Price guides can give a ballpark figure for the value of some classic cars, but with so many factors in play, it takes a little homework to find the right price to sell an antique.
Understanding Classic Car Categories
Price guides will usually divide vehicles into these main categories.
Survivors: These are unrestored vehicles that are almost exactly as they were when they left the factory. Documentation is everything, especially for race cars. These are hard to value because vehicles in this condition are extremely rare.
Concourse: This is a car that has been fully restored to be exactly as it would have been from the factory.
Show car: At first glance, these may seem as nice as a concourse car, but not every piece has been replaced with factory originals.
Driver: Basically, this is a good used car that happens to be old. It won’t win any shows, but the buyer will be able to drive it or restore it to a higher condition.
Restomod: These cars receive modern parts to improve drivability. Value depends on the quality of the restoration work, but as a general rule, the nicest restomod is worth about as much as its nearest modern equivalent.
Where are Classic Cars being sold?
The more unusual a car is, the more desirable it becomes, but that also reduces the number of prospective buyers. Finding the right venue has a major influence on the car’s sale price.
Selling to Fans
Enthusiast websites are a great place to go for selling rough cars because they draw in people specifically looking for a project, but its also a good place to ask about possible sale prices and common issues buyers look for in your particular model.
Like pricing guides, online auction sites like eBay offer their own pricing tools based on sales of similar models on their site. A reserve can be set to keep the car from being sold unless it hits a minimum amount.
Collector Car Auctions
While they can be expensive, these auctions combine a gathering of enthusiasts with the assurance by a third party that the car is exactly as claimed. Multi-million dollar cars may make the news, but there are plenty of affordable vehicles at these auctions.
Here is a post of a recent auction of some classic cars.
Unlike an online auction, the reserve can be used as a tool to control the sale price. If it’s left on, it protects the seller from parting with the car if no one at the auction wants to spend much on it. However, if there are interested parties, lifting the reserve forces the prospective buyers into a bidding war because they know this is their only chance to buy the car.
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