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Tips for shipping a classic car you bought online

Tips for shipping a classic car you bought online

Some of you who are new to the world of classics may ask why you should buy a classic car when you can own a brand new vehicle equipped with latest technology. Well… why not? This, of course, is how we would answer at first.

As a matter of fact, a classic is never a substitute for a new car or vice versa. In reality, these are the two completely different types of vehicle categories. And, naturally, each comes with its own character and style of driving experience.

The power of a classic car 

It is true that classics have a special kind of power. Once you get into the field, you hardly ever get detached from the world of classics. And the reasons are both emotional and rational. Here is why buying a classic car is a worthy choice:

It’s a good investment 

According to the WMG Collectable Car Fund, classic cars have been on the rise in terms of return on investment during the past decade. From 2006 to 2016, the ROI of classics as a market has increased by roughly 400%, which is more than double the ROI of coins and stamps and more than three times the ROI of diamonds and art. Naturally, this success cannot be applied to all automobile brands out there. Some carry more value than others. Forbes magazine claims that Chevrolet and Ford are two of the brands with high value that keeps on increasing. A 2004-2006 Ford GT, they say, would have been listed for $190,000 in 2013 has now appreciated by about 80% to $343,000.

The past two years, however, showed decline in the classic car market growth. But even with the little shift, the category remains on the top of luxury investment listings. The whole process can be very exciting and rewarding, yet it is quite demanding as well. Don’t forget that the classic car market is one that requires discipline and deep knowledge of the underlying asset class. Sloppiness in this field can be very costly.

Experience automotive history first-hand 

Capital appreciation is not the main reason why people buy luxury goods. According to a survey conducted by Knight Frank, people buy scarce luxury goods mostly for the joy of ownership. Unlike most other asset investments, this one you can actually use. And you can feel the joy of using it. Coins, wine and stamps cannot be of much use when they are sitting locked in an attic. A classic, on the contrary, gives you a great feeling when you drive it down the California bay on a sunny weekend. This is probably the best part about owning a classic – you get to live history in the presence.

Moreover, a classic is a true piece of art. It comes from the past, yet, people who have maintained it throughout the years have contributed to its value in the presence.  This makes it a work of collaboration. You will be driving a car that combines the efforts of several generations. And let’s not forget all the romance that comes with the idea of a classic car. Especially if you buy a convertible 1988 Ford Mustang. The only other thing you will need is a partner on the passenger seat and the glamour of the open sky.

How to buy a classic online safely 

You need to approach the purchase of a classic very carefully. The market comes with tons of specifics – about the brand, the car model, the decade and the year a car was made. You should know very well how to navigate through the field of classics and dealers in order to succeed with your investment. Buying a classic is never a simple process. Scams have been on the rise in the past year and fraudsters are getting harder to recognize. Yet, if you remember these few things, you will be able to swim through the sea of information.

Research the details 

This is probably the most important thing to remember. People manipulate information very easily these days. And if you don’t look at it with a critical eye, you might end up the victim of a scam.  It’s crucial to remember this throughout the whole process and create your own mini tests for the sellers you selected. For example, you can ask them to take special photos of the vehicle to ensure they really have it. If they cannot take the specific photo and send it to you but rather start excusing themselves, you will know the vehicle is not really there.

You should be even more careful if you are buying the car from abroad. There are more regulations that you need to be aware of and keep an eye out for. Get vehicle identity check and research the model and the particular registration number. Ask the seller about the importation process and their previous experience with this. Communicate with the seller via the phone and email and always check their identity on social media. Sometimes fraudsters fail to cover all tracks. If you play the investigator at every step of the process, you might as well win your case.

Watch out for that cheap price 

People are always advertising underpriced cars and because of it we are all vulnerable. Private sellers often undervalue their vehicles which enables the buyer to hurriedly jump in and buy at a bargain price. Remember that the low price may cost you more in the future. A classic’s total cost is much more than its initial price. Plan you budget in advance and stick to it in order to avoid being fooled by cheap offers. Make sure you examine the offer and the seller’s background very carefully to make sure they are legitimate. Quite often the goods in such offers do not exist, are nothing like their description or simply do not belong to the seller. And all they are trying to do is take advantage of the online environment and defraud you out of your money.

