When it comes time to part with your beloved classic car, you deserve the best value for your investment. Selling a classic car is similar to selling a more modern make and model, but there are some important differences to consider. Use these eight tips to find out how to get the most out of your sales or trading experience.

1. Know the Value of the Make and Model

Do you know what your make and model of classic car is worth? The best classic car models can be worth far more than other makes and models from the same year. Prices also vary from manufacturing year to year of the same car.

Get to know the value of your ride. A 1964 Mustang is going to have a very different price point than a 1974 one, particularly if it’s well maintained or restored. Valuation guides can help you with modern vehicles, but you’ll have to do some more research to find the approximate value of your classic or collector’s car.

2. Compare Selling Privately vs. Trading in

As you consider selling a classic car, many dealers will offer you trade-in value for it. Trading your car is advertised as a convenient way to receive the vehicle you really want instead of buying and selling to two separate parties.

While it may sound convenient, trading your classic vehicle usually means missing out on some of its value. The best prices for vintage rides come from private sales to sellers who understand and appreciate the true value of your collector’s car. Don’t sell a lovingly restored vehicle to a dealer who will simply auction it off, but pass it on to another enthusiast.

Selling a classic car privately can take some work, but it’s not as stressful as it may seem. Technology-driven solutions help you connect with motivated buyers in your area or around the country. You no longer have to worry about buying scams or juggling multiple offers, but a self-service solution can help you easily manage private sales.

Classic white and pink coupe parked next to black classic car in front of diner.

3. Schedule a Maintenance Inspection

A little maintenance is a great investment to get more out of your classic vehicle sale. Rare makes and models can sell even if they aren’t running or have known mechanical issues, but a tune-up can help you get top dollar.

Because of the age of your vehicle, you should take it to a specialty mechanic. Don’t settle for a generic mechanic who may not know how to restore your ride with original components. A specialized team can help you with everything from an oil change to complete body and paintwork.

Balance the cost of a maintenance task with the value of your ride. Sometimes an engine rebuild can help you get more, but it can be expensive to hire a professional mechanic to take on the entire restoration process. Perform as many maintenance tasks as you safely can by yourself to improve the value without investing in professional services.

4. Clean Out Your Classic

There’s nothing worse than a Corvette, Porsche or Aston Martin covered in dust and full of crumbs. Invest in a detailing service for your vehicle or dive into a full cleanout yourself to breathe new life into it.

Cleaning your vehicle makes it easier to take professional photos and show all the work you’ve put into it. Whether you’ve restored it yourself or maintained a fully restored ride, a thorough wash, wax, and polish job can really highlight all that bodywork and interior repairs.

You may need to clean your vehicle two or more times. Give it a full detailing service before you take pictures to create the listing, then perform it again before a test drive. There’s nothing worse for a buyer than seeing great pictures of a vehicle only to find the actual thing dirty and full of debris.

5. Advertise Your Car the Right Way

Just like a modern vehicle, vintage rides vary in price depending on how well they’re maintained. The process of advertising classic cars can differ since you’re targeting a specialty group of buyers. A sign in the window isn’t going to cut it. For your classic vehicle, you’re going to need to connect with local and national classic car enthusiasts and collectors looking for the next addition.

Online used car advertising is a great place to start. Use a listing service that helps you create a detailed description of your precious possession. Once you create a listing, you can share it on social media, classic car club forums and virtual swap meet events.

6. Take Professional Photos

If you own a vintage ‘Vette or Jaguar, the buyer probably isn’t looking for a daily commuter. Your buyer will likely know quite a few details about your specific ride and be looking for signs of wear across every inch of it.

Give prospective buyers peace of mind by taking clear, detailed photos of your vehicle. Don’t fill a listing with grainy, unfocused images, but capture close-up views of every body panel and interior piece from every angle. Classic vehicle buyers are interested in every aspect of your vehicle, the interior, underside, and bodywork, so be sure you can upload plenty of high-quality images to your listing.

Classic orange Chevy Apache parked in parking lot.

7. Create a Detailed Description

Essential facts and compelling descriptions can help your vehicle stand out. You shouldn’t write pages of information about your vehicle but stick with the facts and selling points. Here’s some key information to include in a listing:

  • Make, model, and year information
  • Mileage
  • Description of restoration (restored vs. custom)
  • Engine type
  • Transmission
  • Color

This is a generic list of items to include, so be sure to tailor the description to your particular vehicle. Note any unusual features, optional add-ons, or custom rebuild choices made on the car to help make it stand out to collectors.

8. Use PrivateAuto to Close the Deal

Selling a classic car doesn’t have to be stressful. Choose PrivateAuto for a technology-driven solution to simplify your sales experience and closing process. Learn more about the PrivateAuto listing platform to see how it can help you get more for your iconic ride.