Costs of Owning Collectible Cars

The costs involved with buying, owning, maintaining and possibly restoring a collectible car or truck will go beyond what you purchased the vehicle for.

These may not be extraordinary expenses, but they can add up. In most cases these are costs you may be clearly aware of but there are some that may be considered “hidden costs” which are always good to consider. The added expenses may certainly not be deal breakers but they can add up and should be made a part of what your total costs of owning the vehicle are. If you decide to buy and sell, then these added expenses will make a difference.

collectible car expenses

As with any investment, buying a classic car can be fraught with pitfalls. Buy correctly, and owning a classic car can be a terrific experience that can also reap a profit when it comes time to sell. Make a mistake, and a classic car can become a money pit that returns little joy and no profit. Keep a record of all costs associated with your investment. When and if the time comes to sell your classic vehicle you’ll want to know how many dollars you have in it.


Buying a classic car is an investment. Like any investment you want to know what you get into. If you make the right choices up front then the entire experience can be very fun and rewarding. Make the wrong decisions and you can create a money pit. Don’t catch auction excitement and bid too high for that car or truck. If you take meticulous care of the car and are careful about improvements you make you may be able to show a profit on the car at the end of your time with it. That might feel better than buying a new car and having it depreciate as soon as you drive it off the lot.

Auto Transport

Shipping Your Car

If you decide to buy a classic car or truck outside of your local area you’ll want to consider shipping costs. There are many companies that ship automobiles and trucks and some even specialize in shipping collectible vehicles. Look for car shipping companies that offer enclosed car shipping services and specialize in moving high-end cars. Whoever you choose it’s wise to make certain they have a U.S. DOT license. This is important.
You can ship your car in an enclosed carrier or an open one. Enclosed will coast more. If you’re shipping an old car to restore then an open trailer may do fine and save you money. If you’ve purchased a finely restored collectible then the extra money for an enclosed shipment is the right thing to do.

classic car insurance

The expense of shipping your vehicle can run from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars. Everything depends on the distance involved and whether it’s enclosed or open shipping. There are also certain heavily traveled routes that may cost less to ship over. Most car shipping companies have popular routes that they frequently travel. For example, shipping a car from New York to Florida may cost less per mile because a lot of trucks go that way. Shipping a car from California to Texas might cost $800 or $1,500 depending on the company.


There are seasonal differences as well. Look to pay less shipping during the winter months as opposed to the summer.


You’ll find dozens of auto transport companies on the internet. Companies will vary greatly in price. Picking the right one will not be easy. Check the internet for recommendations and experiences. Check with the BBB. Checking with members of local car clubs might also be wise since there’s a good chance someone there has had experience with car transporters. Another source I’ve found helpful is Angie’s List. Angie’s List should be able to provide you with plenty of user experiences. Don’t overpay but also don’t necessarily take the lowest estimate.


The insurance costs are pretty much determined on how you will use your collectible car or truck, it’s value, deductibles and of course your driving record. Most large auto insurers will offer collectible car insurance.

Types of collectible vehicles that can be covered include antiques and classic cars, muscle cars, exotic and special interest vehicles, street rods, modern classics, trucks and high quality replicas.


Collectible vehicle insurance may be a bit cheaper than you would think. Many people have put their classic vehicle on their normal auto insurance policy when they could perhaps get a lower price with a separate policy. Some have found rates discounted by 20% to 30% or more by just mentioning that the vehicle will only be driven to auto shows, parades and special events. Specialty automotive insurers generally charge much less than standard insurers. Before just adding that classic vehicle to your existing policy be sure to check out quotes from specialty insurers. Essentially, the premium charged for a car that is on display is a fraction of what it is for a car that’s on the road.


It’s obviously hard to predict exactly how much annual insurance will run on your vehicle because of the many factors involved. These would have to be quoted by the insurance companies. To give you a rough idea of what these costs could be here are a few example we’ve run across.

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A late 1960’s Camaro might cost $390 annually if you insure it as a show or collectible car. Insure it as just another car on your policy and it could be hundreds more.
A stock car that might have a value of $10,000 may be insured for $100 to $125 per year.

storing a collectible vehicle

Storing Your Vehicle


Already have a storage area for your collectible vehicle? If so you’ll save a lot of money. If you need to rent space that’s enclosed then you’ll need to add this to the expense of owning your car. Easily figure $100 per month for a locked storage space. If a large area is required it could and probably will be more.


Restoration and Repair Costs

This category of expense is somewhat voluntary.

Whether you want to put $10,000 or $20,000 into a vehicle’s restoration is a decision you will make. Repair costs are something to determine prior to buying.
The car or truck you purchase may not need restoration work or it may need little work. This is something you want to calculate upfront. Have a restoration shop take a look at the vehicle prior to buying. Go over in detail what the costs would be with a professional. At $100 and more per hour plus parts a restoration job can get expensive fast.

How’s the engine and transmission? Have the car inspected by a professional mechanic. The cost of perhaps $200 is well worth it. This will keep you from being blindsided.

Before you purchase that classic car check out the availability of parts. Many parts for vintage cars are amazingly easy to find, especially with today’s internet. Some other parts may not be easy to locate and can cost much more than you thought. This can be one of the surprise hidden costs if you don’t do your homework before buying.