Solidify Your Budget
Before you head to the auction, you should already have a budget in mind. Remember that the selling price isn’t the final price; there are a multitude of extra costs, including buyers fees, registration fees, and taxes. Additionally, most cars are sold as-is, meaning you should allow room in your budget for restoration and repairs. Plus, you may have to pay to transport the vehicle, so consider how much the shipping fees will cost you.
You also never want to bid blindly and potentially overpay. Sure, you may get carried away and bid more than you can spend. However, bids are final, so you can’t change your mind later and revoke your bid. There aren’t guarantees or warranties on these vehicles either. Simply put, set a budget and commit to it. You may have to let a car go during a bidding war, but you still may be able to secure your second or third choice.
Arrive (and Register) Early, Stay Until the End
You must register for the auction before you can bid on vehicles. If you’re joining the auction via phone or the Internet, be sure to register beforehand. If you’ll be present at the auction’s venue, you should pre-register to avoid standing in line to fill out paperwork on auction day. Don’t forget to have a form of identification such as a driver’s license or passport ready. Bring cash or a certified check with you; you may be able to use a debit or credit card to pay for the vehicle, but double-check the event information first to be on the safe side.
If you’re bidding in person, we suggest arriving at the venue early to get a good seat—you want to make sure the auctioneer can see and hear you. Use the restroom before the bidding starts, as auctioneers can sell dozens of cars each hour. You don’t want to miss bidding on your favorite car! Plus, most of the time, you’ll also receive the opportunity to inspect your favorite vehicles before the auction starts. During this time, see if you can speak with the vehicles’ owners. Ask as many questions as you need to. Ideally, you should start up the car you’re interested in and take it out for a test drive before you bid on it.
You may also want to stay at the venue until the end of the auction. The crowd typically thins out toward the end of the event, increasing the likelihood that you’ll walk away with a good deal.
Obtain Insurance Beforehand
Standard auto insurance often won’t cover classic cars. We suggest purchasing specialized insurance designed for classic cars in advance. This way, you’ll know the vehicle you purchase will have coverage throughout the entire time you own it. A perk of classic car insurance is that it’s usually less expensive than a standard insurance policy. Just keep in mind that insurance companies mandate that your collectible classic is not your primary means of transportation.
Arrange Shipping Ahead of Time
When you’re ready to take home your new purchase, you’ll need to know whether you’ll be driving it, trailering it, or shipping it home. If you plan to ship it, make arrangements as soon as you officially seal the deal. Why not call our classic car shipping experts? Reputable auction firms such as Gooding and Company consistently partner with us because we make sure the auctioned vehicles travel from the venues to their new homes safely. Our experienced staff and state-of-the-art technology make us a top enclosed car carrier in the nation.
We hope our tips help you win the car you’ve always wanted. Above all, enjoy the experience—a classic car is a purchase you’ll never forget. We wish you the best of luck!