Buying classic cars at auctions
You will probably know people, whether or not they’re investors, who get excited by classic car auctions. But is it wise or even practical to purchase classic cars from auctions?
In New Zealand, numerous car buyers line up to bid and purchase classic cars from auctions, because they think that there must be many perks and advantages, including that it’s a good day out.
Advantages and disadvantages
Classic cars sold at auctions are usually very cheap compared with classic cars sold at reputable classic car dealerships. This is why people with a limited budget always fall into the queue at almost every car auction in the community.
Unfortunately, that’s about it on the advantages front, really. The disadvantages, on the other hand, are more numerous. Let’s take a look at eight usual issues associated with buying a classic car at an auction.
1. Most classic cars at auctions are cheap not because they’re bargains but because they are usually worn-out cars that can’t be sold anywhere else.
2. Most classic cars at auctions are not in good mechanical condition. Some of them have just been refurbished and made to look good and functional for the auction, but when the buyer finally uses the car, flaws and damages start appearing.
3. Most or almost all cars sold at auctions are not necessarily covered under the Consumer Guarantees Act, Privacy Act, or Fair Trading Act, unlike vehicles sold by well-established, reputable classic car dealers and distributors.
4. There is a possibility that you may be acquiring a ‘hot’ car — a vehicle that has been illegally smuggled into the country, or has been stolen — or which can’t be registered in New Zealand and then sold on the market.
5. In a classic car auction, there are no guarantees that you’ll end up with a true bargain. You need to know what you’re looking at, what it should cost, and how to spot a lemon quickly, because, at most auctions, you cannot drive a vehicle before you bid on it.
6. It’s not impossible to find good cars at auctions, but one can almost take it for granted that most of the inexpensive cars purchased at an auction will need some work done to them, maybe even a lot of work. And when you do, in fact, find a good car at an auction, you’ll almost definitely not be the only person bidding on it — so you are likely to end up with a very expensive bargain.
7. Keep in mind that a shiny exterior tells you very little about the actual running condition of a car, or its history, so you need to be very familiar with the type of car you want to bid on.
8. Finally, buying a classic car at an auction means not only that you probably won’t be able to test-drive it but also that you may not be able to perform a thorough technical inspection of it or verify the maintenance history and provenance. If you do end up