How to Buy a Hot Rod

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 - Uncategorized

Buying your first hot rod may seem like a monstrous undertaking, but I will guide you through the basics of how to get prepared for each step. As you probably already know, you will need to do some studying and homework before you buy any type of collector car, and hot rods are no exception. The typical hot rod value cannot be looked up in a price guide, much as most other classic cars can. There are general price quotes, but no hot rod is identical so these are only rough estimates.

If you are starting the process of purchasing a hot rod, you may be familiar with the hobby. You may have a friend or family member that has one, or you see them every year at the local car shows. These are the first people you want to talk to and ask questions. Asking questions like, “how did you purchase or restore this ride”, and “what would you do differently when buying your next rod” will likely start a long conversation with a lot of valuable information for you, and possibly a fun story as well. There are many respectable online hot rod forums also, but there is no real substitute to talking to an owner next to his car at the auto show.

You may want more than what your bank account can handle, so financing is usually an important stage of the purchase process. Going through the loan process is not difficult, but there are a few things you should be aware of before you start the loan process. First of all, you should know your credit score and whether there are any issues with your credit before having the lender find them. There are many credit services out there, and if your credit is in the 700’s you should sail through the loan process with little difficulties. Credit scores in the 600’s may be dicey, and anything below that and you will not have a chance to get a loan. Generally the better your credit score, the better interest rates and loan terms you may receive.

It is highly suggested you contact a true collector car lender and not your local bank. Because collector car lenders only deal with these types of cars, you will get better service. They know how to value collectibles, whereas your bank or local lender may slow the loan process down as they try to evaluate everything. Odds are you will also receive better interest rates and longer loan terms through a specialty car lender. It is not unheard of to have 12 year loan terms on an $80,000 car. The maximum length your bank can offer is 6 years. Another important note to remember is that most lenders will require the car to be appraised before the loan is fully approved, and usually the lender has a list of appraisers you must use. Remember to ask your lender early in the process whether you will be required to use one of their approved appraisers, especially if you are already planning on having one done. There’s no reason to pay for two appraisals.

If your funds or lending amount is low, there are still good options for the buyer. Many hot rodders start small buying an auto that needs a lot of work, and eventually money and time can be invested to create a truly remarkable ride. A newer scene to the hot rod arena is the rat rod. This is an old and beat up looking rod that is usually painted with a primer, or the body itself is rusted. The owners usually put more effort into the performance than looks, although the looks can be an art in itself. Some more unique rat rods that are out there include cars with actual doorknobs for door handles, a pair of pliers for the gear shifter, and the trunk may actually be an old storage trunk.

If what you are searching for is rare or hard to find, likely you will find it on the internet meaning it could be thousands of miles away from you. You may be tempted to fly out there and drive your hot rod back, but it’s highly suggested you do not do this. Collector auto insurance companies may not insure you for that, and it’s hard to rely on a newly purchased auto like this. Likely the car has only been driven on short trips, and a lengthy trip could cause problems. There are many automobile transporters out there to choose from, some with enclosed trailers and some that do not. Enclosed trailer transportation will likely be more expensive, but it will protect your car and the paint job from flying road debris. Even Fed Ex offers auto transportation, so it is quite easy to setup.

This should be a good start for you on the road to buying your first hot rod. Remember that the more research you do early on will make the whole process smoother. The most valuable tip in this article is to hang out and talk with other hot rod owners. You will learn so much and hopefully enjoy your ride for years to come.

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