The Best Museums to Donate Your Antique Vehicle

Donate Antique Vehicle to LeMay Collections at MarymountDonating a classic, antique, or collector car to a museum can be a terrific way to give back to the community and keep the rich history of vintage vehicles alive. Donating a collector automobile is different from donating a normal modern vehicle, although the process shares some basic principles (for general tips on how to donate a vehicle successfully, read our recent article about Donating a Vehicle to a Non-Profit). Collector and antique vehicles have the unique opportunity to become part of a museum collection, but how do you find the right museum?

The list below includes some of the most prestigious auto museums in the United States that accept donations and gifts:

America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington
America’s Car Museum was started by a donation of automobiles from the Harold LeMay Family’s collection and includes a wide variety of vehicles ranging from a famous Peking-to-Paris Citroën 2CV to a 1983 Mercury Colony Park station wagon. The collection explores the history and evolution of American mobility and automotive lifestyles. Learn More…

AACA National Headquarters & Library

The Hershey, Pennsylvania-based club is the oldest and largest such organization in the United States.  Its new facility houses a special display of vehicles, memorabilia, and the largest public automotive library known to exist.  As a 501 C 3 AACA welcomes donations of automobiles, literature, and selected memorabilia. Learn more…

The AACA Museum, Inc.
The AACA Museum, Inc. has built an antique automobile collection entirely based on the contributions of thoughtful automotive collectors. The museum is a Smithsonian affiliate with a collection made up of over 175 vehicle donations. Learn More…

The Blackhawk Museum
The Blackhawk offers collectors several options for donation, allowing donors to choose between donating to the Wheels for Wheelchairs programs, the Children’s Education and Transportation Fund, or donating a gift to keep the Museum running. Learn More…

The Cadillac & LaSalle Club Museum
We have affiliated with the world-renowned Gilmore car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. Because of its partnerships with other museums and collections, its outstanding facilities, and beautiful campus with year-round access to its exhibits, the Gilmore Car Museum is the destination of car enthusiasts from all over the world. The Cadillac & LaSalle Club Museum & Research Center is a premier attraction at Gilmore. Learn More…

Donate to Boyertown Museum of Historic VehiclesBoyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles
Discover Pennsylvania’s Transportation History at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles! See vehicles of all types: gasoline, electric, and horse-drawn, including carriages, wagons, and sleighs. You will see ‘high wheelers” and “safety bicycles,” vehicle builder’s tools, and local historic roadside architecture. Learn More…

The California Automobile Museum
This wonderful museum includes more than 150 classic cars and trucks exhibited in groups based on historical context. The museum is always looking for new donations to keep its exhibits comprehensive and up-to-date. Learn More…

The Gilmore Car Museum
The Gilmore collection consists of more than 250 vehicles, 7500 automotive artifacts, and almost 500,000 archival and library items. The collection rotates items to tell the story of transportation in America. Learn More…

The Henry Ford Museum
The Henry Ford Museum offers educational experiences that include authentic objects and stories about the ingenuity, resourcefulness, and innovation of the legendary Ford automobile. Exhibits celebrate the traditions of the past and the path that led to the modern Ford automobile.Learn More…

The Lane Motor Museum
The Lane Museum is one of the few museums in the U.S. to specialize in European cars. Some cars are in showroom condition, while others represent typical aging. Efforts are made to restore each vehicle to near-original specifications. Learn More…

The Larz Anderson Auto Museum
The Larz Anderson Auto Museum is dedicated to educating the public about automobiles and their impact on society. The changing exhibits offer insight into how we think, use, and feel about cars. Learn More…

The LeMay Collections at Marymount
Founded by Harold & Nancy LeMay, this museum showcases over 500 vintage vehicles – primarily American-made cars, trucks, buses, fire engines, motorcycles, and more. Recognized as the world’s largest privately-held collection and located on the historic Marymount campus in Tacoma Washington, it is managed by the LeMay Family Foundation. Learn more…

The National Corvette Museum
The National Corvette Museum preserves the past, present, and future of one of the world’s most popular vehicles. The 115,000 square foot facility located on 55 acres includes the world’s only General Motors Corvette Assembly Plant. Learn More…

The Petersen Automotive MuseumThe Petersen Automotive Museum
The Petersen Automotive Museum was rated by CNN, Octane, and Top Gear as “the world’s greatest automotive museum”. The Museum is also used as a venue space that has hosted some truly glamorous celebrations and continues to host presentations, weddings, social receptions, conferences, and much more. Learn More…

