Collecting antique cars is a pleasure. But one of the most frustrating things is trying to figure out just what a particular car is worth.
Every year more become classified as antique or collector cars. With so many antique cars on the market these days, it’s getting harder and harder to keep track of market prices. Luckily there are a number of guidelines you can follow to come up with a fair price for a classic automobile.
Antique car prices are determined by a number of factors, but the most important one is supply and demand. The more popular a car is and the less of them that are on the road, the greater its market value. Forget about how much the car sold for originally. Forget about how much money has been put into restoring a car. None of that matters. How popular is the car and how many are there? That’s the most important question of all to ask.
So how can you determine supply and demand? Where can you find a price list for antique cars? If you want to buy a used car, you can go to the Kelley Blue Book, the standard authority for used car prices in the country. Is there something similar for classic cars?
Fortunately there is. The Gold Book has been around for nearly 40 years, and similarly to Kelley’s Blue Book, it is the defacto standard for antique and classic car prices. They not only monitor auctions all over the U.S. but also monitor private transactions between individuals – as long as they can be verified. They also have a web site where you can use there on-line search tool to find the sold prices for thousands of antique makes and models. This can give you a good baseline as to what others think the car is worth.
What is the condition of the car. This is not as much of a factor as supply and demand but it is nevertheless an important factor. First off, you can ignore the odometer readings. Many antique cars, especially those that have had significant restoration work done on them, have simply had their odometers rolled back to zero. Unless you’re a mechanic yourself, bring one along to evaluate the physical condition of the car. Listen to the engine, check the wiring, inspect the engine mount and ignition systems, take it out for a test run. Any problems will normally cause the evaluation price to be adjusted downwards.
Has a celebrity owned the car? Celebrity ownership raises the price of everything. That the bid price of a piece of chewing gum spit out by Britney Spears reached $14,000, tells you what celebrity ownership can do to the price of a classic car. If you are buying a classic car from someone who claims it was owned by a celebrity, be sure to get some sort of document of authenticity – as there is no shortage of shysters willing to take your money.
And lastly, keep in mind that collecting antique cars usually turns into a lifetime hobby. You’ll no doubt meet fellow collectors at future auctions and events that can give you further advice about not only valuating antique cars but also can help you find some really great deals.