Owning a Classic or Antique Car

By Nicole Wakelin

Buying a classic or antique car is an exciting purchase. It’s less about practicality and more about what stirs your soul and brings you joy. A classic car is still a major purchase, however, and requires careful consideration, just like the modern car you drive every day. These tips can help you decide which classic is the right one for you and make sure you’re confident to care for your new purchase for years to come.

What Make a Car a Classic or an Antique?

Much like falling in love with the looks of an older car is subjective, so too is the definition of a classic or antique car. The Antique Automobile Club of America is the country’s largest antique auto club and defines an antique car as anything over 20-years-old. Registering your car as an antique, however, varies depending on the law from state-to-state. Classic cars have a broader definition and include newer cars with special automotive significance.

Deciding Which Car to Buy

If you’re buying a classic or antique car as an investment, it's smart to get the opinion of an experienced dealer as to its worth. Simply because a car is beautiful and old doesn’t mean it will increase in value. The antique car market can be volatile so there’s no guarantee you’ll make a profit when it comes time to sell. Your best bet? Buy something you like and if it doesn’t go up in value you still have a hobby you're passionate about and a car that brings you joy.

Do Your Research

Check the exact year, make, and model you’re considering to be sure the asking price is in line with the car’s average retail value. Sometimes there’s even a difference in value within the same model year depending on when it was produced, so compare the details before you buy.

Restoring a Classic or Antique Car

Planning on fixing your classic car up to its former glory? If you're not an expert, this is a great time to call one in, checking that there are no hidden or potentially expensive problems. You can do some due diligence yourself, too. Make sure the car starts, and check for rust inside and out. Also, check the availability of replacement parts. If parts are hard to find, then they’re going to cost more when you do track them down.

Keeping Up with Maintenance

Much of classic or antique car maintenance is the same as what you do for your modern car, including oil changes, replacing wiper blades and tires, and a periodic once over by a mechanic. It’s also important to keep your classic or antique car covered or in a garage. Heat, wind, and sun take a toll. Keeping your car protected goes a long way toward keeping it looking as good as new and reducing maintenance costs.

Additional Costs

An antique car doesn’t come with a warranty so you’ll be paying for repair and maintenance costs out of your own pocket. Those costs may be more expensive than you expect. Tune-ups can run a few hundred dollars on some cars, but a few thousand on others. Research basic maintenance costs on your car before you buy. The same is true of parts. Budgeting for these expenses will help you be ready when the time comes.

Custom Insurance for Classic Cars

Special cars call for special protection. At American Family Insurance, we’ll help you build a unique combination of liability, medical expense, uninsured/underinsured motorist, comprehensive and collision coverage that match your car’s value (determined by evaluation of vehicle’s worth thru N.A.D.A. Guide).

Learn more about American Family's Classic Car Insurance or get in touch with an agent - they'd love to help you create a perfectly customized policy for your unique ride.


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Related Topics: Car Buying , On The Road