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Can you get car finance on a vintage or classic car?

Want a classic motor but not sure how to get your hands on one? Fear not, our guide may have all the answers you need


Classic cars are more than a car. They're a way of life, a hobby and a passion. They can also be a money pit. 

If you want to invest your time and energy in classic car, you'll inevitably end up investing a lot of your money too. So how do you finance a classic car? Whether you've been saving up for years or looking to borrow cash, getting the money together for a classic car is the first step in pursuing your dream. 

Read on to find out more about what a classic car is, how to find the right one for you and how you can pay for it.

Can you get finance for a classic car? 

There are comparatively few classic car dealers and securing finance directly through them (like at a typical new car dealer) can be difficult. 

There are a number of dedicated classic car finance providers, but these often specialise in very high-value classics stretching into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds.

If you're thinking of spending a more modest sum, or buying one of the many classics that are in private hands, you'll need cash.

Unless you've got thousands of pounds burning a hole in your pocket, you might need to take out car finance to buy a classic car. 

Different types of classic car finance

There are a number of ways you can finance your classic car purchase.

A personal loan

Depending on the value of your car, a personal loan could be the right way to finance it.

Make sure you look at your income and outgoings before committing after all, paying your mortgage and other household bills is more important.

Car finance 

Depending on whether the dealership you're buying your car from accepts finance, you could take out a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) or Hire Purchase (PCP) for your classic car. Find out more about how car finance could help you buy your new (to you) car. 

Financing a restoration project

You may need a little bit more than the window price if you're buying a restoration project that needs hours of love and attention, and you can take this into account when you apply for financing. 

Once you've restored your car, it could end up being worth more than you borrowed. 

What is a classic car?

In the UK there is no set definition of what constitutes a classic car - it's mostly down to a matter of opinion.

There are two legal definitions used for taxation purposes. A classic car is defined by HMRC as one that's over 15 years old and worth more than £15,000. In terms of road tax, a classic is any vehicle registered before January 1 1976 - these are exempt from road tax. 

Where Admiral Classic Car Insurance is concerned, your car must be:

  • Over 20-years-old
  • Under 70-years-old (anything pre-1940 is vintage)
  • Valued over £1,000 and under £100,000

Generally speaking, a classic is one that has stopped losing its value, is well-kept and has a degree of rarity.

Newer cars are less highly prized for several reasons, not least because cars are simply more common than ever before. An immaculately-kept, low-mileage prestige model might be as expensive to run as your everyday car, but could be a good long-term investment. If you're looking to invest, see our classic car expert's top 20 cars that should go up in value.

How to find your classic car

There is a huge number of models to choose from, including lots you've probably never heard of. Head to Classic & Sports Car to get inspiration, or start with our classic car buyers' guide.

Classics are offered for sale in all the usual places, including Gumtree and eBay. Alternatively, head to a local specialist dealer or browse the Classifieds at Classic Car Weekly, Classic & Sports Car and Car & Classic

Look out for 'barn finds' - these are cars which have (supposedly) been re-discovered after being parked up for years or even decades at a time, and will require significant work to bring them into roadworthy condition.

Bear in mind that some websites include vehicles for sale in mainland Europe, so if you're serious about your search you might travel further afield.

Things to consider before buying a classic car

Before you throw yourself into browsing and shopping for a classic car, there are a few things you should think about first.

Is a classic car right for you? 

When you're in the market for a classic, make sure you take your lifestyle into account. You might not be using it as your main car, but it needs to be reasonably practical on those days when you are. There's little point in lusting after a two-seater sports car if you've a growing family, for instance.

Can you afford a classic car? 

Classic cars can require years of work, repairs and maintenance - they're more of a hobby and a labour of love than a straightforward car. Make sure you're prepared and have enough money in the bank just in case. 

Do you have the space to store a classic car?

Remember that a classic car may need to be off the road for much of the time, whether that's because of repairs or to protect it from weather damage. If you have a garage, barn or other outbuilding with enough space to store and work on a car, then you're in luck. 

Will you be able to insure a classic car? 

Classic car insurance can be easy to come by, but make sure you know you can find affordable insurance before parting with your cash. Admiral's Classic Car Insurance will be able to help. 

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