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.
Make sure it's original.
It's important to make sure that collectible cars have their original major components, colors, and other details if the seller is advertising it as 'original.' Matching numbers prove that the car wasn't pieced together and help cars maintain their value. "If someone just says it's all original, it really doesn't mean anything." Sarcona says. "About 80 percent of the time, if it's advertised as matching numbers, it's not. People say dealers are shady, but most individual sellers are selling their cars for a reason."
No matter how educated you are about a vehicle, you should pay for a prepurchase inspection, according to Sarcona.
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