Classic cars, antique cars, and vintage cars. What actually is considered a classic car though? According to most sources, a classic car is considered anything that is 20 years or older. An antique car is a vehicle that is 45-years-old or older. Finally, a vintage car is classified as a vehicle that was built between 1919 and 1930. These definitions vary depending on who you talk to; but, for the sake of this article, we will follow the 20-year rule for classic car classification. 


Purchasing any vehicle is a major decision that requires thought, research, and time. So, of course, this also applies to classic cars. However, there are a few things that are different when purchasing a classic car. 


This article will share some key things to know when purchasing a classic car. Smoky Mountain Traders take great pride in all of their vehicles and want every customer to be completely satisfied with their purchase. Here are some things to think about when purchasing a class car.


Get a Professional Inspection


Unless you know the ins and outs of automobiles, this can save you both money and time. It also helps the dealership because it is usually a third party or someone the buyer personally trusts to inspect the vehicle. 


An inspector will look over the entire car – top to bottom and inside out. Following the results of their inspection, you can either decide to move further with the purchase or keep looking. It is important to go with an inspector that is knowledgeable and you trust – so research is important. The dealership might be able to help you find some that they know as well. 


No Rust


Major rust is a no go. If there is an abundance of rust on the car’s body, chances are it would not be possible to restore to its original state. 


Something to keep in mind though is that there might be some rust in some sports because, after all, it is a classic car! Just be sure to check the extent of it and where it is. Additionally, some classic car dealerships, like Smoky Mountain Traders, sell cars that have already been restored so you can just enjoy the ride.


Check with your Insurance 


Like with any new (to you) vehicle purchase, check with your insurance to see how much it will cost to have that particular car on your insurance. 


Shop various policies because you could be getting charged more on one policy than on another for having the classic car on it. There is no sense in paying more than you have to for auto insurance. 


Figure Out the Cost of Upkeep


After the inspection, if there is anything wrong with the car, you will know, and either the dealership will fix it or you will have to (depending on specific circumstances). Also, speak with the inspector or the dealership about the costs of parts and upkeep so you can have a good idea of what the vehicle will cost you to own.


Keep in mind that some of the classic car parts are hard to find and possibly expensive because they are not always being made anymore. Additionally, most classic cars require special gas and or oil, so that also should be accounted for when determining the cost of upkeep. 


Find a Mechanic 


Finding a mechanic beforehand can save you time and stress later down the road. Classic cars are different from today's cars so some mechanics cannot nor will not work on them. Or the ones that specialize in classics, charge more.  


Run the Part Numbers


There are three numbers that are important and should be ran to make sure they match up with the VIN. The engine, transmission, and rear axle are all stamped with specific numbers that will match up with the VIN. You can learn a lot by just researching the VIN. 


In case you did not know, in 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States required all vehicles to contain a 17-character VIN, which does not include the letters O, I, and Q. So, if the vehicle is made after 1981, a carfax can be found with the VIN. However, it is a bit trickier if it is pre ‘81. 


There are more things to consider when purchasing a classic car like what car you want, if you want to buy it already restored or if you want to personally restore it, if you will drive it and how much, and personal preferences. One thing is certain, make sure you will be happy with your purchase. 


Feel free to call or email Smoky Mountain Traders with any questions you have. We will help you find the classic car of your dreams!


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