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

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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

Imagine a classic car and you’re probably thinking of a beautifully maintained sports car from the 1950s or ‘60s. But, in reality there are several definitions that mean you might be driving a classic car without realising.

What is a classic car?

In reality, in the UK there is no binding legal definition of what constitutes a classic car - it’s mostly subjective and 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, and these are exempt from paying 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, though, a classic is one that has stopped losing its value, is well-kept, has a degree of rarity, and has a certain unquantifiable ‘romance’. Chat to any serious car enthusiast and they’ll be able to name a few classics from each decade: choosing a ‘60s VW Camper or a 1980’s Peugeot 205 GTi, for instance, will draw approving nods and smiles from those in the know.

Newer cars are less highly prized for several reasons, not least because cars are simply more common than ever before. Some of today’s cars will become classics in time, though; spotting and investing in these ‘future classics’ is a popular pastime.

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 25 affordable and future classics.

Financing 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. An unsecured personal loan, such as one from Admiral, could be just what you need.

Financing a restoration project

Admiral personal loans are unsecured, so you can get the money in the bank before you even start searching for your next car.

You may need a little bit more than the window price if you’re buying for a restoration project. If you’re buying a banger that needs hours and hours of love and attention (not to mention lots of hard-to-find parts) you can get the finance in one fell swoop.

Once you’ve restored your car, it could end up being worth more than you borrowed. And hobbies are all the more enjoyable when you know you can make a few quid from them.

Next steps

1. Begin by identifying the kind of car you want

When you’re in the market for a classic, it’s important not to lose sight of your lifestyle. 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.

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

2. Start browsing

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 Continental Europe, so if you’re serious about your search you might need to dig out your passport.

3. Get your finance in place

Apply for a personal loan through Admiral today, leaving a few days for funds to clear before you can hand the money over.

4. Get your insurance

Once you’ve completed all the due diligence of the paperwork, and when you’re completely happy that everything is in order, you’re OK to hand over the cash and be on your way. Make sure you’ve got the right classic car insurance in place before pulling away.

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