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Tips for your first classic car auction

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Getting your hands on a classic car is such a joyful experience and one of the most popular ways to purchase a vintage vehicle is through a classic car auction.

There are a variety of classic car auctions that happen across the country every year where vehicles swap hands. But if you’ve never been to a classic car auction then it could be a little intimidating. 

Are there certain rules you have to abide by? Is there a specific etiquette to follow? What questions should you ask? It can be a bit mind blowing attending your first auction and no doubt you’ll have thoughts like this whirring through your head.

That’s why we’ve put together a quick overview of what to expect at a classic car auction and how you should go about navigating your very first one!

Get a catalogue and find out what time your lot is up

Usually you have to buy a catalogue before you enter the sale, but they’re really important so well worth the money.  Read everything about your lot as the descriptions are quite detailed and have input from marque specialists, owners and historians who know the car inside out. Whilst the front desk may not be able to give you a definitive answer about when your lot is going to come up, they usually have a general idea. The car you’re interested in may not come up until the end of the day which will save you a lot of waiting around.

Get to grips with the fees

When the auctioneer has banged his hammer you may think you’ve got a pretty amazing deal. But that price isn’t what you’ll end up paying. On top of the auctioneer price, there’s the buyer’s premium (sometimes a fifth of the hammer price) and then VAT and transportation. Not to mention classic car insurance. So it’s important to factor all of these into your budget when you’re bidding on your lot. Ask the front desk for a rate card that will clearly explain the terms and conditions of buying anything at auction.

Get a closer look at your classic car

Don’t be afraid to get up and close personal with your classic car. You can ask to look underneath the hood and inside the car – feel free to have a proper look around. The specialists will help you open up the car and explore and you can even bring a torch if you like! And ask as many questions as you like. Remember to ask to see all the documents including the ownership history. Missing documents can be a major red flag!

Don’t get carried away

We don’t mean to rain on your parade but people can get carried away in an auction house. The adrenaline is pumping and the atmosphere can be exciting but you should stop and check in with yourself to make sure you’re making the right decision. Are you sure you can afford it? Am I buying it for the right reasons? Have I made a panic-bid? These are all questions you should ask yourself.

Apart from that – have fun!

Classic Car News, Inside Classics

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