How to Value: Classic Cars

A decade ago the classic car market was in the midst of a period of record growth with some classic car investments making dramatic returns. While the market for classic cars has now generally stabilised, now may be a good time to consider checking up on the contents of your garage. The value of a classic car can depend on many factors but with so many classic cars sold every day, valuations can usually be very accurate.

A decade ago the classic car market was in the midst of a period of record growth with some classic car investments making dramatic returns. While the market for classic cars has now generally stabilised, now may be a good time to consider checking up on the contents of your garage. The value of a classic car can depend on many factors but with so many classic cars sold every day, valuations can usually be very accurate.

Valuing the Badge

The most significant, and probably most obvious part of valuing a classic car is its make and model. This said, some car marques may not be recognisable, either because they are no longer in business or because they were only used for a limited time or model. It should also be remembered that the prestige of some car manufacturers has changed over time. Finding comparable sales is crucial to a valuation; while annual price guides can be found for many models, direct comparison to recent sales can also indicate where and how to find buyers. Buyers often know exactly which model of classic car they’re interested in buying and in many cases, there may be a large disparity between models even of the same era and manufacturer.

Valuing Condition

Classic cars are well known for being sold in a huge variety of conditions from run-down garage finds to concours-ready. Price guides will often categorise different levels of condition, but the reality is sometimes more complicated, particularly when repairs may be required, or many parts have been replaced. In general, the more of a classic car is original, the more likely it is to achieve its potential value. However, it is accepted that repairs often need to be made, and if these are minimal and in keeping with the original then they can have little impact on sale prices. Seatbelts and other safety features can be an issue on cars dating back to before the mid-1960s; retrospectively fitted mountings should both conform to regulations and not detract from the interior. Similar problems can arise from fitting modern tyres. At the time of sale, the amount of tax and MOT remaining on a classic car can influence its sale, especially at lower price-ranges.

Valuing the Pedigree

Buyers, and especially collectors, always look for particular features in a car and its history and documentation is the most common. When it comes to classic cars, people buy history. Any famous owners or race history at any level of racing can be a great bonus to the sale value of a car, particularly if the right buyer is found. Documentation including receipts, photographs and any other ephemera are usually the basis for this and so should be traced and preserved, any links to reputable dealers can add to a reliable provenance. In terms of general trends, cars from the youth of the current buying generation often see rises in value and so cars which echo that era are oftentimes the most valuable. Ultimately, however, many enthusiasts’ passion for particular cars should not be underrated – with the right buyer, a car which may seem of little consequence to its owner might in fact be more valuable than you’d think.

Camera
Upload a photo
Upload a photo of your item
right arrow
Magnification glass
Item is appraised
Experts appraise your item
right arrow
Graph
Receive appraisal
We send you your appraisal
try it now
try it now
try it now