As with anything considered classic or vintage, the current value of a classic or vintage automobile or truck is best determined by gathering auction house information. The first thing this does if you're a buyer is to assure you don't grossly overpay. Since markets for vintage cars can fluctuate with the economic environment, but not as you might expect, auction figures portray reality. Here you'll find actual selling prices.
There are also several good reports available that can show current market pricing, historical values and auction sales. Another thing most of these reports rely on is the condition of the vehicle. They rate a car from pristine condition to poor condition.
As you can imagine, the prices being asked can be all over the place. Classic car pricing is difficult if for no other reason by the number of factors to consider. A car's exterior, interior, mechanical condition are all part of the equation.
A car's body that has been restored as opposed to repaired adds value. One of the more popular reports on classic car pricing is the NADA Guide. Another much used report is from Hemmings. Yet another popular tool is the Gold Book report. Hemmings also offers a good listing of upcoming vintage and classic car auctions. Obviously there are also sites on the internet that can help you in your investigations.
Another big factor to consider when you're looking to purchase a classic car is whether it's authentic or a clone. This of course is like night and day. Authenticating what you're buying goes for anything including a car or truck.
In addition to standard pricing reports, a vintage car buyer can employ a professional classic car appraiser. A good appraiser is invaluable and takes a lot of the guesswork out of it. With prices as they are, using a professional appraiser with excellent references can be well worth it. One place to explore for auto appraisers is the American Society of Certified Auto Appraisers. Another is the International Automotive Appraisers Association.
To be sure, holding onto a classic automobile is an investment although not quite as volatile as the stock market. There are many reasons to own a vintage vehicle. While owning a classic car has it's rewards in the nostalgia and memory category, in fact, there are many people who collect classic and vintage automobiles as an investment. A tangible commodity like a vintage car is much easier to quantify than looking at stock investment statements. Your motivation for buying a classic car or truck may also affect what you're willing to pay. If your purpose is to enjoy the automobile and keep it as a collection piece, you may be willing to pay a bit more than if it's a buy and sell situation.
What some old cars and trucks sold for originally can be another thing not easily determined. In those days car dealers didn't have window pricing stickers that we rely on today.
A lot of the pricing varied as to what dealer sold the new car. During the outbreak of the Korean War as an example, cars could easily sell above manufacturers pricing because a shortage was feared by some. The type of shortage that occurred at the beginning of World War Two is another example how original sales prices can sometimes be sketchy.
The bottom line is obviously to perform your due diligence, review current auction selling prices, consult the various price guides offered, and if you are financially able to perhaps consult a reputable professional appraiser as well as a good reliable mechanic who understands vintage cars.