Whether it’s a Model A Ford or a Bugatti Type 35, owning a vintage car is the dream of many enthusiasts.
A vintage vehicle usually refers to a car that has historical or collector’s value because of its age, design, rarity or significance.
‘Vintage’ cars are officially considered to be cars produced between the late 1910s and the early 1930s. A ‘veteran’ car meanwhile is generally considered a car that was built before 1905.
However, the term ‘vintage’ is often used more broadly to describe vehicles from any previous eras. A vintage vehicle can refer to any classic car that is at least 20 years old.
These vehicles are sought-after by enthusiasts and collectors.
Whether they are a 1922 Austin Seven or a 1954 Buick Century, they are cars characterized by unique design features, craftsmanship, and mechanical systems.
They may feature odd manual controls, like a hand throttle or handbrake outside the door, and they will certainly lack features like power steering or air conditioning.
Owning and maintaining a vintage vehicle is a journey back in time. It can be hard work – or it can be very rewarding.
Often vintage car owners have a high level of expertise and passion. They are often wealthy – at least at the start of the ownership.
Note that vintage ownership can drain your resources very rapidly. Spare parts may be rare and very expensive.
Do you know where to buy the best quality replacement parts? It’s important to be aware of leading classic brands like Cragar Vintage Wheels.
This sort of specialized knowledge may be needed to keep old cars running.
Vintage vehicle enthusiasts motivate themselves by taking pride in restoring, preserving, and showcasing cars at classic car shows, rallies, and museums.
Buying an old car
When buying a vintage car, or any classic car, these are important factors to consider.
The most important thing is the overall condition. Has it been well looked after or does it need a complete restoration?
Look for rust, body damage, and mechanical issues. Consider whether you are willing to undertake restoration work – or pay someone else to do it.
For example, if you’re looking at a classic 1967 Mustang, check for rust or filler in critical areas like floor pans, frame rails, or trunk. Replacing spark plugs is one thing, rebuilding a vintage body is very different.
Verify the authenticity of any classic. Look for matching numbers, original parts and documentation.
For instance, if you’re interested in a 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster, are you really sure it’s not one of the common more recent replicas? Check by confirming engine and chassis numbers match manufacturer’s records.
Availability of Parts
Consider the availability and cost of replacements. This could make a restoration simple – or unaffordable.
Some vintage cars have great aftermarket support k. Others have limited availability.
For example, if you’re considering a 1951 Hudson Hornet, research the cost of replacement body panels, engine components and interior parts. They’re not cheap!
Maintenance and Upkeep
Evaluate the cost of maintaining any vintage car. Be honest, do you have the knowledge, skills and resources to handle maintenance yourself?
Many old cars, like a 1957 Jaguar XK150, require specialized tools and expertise for servicing.
Documentation and History
Research the car’s documents and history. Look for service records, ownership history, and any notable events. These can add value.
For instance, one British owner recently bought a humble seventies hatchback – and discovered it was once owned by Princess Diana as a teenager.
Desirability and Rarity
Some models or variations are sought-after by collectors – some aren’t. If it’s boring, ugly or slow perhaps there’s a reason you can afford it.
Remember that buying any vintage or classic car requires careful thought and research.
Talk to experts, enthusiast forums – and definitely get an independent professional inspection to ensure you’re making a decision that won’t ruin you financially.