10 Things That Make Classic Cars Go Up in Value

October 25, 2022

10 Things That Make Classic Cars Go Up in Value

The value of a classic car can sometimes be unpredictable on the market. Consider the many things that can make a classic car’s value go up, from its condition to its parts and more!

1. Condition

The most significant factor in determining the value of a classic car is its condition. You could have the rarest car model in the world, but if it’s covered in rust and in need of a massive restoration in order to be drivable, the vehicle’s value will drop.

While some collectors have no interest in driving classic cars, many still want a vehicle they can take for a spin since they spent so much money on it. However, a classic car owner can control and improve the car’s condition through a professional restoration project. It may be costly to improve the condition, but the value added is typically well worth the price of repairs.

2. Rarity

Classic cars are like any other collector’s item—the rarer a thing is, the more valuable it’ll be to collectors. For instance, you may adore the Ford Mustang, but millions of that muscle car have been produced since its creation. This means it’s not exactly rare, which can equate to a lower value.

The rarity of a vehicle can be determined in multiple ways—only a limited number of the model were ever produced, or few are still around today. As a vehicle gets older and fewer of its kind survive or are available for purchase, its value will increase.

3. Popularity

Not every vintage vehicle has to be rare to be valuable. Popular cars from famous brands can also be incredibly valuable. However, the popularity of a make and model is harder to derive value from and can be fickle.

A make and model’s popularity can come from tradition, portrayal in media, motorsport success, and many other ways. If your classic car isn’t rare, you’ll at least want it to be a popular model or come from a renowned brand.

4. Year

Age is, of course, another significant factor in the value of a car. In most cases, as long as the vehicle maintains good condition, it will become more valuable the older it gets. But, there are instances when the year of a model can make it less valuable compared to other models of newer years.

It’s not uncommon for a newer car to be more valuable than an older model because of subtle differences between model years or due to the rarity, making it more valuable in the eyes of collectors. Research your particular classic car’s year to determine its value in relation to other models from preceding and succeeding years.

5. Restoration Quality

The best way to improve a vehicle’s condition is by restoring it. For a classic car, the restoration quality is a significant factor in its value. If a vintage vehicle is restored correctly—using original parts and improving its cosmetic look and performance—its value can skyrocket.

If the restoration is amateurish and haphazard, collectors will scoff at the value. It’s not enough for restoration to make an old car look new; it must maintain an authentic look and feel. Restoring a classic is a large and expensive undertaking, so ensure you have the budget and time to see the process through to the end before starting such a project.

6. Mileage

Like the condition of a vehicle, the mileage of a classic plays a key role in its value. Often, mileage and condition go together as vehicles with more miles are typically in worse condition. As we all know, a new car loses value the second it leaves the lot; a classic car also loses value the more miles it has.

Cars that are decades old will inevitably have some miles on their odometer. Mileage isn’t the most crucial factor in a classic’s value—it matters, but the overall condition is more significant. However, if you want to preserve your car’s value, it’s better to avoid long road trips.

7. Original Parts

Collectors and classic car appraisers always value a vehicle that has the same components it came with, or that has parts from the same era. Classics with original parts are much rarer than those that have been restored with new components, making them more valuable in the eyes of many.

If you’re restoring a vintage vehicle, you’ll want to keep as many original parts as possible, or use NOS (new old stock) parts. NOS parts are components manufactured during the same period as the vehicle, but they haven’t been used. NOS components can be rare, but it’s often worth the value they add to your classic as opposed to brand-new parts.

8. Market Demand

Similar to the rarity and popularity of a vehicle, the market demand for a classic greatly influences its value. Like any collectible market, the classic car market can be tricky to pin down.

Sometimes, the market for a particular model or automaker is hot, and cars can go way over asking price due to bidding wars. Other times, the market is cold and slow, and vehicle auction prices drop. Market demand is out of the individual car owner’s hands, so the best thing to do is stay up to date by reading classic car news sites and collector magazines, as well as visiting auctions and car shows.

9. Authenticity

Unfortunately, scams and frauds are a problem in the classic car market. When discussing items worth thousands or millions of dollars, buyers want guaranteed proof of a vehicle’s authenticity.

You often need certified authentication to enter a vehicle into an auction or car show. If you don’t have a certificate of authenticity for your vehicle, acquiring one can bump up its value considerably.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have a certificate of authenticity, organizations like the Classic Car Club of American and National Corvette Restorers Society offer certification programs.

10. Upgrades

While it’s almost always better to go with original parts, there are instances where some simple upgrades can improve a classic car’s value. Most of the upgrades that can bump a car’s value are cosmetic, but some are functional, including:

  • New tires
  • A fresh paint job
  • New air conditioning
  • Converting drum brakes to disc brakes
  • Installing electronic fuel injection

Most of these modifications are simple and don’t tamper with the vehicle’s authenticity, yet they improve its performance and aesthetic.

These are just some of the things that can make the value of your classic car go up. If you’re in the market for a vintage vehicle, Ideal Classic Cars has a wide selection of classic cars online in the USA to choose from. Stop by our Florida location or talk to our expert staff today!

10 Things That Make Classic Cars Go Up in Value