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How much does a classic car cost?

How much does a classic car cost?

When most of us hear the words “classic car”, a very particular thing pops into our mind. Most likely that is an old Chevy or maybe even a Porsche. Naturally, we also assign quite the hefty price tags to these vehicles. To some of us, they might be a collection piece, which means “expensive”. But is that truly the case?

Interestingly enough, vintage vehicles are not always that costly. In our article on the least interesting classic cars, you can see that many classics are…well… affordable, to say the least. But how are such vehicles even priced? Is it by age alone? Or how scarce they are now? Is it all about how much they cost in the beginning? Let’s see what a classic car’s price tag is made of!

What determines the price of a classic car?

When it comes to pricing, everything is pretty much entirely subjective. The value you place on an item is arbitrary in a sense. If more people want a limited thing, its price usually goes up and vice versa. This is your basic supply-demand principle. So does it even make sense to talk about how much a classic car costs? Are collector’s items not the most superficially priced things ever? Well..not always.

The vintage car market is in a rather strange situation. On the one hand, certain classic models can get very expensive. On the other hand, the average model does not cost a lot. The reason for that is simple: more and more vehicles become classics with time.

With that being said, averages do not really mean much. We need some clear ways to judge the cost of vintage autos. Surprisingly though, most of these “clear ways” turn out to be a bit more confusing than you may think.

Does the age of a car increase its price?

The majority of people assume that the older a car is, the more it costs. This is only partially true. On average, a car manufactured in the ’50s would cost more than one that has just become a classic. However, the age gap does not matter as much when you shrink it down to a decade or two.

You can find many examples where a “newer” vehicle costs more. That’s because in the car world, the term “new” is a bit vague. Take for example the Jaguar XK120. A 1952 model can easily cost less than a 1954 one. Why? Because when it comes to the same generation the exact year is largely meaningless.

This trend goes on even further. Take the same XK120 from 1954 and compare it to its iteration, the 1964 XK-E. Logic would lead you to think that the first one has to be more expensive. However, the XK-E is usually double the price.

Keep in mind that these are the most objective comparisons you might do, as they can only be done between vehicles of the same manufacturer. Age gets even more irrelevant once you start comparing different car makes. So what are the factors that do make a difference?

Does the car brand matter when it comes to pricing?

The second thing that people jump to after age, is the brand. It seems fitting that an old Porsche should cost more than a VW. And it usually does. Indeed, the car make is at least somewhat relevant when it comes to the vehicle’s value.

If you take a look at the most expensive classics you will notice a trend. The majority of vehicles there are premium brands, such as Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Porsche. However, certain iconic models of “regular” marques also make the cut.

The Volkswagen Type 2 in a good condition can pass the $100,000 mark. If you think that is a lot, then consider the GM Futurliner – one of the models sold for more than $4 million back in 1999.

Unfortunately, the car brand can only go so far in determining the vehicle’s price. It can only suggest which vehicles might be more expensive. Yet, when you get to the broader classics market, the make becomes less influential. For example, no one can say whether a random Ford will be cheaper than a VW or a Jeep.

As you can see, age and brand are out of the way. It turns out that the two obvious factors are not that meaningful after all. It is time to take a look at the real deal!

Is it really good if it looks good?

People are visual creatures – we like to look at things and savor the aesthetic part of them. Cars are no exception. So it makes sense that a good-looking vehicle has more of a demand. But what do good looks even mean?

What I am talking about is not simply the aesthetic appeal. When it comes to vintage cars, “good looks” is a more encompassing term. It has to do a lot with the overall condition of the vehicle, as well as its presentation.

It is not uncommon for the same model to cost twice as much if it is properly restored. Also, it can be valued higher if the majority of the parts are actually original. Vehicles which have been properly maintained from the beginning, usually sell even better than well-restored ones.

Mileage also affects the price significantly, since it has to do with the condition of the engine. Usually, the lower the mileage the more life the motor has left.  People value that highly since they want their classics to be operational. So, good looks require proper vehicle care both externally and internally. Speaking of which…

What are the hidden costs of classic cars?

If you want to get yourself a classic, its price tag is not the only thing you should consider. There are some not-so-obvious costs, which can be quite hefty. Once you factor those in, a seemingly more expensive classic auto can turn out a cheaper option.

