Appraising Vintage Muscle Cars

In order to insure your classic muscle car for the right amount, you will need to get an appraisal that accurately reflects what cars in similar condition are selling for.

Classic or collectible cars are a bit different than other vehicles, since their value tends to go up rather than down over time, particularly if they are restored or in mint condition.  Getting an accurate appraisal can, therefore, be very important for the owner of a vintage muscle car. The issue with collector's cars is that the value of a restored collectible car is usually quite a bit more than the standard Blue Book stated value. This is because the Blue Book gives a value based on the depreciation of the car's value over time, and doesn't take into account the high demand for classic muscle cars.  These are cars that collectors are often willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars for in the right condition, which changes the value.

In addition, most of the time, the owner has invested a lot of money in restoring the car, so the insured amount needs to reflect the investment. There are several ways to get an appraisal.  If you need one for insurance purposes, you won't be able to do it yourself -- have a professional do it.  But you can do your own appraisal if you just want to know what your car is worth, or if you are wondering whether your first appraisal is off and you should seek a second opinion.

  • Use your insurance agent's appraiser. Your insurance agent should have an appraiser they can suggest.  Sometimes using your agent's appraiser is the easiest way to go, especially if you trust your agent.  However, you may also want to get a second opinion.
  • Get your car appraised at a car show. Car shows are popular events, and you can get appraisals at many shows by entering the show and/or paying a small appraisal fee.  A specialty car show is often a very good place to get an appraisal, because you can be sure the appraiser is an expert on vintage muscle cars.
  • Call an appraiser in your area. When you seek an appraisal from a local professional, you need to be sure he or she knows vintage muscle cars well enough to deliver an accurate appraisal.  Don't be afraid to ask some questions about their experience appraising classic cars.
  • Network with other local enthusiasts. Attend the meetings of local car clubs, go to a show, and look for social networking spots for other car enthusiasts in your area on Facebook and other websites.  Other local car enthusiasts can give recommendations for local appraisers, or even for a good insurance agent.
  • Do your own appraisal. If you don't need an appraisal for any official purpose, or if you just want to double check the appraisal you got against your own findings, there are a variety of resources that you can use to do your own appraisal.  As mentioned earlier, Blue Book values are usually not accurate for classic cars, but they can provide a starting point.  There are also other resources that offer values for restored collectible cars.  In addition, you can do your own research, checking for sale and auctions prices nationwide.  You will also need to research the bearing that certain factors, such as whether parts of the vehicle are original or restored, have on the value.  Just be sure to be as objective as possible in assessing your vehicle's worth.

Vintage muscle cars are highly sought after, and so the value of these vehicles can be quite high, especially for all-original vehicles or those that have been beautifully restored.  Unfortunately, for insurance that covers the true value of the car, you may need to get an appraisal to determine how much that is.  Don't hesitate to take this step, or if you get into an accident, your Mopar T shirts may end up being all you have left of your muscle car.

4th Nov 2010

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