6 Things to Consider Before you Buy a Classic Car

  1. Documentation. Who? What? When? Where? Ask for copies of restoration receipts, maintenance records.  Who did the work? What was done? When was it done? Where was it done? Where has the car been driven? How has it been stored?  Other documents could include a copy of the build sheet from the manufacturer, window sticker or Maroney label.
  2. Ownership.  How long has the current owner had the car? Do the owners know its history or are they flipping it, trying to make a quick sale?
  3. Ask to see the title. What is the vehicle’s ID number?   Google it.  Old advertisements may still be available online. Look at both sides of the title. Is the title in the seller’s name, is it on consignment or are they floating the title? Look for words like salvaged, rebuilt, or a reissued VIN.
  4. Why is the car for sale?  How much will they take for it and why that much?
  5. Is the seller willing to have the car inspected by an independent appraiser?  If so, tell them you’d like to wait to make an offer on the car until after the inspection if it’s still what you’re looking for.  If they say OK, then move forward with the inspection.
  6. Never pay cash unless you are in a bank or safe location during the transfer of the money.

Spring is Here, Buyer Beware

Prepurchase Inspection

Good news! It’s time to start getting collector cars out of storage and on the road. Or maybe you’re looking for the car of your dreams to drive, show and enjoy.

Buyer beware! Over the last few months, we have seen an increase in so-called brokers selling non-existent cars. We have been asked to inspect cars at locations that are empty lots or abandoned buildings with no car or seller in sight.

Do not send a deposit on a car that you have not seen in person or had inspected by a certified appraiser.  We also have a list of brokers and businesses that do not want to allow an inspection of whatever they are marketing.  We can only guess that they do not want us to report on the true condition of the vehicle.  Some will only allow inspections by “their inspectors”.  We recommend that no inspection means “no sale”. Additionally, you should have control over which independent appraiser you hire.  You want someone to work for you, not to help them sell the automobile.

There are only a few professional dealerships that offer any type of warranty on collector cars. Most dealers, brokers and private sellers offer their vehicles “As Is – No Warranty intended or expressed. Where is, as is. You buy it you own it”. A prepurchase inspection will and has saved our clients tens of thousands of dollars. Buying a car sight-unseen could lead to owning a money-pit. An experience no one wants.

We never tell our clients to buy or not to buy. We tell our clients what we see and document the condition of the vehicle including a test ride.  Most cars look better in a photo from 10 feet away than up-close and in person.  And most ads include some type of embellishment about condition.  After all, they’re trying to shine the best light on it.   We present the facts, with no emotional or financial involvement.

Reputable sellers expect you to want to see what you are buying before you negotiate your purchase. Be a wise consumer. Know what you are buying before you make a deal, not after. Call us for a prepurchase inspection. If you’re looking at a car at a dealership that has proven to be unwilling to allow inspections or is uncooperative when we get onsite by not being able to find keys, move other vehicles out of the way or won’t even charge a battery to allow us to test features, we will tell you before we take your order.  Our interest is your best interest.  Let us know how we can help you.

Lipstick on a pig

Prepurchase inspection by Auto Appraisal Groupphoto credit style.com

A dressed up pig with lipstick is a pig dressed up with lipstick.  Put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig. We are often asked to inspect pigs that have been dressed up by their sellers in hopes that buyers will think they are buying a race horse, but they are still pigs. We understand that sellers are trying to sell their pig while buyers are trying to buy a race horse.  When we are hired as an independent inspector, we will not tell our clients that a pig is a horse.

Of course we are talking about cars and our role as an objective inspector when we perform prepurchase inspections.  On the rare occasion that a seller does not want an independent inspector to take a look at their stock before a buyer commits to a purchase, then perhaps they don’t want you to know about the dressed up pig.

Fortunately, most sellers are open to allowing an inspection. Every car stands on its merits. We document exactly what we see and call them as we see them.  For many years, resellers have used Auto Appraisal Group’s services when they buy autos to resell. Many more buyers use our service to help them decide which of the many vehicles available is the one that best meets their needs. Don’t let your dream car turn out to be a nightmare. Protect yourself. Our service saves our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. It also helps collectors to find the right automobile for them. Be a wise consumer. Know what you are buying before you buy it.

Finally – Fall Car Show Season

pedal car carlisle

Here we are again; it is time for two of the biggest and best fall events on the east coast. Fall Carlisle – “a collector car swap meet, car corral, and auction” – is held October 1-5, at 150 acre Carlisle, Pennsylvania fairgrounds and is celebrating its 40th year. AAG has been the official appraiser for the last 25 of those years.  With over 8,000 vendor spaces and 2,000 cars in the car corral, you have plenty of opportunity to haggle with the seller and get your best price. The AACA’s Regional Fall Meet at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania is October 8-11 and has been around since 1955 and is a great place to locate all things car related. There are 9,000 flea market spaces, with 3,300 vendors and 1,100 car coral spaces with 200 to be sold the week of the Fall Meet.

Carlisle has an auction on Friday & Saturday of the show and plans to see over 300 cars cross the auction block. This event has produced good cars at great prices and could be another great opportunity to find the car you want.  Average sale is about $15,000 per auto offered. There is always something in everyone’s price range at this auction. Here is your chance to buy and sell. All Fall Auction consignments are free unless sold.

Hershey’s AACA Meet is considered one of the largest antique auto shows and flea markets in the United States. I have been attending the event for 25 years and rarely get to see the entire show during the 4-day event.  All spaces are hosted by AACA members and true to tradition, only vehicles and parts for autos 25 years or older may be sold. Show field conditions have improved greatly over the years and there is no longer any worry about a mud-fest when the weather doesn’t cooperate.  In fact, last year the sun came out just in time for the Saturday morning car judging event.

