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Buying a Classic Collector Car Online…Or Not

Beware of Auctions as Well

In our previous Post we showed you a video by Uncle Tony’s Garage YouTube Channel on Buying a Classic Car. We commented that it was geared more to Project Cars than Classic Collector Cars or driver quality cars. This time we are moving upscale a little and actually looking at evaluating Classic Collector Cars, but Online this time, not in person.

Based on my own experience and expertise I recommend approaching this type of purchase with great reservation. Here are my personal comments on this process.

  • I never purchase a car over $5,000 without first inspecting it. If it is within a 4-hour drive I will drive to look at it. If it is over that I will generally pass unless the car is really priced right or is something I have been looking for and have not been able to find. Every time I have broken this personal rule I have gotten burned.
  • It is impossible to determine the quality of any bodywork or paint job from photos, period! If it looks bad in a photo it must be terrible. If it looks good in a photo it could still be terrible.
  • Always assume the seller is not telling the entire truth, always assume the worst.

Uncle Tony does a good job in this video for a driver quality Classic Collector Car. If you are looking at the next level up to a car you can show, you absolutely need to inspect it in person. It is very easy to make a mistake in looking at a car in person, imagine how easy it is when you are doing it online. While we are on the subject of buying a car online or in-person, there is one more option to be aware of, auctions.

When was the last time you saw a 1955 Dodge convertible? This one was even a LaFemme. It was on my list to purchase but after close inspection, it became a car I would not even bid on.

I have attended many car auctions in person and online. I have purchased cars in both ways. I can tell you that never buy a car, or anything else, at an auction unless you have personally inspected it prior to bidding or are willing to gamble with the money you spent. I have looked at many cars I thought I was going to buy at an auction until I looked carefully at them prior to bidding. I have then watched other bidders jump in and purchase the car at the last minute because they were on the phone or hadn’t otherwise inspected the car. They thought the price was too low for how great the car looked on stage or on their computer. When they got the car I know they were shocked. What looked perfect from 20 feet away under bright auction stage lights was very poorly restored and well worn. It was only worth, in my opinion, half of what they paid. One convertible I looked at had windows that would not roll up, a top that did not fit and, an interior finish that was in need of replacement. On TV it was a jewel. Beware.

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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

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