Selling a Collector Car at a Car Auction

by Don Elliott on June 26, 2012

You’ve spent years getting that special ride to run and look just the way you want it. Then suddenly, another car catches your eye. The new car has all the potential of the car you’ve just finished. Its not that the old car has anything wrong with it! It is just…done! Time to move on to the next car.

What’s the best way to get rid of the old car? After all, it is a collector vehicle. Once somebody realizes the time and money that you have invested and what a great car it is, they will pay premium money, right? Wrong! First, you have to find the buyer. Second, you have to get your price. Third, you have to merchandise your car to prove its value. And fourth, you need to be sure that your transaction is legal and safe.

Choosing to sell your car at a collector car auction is one logical solution, but choosing the right collector car auction for your car will take a little research. Trying to sell your 1953 Ford Pickup at a Corvette sale would probably not find the best buyer, for example.

Auto auction schedules are advertised in several collector car magazines including Hemming Motor News and Sports Car Market. The best-known collector car auctions are held at the same time and location each year. These large event sales attract buyers from all over the world to bid on the best and the rarest vehicles, but not everybody can afford the best and the rarest. Other car auctions specialize in second tier vehicles.

Car auction websites will provide all of the details on consignment and list the type of cars available for sale. Consider the costs to sell your car along with the potential selling prices. Possible costs to sell include:

  • Car auction fees
  • Transportation to and from the auto auction sale site
  • Housing if overnight stay is required
  • Security of funds
  • Title protection
  • Reserve or no reserve
  • Run number

Selling a car at a collector car auction requires lots of effort before the sale. Documentation is critical to achieve the highest and best price from the buyers. The car auction will need all of the records that you have to help market your car. Lead time is important for the car auction to expose your ride to the most potential buyers.

At the pre-sale inspection, a smart seller will stay with his car to answer questions and drive enthusiasm for his car. Most car auctions park similar cars in the same area. The seller that makes the best presentation will get the most money when the hammer goes down on the auction block.

Finally, stay with your car while it is being auctioned. You may want to adjust your reserve if the bidding is close to your auction price. Often, when the auction announces that the reserve is off, buyers pick up their pace. A few extra bids can mean hundred or thousands of dollars towards the final sales price.

Good luck and happy selling at the collector car auction.

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