How To Buy


Avoid the Burn

The final topic is how to buy, and I’m not referring to cash, check or charge.  I mean what to look for and additional considerations when making a purchase.

Set a Limit

First things first, set a budget.  You need to be realistic and rock solid on your Alamo number.  I don’t mean be stingy, by all means this is your dream car and the more you spend in the initial  purchase very likely means the less you spend keeping it running later.  What I mean to say is when it comes to a dollar amount you need to divorce your passion from economics.  What is the true value of the car versus how badly you want it?   

Be Skeptical, But Not Too Skeptical

Also though, you need to go in with an open mind.  Just because something sounds too good to be true doesn’t mean it isn’t.  That suspiciously underpriced beauty being sold for less than what was put into it seems odd.  However there are many people who buy a classic car for the fun of restoring it.  Once they have perfected it, it’s less interesting to them and they want to unload it to make room in their garage for their next project. 

Absolute Must Do’s

Here are some things I keep in mind before purchasing:

  • Get it inspected by a professional.  You would do this with any other used car you bought, why not do it for this?  Ideally find someone with some expertise with the make and model or at the very least with the era that the car is from.  Affordable Classics will always welcome your mechanic giving one of our vehicles the once over.
  • Take it for a test drive.  You will have to do some work on it certainly but how much and how expensive will it be? How is the suspension?  What about the steering?  How many times does it take to start it? (Touch the hood before you try.  If it’s warm than you know they left it running a while to make sure you weren’t going to have a true cold start)
  • Check the VIN numbers, against the paperwork, and all the locations on the car for the VIN.  It’s probably not stolen but a mismatched number could mean major work had been done.
  • Check the interior for worn, damaged, or non-factory parts.  Depending on how accurate of a restoration you have planned you might be looking at some huge expenses.
  • Check the exterior.  Rust is inevitable, so is bondo, but there should be some steel in between them.  You’ll know when there’s too much.  Don’t forget to look for weld marks as well though.  Classic Cars, at least ones older than 1986, will not have a Carfax.  Weld marks may be the only telltale signs of a previous major accident. Affordable Classics does it’s best to pick up all these details on the interior and exterior but you should always put the car under your own scrutiny as well.
  • If you are willing to buy a car from a distant location such as a different state or even time zone, you should factor in the cost of shipping the vehicle to you.  Yes, you could drive it home yourself, but a 250 + mile road trip through possible unfamiliar territory is not the ideal way to discover your new classic (used) car has electrical system issues or needs a new fuel pump.  Affordable Classics will always help arrange shipping for your new purchase, no matter where it’s going.

Well there you have it.  These are the lessons I’ve learned from my experiences in buying my own classic cars.  More importantly though they are the lessons I had in mind when designing my own classic car sales business.

Affordable Classics San Diego

In the market for a classic car; then check out Affordable Classics San Diego. Check our inventory, or if you have something special in mind let us know and we’ll contact you when we find it.  

Wanting to sell a classic car; tell us about it.  We will give you a free appraisal.  We can even do it by remote.  

Affordable Classics San Diego; just the classic car dealership you were looking for.

Introduction / What to Buy / Where to Buy