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How to Ensure That Used Classic Car You’re Buying Isn’t a Rip-Off

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Classic 1978 Chevy Nova Coupe

You’ve saved up money and done your research. You’re finally ready to buy that vintage car you’ve always dreamed of owning. Just because you’re ready to make ownership a reality, though, shouldn’t mean you should buy the first Pontiac GTO you come across. Like any used car, classic models can be money pits, too. Avoid financial pitfalls and scams when buying a used classic car by looking for these telltale signs.


Spring Cleaning: How to keep that classic car looking like new


7 Items to Check to Verify You’re Not Getting Scammed on a Classic Car

Examine the Exterior: Take the car outside under full, natural sunlight to give the car’s body a thorough inspection. Check for any signs of rust near the wheel wells, rocker panels, or undercarriage. Also, look for bubbles of rust forming under the paint or off-colored patches of rust that has been masked by being painted over.

Match the VIN: Did you know that the engine, transmission, and rear axle all have a portion of the VIN number stamped on them? This lets you easily verify that the main components of the vehicle are original. You should also run the VIN through a vehicle history report system and check the title history.

Check the Odometer: Lower mileage cars (under 50,000 miles) should show less interior wear. If the odometer states a low number, but the carpets, headliner, gear shift, show signs of usage, there’s a chance that the odometer has been illegally rolled back.

Look for Signs of  Foul Play: Welding lines/marks, mismatched metals or color shades, crooked components, and out-of-place paint could all be signs of clip jobs, in which a previous owner took parts from another car and fused them onto this classic car, making the final product inauthentic.

Test Drive the Car: Driving the car around town could reveal some internal issues that the car is suffering which you wouldn’t know otherwise. Listen for unusual sounds and feel if the car is handling improperly. If the current owner refuses to let you take the car for a test drive, even with him/her riding along, you should be suspicious.

Make Sure the Price Reflects the Value of the Car: Just because a car is old doesn’t mean it’s a classic, and just because the model is classic doesn’t mean its price should be automatically high. Do your research beforehand to know what a reasonable price is on the model you’re buying, taking condition and trim level into consideration.

Get a Professional Opinion: Just because you’ve thoroughly researched this model and think about it constantly doesn’t necessarily mean you have the same critical eye that a mechanic or appraiser would. Your enthusiasm for buying your dream car might compel you to overlook warning signs. Look for someone in your neighborhood who’s reputable and familiar with the nuances of classic cars.


Planning on Buying a Used Car? Make sure you keep an eye out for these factors


Sources: Motor1, Money Talks News