What To Look For When Buying A Classic Car As An Investment

Buying a car as a future investment may seem counterintuitive. After all, most new cars lose a significant portion of their value as soon as you drive them off the dealer's lot. That value only continues to drop as you put more miles on the car.

However, some collectible cars appreciate drastically over time. For example, there is a multitude of entry-level American muscle cars from the 1960s that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars today. The trick to maximizing your investment value is to know what enthusiasts look for when they're shopping for a classic car to add to their collection.

Pristine Body Work

The first and most obvious thing to look for in a classic car is an immaculate body and exterior. Cosmetic defects like damaged body panels or mismatched paint will turn away a lot of collectors at first sight. Your investment will be much harder to sell and will fetch a much smaller price on the market.

Another thing that enthusiasts love is factory preservation. Generally, a classic car that has all of its original body parts and paint will be much more valuable than one that has been repaired or repainted, regardless of the quality of the aftermarket bodywork. 

The problem is that it's sometimes extremely difficult to spot aftermarket bodywork with an untrained eye. Your best bet is to have your potential investment vehicle inspected by a reputable body shop. The experts who work there will be able to easily spot any modified bodywork or aftermarket panels. They can also give you an idea of how much you'll have to invest to get the car back into pristine shape. That way you'll know if it's a worthwhile project to undertake.

Matching Numbers

Enthusiasts refer to classic cars that still have their original engines and transmissions as "matching number" vehicles. They look for the part codes imprinted on the engine block, transmission, and other major components to ensure that the components haven't been replaced. 

Classic cars with quality power train swaps can still fetch quite a bit of money from enthusiasts. However, no matter how much faster or more efficient the swapped power train is, it will generally be less desirable than a car that's still chugging along with its original motor.

As mentioned, you can determine the origin of a swapped engine and transmission by examining the part codes stamped onto the engine block and transmission housing. Snap a picture of those codes then use an OEM parts directory to see if they're original.

If you're not sure what to look for, have a reputable auto shop check the codes for you. They'll be able to easily determine if the numbers match the car's original equipment. If not, they'll also be able to look up all of the specs of the swapped power train so you know what you're getting into.

For more information about repair cars, contact a business like Westside Fender/Body & Refinishing