Tech Article

Buy That Classic Car Like A Seasoned Pro

October 2005


Getting Started in the Collector Car Hobby?
American Collectors Insurance Offers Tips for the Novice Buyer

Cherry Hill, NJ (September 15, 2005) – Looking to get into the collector car hobby? Ready to venture out and buy your first collector car, but not sure of precisely what to look for? Well, thanks to American Collectors Insurance, a collector vehicle industry leader and innovator since 1976, you can relax and enjoy your purchase by keeping these tips in mind.

Consider What It Is That You Truly Want. It’s incredibly important when buying a collector car to carefully consider the vehicle that you want to own,” says Laura Bergan, Director of Marketing for American Collectors Insurance. “If you want a convertible from the early sixties with big fins, for example, don’t settle for a different era or body style just because the price of another vehicle may be right. Old cars require time & attention, so be patient and hold out for a car you can feel really passionate about.”

Consider How You Will Use Your Collector Vehicle. Do you want a “trailer queen” that mostly gets shown and photographed? A project car that you will personally restore? Or something in-between? Deciding how you will enjoy your collector car will help your purchase decision. If driving the vehicle is important to you, keep that in mind and take practical matters into consideration, such as: does it need to have a back seat for multiple passengers (e.g., kids or grandkids), or will a two-seater do?

Set a Budget. Before you start the buying process, decide how much you are willing and able to invest in your collector car. Stick to this budget as sometimes the cost to restore a collector vehicle can exceed the market value.

Research, Research, Research. Once you decide what you want and how much you’re willing to spend, do some homework. Check out the latest magazines focused on your desired vehicle, surf the Internet, gather parts catalogs, attend car shows and swap meets, and talk to other owners of the type of collector vehicle you’d like to own. Always check for parts availability before buying, as a collector car that does not have a lot of available parts will make it harder, more expensive, and take longer to restore.

Verify Your Purchase. Once you have found the car you would like to buy, make sure you are getting exactly what you are paying for. Keep in mind the following:
· Generally, the more documentation the current owner has, the more verifiable the value. Good documentation to look for: an original window sticker; build sheet; Protect-O-Plate (if a GM car) and restoration receipts.
· Some vehicles may have left the factory as a standard issue model, but with aftermarket parts and trim have been turned into something different. For example, a six-cylinder Camaro can easily be cloned into a Z-28. While the alterations may have been done very well, this car will never be as valuable as an original Z-28.

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 All of these resources will provide you with a plethora of information to help you make the most informed, well-guided decision possible.

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Bring A Buddy Along. We all know two heads are better than one. The same can be said about 2 sets of eyes on a collector vehicle purchase. Your buddy might notice things about a car that you miss, and his input may save you valuable time and future headaches. Plus, shopping with a friend is always more fun than shopping alone.

Don’t Forget The Insurance. Specialized insurance for collector vehicles is generally more affordable than regular car insurance, and just as important. Collector car insurance typically covers the vehicle for an Agreed Value, meaning the full insured value is guaranteed in the event of total loss. Collector car insurance also may include coverage for those hard-to-find spare parts and Inflation Guard to protect your investment. More information is available at .

Make Sure You Have a Place To Park and Protect Your New Collectible. When starting any collection, it is important that you have a safe place to house your new purchase to protect it from theft and the elements. Make sure you measure your garage or storage area – cars from by-gone eras (like a 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood 75) can measure over 20 feet in length!

Get A Good Mechanic To Help You Out. As any classic car owner will tell you, having a knowledgeable mechanic to help you along in the buying and/or restoration process is invaluable. If the car is in need of restoration, it is much better and more cost effective to have the job done right the first time than to do it twice.

Join Your Local Car Club. In every part of this country, there is an abundance of classic car clubs. Joining one of these can not only be informative, but club functions can be a lot of fun and a great way to meet new friends with similar interests. The information that other club members provide can be invaluable as you get involved in restoring and/or maintaining your collector vehicle

About American Collectors Insurance

American Collectors Insurance, an industry leader and innovator since 1976, specializes in insurance for collector vehicles and collectibles. Based in Cherry Hill, NJ and licensed in 48 states, American Collectors offers products directly to consumers, as well as through independent insurance agents and brokers. For more information, visit or call 800-620-9223.





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