our tips for getting started

About 9 million old cars are in circulation in France. Budget, research, here are our tips when buying your first collectible model.

One million. According to the French Federation of Vintage Vehicles (FFVE), this is the number of vintage cars in circulation in France. Adding “young timers” to these vehicles, which range in age from 21 to 29 years old – a vehicle must be 30 years old to officially obtain a collection registration – there are about 9 million vehicles that appeal to car enthusiasts of the time.

With the 47th edition of the Retromobile show dedicated to these vintage cars taking place in Paris from February 1st to 5th, here are some tips for choosing that dream car of yours.

The car is in good condition

Matthieu Lamoure, director of Artcurial Motorcars, advises choosing a ready-to-use model in perfect condition rather than opting for restoration for the first purchase. “In an old car, it’s important to remember that it’s not the engine, it’s the body that costs the most,” continues Mathie Lamur. The engine is mechanical, it can be repaired, corrosion on the other hand… The real criteria for a car in very good condition is a valid date with “invoice, service manual, manual”.

Apart from the technical history, it is important to have many details about the life of the car, such as the number of owners. Because everyone has their own way of driving, maintaining and therefore using the vehicle. “What will make the difference between two cars in the same condition is its history, the feeling of knowing it, where it has lived, with which owners,” explains Benjamin Arnaud, director of sales at RM Sotheby’s France.

Contact collectors

For example, buying a car from an auction collection can be a solution to finding a vehicle with a known history. Otherwise, “don’t hesitate to contact the clubs,” advises Pascal Rousselle of the French Federation of Vintage Cars (FFVE).

“When you find a model you like, you can contact the collector’s club to find out about the history of the model, known defects,” continues Pascale Russelle, who advises asking for a short tour. similar car. To make sure you won’t regret your purchase once you get behind the wheel. “You can also ask members to accompany you to see the car you are thinking of buying,” continues Pascal Rousselle.

And catering?

Some still fit into the collection and vintage car through restoration, especially if they are mechanical enthusiasts. Benjamin Arnaud therefore advises to properly estimate (or estimate) the cost of such a project. “If the price of the car is quite low – below 20-30,000 euros, it may be difficult to find a balance in the project,” the expert warns.

Another important issue is the availability of parts. “On mass-produced models like Minis and 2CVs, parts are easily available, so maintenance is easy, explains Pascal Russelle. On rare models, it’s more complicated, it’s better to ask in advance. Buy such parts.”

What budget?

Maintenance, club: the average annual cost of a classic car is 3938 euros
Of course, it all depends on the value and age of the car, but according to the FFVE, an old car owner spends an average of €3,938 a year on his car. The costs are broken down as follows: “3085 euros for annual maintenance and regular maintenance, 525 euros for participation in vintage vehicle events (registration, accommodation, food, etc.) and 328 euros in addition to other cost items. Club membership or specialized press as is typical of these passions,” states FFVE.

A classic car project budget goes beyond the simple purchase price. If the car is bought at auction, the costs added to the final bid amount should be taken into account. So for a car that can cost up to €900,000 at Artcurial, 16% of the price excluding tax must be added to miscellaneous costs.

If it is coming from abroad, in addition to the shipping costs, you need to consider the cost of the gray card, which can be high on a powerful model. Then you need to consider the cost of possible garage and maintenance, which can be quite expensive on certain brands (Ferrari, Porsche). There is also the issue of insurance, which can represent a small budget if it is all-risk insurance (1-1.5% of the car’s value after the appraisal).

But, according to all our interlocutors, apart from all these positions that should be considered, only one is really important. “To buy a car, you have to love it, because you have to maintain it, run it, it’s not a picture, there are limitations,” says Matthieu Lamoure. “If it’s just an investment, we risk loathing it.”

What about kilometers?
Are you taking a risk by buying a high mileage car? All our experts agree that this is not really a problem, as it is always possible to rebuild the engine. Pascal Rousselle explains that in newer models, such as young timers, “they are designed to do more”.

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