If you’re asking yourself, “Should I sell or keep a classic car?” – there’s no easy answer to the question because it depends on your unique situation, but we can help you by pointing out some of the different factors you should consider when making this decision.
Is Your Car Actually a Classic?
It’s important to figure out if the car you think is a classic really is a classic car. There is no universally accepted definition of a classic car, just some general guidelines, although particular groups and organizations have their own pet definitions. The age of the car plays a primary role here. Any car that’s at least 20 years old might qualify as a classic, but there’s more to it than age. There also has to be enough interest in that type of car that people want to collect it. It’s this combination of age and collectability that make for a classic car. This is why an M series BMW from the 1990s can qualify as a classic car – people are interested in restoring and collecting them – while a Chevy Citation from the 1980s is generally not a classic car, because nobody’s interested in collecting them or restoring them. There are also specialty cars produced in small quantities that can be very collectible, but which don’t meet the age aspect of being a “classic,” such as the 2006 Ford GT or the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT. In the end, if no one else thinks your car is a classic, then it probably isn’t, in which case you might as well sell it.
The Investment Factor of Your Classic Car
Some people consider their classic car an investment, which is a very smart approach. If you keep your classic car in good shape, it will appreciate in value year after year. If you view your classic car as an investment, you’d want to hang onto it as long as possible and only sell it when you want to reap the financial benefits of its appreciated value.
The Enjoyment Factor of Your Classic Car
Ask yourself this: Do you still enjoy your classic car? If it’s been years since you did anything with the vehicle, whether that means driving it or working on it, and you don’t feel like that pattern is going to change anytime soon, you might as well consider selling it to someone who will enjoy it more. But if you still enjoy it on a regular basis, why get rid of something you still enjoy? Well, there may be other reasons for selling it, which we’ll cover below.
The Affordability Factor of Your Class Car
The next question you have to ask yourself is whether you can afford to keep your classic car. If your classic car needs a substantial amount of work to get it in shape or keep it in good condition and you realistically don’t have the disposable income to do that work now or in the foreseeable future, you should consider selling it someone who can put the resources into maintaining the vehicle. And that’s not even mentioning insuring it if the goal is to keep it on the road at least occasionally.
The Life Situation Factor of Your Classic Car
People’s needs and priorities change over time. The classic car you bought in your younger years may feel more like a burden now if you’re older, have a family and lot more financial obligations than you had in your younger years. Having a classic car just might not make sense anymore from this standpoint. You might also be facing a big expense like a home, wedding, college, etc. and are willing to sell your classic car to help cover it. Whether or not your classic car will fetch the kind of money you need or are hoping for is another matter entirely.
The Restoration Factor of Your Classic Car
If your classic car has not yet been restored, you need to make a realistic assessment of whether or not you’ll ever get around to it or can afford to do the work. Depending on the car’s condition, you could be looking at a serious amount of time and money to do the project. If the car has already been sitting around for years or decades, what makes you think you’re suddenly going to be able to get the project started? Again, be brutally honest with yourself to get clarity on whether or not you should keep or sell the classic car.
The Inheritance Factor of Your Classic Car
It’s not uncommon for people to inherit a classic car from a parent who has passed on. This can be an especially difficult situation to navigate. What makes this one so hard is that there could be a huge amount of sentimental value attached to the vehicle. Nostalgia can be a strong pull, but once again it’s important to take a hard and realistic look at what the classic car is going to cost you to restore it and/or maintain it. If it needs to be restored and you cannot do the work yourself, find a mechanic who does restoration work on classic cars and get an estimate for what it would cost. If it’s totally out of your range, then it would be better to sell the car than have it sit around and deteriorate further.
The Practicality Factor of Your Classic Car
Some people want to use their classic car as one of their viable modes of transportation on a regular basis. That’s all well and good, but you need to know what you’re getting yourself into before making this decision. The older your car, the more features it is going to lack compared to modern vehicles. It won’t have satellite radio service or integrations with any of your modern devices, and even the car radio it does have might get only bad reception. If you live in a climate where air conditioning is a necessity, many classic cars have none at all. But even more important are all the modern safety features it won’t have – crumple zones, airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes, and so on. And keeping a classic car road-worthy will take more maintenance and repair work than most cars, and not every mechanic is able to work on older cars. Taking a practical view of what’s involved with a classic car can help you decide whether or not to sell it.
In the final analysis, you’re the only one who can decide whether you should keep or sell a classic car, but we hope the six different factors we outlined above will help you make the decision that’s best for you.