Buying your fantasy car doesn't have to be just a dream. People achieve their own auto nirvana every day, often with a lot less cash than you might think. So what does it take to actually own a car that turns heads ands lights up your face with a smile every time you rev it up?
We talked to three auto experts who regularly buy, sell, and work on drool-worthy cars to find out. Buying a dream car requires patience, planning, and, preferably, cold-hard cash. Our experts couldn't stress how important it is to be an educated buyer.
Richard Rawlings stars in Discovery Channel's 'Fast N' Loud,' a show in which he and his colleagues scour Texas for undervalued cars, restore them, and then flip them for a profit. His conquests include everything from a rusty old Ford Galaxie to a Ferrari F40. He says there's no shortage of dream cars just waiting for a good home. But he doesn't necessarily recommend following his buy-and-fix method for most people.
Mike Sarcona owns and operates Classic Cars West, a boutique vintage dealership in the San Francisco Bay Area. His current inventory includes a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, a 2008 Aston Martin Vantage, and a fully restored 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback.
We also spoke with Laura Fisher of Experience Auto Group, which has Maserati and Ferrari showrooms in New York and New Jersey.
No matter your budget or taste in vehicles, you should follow these seven steps to make sure your car dream doesn't turn into a nightmare.
Buy from a longtime owner.
Buying a collectible car with low mileage from a little old lady who is the original owner doesn't happen very often, but keep that ideal in your head when shopping if you want to score an undervalued car. "Try to buy your car from someone that's had it for five to 10 years," Rawlings said. "Their perspective on value is much different than someone that bought it a year or two ago." And don't feel too greedy about it: Rawlings points out that less market-savvy sellers can still make a healthy profit from the transaction, even if they sell it well below what it's worth and aren't aware of its current value.
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