A brand spanking new car is all well and good; you’ve got some of the very latest technologies to take advantage of, both in terms of keeping the car on the road, and the experience sitting inside the cockpit. But for all their modern benefits, they can’t compete with classic cars when it comes to soul, character and even looks.
So, you’ve set yourself aside a good chunk of money to invest in a car, and you’ve decided that old is the way to go. Where do you go to buy one? We imagine, initially at least, you’ll look online to see what’s out there, gather reviews and work out what car it is you want to see sitting on your drive.
You’re obviously going to need to go and see a few in the flesh though to really get a good feel, and a dedicated classic car dealership is the way to go. Not only will they have a good level of stock, but the staff will have an unrivalled knowledge of the cars on sale, helping you to make an informed decision.
When you’re buying a classic car, it’s important to know where that car originated. Ideally, you want to buy an Australian delivered classic car. Why? Because cars destined for Down Under may have been adjusted from non-Australian cars to cope better with the conditions on these shores. This could be in the form of bigger cooling systems or having their engine calibrated for the fuel that comes out of Australian pumps.
You’re also going to get a right-hand drive vehicle too, rather than buying an imported car from Europe with left-hand drive. Something delivered directly to Australia will also hold greater resale value, should you ever decide you want to part ways with your new baby.
Australia has a huge classic car culture, and to that regard has a number of dedicated outlets and clubs where you can buy a new, used car. Here are the places you need to checking out.
Pickles is an online marketplace for all things cars. While it’s not just classic and prestige vehicles available to buy or view through the Pickles platform – it’s home to the largest selection of ex-government vehicles in Australia – it’s definitely a reliable and renowned place to get your classic car fix. The majority of prestige and classic cars listed on the site come from auctions all around Australia, but you’re able to view the listings and bid on them directly through Pickles, making the whole process incredibly simple and easy.
If you’re new to auctions then Pickles allows you to register as an observer so you can an idea of what actually happens. Of course, if the car of your dreams pops up then dive right in and bid away.
Dutton Garage, based in Melbourne, is dedicated to buying and selling classic, rare and exotic cars. The showroom may be situated in Melbourne, but Duttons has a global presence, being able to sell and export cars out of Australia or even import them in, should you have a specific car you’re after that can only be found internationally.
While Dutton Garage doesn’t necessarily specialise in any particular brand, it’s not uncommon to find a wide range of Porsche, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz.
Classic Throttle Shop
Classic Throttle Shop was founded in 2003 in Sydney and in the years since, the team has cemented themselves as one of the go-to showrooms for all your classic car needs. The company boasts it has the finest selection of classic cars in the entire southern hemisphere, but with brands such as Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Jaguar in the listings, we’re inclined to believe them.
Each car listing on the website has a detailed history of the car, including where it has spent the majority of its life. Classic Throttle Shop does its best to source most of its stock from enthusiasts and collectors, owing to the fact the car will likely have had a better life as a result.
Understanding that collectors and enthusiasts will go to auctions as their first port of call when wanting to buy a classic car, Shannons has been operating since 1981. The auction house conducts up to 10 auctions each year in Australia across Melbourne and Sydney, and has become a trusted outlet for classic car purchases due to the wealth of information they know about, and provide with, each car that comes through the doors.
No one brand is preferred over another, so expect to find a range of vehicles from all the around the world, including those native to Australia, such as classic Holdens.
Of course, you could skip out the ‘middle man’ and find yourself a classic car for sale from a car club. Clubs, such as the Porsche Club NSW, for example, are made up of a group of members who share a common passion for their car brand of choice. The cars they own, then, will be well looked after, with routine servicing and maintenance to keep their cherished cars in roadworthy conditions.
They, therefore, make a reliable point of sale when you’re looking to add to your collection. You don’t have to be a member to buy a car through a dedicated club either, nor do you need to be one to post an advert if you have a car for sale (a small listing fee is usually applicable to non-members).
If you know the brand of vehicle you want to buy, you can usually find a complete list of car clubs in your area or state by searching online.
Inevitably, we have to talk about private sales at some point and Gumtree is one of the best places around. You’ll find a vast majority of dealers will advertise their cars on Gumtree, owing to the large audience it attracts, but a fair number of private sellers will list their vehicles too. This means the selection on offer through Gumtree will be one of the greatest out of all the outlets mentioned on this list.
However, if you go down the private sale route, you’re unlikely to get any sort of warranty or buyer protection compared to if you went through a dealer. The upside to this is that you should have more room for negotiation, meaning you can potentially get the car of your dreams for less.
Carsales is easily the largest online marketplace for new and used vehicles in Australia and is so often the first place many Australians will turn to when they’re looking to add to their car collection. The website is incredibly easy to navigate and you’re able to fine tune your search so you only get the exact results that match your criteria. As with Gumtree, you don’t get buyer protection from Carsales, as the majority of transactions will be carried out privately. But for sheer selection, Carsales is hard to beat.
Trade Unique Cars
Trade Unique Cars is a website that deals with exactly what it suggests: unique cars. It’s an online portal for both dealers and private sellers to list their vehicles for sale, and there really are some absolute beauties on there. Cars such as V8 supercars that have seen some serious race time or old school New York taxis are just the tip of what you can expect to find listed. For one of a kind cars, look no further.
Police auctions are where seized items, such as cars, are sold at auction if left unclaimed for a set amount of time (usually a few months). They don’t tend to be held by the actual police department, but rather a third-party auctioneer, such as Pickles. You’re not guaranteed to find classic cars through police auctions, but occasionally some will pop up, and since they’re police impounded cars, there’s a good chance they’ll have some stories to tell.
Before the age of the internet, we had to check the classifieds in the local paper for cars and other general goods to buy. Believe it or not, that is still the case, and if you turn the near the back of your local, you’ll find some classic and vintage cars for sale. With it being local, you may even know the seller, and it’s always good to buy from someone you know because they shouldn’t short change you, right? If they do, you always know where they live.
What To Look For
Buying a car, new or used, always comes with the common association of a sleazy car dealer who will do everything in their power to sell you something that may not always be what you want. That isn’t always the case, but there are certain things you should be careful of when buying a classic car.
As we’ve mentioned, you can either go down the dealer/auction route or go private. Trade-dealt cars will usually be more expensive than private, but you will be in a better position to get some form of compensation should anything not be as good as it seemed when you bought your car.
Also, budget is important. Not only do you need to make sure you can genuinely afford the car you’ve lusted after, but remember, there is the upkeep that comes with ownership. With it being a classic, parts may be harder to source, making them more expensive and you’ll want to make sure you take it to a mechanic that specialises either in classic cars in general or the brand you’ve settled on.
So, now you’re (hopefully) a little more clued up with regards to buying yourself a classic motor, we implore you to head out and find that car of your dreams.