Cash is king.
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So they can make some extra money, dealers prefer to handle the financing of any brand-spanking new car. But cash is king when it comes to buying used cars, regardless of the price range and especially when buying from individuals. "I was taught a long time ago that you could buy $10,000 cars for $5,000 all day long if you have cash," says Rawlings. "Sellers deal with a lot of people who are tire kickers or say that they have to talk to wives first. I guarantee that you'll save a lot of money if you have the cash in your pocket."

If you don't have cash on hand, you can go to several reputable lenders – JJ Best and Woodside Credit, among others – that will finance older cars after a cursory inspection. Collectible dealerships can help in the process even on vehicles that are 50 or more years old.