested in doing this on the side.

My gig is what is on my Biz-Card: "Investments for the Fun of It!"
Meaning: OK, the stock market is played out; your kids are paid through school; the wife and your anniversary trips are paid forever; and the $$ in the bank is practically useless...

So, Let's Party!! (or, "Potty" as Arnold would have it.)

No matter what your situation is like at any given time, there are many people out there in the above, positive financial position.

To tackle this crowd find, define and 'brand' a niche. Be creative. The more unique an angle you come up with the better off you will be. (AND, of course, DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB. You will never be that good.) Do it for fun and (some) profit. It will not replace real estate as your number one investment in life but it does have advantages: -- Like no bank points, lawyers, closing fees and, unlike the house, if you do not like the market, drive it to another one!

My niche: I try to buy cars just before they become classics and sell them when they do. How do I know? That, my friend, is the art -- and the fun -- of my gig.

Storage space? Better have some (especially in northern climes).
Technical know-how? Obviously, the more the better. But I have practically none and it still works for me because I have sought out and found cheaper mechanics who further discount me for the volume I provide in the long run -- and just to see what strange things I will be showing up with.. Also, not being in a hurry is a big hit with mechanics; and that also should be reflected in their prices.

I lean heavily, due to this lack of technical/artisan skills on the 'art' of the thing. I buy the car relatively cheap -- where the seller is viewing it somewhere between Used and Collectible -- in perhaps condition 8 or 8.5 -- and just hope it becomes more desirable in my lifetime or even over the winter, reselling it in the same condition as I purchased it. No sweat involved.

Now for those with real skills and the time to ply them, you can obviously go for the sure bets, buying known collectibles in condition 4, 5 or 6, doing the work yourself and making profit a sure bet.

While I do not promise anything outright, I do let prospective collectors know that myself and everyone else who has ever bought one of my cars has watched them increase in value, made money on the resale or, at a minimum, has not lost anything. (For exceptions, see below) In effect, free Sunday transportation for life.

OK. Who lost $$ and why.

I did. Twice.
Why? Tried to sell too quickly. Like a house, test the market and pull it out if the fish ain't biting. Always be able to do that. This is called the strong negotiating position. If you are running out of space, as I was at the time, it becomes a buyers', low-ball market. (And the sharks can sense it.) One of my buyers, in a similar space crunch, ended up trying to sell in the middle of winter, in the middle of a recession, in the middle of a war. The sharks didn't even bother to chew. Time and space are great allies and terrible enemies. If you have both, you're in.

Look at this! My time and space are used up and I haven't discussed even one classic car! OK. Next time I promise to talk about this Ménage a Whatever... As well as these extras:

When to Bring Your Wife; When to Leave her Home

Fitting into Your Lotus: A Collectors Guide to Nutrition

(Since I am also a gerontologist with a specialty in the effects of food on aging, I am dedicated to preserving both classics: the vehicle and the guy in it.)

Also, if you are interested in the next hot car and have the $$ to get it, I probably have it! Contact me:

OK. I'm outta' here.


Read more of Tom's random jottings about vintage and collectors cars in Part 2..

(The website owner of Classic Wheels doesn't necessarily agree with, support or otherwise recommend any advice, tips, suggestions or ideas presented in guest articles. All articles are reproduced in good faith, as supplied. Thanks!)


Please note that everything on this site is Copyright to R Jones, the site author (unless stated otherwise). All advice is given in good faith only, based on my experiences of the subject. Anything relating to legal issues should be clarified with the relevant bodies, I do not take responsibility for any losses, damages, hair loss or otherwise arising from advice found on this site, given as it is in good faith only. Articles submitted by others and published here are reproduced in good faith and don't necessarily reflect the views etc of anyone at Classic Wheels. If you'd like to see your classic car featured here, by all means send me details and a photo of it - articles about other historic or antique vehicles are also very welcome. Privacy policy, cookies & disclaimers.