Thursday, June 24, 2010
Classic cars by definition from the Classic Car Club of America are cars that were built from 1919 to 1948. They focus on these first cars ever built. Cars that don't fall in this range are called antique cars, although some people like to interchange the terminology. These cars were typically the creme de la creme, or cream of the crop cars. They were expensive when they first came out, and were made in very limited quantities. Some cars may not fit that bill, but they also can be the first to use a specific development of technology. For example, a car that first used power brakes can be considered a classic car. These are the true classics that people think of. An example that many people may have heard of would be a Rolls Royce. There are many other definitions to classic cars, as it is truly up to the person deciding if it is a classic or not. There are modern classics that are usually at least 15 to 25 years old. For insurance purposes, states give their own definition. For example, Pennsylvania law says that the car must be at least 15 years old and also conform to the original specifications that the manufacturer stated. It truly varies with whoever you speak with. Due to this confusion, the more information you can get regarding classic cars the better. The CarsDirect website is a great source of articles on general classic car information, as well as specific information on certain makes and models.
Classic car value is a very delicate subject. If you are the owner of a car that is in less than mint condition, it is very possible to improve its value, however you should be very careful. While proper restoration is a very difficult and time consuming process, decreasing the value of a classic car is very easy and is often done without the owner even realizing it.
Numbers Matching Cars
The most valuable classic cars are those that are not only in flawless condition, but more importantly are equipped with all of their original factory parts. Numbers matching refers to a car in which all major parts including the engine, transmission, and rear axle, and in some cases even the alternator, carburetor, distributor, water pump and cylinder heads all match the original parts numbers listed for the car. Should you need to replace or repair any of the major parts of your classic car, trying to replace them with parts from the same type of car, year and model will help preserve as much value as possible.
New Parts versus New Old Stock
While the difference between newly manufactured parts may be hard to notice simply looking at them, their impact on a classic car’s value can be enormous. While newer, more recent parts may function more efficiently as well as boast superior durability, using them on a classic car can be catastrophic to its value. In order to maximize the value of your classic car, try and use new old stock parts, or parts that were manufactured during the same time period as the car yet have never been used. If you are unable to locate them for the parts you need, you may want to consider looking for a parts car, or a car of the same year and model as yours that is in poor condition. While these cars may be nearly worthless themselves, the parts you may be able to salvage from them can help improve the value of yours by a great deal.
One of the best ways to improve the value of your classic car is by restoring the body. Repairing dents, and other forms of body damage as well as rejuvenating tired paint with a fresh coat of any of the factory colors of paint the car was available in originally can lead to large increases in value.
Keep Detailed Maintenance Records
Not only do well kept, detailed records help prove the great condition of your classic car as well as the work put into restoration, they can explain any parts that don’t have matching parts numbers, as well as give a window into the life and potential future of your car. People like to know the histories of the cars they buy, and having a detailed record might be enough to coax a few more dollars from a potential buyer.
While customization can make a car more suited to your tastes, it can be devastating to the value of a classic car. For maximum value, always try and keep your car as close to original specifications as possible, using as many original parts as possible.
Posted by Palmer at 7:15 AM