by Lori Straus
When you envision the old car you want to buy, what do you see? A vintage car in mint condition with all original parts? Or a classic car with the right look plus some convenient updates, like air-conditioning? Or perhaps you actually want a fixer-upper for your next passion project. For this article, we’re going to assume you’re looking for golden oldies that can be driven. You know, the kind of car you’d love to drive to the beach in or take for a spin a road trip.
The Basics About Buying an Old Car
One thing we’d like you to keep in mind: you’re still buying a used car, even if it’s one that’s in mint condition. That means do your due diligence, like checking up on the car’s history, making sure no liens have been registered against it, etc. This all becomes especially important if you’re buying through a private seller. We have lots of articles on buying a used car, so we won’t go into more detail here, but do research the old car you’re interested in thoroughly.
Most car buyers search online auto platforms first. Some, like AutoTrader, will list vehicles for sale both from dealerships and private sellers. Others, like ontariocars.ca, list only vehicles from dealerships.
Also check out OldRide.com. Although the listings are predominantly American, you may find some Canadian old cars up for sale. Even if you don’t, many sellers can ship cross-border. Just inform yourself of the legalities involved.
Searching for old cars on online platforms will give you a sense of the market, even if you don’t find your dream car. Write down the make, model, year, mileage, price, condition, and location of the vehicle. As you keep digging, this information will help you determine a fair price for the old car you eventually buy.
Dig Through Classifieds
Scour lots of car sales classifieds. This can include Kijiji and Craigslist, but also newspapers and Facebook. Whereas dealers have access to services that feed their sales to different websites, a private seller may only have the energy to manage ads on two or three websites. Just because you don’t find your vehicle on any major auto platform doesn’t mean it isn’t for sale.
Car clubs can be an amazing source of information, from insider knowledge of old cars for sale to people willing to help you inspect a car you’re considering. OldRide.com also has a listing of Ontario car clubs. Another source for Ontario car clubs is the Antique and Classic Car Club of Canada. Their website has regional listings.
Whether you got your reading kicks in your childhood from the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, finding the perfect old car requires your detective cap. Expect to spend more time than you would searching for an everyday used car because of the range of sellers and lack of stock in this market space. Research well, tread carefully, and never forget the “smell” test: if the offer smells fishy, it probably is.
But when you find that old car, enjoy those long winding roads, oldies music on the radio, and the joy an old car can bring.