SELLING YOUR CLASSIC

Tell the story

Every vehicle has a story. It might not be an exciting or famous one, but it's still a story that will bring your vehicle to life and help a prospective buyer connect to it and want to make themselves a part of it.

It might be a story about a place in history - the time into which it was born, the marque, or a more personal one. Was it part of a family or a lifestyle? Did it bring people together? Did it languish, forgotten in a dusty shed for long and lonely years?

Tell that story. Sell the sizzle, not just the bacon. Make it real by letting your own voice speak out and showing that there's a real person behind the advert. Think about what you would want to know if you were the buyer. You want to sell your vehicle, and to do that well you need to create trust. Let your story and the way that you tell it show that here is a vehicle a buyer wants and a seller that they want to deal with. 

Provenance and Paperwork

Jaguar XK150.JPG

The value of good vehicle provenance cannot be overstated. A detailed and well documented history can significantly enhance the market value of pretty much any vehicle, historic or not.

 

Have all your paperwork ready - logbook, MT (if needed), details of any parts fitted and/or work undertaken. Even old photographs are a wonderful addition to a vehicle's history.

Clean and  tidy

Unless it's a genuine barn find (and not just something that's been ignored in a garage for a few years), dust and grime rarely enhances the saleability of a vehicle. Would you buy someone else's dirt?

Give it a wash and (if it's a car) get rid of any rubbish and vacuum it. It all demonstrates pride in what you're selling and encourages a buyer to treat it and you with greater respect.

Keep it real

Be factual and honest. Whilst it's tempting to wax lyrical about the good points of your vehicle and gloss over any flaws, be honest about the less than fabulous bits. No-one with commonsense is going to to expect the average classic, vintage or veteran vehicle to be totally without blemish or fault. After all, be honest, aren't those quirks part of the charm of a historic vehicle?

Classic Mustang in the WOW Museum, New Zealand

Set your price

Be realistic. Do your homework on current vehicle values. We all want to get a good price, but too much apparent greed can turn a prospective buyer away from an advert very quickly without them reading further to find out if the price might be warranted.

There are lots of ways of extablishing current market values. Price guides (such as Parkers, etc), commercial assessors, classic clubs - all of these can help you set a realistic and (hopefully) achievable price.

Although a genuine buyer may bring along someone more expert to inspect your vehicle, unscrupulous ones have been known to use this tactic to insist that a vehicle is not right or an asking price is far too high. You've done your homework, you know what's fair: don't be bullied.

Be safe

There's dragons in tham thar hills! Trust is wonderful but it gets awfully lonely without prudence keeping it close company. Start by not posting or emailing anyone pictures of logbooks or other documents that could enable others to clone either your identity or that of your vehicle. Don't hand out a enough location details in an advert to encourage someone who's less than honest to visit your garage late one dark night.

 

When you get someone wanting a test drive, first of all check that they are actually insured to drive it. Not all insurance policies cover drivers/riders to drive vehicles they don't own. Also bear in mind that, even when a policy permits it, cover is usually for third party damage only so you won't be insured if they cause damage or an accident.

 

It can be a risky choice to hand over your keys and allow a solo test drive. If you are happy to allow a test drive, go along to make sure that your vehicle isn't damaged, the engine and/or gearbox isn't thrashed, and that it comes back home when you want it to and in an appropriate condition. Keep control of your keys during any changeover of seats and don't hand over any documents until the money has safely changed hands.

 

Folding money is good but a BACS tansfer is great as it's (usually) free, immediate and both parties will have a record of the transaction. PayPal can be useful too, but bear in mind that you will be charged a percentage-based transaction fee. Make sure the correct number of pennies have genuinely hit your account before you pass on the vehicle or the logbook.

Get a signed paper receipt from the buyer agreeing that they have bought the vehicle "as seen". Do not accept email receipts.

Beware of scammers!

Where to begin on this one? After all, we don't want to scare you off! Ho hum. Here goes...

 

There are always going to be those who will try and take advantage, and many of them will do it very politely and with a friendly smile. There are probably very many scams, but this one is one of the more interesting ones we know of.

 

You get a text or email offering to buy your advertised vehicle at the full asking price. The message includes some oversharing personal details such as poor health resulting in being wheelchair-bound (which is why they are happy to buy without a personal inspection), or that they are working on an oil rig. They are buying the vehicle for a friend or relative as a gift.

You accept their offer. After all, your vehicle is exactly as you described it.

The next message reiterates that their health is such that they are currently unable to go to a bank and organise a transfer and asks you for your PayPal account details. That way they can pay you immediately, because your vehicle is too perfect to miss. They also mention that they will be sending a collection agent to collect the vehicle on their behalf.

Another  message will confirm that they have paid, but that their agent will not take PayPal payments. They have added the value of the collection onto their payment to you, if you would be so kind as to pass that portion of their payment on (probably via Moneygram). They are certain they can trust you not to hold back the extra amount.

A new message will purport to come from PayPal confirming that the payment for the full balance for your vehicle plus the collection has been made to you.

If you haven't done so already, this is probably a really good time to run for the hills.

 

At the very least, check directly with PayPal that you have actually had a payment made to you. No, absolutely do not click on any link in the message claiming to be from "PayPal".

 

Unless this con has changed markedly, there will be no such payment into your account.

There may be subsequent messages demanding a return of the portion that you are supposed to pay to the non-existent courier. There may even be threats of legal action. Don't reply to the messages. Ignore them. You've checked your balance with PayPal directly. The payment was never made. They have no grounds for legal action.

 

This particular scam has been around since at least 2013.

JF  M

Do you love classic cars or classic motorcycles? It's My Classic: the free, UK-based online classic car and motorcycle magazine about people & their passion.