A little trick you might do is to find a similar offer and tell the seller you suspect that you are wondering how their offer is better. The more pressure you put on them, the more effort they have to put in persuading you. Ask what stands behind their offer and how come they can give such a low price. This will show how knowledgeable they are about the market but also how much they are willing to work with you.

Beware how you send money 

Always send the money for your classic at the very end of your purchase – only after you have done all your research and background checks. You may ask a friend or a partner to double-check the offer with you. Sometimes when you are overexcited you miss the details. It is not a bad idea to remain suspicious till the very end. Even when you think your deal is perfect. Fraudsters may have stolen the identity of an innocent person and you might not even know it. So never send them money over suspicious channels, especially if they ask for a deposit at the start of the deal. Never give your credit card details.

If they start calling you from a different number or communicating only over email, think twice before you continue with the deal. Emails with statements like “I am overseas”, “on vacation”, “out of reach via phone” are a definite sign that you should not go through with the transaction. Be wary of sellers who avoid being seen in person. Do not be fooled by fake email receipts either. Needless to say, once the funds have been received, communication stops altogether and the money is lost.

Shipping a classic car you bought online 

It is always best to pick the car up yourself if you have a chance. This will be one more way to ensure the truthfulness of the deal. In reality, however, this is very hard to do in present days. Our lives are so busy that taking time off and traveling to another location for a car pick up is not so easy to do. If you have ordered the car from outer state, this can be even more lost time. Why not invest that in a road trip with your new classic instead? Your most convenient option is to ship the car from the seller to your destination.

Choose a trustworthy company 

When you need to ship a classic automobile, always hire a professional auto transport company. Just like with the buying process, the shipping process also hides some scams and fraudsters. Make sure to do a thorough research on the companies you consider. Find the right company that is reliable and trustworthy and can prove that with past experience.

Always talk to the sales representatives over the phone and ask them about the details. Don’t be shy to ask if they have done a similar shipping service before. A classic car requires white-glove service and not many companies can truly offer that. Check the company’s website for reviews and testimonials from clients. At Corsia Logistics, we value our clients’ opinion and always look for ways to improve our service.

Select a secure way of transport 

Enclosed carrier is also known as covered and it could be soft sided or hard shell. This type of transport provides the highest protection against damage from weather or road elements. And when it comes to classic cars, a scratch can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Enclosed auto shipping is Corsia’s recommendation for shipping your classic, especially if you bought it online. You have not seen the car in detail yet, so getting it safely to you where you inspect it further is crucial.

Corsia’s logistics experts recommend that all vehicles worth $50,000 and more should travel in a covered carrier. Keep in mind that transport via an enclosed trailer is more expensive exactly because of the greater protection it provides. Moreover, the drivers of covered trailers have more experience in handling high-end and classic automobiles.

Even though enclosed trailers are preferable when it comes to shipping a classic, open trailers are also secure enough. It is the standard method of shipping in the industry which makes it the most widely used method of auto transport. We do not recommend open transport for classics only because the vehicle is exposed to weather and road elements. The chances of getting a chip are higher than when inside a covered trailer.

Corsia Logistics has shipped a 1941 Lincoln Continental in an open carrier. The model has a soft top which is always a reason to worry when shipping in an open carrier. Yet, the driver secured the vehicle quite well and said there shouldn’t be a problem. We transported the car across the country from San Francisco to Chicago and it arrived without a single scratch.

Classic car transport open trailer
Corsia Logistics shipping a 1941 Lincoln Continental in an open carrier

Ask for insurance & further costs

Also, don’t forget to ask your potential car shipper about insurance – the extent and amounts of coverage. Your classic vehicle is a valuable possession, and it should be protected as one.

Before going through with the shipment, talk to the seller again and make sure your car is drivable and can get on the trailer under its own power. Otherwise, it has to be booked as non-running and the shipping company has to use special equipment for loading/unloading. Shipping an inoperable vehicle involves extra charges.

In a nutshell, here are the main points for a smooth process. When dealing with a classic you bought online, Corsia Logistics advises you to:

  • Watch out for scammers – when buying and shipping your classic car
  • Ask the seller for detailed photos of the car
  • Get a quote for auto shipping your new classic
  • Consider opting for enclosed auto transport
  • Protect your classic with insurance
  • Inspect the car at delivery.

If you have more questions about the process and price of shipping your classic, don’t hesitate to contact our representatives.


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