Firstly, you have to know a bit about taxes. If you are looking for an American car to enjoy in the States, you should not worry much. However, if you have been eyeing a German Porsche for a while and want to import it here… you may be a bit out of luck.

Trump’s proposed tariff plan for vehicles can negatively affect your decision. It is part of the trade war that has been going on for a while. Sadly, that means that if you want to import a vehicle, you’ll owe up to 25% of its price to the US government. This can easily make vehicles in the States much more appealing.

Secondly, you will need insurance. Since most vintage cars are an investment of sorts, it is important to protect them. Keep in mind that while this does not need to be overly expensive, it still adds a bit to the overall cost.

Thirdly, maintenance is also a thing. Do you want your vehicle to sit in the garage all the time? Or do you want to actually have some fun with it? If you want to enjoy it every now and then, you will have to take care of maintenance. That means you have to do proper research on part costs and supplies. Plus even an idle car has to be treated against corrosion, for example.

Lastly, there is also the price of car shipping. Finding the perfect deal requires you to look online and out of state. That leads to figuring out how to get the car to you, which is usually done via auto transport. Additionally, many collectors like to show their vehicles at different events. That also requires the services of car shipping companies like Corsia Logistics. We have actually transported many classic vehicles to such events!

Are you up for a classic?

As you have seen, owning a classic car is not a simple deal. It requires you to do your research and pay attention to many things.

I have already said that many people treat vintage cars as investments. For others, the hobby of restoring an old car to its previous glory is worth pursuing. There are entire businesses that revolve around that.

Then, there are people who simply enjoy old-timey auto engineering. For them having a vintage car is like capturing a piece of history. And with plenty of affordable options, it is pretty easy to pick up the hobby.

So what about you? Now that you know how classics are priced, do you care to buy one? Remember that we can always lend you a hand when it comes to transporting it across the States. Just reach out to us by dropping us a line via our online chat or call us at (818) 850-5258 and we will be happy to assist you!

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Looking for a logistics company, to ship my car, from California to Illinois,my first search, then Corsia showed up, skeptical. Call and a very friendly secretary: Elena. She guided me through, I scheduled and as she explained, all when smooth as scheduled Very happy I did the right choice. I'll recommend this great Company to anyone that is thinking to relocate a vehicle. Thanks Corsia logistics for your honesty and professionalism!
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Corsia has been amazing. Their prices are really competitive but more importantly their customer service has been 5-Star. Elena followed up with me every step of the way, making sure there was no miscommunication between me & the driver. We are using them to ship a 2nd vehicle & would not hesitate to use them again!
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I have recently used Corsia for long time family car with sentimental value that was moved I have recently used Corsia for shipment of my vehicle from Oregon to Arizona by recommendation from other family member who also used Corsia in the past. I am very pleased on the service and the communication throughout shipment. Ken was my direct contact and kept me informed along the move The car was picked up and delivered as communicated. I did use a enclosed mover and the driver was also clean cut professional and treated car as his own. I would definitely recommend Corsia again with the experience I have had. Thank you. T
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Top notch Transport - Porsche 997 Top notch! As easy and efficient as one could possibly imagine. Great customer service.. thank you Luke. Great prices. Check. Timely communications. Check. Clean transport trailer. Check. Supremely careful driver. Check. Timely arrival. Check. Don't mess around elsewhere, just call Corsica and feel confident your transports needs are going to be exceeded. My Porsche 911 rode like a Queen in her enclosed chariot. I've never needed a transport company before, and I surely will use them every time. Do yourself a favor, seriously. Call now.
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Corsia rep (Elena) was very proactive. Helped ship a car from CA to GA. She checked in with me via email quote and several phone calls to find me the best possible quote for the fastest available service. After several communications, Corsia was able to schedule a vehicle pickup the next day. The driver communicated well, and the vehicle arrived in final destination faster than we expected in perfect condition. I highly recommend using Corsia's reliable, efficient service.
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Working with Corsia Logistics was a great experience. Working with Corsia Logistics was wonderful. They were able to find a driver right away to transport our car. They were in constant communication as to when the car was getting picked up and dropped off. The driver also communicated with me as to when he would arrive. I would highly recommend Corsia Logistics.
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