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Can You Flip Classic Cars for a Profit?

When asked if it is a good idea to flip classic cars, the answer is not really.  It’s not a 100% solid no, but you better know what you are getting yourself into before jumping into it.  For instance, it is almost guaranteed that you will not get the money you put into a classic car back out of it if you plan on doing a full restoration.  That’s still not to say there isn’t a way to make a buck or two.

A lot of people have made good money buying and selling classic cars over the past few decades.  A common way to make money can actually take years to accomplish.  You buy a classic car today in hopes that it will increase in value over the years to come.  Take a 1971 Hemi Cuda Convertible… original price, just over $4k.  Today they go for millions of dollars.  Sure, there were only 11 made, but you get the point.

Another way people make money on classic cars is to buy and sell them quicky without investing much more than the asking price.  Buy it at X and sell it at Y and hopefully Y is greater than X.  This is called flipping.

The key to flipping is getting a classic car or truck for a bargain.  And where can you find a bargain?  Well, that is where the know-how comes in.  You certainly need to know the valuation of vehicles you are looking at.  Hagerty has a great valuation tool you can use to get an idea of how much a collector vehicle is worth depending on its condition.

Locating a bargain classic also takes some luck and skill.  You certainly are not going to find any deals at car shows.  These owners baby their prized possessions and almost always think their collector is worth more than it actually is.

To find a good deal, you are going to need to do some research.  Typically, “barn finds” are the best place to start.  Problem is, finding that barn.  You will need to know the farmer or rancher that has a vehicle stored away, indoors preferably, and is looking to clear out his space.  If you don’t know that person, you will need to do some networking in hopes of locating something worth flipping.

Another technique for finding a bargain classic takes a bit of leg work and networking as well.  We call it garage hunting.  There are tons of classic car restoration projects happening in garages all over America.  The trick to getting a good deal is finding one that has been abandoned.  Restoration projects that have been given up on are great places to get a good price on a classic car.  Just make sure all the parts are there before striking a deal.

Last resort, you can look online for classics for sale or attend an auction or two, but this is where you better know what you are looking at.  There are countless stories of guys buying a classic car or truck because of how it looked.  Maybe it even ran decent, but what about all the things that matter?  Is it matching numbers?  Is the paint original?  What has and hasn’t been restored?  What parts are worn out and need to be restored before it gets sold?  There are tons of variables that need to be addressed before it is ever a good idea to make a purchase.

We aren’t going to get into the nuts & bolts about how to assess a classic car’s condition.  That in of itself takes years to learn and sometimes it also relies on your instincts.  Only you will know if you have what it takes to flip a classic car for profit, and we wish you all the luck if you choose to do so.

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