Determining Your Classic Car Value

Your classic car value is not determined through an exact science. The value is a measure of the approximate value an investor would be willing to pay for your car. This is essentially a "market price" rather than a flat quote. For this reason, you may find different answers depending on how you go about determining your car's value.

Getting an Industry Quote

A good place to start estimating the value of your collectible car is through industry quotes. Quotes are available through "Kelly Blue Book," the National Auto Dealers Association and in trade-specific magazines. "Kelly Blue Book" uses factors such as the car's initial value, appreciation or depreciation factors, and the condition of the vehicle to measure an estimated price. The NADA guide will quote a list price based on an inventory of recent sales secured at auction. Trade magazines are more likely to have values specifically determined by classic car enthusiasts. These prices tend to take into account the most factors, but they are also more likely to be inflated since the demand for the car is highest in the industry-specific magazine. 

Factors Affecting Value

Quality is likely the biggest factor in the value of your car. The better kept the car, the more highly it will be priced. Dealers will also consider whether the car has been kept in its original condition. Replacing car parts with originals is essential to retaining the car's value if you intend to repair the vehicle. Finally, the scarcity of the vehicle will be a large factor in its value. The rarer a car was at the time of its production, the more valuable it will be today. Even standard classic cars that had little intrigue at the time they were produced can be very valuable today if they are rare.

Locating an Appraiser

To quote an estimated value of your specific vehicle, you will need an appraiser. A classic car appraiser knows the market, and he or she also has a deep knowledge of how the classic car should appear, operate and otherwise be maintained. An appraiser will consider the condition of your car, paying specific attention to the upgrades or features that will appeal to buyers. For example, a classic sports car with a larger engine upgrade may be more appealing than a classic sports car with a standard engine. This is true, of course, only if the larger engine is an original. 

Taking a Car to Auction

The real value of your car can be measured only by a potential buyer. You may have a car appraised at $160,000, but if you can find a buyer only at the low price of $120,000, then your car is "worth" $120,000. This is how the classic car market goes--the time to sell is when you can locate the highest bidder. For this reason, auction is a great method to get the car sold at a high price. Classic car auctions bring car enthusiasts together, giving you the chance to value your car in front of the biggest market.