You may see classic cars driving down your streets and think how expensive they must be. But you would be surprised how nice of a car you could buy for under $15,000. There are even many classic cars that are in very good mechanical and cosmetic shape selling for between $8,000 and $10,000. There are many sources where you can find the approximate values of classic cars. One of the best is the NADA Price Guide. This can give you an idea of what the car might be valued at depending on three retail condition ratings. All of the ratings assume the car is in mechanically functioning condition.
Low retail is defined as a car that needs only minor reconditioning mechanically and the exterior, paint and trim would show normal wear.
Average retail rating is for cars that are in good overall condition, including cars that are an older restoration or a well-maintained original vehicle. The car is completely operable and the exterior, paint and trim are presentable. The car would look great from a 20-foot distance.
High retail value does not represent a perfect vehicle, but the car would be in excellent condition overall. It would be completely restored or an extremely well maintained original vehicle showing very minimal wears. The exterior, paint, trim and mechanics are not in need of reconditioning. The interior is in excellent condition.
Cars that are considered 100 Point or #1 rated are generally not driven. They are museum quality and are often transported by enclosed trailer to car shows etc.
Your budget will often define the type of classic car you can afford. If you sincerely want to buy a classic car but don't think you could afford one here are some tips.
1). Do you really need a top of the line, high priced lease or purchase of a brand new car to use as your daily driver? You could save a tremendous amount of money each year or month in downsizing your current lease payment or buying a late model used car. Then you could use the savings toward buying your classic car.
2). Finance your classic car. There are many companies that specialize in loans for older cars. The rates are reasonable considering the age of the vehicle and the fact that they are not driven many miles annually or used for routine transportation.
3). Be realistic in what you can afford. We all would like to own a primo 1963 Corvette,
but you will not find one priced at $6,000. If you have a lower budget, why not begin with a "starter" type classic car. You don't have to enter it in car show competition. It may have a few cosmetic flaws but is presentable and runs great. You don't have to worry about what the purists think, only that you have fun driving the car.