The Savoy Automobile Museum
Officially opening 12.8.21, Savoy Automobile Museum connects people to the cultural diversity of the automobile. Through changing exhibits, educational programs, and engaging experiences individuals have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty and history of automobiles. This world-class museum and showgrounds sit on approximately 37 acres in Cartersville, GA just off I-75, between Chattanooga and Atlanta. Learn More…

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
As one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum contains more than 75 historically significant cars including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Mercedes, Jaguar, Bentley, Porsche, Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford, and more. Rare and vintage race cars are the primary focus of exhibits, but more common automobiles are also accepted as a way to support the Museum and its educational initiatives.
Learn More…

No matter what vehicle or where you choose to donate, it is important to make sure you know the fair market value of your vintage vehicle or classic car. Knowledge of your car’s value will help you to get the most out of your deduction and help you to avoid tax mishaps. AAG can help you determine the true value of your car with a Charitable Donation Value Appraisal and allow you to make the best decision about your donation. Call us today for more information!

How Much Does a Car Appraisal Cost?

How much does a car appraisal cost?There are a variety of reasons why a vehicle owner might need to have a car appraised. You may need to establish an accurate value for a vehicle you wish to sell, or perhaps you need to know the value of a car for insurance purposes. Other owners may require an assessment of value as part of an inherited estate, or as part of a divorce settlement. Why you need to have your car assessed can be an important factor in determining what type of appraisal you need and how much that appraisal will cost.

In general, a vehicle appraisal will cost somewhere between $375 and $750, although the cost can be higher for custom and modified automobiles. In such cases, higher prices reflect the time and attention to detail required to properly research and document a custom-built vehicle. Antique and vintage automobile appraisals require extensive knowledge and involve careful documentation and evaluation. The value of a classic or antique car is important for insurance and estate purposes, and is crucial in the sale process – most collectors will tell you that the higher price associated with a skilled and experienced classic auto appraiser is well worth it in the long run.

The value of your car and the reason you choose to have it appraised are key factors in determining the cost of an auto appraisal, but you will also need to consider travel. If you bring the car to the agent, your appraisal will usually cost less than if the agent must travel to the car to complete the inspection. Dealerships will often claim that they are cheaper than a professional appraiser simply because you can bring your car to them, but it’s important to remember that a dealership appraisal is usually offered as part of a trade-in for a new sale, and such an appraisal may not reflect the fair market value of your car.

It’s not surprising to find that the more research needed to appraise a car, the more likely the appraisal will be more costly. Likewise the more documentation you need to include in the appraisal, the higher the fee will be. Classic cars, luxury vehicles, and custom automobiles will usually cost more to appraise, while a simple market value range on a late model vehicle may not require the same in-depth research and paperwork.

How much does it cost to have my car appraised?If you are objectively honest about your car and have some knowledge of vehicles, you could opt for an online estimate. Such an appraisal is a ballpark value range based on your description and will not provide documentation or certification. Furthermore, if you are selling or trading a vehicle, the other party may well require a more in-depth inspection before purchase.

While it may be tempting to choose a cheaper appraisal or opt for the online option, you may end up needing the services of a professional in order to get the appraisal you need. A professional appraiser will provide documentation that can be used in a variety of situations and is usually accepted as a valid establishment of value. A certified auto appraisal can be used in insurance claims, divorce settlements, classic auto sales, bank loans, estate valuations, and many other situations, while cheap or online appraisals may not be recognized or accepted, and may end up costing you more money in the end.

An improperly appraised vehicle can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in potential value. Appraisals that overvalue your vehicle can cause you to be accused of fraud when you make an insurance claim, and undervalued vehicles can prevent you from receiving the compensation you deserve. Inaccurate appraisals in estate and divorce settlements can leave you with less than you should receive or leave relatives with tax payments they aren’t prepared to make.

If you are in need of a car appraisal, contact Auto Appraisal Group! We can help you determine what kind of appraisal you need and save you money, both at the time of the appraisal and in the future!

Avoiding Common Used Car Scams

Avoiding Common Used Car ScamsBuying a used car can be a great way to purchase a quality vehicle at an affordable price, but it is important to keep an eye out for used car scams when shopping. Most scams revolve around concealing important facts about the car – mileage, title history, major repairs, or the lack of necessary maintenance. You can avoid many used car scams by using common sense, but it never hurts to be familiar with some of the most common scams.

