Like all other types of car, collectable classic and sport cars have obvious costs like fuel (some aren't exactly fuel-efficient) and insurance but because of their age and special status, there are several other costs you will need to consider.
The real costs of owning classic and sport cars are more complicated than those with modern, new cars. As a general rule, you should assume that older classic and heritage vehicles will cost more to maintain and keep running.
Here are some things that might cost you money with your classic car:
Scheduled maintenance and servicing costs
If you keep on top of your vehicle’s maintenance you should only need it to be professionally serviced once a year (maybe even less). While servicing on some classic vehicles will need specialist professionals that may cost more, in most cases this need not cost much more than a normal service.
Regularly check your oil levels, water levels, tire pressure and your bodywork for rust to ensure everything is in working order and to reduce the chances of needing expensive maintenance work.
A lot of older cars, compared to the special technology today, were made with simple maintenance in mind. By purchasing a decent car manual (Haynes do the best) you should be able to keep on top of this. Upkeep need not be as costly as you are expecting but failing to do simple maintenance could lead to expensive problems.
Unscheduled maintenance and servicing costs
This is what you want to avoid! Failing to keep on top of basic maintenance could lead to some unexpected surprises, nasty ones! If a part breaks on a heritage car getting hold of the parts can be a challenge, in fact, some parts in extremely rare. In these cases expect to pay a lot.
For sizable fixes, you might also have to hire a specialist mechanic with knowledge of classic cars to do the job properly as these can be a different deal than newer cars.
You might have found your dream car, at an amazing price, because it is not exactly at the standard you want it to be. The price might seem like a steal, but you need to consider the costs of restoring the vehicle to your standards.
This is what to consider with restoration costs:
- Labour: Are you able to do the restoration work yourself or will you need to hire outside professional help? Getting in an expert will ramp up the costs.
Parts: This can be a real issue! Have you bought a heritage vehicle where the parts you need are unavailable or hard to find? Will buying the parts and getting a specialist to fit them cost more than buying the car?
This is something you need to research properly before committing to a “doer-upper” vehicle. Speak to specialist mechanics and car clubs to get their thoughts and advice.
The answers you receive might change your mind about the purchase and force you to look at classic cars with better parts availability.
Classic car tax
Here is a financial positive about owning a classic sport car. If your vehicle is older than 40 years old it is eligible for free road tax. Yes, nothing to pay in tax. They often don’t require an MOT as well, although it is a good idea to get one anyway to help keep on top of maintaining your car.
Affording a classic or sport car
Regardless, buying your dream classic car will require a large investment of time and money. You may need to seek financial support to make the purchase.
The market is packed with standard and specialist finance options for buying classic cars, including hire purchase in some cases. Some dealerships with part exchange your modern vehicle for a classic car.
You should speak to specialists in classic car finance to see what your options are.
More on buying a classic car: