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How to buy a classic car in an online auction

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September 30, 2020
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Online auctions have proved very popular over the past few months, as more people are turning to private vehicles to avoid having to use public transport. And a classic car is a great way to get around town, whether it’ll be your daily vehicle or your mode of transport in the summer. If you’re trying to buy a classic car through an online auction, follow our guide to ensure you don’t fall foul of any scams.

Step one: research, research, research

There are plenty of online auction sites online, but how do you know which ones are genuine? The best way is to look up reviews and forum posts on the online auction site itself to find out what users have to say about it.

Large auctioneers like H&H will often list upcoming auctions. This is great if you have never used one before and you’re not sure which ones to trust. You can also search lots through H&H and other auction sites for upcoming auctions they added to their website.

Step two: attend an online auction

buying a classic car in an online auction

One of the best things you can do is to attend an online auction before you begin to bid. This way, you’ll get a feel for the pace of things and how an online auction works.

Step three: keep your eye out for your dream classic car

Whether you’ve got a specific car model in mind or you’re simply browsing with a vague idea of what you’re looking for, it’s important to look out for that dream classic. Plenty of classic car online auctions will take videos of cars that are being put up for auction, and you might also want to bookmark a few of the online auction search lots and check them regularly.

If you can see videos of the car, that’s a massive plus as you’ll be able to see its condition close up without even having to leave your sofa. Anglia Car Auctions, for instance, has fully embraced the online auction method since the middle of lockdown. They regularly post YouTube videos of classic cars that are coming up in auction too.

Step four: get bidding!

Found your dream classic car? Now’s the time to start bidding! Once you’ve made sure the vehicle is in a condition you’re pleased with, you can place a bid.

To do this, you will likely have one of two live options: you can let the auction company know you’re interested and ask if you can call them at the time of the auction and place your bids over the phone, or you can place your bids online through a login. Feel free to choose one or the other depending on your preference as this is down to personal choice.

If you’ll be busy at the time of the auction but you’d still like to bid, you can usually set your maximum bid over the internet or on the phone to the auction company. This will work in exactly the same way as if you were bidding live; the online clerk will relay any bids you place (up to your max limit) to the auctioneer.

Step five: celebrate… or commiserate

You win some, you lose some. If you were able to get your dream Imp, MG or Lotus, congratulations! If not, there’s always next auction; just rinse and repeat steps three and four if you’ve really got your heart set on a classic car.

Once you successfully bid on a classic, the next step is to pay for it. You’ll likely receive the auction company’s bank account details via email, plus an invoice with the amount you owe and any further instructions from the company. Use a credit or debit card to pay, and voila! You’re now the proud owner of a classic car.

Step six: choose a delivery date

buying a classic car in online auction

Find out when and how your new vehicle will be delivered. Most online auction companies have started offering a “contact-free delivery” service since lockdown went into place, which means an intermediary company will deliver the vehicle to you without any contact.

Step seven: wipe down surfaces

You might want to do this to be extra safe as this will help prevent the spread of coronavirus if there are any contaminated surfaces in the car. We wrote a blog on how to properly clean your car, so make sure you follow those tips if you’re worried!

Step eight: get classic car insurance

This is a vital step that unfortunately must be done before you take your car for a spin. You could even activate this before you get the car so you can take it for a spin the moment it arrives. Just make sure you get classic car insurance, as this will often be cheaper than regular car insurance.

And who’s best to go to for this? Us, of course! Did you know that Adrian Flux has been working as a specialist insurance broker for over 45 years? This means we’re often able to source affordable, tailored classic car insurance even when you can’t find it elsewhere online.

The policies we offer can be tailored to suit you. This means you can include any of the following, so long as they’re available on the selected policy:

  • Agreed value cover
  • Laid-up insurance
  • Like-for-like cover on modifications
  • Protected no claims bonus
  • Track or rally day cover
  • Wedding hire cover

We even offer discounts for car club or forum members and limited mileage policies. Just call us on 0800 369 8590 for more information and a free, no-obligation quote.

Step nine: go for your first drive (or, if it’s a project car, make the first tweak)

Now that your car insurance is in place, it’s time to take it for a spin – or get to work if it’s a project car! May you have many sunny days ahead of you.




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