Safely Buy and Sell Classic Cars – General Tips

The number of classic cars registered on European roads continues to rise steadily. However, this boom in classic vehicles also means that there are always obvious or less obvious cases of fraud. In order to offer you more security when buying and selling classic cars, we have put together some useful tips for you.

Classic car registrations on the rise

A direct example from Germany’s situation: According to the German Association of the Automotive Industry, which annually evaluates the figures of the Federal Motor Transport Authority, the number of all registered passenger cars with H-plates rose again significantly by 11 percent from 474,516 to 525,968 cars with H-plates as of 01 January 2020. However, as interest in classic cars continues to grow, so does the number of black sheep who cavort in what is now a market worth billions. Deceptions and fraud are almost part of everyday life.

To ensure that your search for your next classic car is a success story, we provide you with a few tips to help you avoid falling victim to fraud.

Finding the right classic

Search for the classic of your choice at You can use our detailed search to determine the international results according to your needs. Once you have found the right vehicle, it’s time to get in touch with the seller.

Safety when buying and selling a classic car – contacting the seller

Before you contact the seller, you should first use various sources to find out about the seriousness of the seller. Especially in the case of dealers, this works well, for example, via the website or reviews in relevant portals. If the offer still makes a very good impression after these steps, arrange an inspection. If the vehicle is far away from you, you should try to find out as much as possible about it beforehand by phone or email so as not to be surprised. Even before the inspection, there are some clues that distinguish serious from dubious sellers:

  • – Make sure that you do not pay a deposit without value in return.
    – You have a reliable channel through which the seller can be reached.
    – Make sure that you are really communicating with the trader and not actually communicating with a fraudster via “phishing”.
    – It sounds trivial, but it is far from it: an inspection and a test drive of the vehicle must be possible according to its condition.

Security when buying and selling a classic car – the inspection

There are also a number of things to consider during the inspection. In order to really take a close look at the vehicle and, if necessary, check it over, you should meet during daylight hours. Unless you are buying a restoration object, you should test drive the vehicle and, in the best case, bring along an experienced mechanic to assist you. This will enable you to identify any maintenance backlogs more quickly and bring them into the negotiation.

The purchase – the contract

If everything has gone satisfactorily during the inspection and the test drive has not brought any surprises, all that remains is to agree on a purchase price. This is followed by the conclusion of the purchase contract. Here it is important to note the following:

You should first agree on a standardised purchase contract, such as the one offered by the ADAC. In the contract of sale, you should make a note of any damage, including any accident damage (even if it has been repaired). You should also note any additional extras, especially if the vehicle has expensive additional equipment.

Finally, the time of handover and the time of the exchange of documents or money should be recorded in the contract of sale.

Security when buying and selling a classic car – Payment for the vehicle

Before buyers make any payments of any kind, the purchase contract should be signed. This serves as written security for both buyer and seller. As usual, payments should only be made in connection with countervalue (vehicle handover, keys, important documents).

On the following pages, we have compiled more detailed tips on the safe purchase and sale of a classic vehicle for both buyers and sellers.

To the Buyer’s tips

To the Seller’s tips

Author: Classic Trader

Die Classic Trader Redaktion besteht aus Oldtimer-Enthusiasten, die Euch mit spannenden Geschichten versorgen. Kaufberatungen, unsere Traum Klassiker, Händlerportraits und Erfahrungsberichte von Messen, Rallyes und Events. #drivenbydesire

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