Common Car Scams“It just needs a little Freon…”
When a seller says the car “just needs…”, what they mean is that some part of the car is broken. For instance, if an air conditioning system is not cooling properly, it could be due to a lack of refrigerant (Freon). Unless the car is very old, the Freon level is probably low due to a leak somewhere in the system. Sure, you can recharge the system with a kit from an auto parts store, but without addressing a possible leak, you will simply have to recharge it again, over and over. In other words, if the seller tells you the A/C system just needs more Freon, they mean “The A/C is broken.” The same can be said for any other part of the vehicle that “Just needs…”

Pre-purchase Inspections from Auto Appraisal Group“It ran last week…”
Clearly, if the seller is saying “ran” in the past tense, the car is not currently running. The seller may say something like “It just needs an alternator belt” and tell you that you can get one cheaply at an auto parts store. Which leads you to the question: If the alternator belt is so inexpensive and easy to install, why wouldn’t the seller replace the belt himself and ask for a higher price for the vehicle? It’s more probable that the seller has no idea why the car won’t run and would rather let you figure that out – after buying the vehicle, of course.

Prepurchase Used Car Inspection by Auto Appraisal Group“I almost never drive it…”
Most cars are driven an average of 12,000 miles a year (except in the case of collector or vintage vehicles). If the odometer of a 5-year-old used car reads 6,000 miles, it should make you suspicious of odometer fraud. Modern digital odometers can be “hacked”, and while this is not a simple process, it is done by unscrupulous sellers. Odometer fraud can be hard to spot – you can use your judgment to assess the wear on the brake pedal, steering wheel, and seats. Or you can ask for a prepurchase inspection to document the condition of the vehicle and to help determine the validity of the odometer reading.

Prepurchase Car Inspection with Auto Appraisal Group“I inherited the car from my uncle in Texas…”
This type of phrase may not be obvious to many buyers as a scam but is usually a sign of “title washing”. When a vehicle has been destroyed by flooding, fire, or collision, it can be rebuilt to drivable condition and given a “salvage title”. The salvage title informs a buyer that the car has been destroyed and rebuilt and that there is a unique risk involved in purchasing that vehicle. Scammers will try to hide this by registering the vehicle at a DMV in a different state, where it might pass through the system as a regular title by a clerk who is not familiar with out-of-state salvage title markings. You can avoid being a victim of this used car scam by engaging in a pre-purchase inspection. A pre-purchase inspection will not only document the vehicle’s current condition but will also use the VIN to obtain the car’s history and can help identify past damage.

If you are concerned about used car scams, you can find peace of mind by having a pre-purchase inspection done for the vehicle you hope to purchase. Our certified agents often identify suspicious or false claims, and the documentation they provide not only arms you against nefarious sellers but also prepares you should you choose to sell the car in the future.

Protect yourself from used-car scams! Call us today for a Certified Pre-Purchase Inspection!

The Top 5 Reasons Classic Car Buyers Walk Away

Tips for Selling a Classic CarIf you are preparing to sell your classic or antique car, you should prepare yourself and your car for the process! Whether you are selling the vehicle yourself or selling it at auction, there are some common mistakes that you will want to avoid that can prevent classic car buyers from walking away.

The advertising misrepresents the car. Be honest about your classic car when you advertise. It can be tempting to create an ad that makes your car look even better than it does in person, but this can be frustrating for an antique car buyer. Make sure the ad includes all information about the make and model of the vehicle, and don’t boast about its condition unless you are sure that your classic car is worthy of the praise. Having an appraisal performed before selling an antique car can help you to accurately describe the vehicle for buyers so that they are not disappointed when they see the car in person.

Selling your Classic CarThe car is overpriced. Do your research and make sure you know what price similar classic cars are demanding. This is another reason that having a fully documented appraisal can be extremely useful when selling your classic car. A certified appraisal agent can not only provide insight into what constitutes a reasonable price for both buyer and seller, but your fully documented classic car appraisal is a concrete way to justify the price you are asking.

The origin of the vehicle is unclear. Classic and antique vehicles are collected for a wide variety of reasons, and buyers of classic cars are most often very interested in the origin of the car. Be sure to have all documentation ready so that you can inform a buyer about where you obtained the vehicle, how it was maintained, any repairs that may have been done, and whether or not it has been restored. If you don’t have the title, make sure you have clear and accurate documentation to prove that the vehicle belongs to you and can be transferred legally. Registration or a sales receipt is usually sufficient.

