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How to: Buy a classic car at auction

Published 13 May 2015

If you’re looking to buy a classic car, then buying at auction can sometimes get you the motor you want, at the price you want it at.

But it’s not for the faint hearted. Buyers fees, sellers fees, consignment fees, and VAT can all add a hefty premium to the price. Find out exactly what’s what before you bid.

And that’s assuming you don’t get carried away in a bidding frenzy that could leave even the most hard-nosed dealer in a sweat.

Get it right, though, and you could certainly save yourself a few quid. Many auction houses offer their own in-house inspections to make sure cars are listed as clearly as possible.

Find out how the catalogues are written, what inspections are done and all the additional fees you’ll have to pay.

You’ll also want to know what the market value for a particular car is. Have prices gone up over the past few years? Are certain options more desirable than others?

If you’ve never been to an auction before – go along to a few and get yourself familiar with the hustle and bustle of the auction hall.

Most auction houses also hold viewing days – so if you’re not confident, find a specialist in the club and see if they’ll help you inspect the vehicle.

You’ll also need some form of identification if you’re planning to buy – photographic ID and proof of address. You may even need to register in advance to be able to bid.

And if you are the winning bidder, you’ll often need to pay for your purchase within 24 hours. How are you going to get it home? You’ll need to think about that before raising your hand to bid.

These are just few things that we’d urge you to consider if you’re thinking about buying at auction.

Want to know more? Classic car auction house CCA has put together a handy video with Quentin Willson, presenter of The Classic Car Show.



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