Buying a Classic Car

Brad Kline - September 18, 2020
A lot of people wonder about buying a classic or collectible vehicle from a dealer, specifically a consignment dealer. How does it work? What are the pros and cons? We wanted to take time to explain how the process works when you buy from Survivor Classic Car Services.
1. When you see a car that is in our inventory, reach out to us so we can answer any questions you have about the vehicle. We do our best to put as much as we know about the vehicles directly in our ad, but there are details or things that may be important to you specifically that didn’t make it in the description. If you ask us, we will give you a straight-forward, honest answer. Even if that answer is sometimes “we don’t know.” Why wouldn’t we know something about a vehicle? Well, if the consignor doesn’t know, and it’s not something we can plainly see, we won’t guess. An example of this is ‘what pistons were used during the rebuild?’ Unless the seller knows the answer, we won’t know. This is simply because we can’t see through the cast iron block, and we’re not going to guess and risk being wrong. We are more than happy to take extra photos, answer your questions, shoot more videos, etc. Whatever you need to be confident that the car you are looking to purchase is the right car for you. If it isn’t a good fit, at least you will know we are honest and easy to work with and maybe the next one we get in will be a better fit.
2. Ask us about financing your classic vehicle.
3. Ask us about shipping the vehicle directly to you. 
4. Find out about the warranties that are available on the specific vehicle you are interested in.
5. If you have a trade-in you can email the information and some photos of your trade to and let us know what you are looking to trade towards. We do not accept trades where we will be giving a car and cash, as it doesn’t benefit us from a business standpoint to do that.
6. “Can I get the seller’s information after the sale to reach out to them with any questions I have?” As long as the seller is ok with that, we have no issue providing that information. Most of the sellers are willing and even excited to talk to the new owner. We are one of the few companies that will do this. Mainly because we make exactly what we say we are going to make as our commission, and we don’t play games or lie. Other dealers might be afraid to have the buyer and seller communicate because they know they made way too much money, or they lied to the buyer, seller or both along the way. The buyer and seller talking is the worst thing for them! That’s not the case with us, we don’t mind at all.
7. “Do you have documentation for the restoration or build of the car?” That depends on the vehicle and the seller. Just ask us and we can let you know what documentation comes with the vehicles. For some cars it is absolutely none. For other cars it is every receipt for every nut and bolt on the car along with photos of the build. It just depends on what the seller saved along the way, or were given when they purchased the vehicle. Whatever we have, we are happy to share with you.
8. Once you have decided that the vehicle is right for you and have all your questions answered, we take a deposit on a credit card to pull the vehicle off that market for you. This deposit goes towards the purchase price. We then send you paperwork to complete the purchase, and ask for those signed documents and a copy of your driver’s license.
9. We can send you wire transfer instructions to complete the final payment, or you can send in a cashier’s check, personal check, cash, or run the remainder on a credit card. There are other fees associated with running the whole purchase on the credit card. Wire transfer is the fastest and safest way to send the final payment.
10. “Do you have any other fees?” As the website says under the price of every vehicle, there is a $299 doc fee on top of the final purchase price. We also collect tax, title and license if you are a Florida resident. We then handle getting the title in your name and a license plate for you as well, if you are a Florida resident.
11. “Why is there a doc fee? What does it cover?” The doc fee is in place because there are a lot of fees and charges along the way to selling a car. We don’t make 20-25%+ profit like some dealers, so we have a doc fee to help cover some of these costs. They include: credit card processing on the deposit, temporary tag, Tax Collector fees, wire transfer fees from our bank, overnighting the title, etc. Some dealers charge $500, $600, $700, even $1,000 for a doc fee! They are trying to make a profit selling the car and add to that profit with the doc fee. Our doc fee is calculated to cover the costs mentioned above, but not gouge the buyer.
12. One other thing to consider is where else you are doing business that is going right back to the dealership. Some dealerships get kickbacks from the finance companies and/or the shipping companies. Survivor Classic Car Services doesn’t do that. We get a quote from the shipper, and you get the same quote. We don’t tack money on top of it and our shippers NEVER pay us for us to recommend them. We recommend them because they do a good job. If you need financing, we will give you recommendations based on our experience. We do not make money for referring you to certain financing companies. Feel free to use your own bank and your own shipping company. It doesn’t matter to us since we don’t profit from it. It is simply a service we offer to our customers to make the buying process as painless as possible.
There are a lot of pros to buying from a dealer. We are experienced, have connections and a reputation to uphold. If you buy from an individual they may not have any of those things. We can get your classic financed, take your trade-in, give you a warranty and get it shipped directly to your house. All you have to do is ask.
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