The car displays mechanical issues. If your classic car is a hobby car, you may not drive it much and may not be aware of mechanical issues or may not have repaired them. Nothing is more disappointing to a potential buyer than the realization that the classic car they came to purchase isn’t in good working condition and requires costly repairs to be road-worthy. As mentioned previously, be sure to advertise the vehicle properly if it is not currently road-ready and requires repairs. If you choose to have the car repaired before the sale, be sure to keep records of what repairs were done, by whom, and what parts were used in the repairs.

Buying a Classic CarThe restoration of the vehicle was done improperly. Classic car restoration is an art, and classic car collectors will want to know if the car was restored when the work was done and by whom, and what parts, paint, or other materials were used as part of the restoration. Good records and documentation are a must for anyone selling a classic car – without them, it can be difficult if not impossible to prove that the car was restored properly. If you are not sure whether your antique car has been restored or if the restoration was done correctly, a certified auto appraisal can help.

If you are preparing to sell a vehicle, a vehicle appraisal from AAG can help make the process easier and more successful! We can provide a range for the vehicle’s worth and can give you a solid idea of what constitutes a fair price. Our comprehensive documentation offers you the confidence that your vehicle is priced properly and that all details are accurate and well-represented.

Call us today to have your classic car appraised and sell your antique vehicle with confidence!

Do You Need a Prepurchase Inspection For Late Model Vehicles?

Prepurchase Inspection for Late Model VehiclesYou can save a lot of money by buying a pre-owned late model vehicle, right? It depends on what you know about late model cars, and how savvy you are about the value of the pre-owned vehicle.

Many people know very little about the cars they drive, and most of us lack the knowledge or expertise to properly assess a pre-owned vehicle. The result is that buyers feel forced to buy expensive new vehicles or purchase an overpriced used car from a dealership. Those who do try to avoid years of payments on a car from a dealership by buying independently may face even greater horrors when their lack of knowledge leaves them paying for repairs to address undisclosed issues.

Prepurchase Inspection for pre-owned vehicleHow do you avoid these problems without suffering the depreciation loss associated with new cars? A pre-purchase inspection can provide the expertise and insight needed to help you avoid dishonest sellers who might not tell the full story about their pre-owned vehicle. A prepurchase inspection not only protects you from unscrupulous sellers, it also allows you to fully reap the rewards of buying a pre-owned vehicle and avoid the value loss from depreciation that occurs as soon as you drive a new car off the lot.

Prepurchase inspection agents test the vehicle, look for signs of an accident, and ask all the right questions about the care and maintenance of the car. A prepurchase inspection for a late model vehicle can provide you with documentation so that you know the condition of the car you are buying and what the fair market value should be.

AAG offers prepurchase inspections for late model vehicles in over 30 states. Don’t risk buying another used car without an expert opinion! Call us today to schedule a pre-purchase inspection for any used vehicle you are considering buying.

 

Acquiring Car Loans for Antique Vehicles

Car Loans for Antique VehiclesMany classic car collectors face the challenge of obtaining a loan for an antique vehicle. Because antique vehicles typically do not qualify for traditional car loans, collectors turn to alternative lenders to get a loan for their dream car. It’s important to be aware of the hurdles and pitfalls involved in securing financing for an antique car just as it would be with any other type of loan.

Establish the Value of the Vehicle

A lender will want to know the value of the vehicle before approving a loan. Lenders need proof that the value of the property matches the value of the proposed loan. In the same way that a home appraisal is essential to the mortgage process to establish equivalent value between the loan and the home, lenders want to ensure that there is property collateral to back up the loan in the case of non-payment.

Antique Vehicle LoanBank loan appraisals can be an effective way to convince a lender of the viability of a loan. Not only will a well-documented appraisal reassure your lender, but it can also protect you should a vehicle show issues including improper restoration, hidden damage, or other problems that would not be obvious without an appraisal. The last thing you or your lender want is for the car to be worth significantly less than the loan, making it difficult or even impossible for you to recoup the loan amount should you need to sell.

Lenders also require that the vehicle be insured to protect against accidental loss. Look for an agreed value policy that will guarantee the loan will be paid-in-full should an unfortunate situation deem it a total loss.

Beware of Predatory Loans

Because classic car buyers face certain challenges in the loan process, there is a robust industry based on predatory practices that target those looking to finance a vehicle. Extremely high-interest rates, inflated down payments, and complicated contracts can be a sign that the loan is not on the level. Read contracts carefully and ask questions – if there is anything you don’t understand be sure to get the answers you need before signing anything.

