It’s that time of year when we reflect on the year that has just gone by, and how we want the year ahead to be different.
Here are five things to consider as you start a new year of buying, selling, collecting, restoring and driving.
1. Try out something new. It’s never been easier to slide in and out of cars, classic or modern. With the increasing sophistication of online sellers, you can bid with more assurance than ever before. Further, the selection of cars available has never been more diverse.
For instance, it took me 15 years to find a Citroën Mehari. Now, it seems like there is one for sale online every month.
If there is a car you have always been curious about, like a TVR or an MGA Deluxe, select the right search notification buttons and soon there will be a listing for one in your inbox.
For the past couple of months, I have had a hankering for an Alfa 164 automatic. So far, the only ones that have turned up have been fright pigs. But I know that time is on my side, and if I list my “wanted” in enough places and select enough online sale notifications, the right one will appear.
2. Every second of diligence you spend before you bid will be repaid with hours of avoided frustration. Let the online trolls be your best friends. Their anorak-nerdiness about a Jaguar E-Type will point out things you might never have seen, even with a physical inspection.
3. Don’t spend beyond your budget. But don’t be afraid to spend up to your budget limits either. When what seems like a great car comes along, it’s all well and fine to try to steal it. However, with sometimes thousands of other collectors watching an auction, chances are you will pay retail for good kit. Or maybe a little above retail, which now becomes the new retail.
I recently sold an automatic Volvo 122S online. It brought about $20,000 – which is what I had “invested” in it. I had trolls comment that, “No slushbox 122 is worth $20k.”
Well, they were wrong. This one was, because that’s what someone was willing to pay for it.
4. While finding a car is easier than ever before, selling one is easier too. There are a number of dealers, such as Fantasy Junction, who specialize in listing their inventory on online sites. This makes great sense as they know how to present and represent a car properly and advertise their inventory in print as well (in SCM, thank you very much), which augments the unmatched reach of the online auctions.
5. After you have closed the deal, don’t skimp on the transport. The difference in cost between using a licensed, regulated enclosed carrier and a gypsy with an open trailer can be measured in the hundreds, rather than thousands of dollars. If you’ve just spent $50,000 or more on a car, spend the couple of thousand more to get it delivered to your door, by people who know what they are doing.
Let’s make 2022 a year where we buy cars that have always interested us but have never found their way into our garages. And when we have scratched that itch, whether in three months or three years, know that we can make the car go away with a minimum of hassle.
With the proliferation of online opportunities to buy and sell, it has never been easier to let some of your collector car dreams come true.