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A buyer’s guide for those new to the collector car hobby

In the month of May, the Journal will publish a series of stories about purchasing your first collector car, or even your next one if you're not a newcomer

Dave Kinney, collector car vehicle appraiser and creator of what we now know as the Hagerty Price Guide, has suggested that the mistakes you make — and don’t worry, you will make plenty of them — when you purchase your first collector car simply represent your tuition payment for what might be termed a college-level class, think of it as Collector Car 101.

Kinney suggests that rather than fret over the money you’ll be wasting on your initial mistakes, you accept it as the cost of a learning experience from which you’ll benefit on your subsequent adventures in the hobby.

In fact, he suggests you go ahead and buy that car, keep it for one year, and then sell it. His thought is that between the buying and selling you’ll have learned about owning and maintaining, have learned from whom you can and should not accept advice, and about the joys and the frustrations of collector car ownership. 

And then, at last, you’ll be in position to get serious about enjoying the hobby with your next purchase, and with any that follow.

With Kinney’s words ringing in our ears, the ClassicCars.com Journal will present a series of articles in May along the theme of “Buying your first (or your next) collector car.” The goal is to equip you whether you plan to keep your collector car long term, or to enjoy the fun — and occasional profit — of becoming a buying and selling repeat offender.

For the moment, and with the collector car show season just getting underway, and with the auction calendar finally percolating as the pandemic ebbs, our focus is on buying, whether in a private transaction or through an in-person or online auction. But we plan to be back in the fall with another series on selling. 

We also hope that our series provides a buyer’s guide that will help you avoid some of those costly mistakes of Kinney’s cautionary words. 

By the way, if you have a story to share about your first collector car purchase — be it a learning experience, an absolute joy or a total disaster — we’d love to share it with our audience. Just send it along to us at [email protected].

Buying A Collector Car Series

A series of stories on the ins and outs of purchasing a collector car, whether it's your first or your next.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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Buying A Collector Car Series