Establish Antique Vehicle ValuesIn general, a good loan should include no more than a 10-20% down payment, and loan payments should be consistent and regular so that you always know what you’ll owe and when. Variable payment rates, particularly those that start high and decrease over time, can be a sign that your loan is intended to get as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time as part of a larger ploy. You should never sign any loan contract until you are completely clear about your payment schedule and your intended date of payment completion.

No matter where you secure a loan, you want to borrow as little money as you need at the lowest interest rate. A pre-purchase vehicle inspection allows you to make the best decision about the loan you’ll need. If the vehicle requires repairs or restoration, you will want to take into account these extra “after-purchase” expenses. It is often in your best interest to only borrow on the existing value of the vehicle. If you purchase a classic car without an inspection and discover that more work is needed than you had planned, you may have difficulty selling the vehicle or paying for the loan and find yourself stuck paying monthly for a vehicle that is essentially useless.

Knowing the accurate value of the car you are hoping to buy will make it much easier to obtain the right loan for an antique vehicle. Let AAG perform a pre-purchase inspection on the vehicle before you apply for a loan to make the most informed decision about how to finance your “dream car”. Call today to schedule your pre-purchase inspection or certified appraisal!

Collector Cars: Know Your Values

Collector Car Value Appraisal with AAGKnowing the value of your classic car can affect your bottom line in so many ways. Vintage vehicles are often sold, purchased, and traded “among friends”, at auctions, and in situations where the agreed value is little more than a few words and a handshake. This may seem adequate for a car you intend to work on as a hobby and have little intention of driving (except on holidays), but knowing the exact fair market value of your antique car can be very important.

Taxes

It is not uncommon for the IRS to look into the value of a collector car and launch an audit if the value claimed on a tax form doesn’t seem to match the fair market value of a vehicle. The unfortunate truth is that many collectors don’t know the fair market value of their vehicle and may rely on the price they paid for the vehicle when claiming the car’s value for tax purposes. This can be particularly fatal if you’ve bought a car from a relative or a friend who did not price the car accurately (often as a kind gesture). You could end up being liable for taxes on a $25,000 car even if you only paid $5,000 for it.

You may be asking yourself, “But what happens if I really DID pay $5,000 for the car and then restored it to a $25,000 value?” This can also be troublesome without proper documentation. Should you decide to sell that vehicle and receive a full $25,000 for the car, you don’t want to pay taxes on the full profit when a large portion of the price of restoring the vehicle makes up for the difference between purchase and sale price. A lack of documentation showing the original value of the vehicle, the price of restoration, and the value at the time of sale can cost you a pretty penny.

Classic Car Value Appraisal from Auto Appraisal GroupInsurance

Many vintage auto owners will claim that their collector cars rarely leave the garage and that they have no intention to sell the vehicle, believing that they don’t really need to know the full value of their classic auto. It would be nice to believe that a car that is largely garaged and only driven on the 4th of July is safe from the type of insurance claims that require full knowledge of a vehicle’s value. Unfortunately negligent drivers rear end even antique cars, and there is just no way to know that an accident or theft will never happen and require you to file an accurate claim with your insurance company.

While insurance companies rarely question a claim on a classic car when the other driver is at fault, attorneys for the at-fault party may not be so quick to accept the value presented by the classic car’s owner. Without proper documentation of value, a claim can easily be disputed. Good paperwork helps you to defend your claim and get the compensation you deserve.

In situations where value can be helpful or even vital to the protection of your assets, a well-documented vehicle inspection can be critical. Whether you’re being audited by the IRS or defending an insurance claim, a carefully documented value appraisal can save you money, time, and hassle. A pre-purchase inspection can also help you determine if a vehicle has been properly valued and help you understand what your tax commitment may be.  Furthermore, a resale value appraisal will help you save money and get more for your restoration efforts.

Know what your vintage vehicle is worth! Contact AAG today to schedule a value appraisal or pre-purchase inspection and protect your investment.

Does an Antique Vehicle Need to be Restored for it to be Valuable?

Restored Vintage Vehicle AppraisalFor most of us the words “valuable antique vehicle” conjure up the image of a perfectly restored “fresh off the lot” vintage car. Obviously such a vehicle would be very valuable indeed, but many antique vehicles still hold value, even with very little or no restoration work having been completed. The reasons that collectors seek classic cars play a significant role in the determination of a vintage vehicle’s value.

Antique vehicles come in all shapes and sizes and offer different benefits to different types of collectors. If a vehicle is particularly rare or sought after, it can be extremely valuable to the right buyer. Hobby buyers may be interested in the car as a “project” and will welcome the need for restoration and the chance to own a unique gem that they have lovingly brought back to its former glory. Even a car past the state of restoration can be used for parts to a collector who enjoys the process of restoration.

