Type Of Car
Do you want a car like your grandfather or father had, or even your first car?
Or would you rather have one that you have always liked but never had the chance to own? There are many different factors in your decision process that you can use to begin narrowing down your choices.
Some of the more popular cars in the 60's era such as the Camaro, Corvette and Chevelle, in excellent condition have a much higher value than say a Corvair. Your budget will play a role in this right from the beginning. Try to determine what you want to spend first and that will help guide you along.
When was the last time you drove a car that had manual brakes, manual steering and a manual transmission? If you have never driven a car that had manual steering for instance, you are in for a culture shock. It is more difficult driving a mostly manual car that a modern car or at least one that is mostly automatic from the 60's. If you like or don't mind a manual car, by all means include it in your search criteria. But if you do not have any experience driving such a car and are considering buying one, it is best to test drive one first to see if it is acceptable. The whole point of owning a classic car is to enjoy driving it!
Cars that have mostly original parts or specifications are more valuable than cars that have extensive modifications (unless they are more of a custom car). Purists collectors insist that the cars have the original look down to the hubcaps. Many other collectors however like to update the wheels and tires, remove the fender skirts and add a more modern stereo for instance. Generally, whatever condition exists in the car, it should be able to be put back to the original condition with minimal effort if possible to ensure a higher resale value or to gain top prize in car judging. But it is really up to your taste in what is acceptable to you. Depending on the modifications, the car may or may not have a higher resale value compared to similar models.
You do not have to have a perfect specimen to enjoy owning a classic car. In fact many classic car owners that have high value near perfect cars, fear to drive them. Cars that are over 35 years old are expected to have some wear. The car that you can afford and have been dreaming to own may have a small tear in the drivers seat, have a few paint blemishes and a few dings. Cars with some imperfections are often called "10 or 20 footers." Meaning they look great from that distance. Unless someone was to stand right next to the car and go over it with a fine-toothed comb, the imperfections would be hardly noticed. A large majority of classic cars for sale are in this approximate condition.
Upon viewing the car in person, decide what you can and can't accept. If it needs a total paint job for example, get an estimate to see if this extra cost would be worth it for this particular vehicle. Decide whether the car is priced appropriately for any imperfections that might exist.
A normal human condition that plays a part in all of this. Decide what motivates you in your classic car purchase decision. Do you really want to purchase the exact car and same color and same year that your best friend or neighbor has? Do you want to have a popular car that many people own or do you want to set yourself apart from the others?
Go to car shows, search on-line for models that interest you. See how many are available per type. If you choose a make and model a little less popular, your car will be a little more unique.
This one usually goes overlooked, but imagine buying your dreamboat 1960 Cadillac and driving it home to find out it won't fit in your garage! What to do now?
Some of the 60's era cars are bigger than you may remember. Long hoods and huge trunks create a possible storage problem. It is best to get an idea of the size of certain cars prior to making that purchase.
Imagine never putting a dime into the house you have lived in for the last 40 years. Wishful thinking. Of course with a classic car of this age you will have to spend some money maintaining it. Make sure to set aside some of your budget money for expected repairs-guaranteed. However, when buying your classic car, you will need to determine whether the repairs needed are immediate. If you are not mechanically inclined, it is probably best to consider a car that already is working well and in great mechanical condition. The price should be reflective of any work that needs to be done.
If the repairs are minor issues such as the radio or clock does not work or the left turn signal level sometimes sticks, then it should not be a deterrent to considering the car. However, if the car's transmission does not shift properly, the car stalls repeatedly etc, then you will have to weigh whether you should move on or take the car with these problems.