Sports Cars Servicing Maidstone

Phone Number: 01622 890233

Email Address:

What Is The First Thing To Check When Buying A Classic Car

  • Posted by:
  • Admin
  • Tags:
  • Posted date:
  • 13-07-2023
What Is The First Thing To Check When Buying A Classic Car

What is the first thing to check when buying a classic car? Learn the crucial first step when purchasing. From assessing condition to verifying documentation, get expert insights to make an informed decision.  

What to look for when buying your first classic car?

Purchasing your first classic car is an exhilarating venture, immersing you in a world of timeless charm and motoring heritage. However, this delightful pursuit requires careful consideration and informed decision-making to find the perfect vintage gem. From age and condition to market reputation and roadworthiness, several essential factors should be at the forefront of your mind.

Understanding the value of preservation, maintenance, and specialised insurance for classic cars is vital to ensure your cherished possession brings joy and pride for years to come. So, before you embark on this nostalgic journey, let's explore the key elements to consider when seeking your dream classic car.

Choosing the Right Vehicle

Choosing the right classic car requires careful consideration of its intended purpose and personal preferences. Before delving into the market, it's essential to determine the role the vehicle will play in your life.

If the plan is to use it for family outings, a two-seater sports car might not be the best choice. On the other hand, if you enjoy restoring vehicles and have the skills and time for it, a project car could be a fulfilling option.

An example of the importance of making the right choice can be seen in situations where a classic car doesn't fit in the garage or meet practical needs. It illustrates the significance of carefully considering the reasons for purchasing a classic car.

What Is The First Thing To Check When Buying A Classic Car?

While a reasonable price might be tempting, it's not a sufficient reason on its own. Instead, focus on a genuine passion for the vehicle or any childhood dreams one wants to fulfil. To make the right decision, think about how the classic car will be used and ensure it aligns with the lifestyle. Consider the size of the garage and whether the vehicle will fit comfortably. Avoid letting the excitement of owning a classic car cloud judgment; always stay practical and realistic. 

While owning a dream car like a Porsche may be the ultimate goal, it's crucial to be financially realistic. Stretching the budget to afford a high-end model might limit the ability to enjoy the car fully. Compromise is necessary when it comes to choosing a classic car. Remember that even a moderately priced classic can be a thing of beauty and joy to drive. Whether spending a small or substantial amount, the experience of owning a classic car can be immensely gratifying.

checks you Should carry out when buying a classic car

Purchasing a classic car can be an exhilarating experience, filled with nostalgia and the thrill of owning a timeless automotive gem. However, before you get too swept up in the allure of vintage charm, it's crucial to conduct thorough checks to ensure you're investing in a worthy classic car.

By performing these comprehensive checks, you'll be well-equipped to make an informed decision when buying your first classic car and enjoy the thrill of owning a timeless automotive treasure. Remember, a careful evaluation now can save you time, money, and potential headaches in the future. With that said, here are the essential inspections to carry out when considering a classic car purchase:

Have a good chat with the owner: Communication with the seller is key. Ask about the car's history, past problems, modifications, and reasons for selling. Trust your instincts and look for signs of honesty.

Bring the right kit: Arm yourself with essential tools such as a torch, screwdriver, camera, voltmeter, and wire brush. These will help you inspect the car's condition in detail.

Make sure the panels fit: Check for proper alignment of all panels, as misalignments might indicate previous accidents or repairs.

Check for rust: Thoroughly inspect every nook and cranny for signs of rust, as it can be a significant issue in classic cars. Focus on common rust spots like sills, wheel arches, seams, and rain gutters.

Examine the rubber seals: Ensure rubber seals are intact to prevent water leakage into the cabin.

Inspect the frame: If the car has a separate chassis frame, carefully check for corrosion and stress cracks, especially around suspension mountings.


Examine the brightwork: Look for pitted chrome trim and broken light units, as finding replacements can be challenging for some models.

Check the interior trim: Ensure door panels, carpets, and seat covers are in good condition, as retrimming can be costly.

Look for engine issues: Check for oil leaks, uneven running, and smoke from the exhaust, as these could indicate engine problems.

Assess the  transmission: Pay attention to gear changes, listen for noises, and test the clutch for any slipping.Watch out for steering issues: Inspect the steering box, rack, and components for wear or stiffness.

Evaluate the suspension: Press down on each corner to check the dampers and look for worn springs and bushings during the test drive.Check the tyres and wheels: Inspect tyre tread wear and listen for grumbling wheel bearings.

Test the braking system: Ensure the brakes are responsive and check for leaks in the braking system.

Examine the electrics: Inspect the electrical system for any issues, including poor earth, dodgy connections, and brittle looms.

Why buy a classic car?

Owning a classic car goes beyond nostalgia and investment potential; it offers a distinctive and memorable driving experience. Classic cars provide a raw and unfiltered feel, forging a more intimate connection between the driver and the road compared to modern vehicles with their advanced technology.

The joy of working on and restoring these vintage automobiles is a labour of love for many enthusiasts, allowing them to delve into the mechanics and craftsmanship of bygone eras and relish the satisfaction of reviving a piece of automotive history.

Moreover, classic cars can bring financial benefits. With their appreciation in value over time due to their limited supply, they become shrewd investments.


Furthermore, if a classic car is over 40 years old, it qualifies for road tax exemption, leading to cost savings for the owners. Additionally, specialised classic car insurance policies offer tailored coverage at more affordable premiums. Beyond the financial aspects, classic car ownership is a gateway to a vibrant and supportive community.

Enthusiasts gather at events, shows, and rallies to share their passion and admiration for these timeless vehicles, forging friendships with like-minded individuals who appreciate the beauty and heritage of classic cars. Moreover, owning a classic car is a chance to preserve history for future generations. By maintaining and caring for these vintage vehicles, owners contribute to the cultural heritage of the automotive world, keeping the spirit of the past alive.

What makes a car a classic?

Determining whether a car qualifies as a classic depends on different criteria, each serving a specific purpose. To be eligible for classic car insurance, the vehicle must be over 15 years old and categorised as a 'historic vehicle' or a modern classic. However, it should also hold a value of £15,000 or more, which narrows the selection to iconic brands like Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, or Rolls Royce.

For classic car tax exemption, the car needs to surpass 40 years of age, among meeting other specified conditions. Beyond the car's age, classic cars are regarded as status symbols, embodying more than just a chronological milestone. The exact criteria that define a classic remain a subject of debate. Some enthusiasts link a traditional black and silver registration plate to classic status, while others emphasise the era and heritage of the manufacturer.

If you want to find out more about sports car servicing and repair within Maidstone and Kent, then get in touch today.