Many modern buyers are interested in “patina” vehicles. These antique cars might be found in a barn or a garage and are then lacquered to retain the patina and rust that have resulted from neglect and age. This new fad has created a market for unrestored vintage vehicles, allowing sellers to fetch outrageous prices from collectors who covet the “rustic” look. There is some debate about whether or not these vehicles are actually worth what people are asking for them.

Restored Antique Vehicle AppraisalMany collectors will admit that part of the allure of working on a vintage vehicle is the social environment associated with the process. Going to auctions, conferences, and auto shows where restorers and collectors can share information and talk about their vehicles is part of the attraction for serious antique car restorers. Even a car that is eternally “in the shop” or that can supply rare parts for trade can be valuable to a collector who enjoys the lifestyle of vintage car collecting.

Even if your vehicle has not been restored, you should have a certified AAG agent assess the vehicle and get a certified appraisal. You might have a diamond in the rough, but even if your 1969 Station Wagon is just a piece of nostalgia collecting dust in the garage, it’s important to know what you have rather than to sell the vehicle for less than it’s worth!

Likewise, if you are considering purchasing an antique vehicle, an appraiser can help you determine a fair price for the vehicle based on your intentions. A pre-purchase inspection can be an important reality check, reining in the excitement of shelling out an enormous sum for a classic car that may end up being little more than a garage ornament. If you are looking for a decorative “patina” vehicle, an appraiser will give you the knowledge you need to negotiate a realistic price.

Contact Auto Appraisal Group today to make an appointment to have your antique car evaluated!

Don’t Settle For Less – AAG is Open and Ready to Serve!

The team at Auto Appraisal Group would like to assure you that Auto Appraisal Group and its agents have implemented best workplace practices in our home office and at on-site inspections. Your local AAG agents are working through the backlog of orders that have been placed and are doing everything possible to keep everyone safe during vehicle inspections.

As always, we are dedicated to providing outstanding customer service and we really appreciate your patience during this difficult time. We are eager to once more be of service to you, our loyal customers.

We would also like to offer a word of caution regarding on-line appraisals: many online appraisals do not include an inspection by an independent appraisal company and require instead that you complete the field inspection on your vehicle. While this type of appraisal may be easy to obtain, there is a strong likelihood that such appraisals will not be acceptable should a claim or a legal question arise in the future.

The requirements of a “Certified” appraisal demand that the vehicle has been properly inspected and the information presented in the report has been verified. While some companies may welcome the easy money they can make by offering a lesser online service, we don’t believe it is in your best interest and will do everything within our power to schedule your appointment at the earliest mutually convenient time.

We look forward to our continued relationship with our clients and to serving you regarding all your prepurchase inspection and auto appraisal needs.

The Decline of the “Barn Find”

Automotive Barn FindAntique car collectors know the story well: you answer an ad, or maybe you go for a walk, and you stumble upon a barn or a garage with a rare vehicle tucked inside. There was a time when “barn finds” were common enough that every vintage vehicle collector dreamed of finding one. Collectors looking for projects would drive past a barn or an old garage and wonder: “Could my next masterpiece be hiding inside?”

Over time, “barn finds” have become more and more elusive. As consumers and automotive manufacturers turn their interests elsewhere, it is less likely that a rare vehicle will be found by chance.

Vehicle Barn FindThe disappearance of the “barn find” has led car collectors into very different venues to find rare and vintage vehicles. While collectors could assume that a rare vehicle they stumbled upon in an abandoned garage was authentic, they now must navigate car shows and auctions with restored or semi-restored vehicles on display. This new environment presents its own set of challenges to antique car collectors.

Modern vintage vehicle collectors need to be ready to determine if an antique car is worth the price being demanded. Vehicles at shows and auctions may look well preserved, but upon closer inspection, the shiny exterior could hide numerous flaws. It can be difficult to know if non-original parts have been used in the restoration, if the paint color is authentic, or if restoration work has been done properly.

Buyers today must inspect a rare vehicle carefully to determine if the price being asked is fair and represents the car’s condition. The safest way to ensure that you are purchasing an antique vehicle for the right price is to use a certified inspection agent to assess the vehicle’s value for you. Our certified Pre-Purchase Inspection agents can help you determine if you are investing in a collector’s item or a dream that may never be fulfilled.

Call Auto Appraisal Group to plan your next prepurchase inspection!