Stop by and see us at both shows this fall. We will be on the Midway once again at Fall Carlisle and just inside the Green Field in spaces GAI 11-13 as you enter from the car corral at Hershey. As always, we provide on-site pre-purchase inspections and appraisals upon request. We look forward to seeing you and the great deals you will find at the show.

Happy Motoring,

Larry Batton

Spring Buying & Selling Season Begins

Here we are again. It’s starting to feel like spring in many parts of the country and collector cars and trucks that have been in storage all winter will soon be hitting the road. Sellers get their cars ready to show. Buyers begin to get serious in their search for a new ride.  Here at the Auto Appraisal Group, we see a growing interest as demand for our independent prepurchase inspection service increases nationwide.

Buyer Beware! One of the more blatant developments in recent years is the high percentage of car ads that appear to have been “photo-shopped”.  There has always been a desire to present a car in its best light but the use of computer programs to enhance the appearance of vehicles in ads is widespread. Our agents take dozens of photos during their inspection but when compared to the photos presented in the ad, some have questioned if it is the same vehicle.

As you read the vehicle’s advertisement look for descriptive words as clues to the overall condition of the vehicle.  Terms like excellent, new, best one known to exist, frame-off restoration, and numbers matching all imply a vehicle worthy of a top asking price.  But what is it really worth?  Ask for documentation of these descriptions to pre-qualify vehicles during your initial inquiry. Can they answer questions about who, what, when & where? Correctness and originality are still the most highly sought-after properties in vehicles and may prove to be the best investments over time. Cars that have been properly restored can be a good value because the labor has already been paid for.

Where do you find the best cars?  Look within your local car clubs first.  Are you a mechanic or do you know of a good one in your area?  Be sure you know who your mechanic will be before you buy an old car. What’s the best thing you can do before you close the deal?  Let us assist you with a pre-purchase inspection.  You may talk with our certified agent before and after the inspection so he can address your concerns and answer your questions. After you have reviewed the condition report and photos taken during the inspection, you then talk with us about the market value based upon the current classic and collector car market. We can help you buy or walk away with confidence that you’ve made the best decision.  We look forward to assisting you with all your prepurchase inspection needs.

Happy Motoring!  Larry Batton 1963 Austin Healey 3000 MkII

Why do we only use AAG Certified Agents?

Because we care about the integrity of the people we work with and the quality of the auto appraisal service that we provide. When we started AAG in 1989, there were very few auto appraisers who weren’t also dealers.  Today there are so many appraisers advertising on the internet that it’s hard to tell everyone apart. Add to that the fact that some of them have chosen business names that are very similar to ours, and the windshield gets pretty foggy.

As we’ve always said, they can copy our name, our brochures and even our inspection reports but they can never be us. We believe in what we’re doing and in the agents we work with. We know all of our agents personally and each one not only brings personal experience but has taken and passed our certification course. That’s why we welcome the opportunity for all pre purchase clients to talk with the inspecting agent before and after prepurchase inspections.  After speaking with the agent, clients then talk with our Master auto appraiser about classic car values that pertain to their inspection report.

Don’t be fooled by look-a-likes.  Call AAG @ 800-848-AUTO (2886) for all your auto appraisal and pre purchase inspection needs.

 

Tips for Buying a Classic Car at Auction

I love auctions. The crowds, the chant, the bright lights, the bids. We all know it’s easy to get caught up in the excitment and emotions. So what do we really need to focus on? Here are a few tips when buying a classic car or any vehicle at auction.

1. Buy the one you want with the equipment, engine, color, options and history that you want. If you settle for something else, chances are you’ll find the one you want next month.  Then you’ll find it may be harder to sell your initial purchase than it was to buy.

2. Buy the one with documentation. When was it restored, who restored it, what was done at that time, what was it originally before it was restored?

3. Look at the title before you buy it.  This may tell you the motivation of the seller and can help you price your purchase.

4. Have someone look at it for you or with you. Love is blind. We all know that. Let someone look at the car from a more objective point of view. A pre purchase inspection could save you from making a big mistake or help you buy with more confidence.

 

My AAG Story—“Great cars and fantastic people”

Griesemer I originally joined AAG over 20 years ago when I was looking for some part-time work that would provide extra income.  I’ve been involved in the collector car hobby most of my life (as owner, restorer and judge), and being involved in appraising collectible vehicles sounded like interesting and fun work, and so it has been.  Not only have I seen some great cars, but you meet some fantastic people along the way.

Far and away the most fascinating assignment was being involved in the auto appraisal of the Harold and Nancy LeMay collection of over 3,000 vehicles.  I took a week off from my full-time job to fly to Tacoma, Washington to work with a half dozen other agents.  What an amazing collection, and a task that only a company with the reputation and the size of the AAG could handle.

Another interesting assignment took me to a remote corner of Utah to do a pre-purchase inspection of not one, but two 1963 Z-11 Impala’s, plus one of the eleven ’62 prototypes.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to examine these rare pieces of drag racing history up close, and I learned a lot about them through my pre-inspection research and the inspection itself.

One recent assignment of note came last year in 2012, when I went to inspect two Shelbys, a 1966 GT350 and a 1967 GT500.  Not only were those two cars great, but the owner, president of a large trucking company, had a 50-60 car collection of Cobras, Shelbys, Boss 429 and Cobra Jet Mustangs, and was a personal friend of Carroll Shelby himself!  You just never know what or who  you’ll encounter on an AAG appraisal!

Submitted by: Owen Griesemer, Maryland Agent