"The very first thing you have to do is go in as an educated buyer. If you're going to buy a '68 Z28, then you're going to have to learn what a Z28's all about," Rawlings says. "You need to know what the prices are today, what they went for a couple of years ago, and some idea of the speculative future prices. Don't just wake up and buy one . . . that's what rich people do."

Rawlings recommends using eBay and other listing services to look at dozens or hundreds of similar vehicles to get a good idea of a car's value.

"Test-drive it, ask questions, and see if it fits your lifestyle as well as your personal style,' says Fisher.