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Tips for Buying and Selling a Classic Car or Truck Online

Man searching for car parts on the internet with a laptop. Auto repair on line shop.

With the invention of the internet came a whole new world of possibilities for buying and selling classic cars and trucks.  While you can still place an ad in the newspaper or hang a “For Sale” sign in the window or your classic, buying and selling classic cars has been greatly simplified using the Internet.

Sellers now have access to a much larger audience of buyers both near and far.  Buyers have a distinct advantage as well since they now have a much larger available inventory of vehicles to choose from.

Online auctions and websites like AutoHunter, ClassicCars.com, AutoTrader Classics , eBay Motors, and Hemmings and have changed the way people buy classic cars and parts forever.  It is now easier than ever to list your vehicle or parts for sale and get them in front of millions of eager buyers.  In today’s modern world, the first place most people turn to when wanting to buy something is the internet.

Purchasing a classic car or truck takes a bit of know-how and patience to find the car of your dreams at a fair price.  If you’re vigilant and do your homework, you can find your dream machine on the Internet.  Here are a few tips to consider when buying a classic car or truck online.

  • Pay awfully close attention to the details of the vehicle you are interested in. Be sure to read the description thoroughly and take notes on all the features that are offered and the condition of the car.
  • If a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is. In addition, if the profile of the vehicle is worded very carefully you may want to skip inquiring about it.
  • Do not expect to get any type of warranty with the vehicle. It should always be considered “As Is” unless otherwise noted in the advertisement.  If a warranty is a must, then be sure to do your homework to know what the warranty will, and even more important, what the warranty won’t cover.
  • If the vehicle you were looking at was produced after 1981 a vehicle history report can be obtained using the VIN. The reports can be worth their weight in gold if you can discover any accidents in the past or if the title has ever become a salvage vehicle.
  • Research reviews about the seller. For instance, on eBay Motors you can use the “Feedback Section” to read seller reviews.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask the seller for references.
  • Commit to a budget before shopping on any website. And before you get your heart set on a vehicle, do some research on the model you are interested in, so you will know what a fair price range is.  We have a great article on how to stay on budget with a classic car restoration that has some excellent advice.
  • Without question, always have a collector car or truck thoroughly inspected by an expert before you ever handing over cash. If the car is not within reasonable travel distance, you may need to hire a third-party appraiser to check out the condition of the car and report back to you.
  • Never be afraid to ask the seller questions and be insistent in getting answers. If a seller is evasive with providing an honest answer, then I would highly suggest looking for another purchase.  If they can’t honestly answer your questions, then who knows what other secrets about the car they are hiding.

Selling your classic car or truck is now easier than ever thanks to the Internet.  It is an extremely cheap way to present your car to thousands of potential buyers.  A well thought out advertisement can and will make a huge difference in how long it takes to sell.  Here are some excellent tips on how to prepare your classic to sell and how to create a great ad.

  • The most important part of selling your car is to have it in the best condition possible without breaking the bank. It should be obvious that it should be clean and in the best working condition possible.  Here is an article we wrote 9 things to do to get your classic car or truck ready to sell.
  • Take lots of photographs! The more pictures you have the better the chance of selling it.  Be sure to include pictures of all 4 sides of the car, a close shot of the wheels and tires, images of the interior (both front and back seats), a shot of the trunk, the dashboard and a close up of the odometer.  If the car has any special features like custom pinstriping or trim be sure to include those too.  Here is a great article we wrote on the best practices and techniques for photographing a classic car.
  • Write a comprehensive and honest description. List as many details about the car as you can and disclose to the buyer the exact condition of the vehicle.  No point in trying to hustle someone into buying.  It could lead to frustrated buyers that could potentially leave a bad review about you online.
  • Be accessible to potential buyers. List your mobile phone number rather than a land line and check your email often for inquiries.  Often a buyer will move on to another vehicle if the seller is not available.
  • Be realistic when you set your price. While your car might be special to you, a fair market price needs to be determined.   Research what similar models are selling for, get a professional estimate and then determine what you honestly believe to be a fair price.  It is better to set a fair price and stay firm than to over inflate the price and hope someone will negotiate with you.
  • Do not accept personal checks from the buyer for the sale of your classic automobile. If absolutely necessary, confirm with the bank that the money is in the account before ever handing over the keys and title.

The Internet is merely a tool that you can use to assist in buying or selling a classic car or truck.  Ultimately, the research and preparation are up to you.  Whether you are buying or selling, take your time and do your homework.  This will help get you the best deal possible.  Many of the online auctions and advertising sites offer their own advice on how to best use their websites.  Be sure to take their advice as well and you should feel confident that you are ready to buy or sell a classic car or truck.

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