• Classic Muscle Cars for Sale: A Buyers Guide with Tips for Getting the Best Price

    If you’re looking for classic muscle cars for sale, make sure that you don’t pay too much. There are basically three categories of muscle cars as far as collectors are concerned. These three different categories, for the same year, make and model, will have prices than can be thousands of dollars different from one another.

    Categories of Muscle Cars

    • Stock-Numbers matching: This means the car is exactly as it left the factory, with absolutely nothing important changed. The VIN numbers stamped on the engine block, differential housing and windshield tag will all match. The paint will be an OEM paint that matches the paint code. This car will also most likely have the factory invoice under one of the front seats. These cars are worth the most.
    • Bone Stock Non-Numbers Matching: This category will have the same types of mechanical equipment as when it shipped. However, the engine, transmission and differential may have been changed. These cars will also have the correct paint per the paint code found under the hood or on the invoice.
    • Modified/Customized: This is the car that’s had a non-stock paint job, maybe some major or minor engine modifications, probably a new transmission and maybe even a rear end swap done, usually for performance and looks. These cars, while still most likely carrying a fairly high price tag for rare models, will be the lowest in price.

    Know What You‘re Looking At

    As an example, with a very cursory inspection, all 1967 Camaros look very similar. However, there were actually five different models of Camaro produced in 1967 (in order of value): the standard Camaro, the RS (Rallye Sport), SS (Super Sport), the Z28 and the king of the Camaro world, the RS/S, or Rallye Super Sport. Someone who is looking to fool a potential buyer may have a standard model and will install the emblems and extras to make the car look like an RS/S. Knowing who to call to verify factory installed options packages is very important. Year One is a very good resource for this. General Motors also has a research division that you can call to run VIN checks to verify factory installed options.

    Research Recent Sales and Level of Restoration

    Once you’ve verified the factory installed options packages, you need to see what prices have been paid for cars with the same factory options. Your first stop should be any sort of print media that offers muscle cars for sale. Next, you need to research prices paid for that particular muscle car online. The best places to do this are the large classic car auction houses, such as Mecum and Barret-Jackson. However, with the auctions, you must also realize that most of the cars sold here will have been professionally prepared for the high end collector market. Ask the seller what sort of restoration has been performed on the car and when. A complete frame off show type restoration where the body and frame are acid dipped and re-plated is going to be much more expensive than just a tear down and rebuild.

    By keeping the information given above in mind when looking for classic muscle cars for sale, you should be able to ensure that the price you pay is a fair one and the best possible.