The strong sell through rate for some our favorite models from Fiat, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, Ford, MG, Volkswagen, Rolls-Royce and Austin Healey, is evidence of continuing strength in the market. In Scottsdale a 1955 MG TF was sold at $88,000; a 1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I Drophead finished at $550,000. Someone paid $247,500 for a 1970 Ford Mustang Boss. An ever popular Aston Martin DB4 Series II did sell for the tidy sum of $462,000. The Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon was driven off for $1.525 million. An exceptional Jaguar E-Type Series I 3.8 Litre Roadster achieved a sale at $440,000. An example of the once common but now collectible Mercedes Benz 280 SL was hammered down for a cool $181,000. Hard to say if sellers are cashing in, but buyers seem to be stepping up....
How to prepare your vintage car for sale
What does it take for you to get the best sale price for your classic or collector car. You may be wondering how far away you are from some of the high prices being achieved for your make and model at the top auctions.
It bears remembering that buyers are looking at a few things that can make or break the high sale price of your vintage driving machine, including: authenticity, condition, history, documents, relative rarity, clarity of title.
Let’s look at these items:
Authenticity: no one wants to be stuck with a fake. If your vintage car is not what it appears to be, then state that so that potential buyers are aware of that fact. You could be held liable and your well-heeled buyer can likely afford to drag you to court to extract a refund. If you remove the original engine, keep the old one and transfer it with the car. When advertising classic car for sale, saying “replacement engine fitted but original motor available” is a lot better than simply “non-original engine”. If you have a cvra with a story it may be wise to consult experienced legal counsel before proceeding to market the car.
Condition: Keep the classic car running well and with its original bits even if it isn’t prepared as a show car. Originality and fittings that are all there are very much appreciated even if they show normal use and the gentle patina of a cherished machine shown love by its owner.
History: Interesting facts about the car should be researched, authenticated and documented. Buyers enjoy telling a story about their classic cars. If you have some particular verified nugget of historical info, do share it.
Documents: Keep your papers in order. Do you keep repair bills and parts invoices neatly organized? Do you have copies of all the annual registration documents from the DMV? Keep all documents with the car; preferably in binders. Do keep the original manuals and books with the car. Presence of the original books and records says something positive about of the custodians in its history. Once the car is gone those papers are useless to you so you might as well transfer them to the new owner. Redaction of sensitive personal info is recommended.
Relative Rarity: Is it the first, the last, or the only one with such and such? Become familiar with how many were made. Verify and provide support for any claims. You may be well-served to have an appraisal conducted by a knowledgable appraiser. The investment may be worthwhile for the context in which your car will be cast by the appraiser.
Clarity of title: Do you have unassailable title to the car? Do you expect the buyer to pay you with real money?
There are other factors of course but these are the key points when you want to sell your vintage car. Collectors will usually perform due diligence before they buy a classic car so you might as well be prepared.