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How to invest in a classic car

An old set of wheels can be a shiny new investment — but watch out for risks.

Classic cars are becoming an increasingly popular investment, and some models are seeing high returns. But like any investment, your money is at risk.

Are vintage and classic cars a good investment?

Yes, classic cars can be good investments, but it can also be very risky. It really depends on what car you have, and how rare it is. For example, a 1965 Aston Martin can go for $2 million, while you can find quite a few 1965 Mustangs on the market in similar condition for around $40,000 USD.

Let’s also consider the Dodge Charger. Originally released in 1966 and sold for around $4,700, today a similar 1966 Charger can easily sell for around $55,000 USD ($74,000 CAD) if kept in perfect, showroom condition. For comparison, the 2021 Charger has a MSRP of $39,765.

What do classic car investors look for?

Investors want a car that is desirable and increasing in demand. Even choosing the right color and trim can dramatically alter the value. Investors will look through auction listings to find actual sales figures and gauge the possible demand. They also want a car that is unique or rare.

Classic car experts recommend looking for a vehicle in the best possible condition that you can afford. That means little or no rust, original factory paint, an interior in excellent condition and mechanically complete, preferably running. The better state a car is in, the more it’ll be worth. Also, look for vehicles that haven’t been modified, staying true to their original factory specifications.

Documentation also adds significant value to a car. It helps an investor see how well the owner maintained the vehicle, and it makes the car more desirable to future buyers. Under your ownership, continue to maintain and add to the car’s paperwork.

close up of classic car

Classic car investing costs or risks to be aware of

Just like any investment, purchasing a classic car as a long-term speculation can be risky. The bottom can fall out of the market and the vehicle is always at risk of damage, fire and theft. Make sure you have the vehicle insured while it’s in storage. You can compare classic car insurance to get an idea of what that will cost you so you can calculate how much it will affect your possible returns.

To preserve a car’s condition, it’s imperative you have a dry storage place. Some owners use humidity tents that reduce corrosion, prolonging the car’s metalwork. It’s best to keep rubber and plastic components out of direct sunlight too, as these can degrade and devalue your investment.

Engines and other mechanical parts still require attention while in storage and should be protected against pests. If you’re new to classic cars, consider hiring a professional to help you.

How do I choose a classic car to invest in?

If you’re planning on buying a classic car as an investment vehicle, consider these factors first:

  • Set a budget. Decide how much money you’re willing to spend before choosing a car. Factor in both its initial price and any costs for restoring it. Compare your auto loan options if you’re going to finance the classic car.
  • Decide how much work you’re willing to do. Are you looking to buy a car in perfect condition, or would you spend a little less money and a little more time fixing up a car that needs some work?
  • Research the value history of cars in your budget. In addition to its value now, look into how much the car was worth a year ago, five years ago and ten years ago. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a car with a value that’s been steadily increasing.
  • Research the history of any cars you might buy. Once you have your top choices narrowed down, research the production history of the car. Cars that are unique, limited edition or made as part of a small batch are more likely to have a value that increases over time.
  • Inspect the car. If you’ve found a car you like, inspect it yourself or have a licensed mechanic take a look at it before buying. Pay close attention to issues that are likely to get worse over time, like rust or pitting.
  • Buy the car. Once you’ve found and bought the perfect vehicle, make sure you have a safe, dry place to keep it. Check on its value regularly to decide when it’s the perfect time to sell.

Compare loans for classic cars

1 - 1 of 1
Name Product Loan Amount Interest Rate Loan Term Min. Credit Score Requirements
Coast Capital Car Loan
$10,000 - No Max.
Varies
18 - 84 months
650
Able to service debt payment of $300/month
Competitive rates and flexible terms.
Finance new and used vehicles from one of Canada's largest credit unions. No credit union membership required. Available across Canada except SK, QC, NT, NU, YT.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Compare personal loans to finance a classic car

1 - 4 of 4
Name Product Interest Rate Loan Amount Loan Term Requirements Link
Loans Canada Personal Loan
Secured from 2.00%, Unsecured from 8.00% to 46.96%
$300 - $50,000
3 - 60 months
Requirements: min. credit score 300
Go to site
More Info
A broker with the largest lender network in Canada. Fill out one application and get matched for free with lenders.
LoanConnect Personal Loan
Secured from 1.90%, Unsecured 6.99%-46.96%
$500 - $50,000
3 - 120 months
Requirements: min. credit score 300
Go to site
More Info
Fill out one application with this broker and get pre-approved by different lenders in 5 minutes.
OFFER
Mogo Personal Loan
9.90% - 46.96%
$200 - $35,000
6 - 60 months
Requirements: min. income $13,000/year, min. credit score 500
Go to site
More Info
Get a free quote without affecting your credit score and get an unsecured loan the same day. 100-day money-back guarantee: If you're not happy with your loan, pay back the principal and get the 100 days of paid interest and fees back.
SECURED
Fairstone Secured Personal Loan
19.99% - 23.99%
$5,000 - $50,000
36 - 120 months
Requirements: must be a homeowner, min. credit score 560
Go to site
More Info
Use your home equity to get a secured loan with flexible repayment options. Get a free quote without impacting your credit score.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Representative example: Omar buys a Corvette

Omar, a B.C. resident and classic car collector, visits a local car show and meets a private seller offering a 1960 Ermine White Chevrolet Corvette in great condition with all original parts. The asking price is $70,000.00, which Omar agrees to pay, offering a 20% deposit ($14,000.00) to secure the sale while he searches for a loan to cover the rest.

Because of his strong credit history and good income, it doesn’t take long for Omar to find a reputable lender specializing in classic car loans who’s willing to lend him the money to pay the amount owing on the car plus 12% PST ($56,000.00 + $6,720.00). Omar also pays approximately $50.00 to register his vehicle with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) – this includes the cost of a license plate, insurance decal and vehicle permit as well as a registration fee.

Cost of new vehicle$56,000.00 ($70,000.00 less $14,000.00 deposit)
Loan typeAuto loan (term loan)
Loan amount$64,400.00
Interest rate (APR)6.90%
Loan term7 years
Additional fees4.00% origination fee ($2,576.00)
$0.00 application fee (waived by dealership)
Payment $968.82 monthly or $446.61 biweekly
Total loan cost$81,380.88 with monthly payments or $81,283.02 with biweekly payments

*The information in this example, including rates, fees and terms, is provided as a representative transaction. The actual cost of the product may vary depending on the retailer, the product specs and other factors.

Bottom line

Classic cars can make valuable investments — but they can also be risky investments. Do your research and consider talking to a private accountant before deciding how to invest your money. And if you’ve decided that a classic car is the right route for you, read our guide to car loans to help you get the perfect one.

Frequently asked questions about investing in classic cars

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