When it comes to American-made vintage vehicles, few brands are more collected than Fords. Indeed, many Ford models do embody the adage “things get better with age” – at least in terms of value. In most cases, once a Ford car or truck hits the 25-year-old mark, it stops decreasing in value and actually increases in how much money it is worth. That is because a 25-year-old or older Ford is considered a classic.
A classic has passed the test of time, remaining as appealing as it was when it first hit the showroom floor, now becoming a thing of rare beauty. It is that rarity, however, that makes it difficult to buy a classic Ford on a whim. Such a task requires a bit of knowledge and forethought, so that the experience is a rewarding one.
Part 1 of 1: Buy a classic Ford
Step 1: Decide which classic Ford vehicles interest you. You may already have a particular model in mind based on past personal experiences, such as a childhood memory, or as an addition to a collection you have already started.
If, however, all you know is a classic Ford is what you want, narrow the field down to a few types that appeal most to you. Try an internet search on “classic Fords” and take note of the ones that draw your eye, or visit car shows and museums to get ideas.
Step 2: Research your desired Ford(s). Every car or truck – classic or otherwise – has its own pros and cons, and there may be issues that are unworkable for you.
For example, while a Ford Fairlane may have an appealing look, it is also known for low fuel efficiency, and the high gas bill necessary to drive it may be a deal-breaker. It is also a good idea to research what kinds of mechanical problems to expect, as certain models are often associated with particular performance and parts issues.
Step 3: Identify how your classic Ford will be used. Your needs in a vehicle for daily use are quite different than those in a Ford you plan to use exclusively for show.
Show cars are typically more about aesthetics since performance is rarely put to the test, but something you need to drive for your daily commute must be mechanically sound.
Keep in mind that you will need to invest more in maintenance and repairs on a classic Ford you drive regularly, and it may not be easy to locate a mechanic with the required expertise or parts when you need them.
Step 4: Take time to shop around. You took time to research, and you need to invest time in the actual search for your classic car as well. Check multiple sources for your desired classic, including print and online classifieds.
Other options include taking a want ad in a car collector’s magazine or leaving information about the type of car you seek at local businesses like used car lots, repair shops, and pawn brokers.
Step 5: Find out what any needed repairs will cost. When dealing with classic vehicles, it isn’t unusual to uncover a desirable car in need of a bit of TLC.
Required repairs may be major or minor, but you won’t be able to decide if the vehicle is worth the extra attention without an estimate for the cost of fixing any issues. Enlist the help of a qualified mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection to better inform your decision of whether to ultimately purchase the vehicle or not.
Step 6: Have someone appraise your potential purchase. Compare the total value of the classic Ford with the amount you would need to get the car on the road or in a show.
If the appraisal is less than what you would need to spend, you will be better served finding another vehicle. If, however, the appraisal indicates the Ford has real investment potential, you can feel secure in moving on to the next step.
Step 6: Commit to a purchase. After taking the necessary time to properly research and assess the value of your desired classic Ford, there’s nothing to hold you back from making a deal.
Buy your dream car, and enjoy – whether that means restoring it to like-new condition as a show car or driving it on a daily basis.
Now that you own a classic Ford car or truck, you are part of an elite group of collectors. Embrace that label and explore the doors it opens. You can network with fellow Ford enthusiasts at car shows and other events. Those new contacts may even help you find parts for repairs down the road or alert you to new classic Ford buying opportunities. Be sure to keep good care of your classic, letting YourMechanic’s certified professional help you keep an eye on everything from safety to fluids.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Classic Ford Vehicle and was authored by Elan McAfee.