Chances are you don’t have a 1936 Bugatti Type 57C Atlantic sitting in your garage which – according to The NY Daily News – sold for $30-$40 million in 2010, making it one of the most valuable cars (if not THE most valuable) car in the world.
Still, even if you don’t have an incredibly value one-of-a-kind wonder sitting in your garage, that doesn’t mean that your vintage vehicle isn’t worth some cash. Whether you’ve chosen to part with your prized 63′ Thunderbird or sell that old Packard your father left to you, you might want to explore Craigslist to sell your car.
Here are five tips to use when putting your classic car on Craigslist:
1) Start by finding out the value of your car. Don’t assume that your classic Mustang is worth $20,000 just because you saw a similar car roll through Barrett Jackson on TV last week and sell for $20k. Instead, find the value by:
- Refering to NADA’s Classic Car Guide
- Talking to local dealers and collectors about market value
- Getting buy-bids from at least one (and preferably three) classic car dealers in your region – you can add $3 to $5k to the average buy bid to arrive at a fair private party asking price
Finally, when inquiring about value of your classic, remember that the only true way to figure out the value of your car is at auction. Until you roll your car through a room full of potential buyers, everyone’s “assessment” is just a guess. Therefore, NADA’s Classic Car Guide (which uses auction data) is a great place to start, as is talking to dealers who visit these auctions frequently.
2) Beware – there are plenty of scam artists out there. Research what it takes to sell a car on Craigslist, and read up on the scams page on Craigslist. Specify that you are only looking for local buyers. If transportation from you to the buyer is required, there are many car transport companies that you can utilize. Never deal with anyone who wants to wire you money or vice versa. It is probably best to ask for cash payment only (or in-person bank drafts), so that you do not accidentally take a bad check from a buyer.
3) You will likely have to negotiate with a prospective buyer. Classic cars are not a commodity – they are all unique and therefore all classic car values are subject to some healthy debate. Even if you say that you will not negotiate in your ad copy, you will be asked to dicker. It’s simply part of the process, so don’t take it personally.
4) Classic car sales take time. If you’re selling a nice little $2,500 commuter car, you can expect it to sell a few days after you run your Craigslist ad (maybe even the same day). If you’re selling a $40,000 one-of-a-kind classic – of which there may be only a handful in the entire nation – you can wait 6 months to 1 year to find a legitimate buyer.
Therefore, if you’re in a hurry, selling your car to a local classic car dealer might be the best way to go (only you should try selling it on Craigslist before you throw in the towel).
5) Write a good ad. Buyers of classic cars want to know:
- How much of the car has been restored and how much is original
- What works and what’s broken
- What spare parts you have
- The car’s history or provenance
- All the specifics about vehicle damage
- Lots and lots of photos
Also, before you take pictures, think about hiring a pro. Good weather and good lighting are important, but a good camera in the hands of someone who knows how to use it can make the difference.
6) Don’t limit yourself to Craigslist. While Craigslist is absolutely a great place to list a classic car, eBay, enthusiast and collector forums, and a website called BringATrailer.com are all great places to list your car. Just follow the rules when you post – no one likes people who can’t stop promoting that car they’re trying to sell.
About the Author: Matthew Copland Matthew went to school as an auto engineer. On the side, he writes freelance pieces about the auto industry and technology, including promotional work for car transport companies.