When the time comes to sell your collector car, you want to get the highest possible price. After all, you’ve spent time, money and effort working on and improving your classic car.

Of course, you also want your car to sell quickly, with a minimum amount of hassle. But collector car aficionados can be a particular bunch. This is one situation where a pass through the car wash and a folder full of service receipts simply won’t cut it.

Achieving your selling goals takes a bit of planning. Here’s how to prepare to sell your classic auto with ease and at a great price point.

Estimate Collector Car Value

The first step in selling your classic car lies in coming up with a realistic valuation. Determining the approximate value of a collector car is a complex process, but we’re here to help break it down for you.

For some buyers, a car may worth more than its listed value because it reminds them of a car their grandpa once owned. Other buyers may follow the equivalent of “Blue Book”” values. Of course, your car’s condition, rarity, restoration, originality and market demand all play a role in valuation as well.

Start by checking collector car value guides, researching historical sales prices, and running comparisons of current sales prices on similar vehicles. As a general rule, set the price of your car a bit above its estimated value.

You may also want to get a professional appraisal. While it may involve a fee, an appraisal could pay off in a higher sales price.

Choose a Selling Venue

Now that you have an idea of how much to ask for your car, select the venue you’ll use to sell it. You have several options, such as:

Each option has pros and cons. For instance, a classic car website offers international exposure and tends to be the most cost-effective method, but may require a bit more marketing and advertising legwork on your part.

A car auction is less work for you, but may take fees from the sales price to cover venue costs. However, this is often a great choice for especially rare or valuable vehicles. A dealer sale may also bring you less money, but often offers a quicker sale.

Check Under the Hood

To get top dollar for your collector car, make sure everything’s looking good under the hood. Remember: buyers will jump on anything that’s broken or needs updating to try to lower the price, so make sure your car is in tip-top condition.

Change the fluids, grease the connectors and clean out that battery tray. You may even want to have a mechanical inspection completed before listing the car. If any potential problems arise, always be up-front with potential buyers.

Apply a Fresh Coat of Wax

Now it’s time to make your car really shine… literally. Along with a thorough wash and wax (done on a cool day, so the wax doesn’t dry too quickly, making it difficult to buff), clean the undercarriage and engine bay, as well.

Use an engine degreaser to really get things sparkling. Fix up any chips, rust or blemishes, too.

Now move on to the inside of the car. Vacuum dust or crumbs, and apply leather conditioner to the upholstery. You may want to invest in a professional detailing service to really make your car stand out.

Photos and Marketing

Now that your car is looking sharp inside and out, take appealing photos. For great results, snap pictures when the sun is low in the sky. The hour before sunset or the hour after sunrise offer the right quality and angle of light. Don’t forget to take interior and engine shots, too.

Highlight any features that make your car special, in both images and in your advertising copy. Include information on originality, modifications, low mileage and rarity, as well as any unique features.

While selling a classic car does involve a few more steps, it’s worth taking the extra time. Planning and preparation will help you sell your collector car quickly, and for a good price.

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