1 - What to look for…
What you’re looking for is a healthy stash of paperwork that gives you an idea of what’s been spent on the car, and when. This will give you an idea of whether the seller has cherished the car; things like old MOT certificates and service receipts will help to prove that the car doesn’t have a shady past. Other things to look for are pictures of the car at shows and club events, handwritten notes on repairs and photo records of restoration work – all this can add 10-20 per cent to a classic’s value.
2 - How long has it been standing?
If a car hasn’t been MOT’d recently (and isn’t exempt) and has been inactive for a long time, it’s worth digging deeper to find out why. Have a look at old MoT certificates – it may be that a previous failure point has made the car uneconomical to repair, or that a fault flagged up by a previous advisory has worsened. Maybe the car has a genuine reason for being left alone, but it’s worth checking over the tyres, brakes and electrics – and you can use it as a starting point for haggling over price.
3 - MOT Exemption
It is perfectly legal for classics more than 40 years old to have no MoT on the basis that they’ve been exempted – but they still need to be roadworthy. Most classic dealers sell cars that have been given MoTs on a voluntary basis but it’s less clear cut with private sellers. You might get a better deal, but negotiate if you find anything amiss. Consider getting a classic-friendly garage to check a potential purchase over – it’ll cost a little extra, but you could save yourself a hefty repair bill in the process.