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Starting Your Vintage Car Collection

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 15 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Vintage Car Collection Vintage Car

When starting your vintage car collection it is best to go with something that captures your imagination, but is relatively cheap and easy to restore and maintain. The range of makes and models still around today is impressive, and depending on your taste, there is still a remarkable range of luxury, sports, sporting, tourer and utility cars currently on the market. However, it stands to reason that the more examples of a particular car that you come across, generally the cheaper and the easier they will be restore, on account of the number of spares and parts available to you.

Before You Begin

Think about the reasons why you want to start your vintage car collection – do you want to take on consecutive restoration projects, or do you have a wish list of cars that you want to purchase and maintain? Obviously the reality of this is subject to your budget and space restrictions. Remember that all vintage cars will require ongoing maintenance of some sort, all requiring your time, effort and ongoing funding! Clearly restoring a complete rust bucket and keeping a fully restored specimen vehicle will have different requirements, but before you start be clear what you want out of your collection and try to be realistic about the amount of free time and money you can dedicate to it. The more cars you accumulate, the more overall time you will need to spend on them.

Another important point to think about is making sure you have the space and appropriate storage for your cars. Ideally, this should be a ventilated garage, lock-up or workshop. Vehicles stored in damp conditions, or covered outside might be prone to extensive rusting and corrosion. Being without a decent storage area means that you are probably making more work than is necessary for yourself. Also remember that you will need ample room to store tools and work on the cars too.

Where to Start

There are two different ways that you can approach starting a vintage car collection. You can try to maintain and authentically restore vehicles as close to the original specs as possible, or you can find ways to improve on the existing model in question.

If you are considering doing the latter, it is responsible to really consider what is most appropriate and complementary for your vintage car, as well as taking into account just how many ‘original’ models of your car are currently in existence. Try consulting fellow enthusiasts to glean a better idea, as modifications or changes might be more appropriate for more popular classic cars than their rarer vintage counterparts.

Where to Look

As aforementioned, you should seriously think about starting with a car that is known to be simple to maintain and has spares and parts that are relatively easy to source. If contemplating starting a vintage car collection and you have not already done so, you should definitely think about joining a vintage car club.

A club is a fantastic network of supporting knowledge, advice and support regarding all things associated with vintage cars, including their restoration, maintenance and where to find parts and spares. If you are thinking about collecting sports or sporting models of vintage cars, there are certain clubs that are dedicated to keeping sporting events such as races, sprints and hillclimbs going throughout the twenty first century. Other members will be able to help you make a decision about where you should start, and the best dealers or where to find private sales relevant to your eventual choice.

When trying to source your ideal restoration project to get your collection started, or much hankered after dream car, there are a number of sources you can check out. It’s worth looking into local garages that might specialise in historic vehicles. Online auction sites are good for keeping an eye on what the going rates on certain cars are, as well as giving you an idea of how common your chosen model of car is. Vintage and classic car events are also great ways of getting out there and talking to like-minded enthusiasts about their invaluable experiences of starting car collections.

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