Tips for novice car collectors

Perhaps you’re looking to capture your misspent youth, just can’t get enough of cars or are thinking of long-term investment. Whatever your motive, collecting cars can be a fun and worthwhile pastime. And even, according to the Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI), a good investment. It’s no wonder than new enthusiasts are starting to look at beginning their collection. We take a look at some intuitive tips for these first-time collectors.

  1. Decide where you’re going to keep your collection

The last thing you want is to have to take a long drive out to the middle of nowhere just to take your car collection out for a spin. While most home garages are only big enough for a few cars at most, there are plenty of facilities available to store your prized vehicles. But be sure that the facility is close, large enough for your envisioned collection, and secure – the last thing you want is to go through the effort of buying and restore a vehicle, only to have it stolen out of storage.

  1. Get creative to make space in your garage/storage facility

Consider the space available to you. What can be done to make use of it as effectively as possible? Many car collectors use hydraulic lifts and shelving systems to store multiple vehicles on top of one another. Or maybe, you could extend the height of the roof to fit an extra one or two cars into the space. Your options are plenty.

  1. Choose a theme to your collection

Much like savvy antique and furniture buyers, smart car collectors focus on specific styles, periods or individual brands to shape their collections. Perhaps you’re a fan of a particular brand of vehicle, style or even specific model. Then that’s what you’re going to want to build a collection around. Of course, having a theme doesn’t mean that your collection is cast in stone. You’re obviously able to be flexible and many collectors tend to make one or two exceptions with their choice of buys. We’ve all got a weakness.

  1. Pay attention to what other collectors are doing

Half of the fun of this hobby is meeting people with similar interests. There’s bound to be one or two other car collecting enthusiasts in the country who collect in the same vein as you. Not only is it a good social strategy, but clubs, associations and shows are all ways in which you can glean technical advice or find leads to discover rarer or discontinued parts.

  1. Be sensitive to your skill set

This is an often overlooked consideration and will have an effect on the theme of your collection. Did you spend your youth with your head under the bonnet of your dad’s old jalopy? Do you know what a carburetor is or how to rebuild it? Or are you simply after the ‘throaty’ noise of an old restored engine? Your understanding and working knowledge of cars is going to affect what you buy and how aggressively you go after potential buys.

  1. Keep an eye out for memorabilia

Many collectors will build their collections around specific visionaries and will spend a lot of time exploring obscure brands or vehicle engineers. During this process is easy to accumulate a library of catalogues, books, online content and even bits and bobs of physical memorabilia from the brands. These, alongside things collected at car shows or rallies, can be showcased in your storage garage to complement your car collection.All these things will add to the overall feel of the collection and make it more valuable.

  1. Do your research

There is an absolute plethora of information available to you as a collector – even on the most obscure car models. There are websites, libraries, auto shows, online forums and clubs that collectors can join, that can all be sourced for information. Before you pull out your wallet and buy that long-lost car spend some time reading, looking, and talking to other collectors. This will all go a long way in helping you make the right decisions for your collection and your investment.

  1. Build up a network of like-minded collectors

Sure, you can’t go to every auction or see every car in person. But it helps if you have a few friends whose opinions and taste carry weight. Granted building a network takes time and effort, but it’s ultimately going to save you if you’re going to be collecting for any length of time. It’ll also open up new buying opportunities and research channels.

  1. Decide on how much work you want to be doing

This goes back to your involvement in and knowledge of cars. Depending on your interests, maintenance, repair and restoration can either be a necessary chore or a source of pleasure and relaxation. Understanding where you fall in the spectrum can help inform you of what cars to look out for. For example, if you’re not a huge fan of doing nitty-gritty maintenance work, then a well-restored car is more-likely going to be what you’re after.

While what you decide to collect is personal preference, there’s a certain joy in honing your collection skills. Perhaps you’re looking at buying a used BMW for sale, or would prefer to take a more classic approach. Whichever direction you go, heeding these few tips will go a long way in building a large and valuable collection.