AUG 13, 2014

The real truth about buying a classic car at auction

Auctions are hugely popular with classic car enthusiasts, spend time at one of these events and you’ll see a wealth of ageless automobiles falling under the auctioneer’s gavel.

How much do you know about classic car auctions though? If the answer is ‘not much’ let us help you at Citroen Classics, we’re going to explore the wonderful world of automobile auctions in this latest post.

Buying a car at auction, the things you need to know...

1.  It pays to visit a few auctions first

One of the best ways you can get a feel for a classic car auction is to become familiar with the environment. Go to a few auctions first. Sense the vibe, see what happens and learn the etiquette of the auction room. Once you have seen people bidding on cars and learnt a little about the protocol it’ll give you greater confidence to place bids in the future.

2.  Know the prices

You’ll discover a few weird terms at auctions like ‘reserve price’ or ‘guide price’ and these are important so please bear them in mind. The reserve price is the lowest price the seller is prepared to accept for the vehicle, they set this figure and the car won’t sell if bids don’t reach that amount.

Guide prices give you a good indication of the true value of the car, they’re the auctioneer’s estimate on the minimum amount that should be bid for the car and the maximum amount it is likely to achieve.

3.  Read the catalogue thoroughly

Check through the catalogue for potential cars and carefully read the descriptions of the vehicle if you like the look of what you see.  

Detailed descriptions are provided for all vehicles, go through them with a fine-toothed comb and ensure the vehicle is right for you.

4.  Go through the paperwork

Take a look at any documents that come with the car. They should be viewable and will give you a clear indication of the car’s history and any work that has been done to the vehicle.  

Bid for a car without checking the documentation and you have nobody but yourself to blame if problems arise afterwards.

5.  Take a good look at the car

Carefully inspect the vehicle inside and out and make sure you feel comfortable placing a bid. Is the bodywork in need of attention, have you checked the underside of the vehicle for signs of wear and tear, does the engine look good and is the car in a condition that is befitting of the guide price?

Get to the auction in plenty of time to view any cars you are interested in buying.

6.  Bid with confidence

Set a maximum figure you want to spend on the car and don’t forget to include auction fees and VAT as well. When the gavel tumbles you are liable to pay the bid fee along with a buyer’s premium (varies depending on location) and VAT too, remember that before you get carried away with your bid amount.

Points to remember...  

  • You’ll need to insure the car and tax it if no disc is present and the vehicle is post 1974
  • You’ll need to take ID with you to the auction house
  • You are committed to buy the car once the bid is accepted

Got all that?

Good luck buying a classic Citroen at auction!

Created on 13th August 2014
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