Selling a classic car usually evokes a range of mixed feelings. On one hand, you’re saying goodbye to a prized possession — your precious piece of automotive history that you’ve loved and cherished up until this very moment. Yet, letting go of your classic car gives you an opportunity to chase that next project — that next high. All that said, selling a classic car takes some finesse. It’s not as simple as selling a used Toyota people mover. Here are some mistakes you definitely want to avoid while selling your classic cars.
Overpriced Even For a Classic
Being a car enthusiast is like having a filter installed in your brain. You see your vehicles in a completely different way from everyone else, often causing you to value them much more than they are actually worth on the market. And that is perfectly normal. After all, we’re attached to our cars in ways that transcend the monetary value of the car.
However, sticking an irrational price tag on your classic car won’t do you any favors. On the contrary, you’ll rarely get a call, let alone a serious buyer showing up to check out the car. As difficult as it might be, you need to be objective and realistic when pricing your classic car. Doing so will help get a realistic value of your beloved ride.
Don’t Oversell It
So, you’ve figured out a reasonable price, and you’re about to write an ad for your car — whatever you do, don’t oversell it. Remember who your target buyers are. The type of car you’re selling isn’t exactly something an average Joe off the street is going to consider buying. The person who clicks on your ad is most likely going to be another car enthusiast looking to buy a mint classic. Start with that mindset and write the ad as if you were writing it for yourself. Serious buyers of classic cars aren’t interested in your knowledge of your car model’s history. They don’t care whether that year was “legendary” in the whole range of classic cars of that era. They most likely know all of this information already. Instead, focus on the condition of the vehicle, any potential issues, and try to present the car in an objective way, as hard as that might be.
Low-Res, Blurry Images
Buying a car based on images alone is a gamble. No matter how mint the vehicle looks in pictures, there are details a camera can’t catch from 6 feet away even if you’re shooting the car with a last-gen mirrorless camera. This issue is compounded if you’re using a 10-year-old iPhone. Blurry, low-resolution images are a great way to have people close your ad and move on in under 10 seconds. This is especially true if the person looking at the ad isn’t local to your area. If you’re selling a classic car, and you’re looking to get it sold soon, you’ll need to take as many photos of your car as possible. Wash the car, maybe even have it detailed before the shoot. Then take your time snapping shots of every detail of the vehicle, including any potential damage to the body or trim.
Fix Everything You Can Fix On The Car
Broken trim, dented body panels, a starter that grinds hard when you turn the ignition — these just some of the things you should fix before selling the car. There are two reasons why you need to do this.
- Failing components or heavily damaged bodywork is a sign of sloppy maintenance – It’s that simple. A buyer who comes to look at the car will notice all of these things. The message they’ll get is that you don’t care about your vehicle too much. If simple things are broken on the car, who is to say that it doesn’t have a much more serious, yet difficult to spot the issue?
- You’ll lose money – The other reason to fix everything is that a potential buyer will use every single imperfection to drive down the price. Either be ready for a haggle war or sort your car out before selling it.
We need to make a small disclaimer here — it’s unreasonable to expect that every 50-year-old classic car is going to be spotless without a single paint chip or a mechanical issue. We understand this very well. However, so does your potential buyer. They also understand that some issues are easy to fix. Bottom line, do a thorough inspection of the car and fix every issue you can.
You’ve Lost the Paperwork
Depending on the make and model of your classic car, the paperwork, i.e. the original manual, original service book, and so on, can greatly impact the price of the vehicle. Additionally, having the original service book gives the potential buyer an insight into your car’s history. The whole “trust but verify” adage is a great way to shop for any car, let alone a vintage classic. It’s in your best interest to either find the paperwork for your car or try to track it down from previous owners.
You Skipped On Detailing
Classic cars are a dying breed. There are only so many of them left around, to begin with. If your classic has about an inch of dust and gunk all over the paintwork, you might want to get it detailed. Detailing not only prolongs the lifespan of every single surface on the vehicle but also makes the car leaps better looking.
A professional detail can cost a bit of money, but it’s worth every penny you invest in it. Alternatively, you can do the work yourself. If you’ve never detailed a car before, you’ll have to get educated on the basics of polishing, which chemicals work best for your car’s materials, and a few other basic things. If you do everything right, you can save a lot of money and then make more on the car when you sell it.
If your car is ready to go, you have to let it go. It’s fine to stay in touch with the new owner but don’t be clingy. Instead, invest your energy into a new project car and appreciate the time you had with your previous one. It’s the best thing you can do for both yourself and the car.
Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash