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The way to the first classic: 37 tips for beginners

Matthias Seeburger
The way to the first classic
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1. Interested in a car

S o it all begins: 'You don't find a car, the car finds you,' is a classic Rule. So let yourself be carried away and not rushed. Take a look: Which cars are you interested in?

2. Talk to the family first

As a family person, you always share a classic with your partner and children. They should be involved early on. That can save a lot of trouble later. Do the others share your passion or at least tolerate it? You should definitely clarify and discuss this openly in advance. A classic generates costs and ties up time. In addition, the wishes of the family may have an influence on the choice of vehicle.

3. What do I expect from the car?

Everyday classics or concours participants? Driving pleasure or investment? Pre-war classics or youngtimers? Robust roadster or dignified sedan?

4. How would I like to use the classic?

The car can be a precious in unrestored, original top condition or a fun vehicle for weekend tours. To drive up to 10,000 kilometers per year, a car in condition 3 may be enough.

5. What is my budget?

Now honesty is required: How much money do you have left for a classic? Remember that your budget doesn't have to be enough for just buying. There are also costs for taxes, insurance, maintenance, spare parts and repairs. The question of one's own manual skills also affects the running costs. The less you can do yourself, the more money you have to budget for repairs. The calculation does not have to be exact, but at least provide a rough framework.

6. Reading magazines and books

As an owner, you drive better if you know as much as possible about your car. Reading it sounds like tedious work at first, but it also contains a special charm of the hobby: A classic is simply not an off-the-peg car, each one differs from another specimen at least in details. Already with reading books andMagazines such as Motor Klassik or Youngtimer begin to enjoy the first old car. In addition, the information obtained will help you to check your decision for a car type.

7. Classic car fairs and events

The new hobby is very communicative. Conversations at events and trade fairs will help you on the way to your classic. You get new incentives, can talk to owners in a relaxed atmosphere, get an overview of what is currently on offer, find out about clubs and forums and take a real look at cars.

8. Browsing the Internet

The Internet is becoming an increasingly important medium for old cars too. We offer at www. motor-klassik.de offers numerous tips and selected purchase advice. Online portals have developed into important trading venues for classics. The advantages: quick information about available cars and their prices.

9. First contacts with owners and clubs

Owners of your desired type serve as the best source of information. You know the advantages and weaknesses of the car from your own experience. If you do not get any contacts from your circle of friends or acquaintances, the appropriate clubs will also help.

10. First test drive with your dream car

As a rule, a first test drive can be arranged through the contacts you have made with owners near your place of residence. Sometimes a ride is enough to feel the character of the car. Does the uncompromising sports car perhaps not meet my needs for a little comfort after all, or does the long-cherished road cruiser dream prove to be too expansive? If the enthusiasm continues at the first, non-binding contact, the decision for a specific car is getting closer and closer.

11. Make a selection

Even if the fictitious mind game is appealing, at some point I have to decide on a car: Which model series or which engine should it be, for example?

12. Get tips from clubs or in forums

At the latest with concrete ideas, you should seek advice from brand clubs or in type forums. This gives you more targeted information and advice. The most important clubs can be found in the publications by Motor Klassik on the individual models. Researching addresses on the Internet also helps.

13. Create a checklist

All information on the strengths and weaknesses of a car as well as all other important informationare included in a checklist, which is an important aid when reviewing offers and later when assessing vehicles. You can create the content for your checklist based on the weak points that are listed in the corresponding purchase advice from Motor Klassik or Youngtimer. There are also complete lists on the Internet. But we recommend creating a test paper that meets your needs.

14. Determine market prices precisely

To find out the market prices, the key data of the future classic should be as precisely as possible. Important: Prices in lists such as in Motor Klassik or Youngtimer can only be approximate values. Depending on the condition and equipment details, the prices for the respective car may vary. Several sources (e.g. online exchanges) help to narrow down the price quotation.

15. Query insurance tariffs

In order to be able to estimate the total cost of a car, you should inquire about the tariffs for the dream car. You should name a specific model for this because the premiums are very different. Compare the offers of several insurance companies. By the way: Motor Klassik tests the tariffs of classic car insurance every year.

16. Viewing cars - how does it work?

You should take your time to inspect a car. First compare it with the papers: Do the chassis number and year of manufacture match the information, is the correct engine installed? Then the checklist goes to the details.

17. Assessment with a specialist

The most important rule is: if possible, bring an expert with you for the series. This can be an owner of the same type or a club officer. As precise as the checklists are: An expert looks carefully and knows the many weaknesses of a car.

18. Assess the condition of the car

You can check the general condition of the vehicle yourself. But the specialist knows about the critical points in a car. He can also assess, for example, whether all add-on parts are present or original.

19. Check papers and documents

If the condition of the car is as expected, invoices and receipts should be checked carefully: What maintenance and repairs were carried out when and where? Caution: Incomplete maintenance can be very expensive.

20. First test drive

If the paper version of the car is an option, a test drive is due. Only then will you notice whether the old car drives well, whetherEngine and transmission work properly or whether the steering and brakes work properly. If the seller blocks himself, distrust is appropriate.

21. Exercise patience

Even during the first viewing, you usually notice: It is not that easy to find the right classic in the right condition and within the set price range. An old car is not an off-the-shelf offer.

22. Check more cars

Despite the many interesting cars that you have already looked at, you haven't found the one classic that you imagined? Check out other offers and scrutinize the cars as closely as you did before. This is the only way to find your dream classic.

23. Classic import

Interesting offers can also often be found on classic markets abroad. But be careful: First you should find out exactly which customs and tax regulations apply to the respective countries. The required amounts must be added to the purchase price in addition to the costs for the transfer. A lot can come together.

24. Buying as a bidder at an auction

The same preparation applies to buying at an auction as when buying from a private person or from a dealer. It should be noted, however, that the auctioneer demands a premium plus VAT from the buyer. The amount of this surcharge is shown in the auction catalog. As a rule, these surcharges are in the low double-digit percentage range.

25. Negotiate the price

Most cars are bought privately or from dealers on the open market. Trading is not for everyone, but it is always worthwhile.

26. Create a sales contract

The price has been negotiated, you should definitely conclude a sales contract now. It must describe your future classic with all its defects in detail.

27. Complete purchase

The sale is completed with the signed sales contract and payment or the agreement of the payment modalities. Now the buyer should make sure that he receives all the keys and papers belonging to the car as well as all documents such as maintenance booklet, workshop invoices and, in the case of a restoration, the documentation for the same. Additions such as the first original purchase invoice or old logbooks are also nice.

28. Looking for a garage or covered parking space

If you haven't already had one, now is high time to look for a suitable oneParking space for the old car. A boring parking lot on the street is not an appropriate solution for a classic, even if it is used regularly. The car should be reasonably protected from the weather. If an affordable garage is not available at first, you can also use the parking space in a hall, even if only for a transitional period.

29. Transfer

How does the car get from the seller to you as the new owner? If you are not yet able to register the classic or if you are transporting it on a trailer, we recommend a five-day short-term license plate. Attention: The terms of use for short-term admission will change from April 2015.

30. Choosing insurance: which protection?

In a previous step you were already informed about the price range, now the concrete insurance contract is pending. In addition to liability insurance, partial comprehensive insurance covers important areas such as theft, broken glass or damage caused by game. In addition, companies offer fully comprehensive or all-risk insurance. In any case, you should have a current appraisal for the car. Insurance for classic cars is comparatively cheap. A prerequisite for a classic car insurance is the possession of an everyday car.

31. H acceptance

In order to be able to drive the classic with a minimum age of 30 years (date of first registration) with H license plate, in addition to the main inspection, an H certificate from a recognized testing organization such as TÜV or Dekra is also required required.

32. Allow car: which license plate?

If your classic car is suitable for an H license plate, this offers a low-cost option for registration with the flat-rate vehicle tax of 192 euros. It's worth it from a displacement of 1.6 liters. In addition, the H mark enables entry into environmental zones without a particulate matter sticker. In the case of a collection with several vehicles, the red 07 license plate is also an option, with which test drives and transfer trips are possible as well as driving to a meeting. If the classic is not yet 30 years old or if it does not receive an H-certificate, you can still choose the seasonal license plate as a price-saving alternative. You can specify the length of the continuous period in which the car is registered at the registration according to your requirements.

33. Find a workshop near you

At least for minor repairs, you should know a workshop near you. This can be a specialist for the brand or the corresponding model, but also an independent workshop. Experienced classic car owners from the area or clubsappropriate regional representatives can usually make recommendations.

34. Look through the car and do an oil change

This workshop would also be the ideal address to check out the newly acquired classic before the first drive and to make an oil change. This is particularly recommended before you want to drive longer distances by car.

35. Assemble on-board tools

In order to be able to help yourself with possible breakdowns on the way, a tool set should be an integral part of the classic equipment. Sets with a standard selection are available from spare parts stores for around 100 euros.

36. First ride

Now we can finally start: First choose a short route to get used to and for the first functional check.

37. Plan your exit

You should plan your first longer tour more precisely. Find out about attractive destinations and routes.

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