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How to get into the world of classic cars

Imagining yourself as a car collector doesn’t have to be some fantastical pipe dream that feels unattainable. While there are certainly a lot of barriers before you can truly say you’re a classic car kind of person, sometimes, it starts with a simple acknowledgment that you want to be into this wild subculture of automobiles, and that you don’t have a single clue of how to get more involved.

Everyone starts out a hobby or interest as a beginner. That’s just how it is, so there’s no shame in saying you want to get into the world of classic cars, but you have no idea where to start. One of the best parts about classic cars, aside from the cars themselves, is that the community is really interested in new faces to help carry on yesteryear’s legacies.

If you’re really interested in getting into classic cars, here are some useful tips and advice on how to start becoming more invested in this particular lifestyle.

1. Start reading about the cars themselves.

Not every old car is a classic car. Sometimes, a classic car you think has value is simply just an old beater that was lying around in some junkyard. Too many people have watched too many shows about finding extravagant gems in junk piles, but in reality, finding a classic car worth restoring or buying is pretty hard to come by, unless it’s in the new condition, of course. If you check out the classic car experts at Revology Cars, you can see how much there is to learn about parts, what a classic or muscle car is, and see that you need to do your research first. Just like a test, you don’t want to jump in unprepared, so figure out if all of this is actually something you want to learn about and start reading.

2. Attend car shows or meets.

Another great way to get first-hand experience around classic cars and those that love them is by attending car shows and meets. It might be a little hard depending on where you live, as some places outside of the U.S. or Canada aren’t as invested in the idea of muscle cars as North American automobile enthusiasts, but if you look hard enough, you can always find a car meet somewhere. Even if you have to go to a general car show, try to gravitate toward those hanging around the Pontiacs, the Chevrolets, and the Fords. This is a good time to see classic cars up close and in-person to appreciate their power, their noise, and all the things that make them so sought after. It’s a lot easier to get wrapped up in them when you see them in real life, and not just on a screen.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

3. Join forums, chatrooms, and social media groups.

Speaking of getting involved and finding car shows, one of the best things about the Internet is that there’s a massive proliferation of people who are very much enthusiasts of this car subculture, and are very much willing to share photos, videos, stories, and tips. There are an astounding amount of forums, online chatrooms, and groups on social media you can find yourself in that will allow you to get to meet people (albeit online) who can share their information and experience with you when you want to learn about anything, from spark plug installation to auctioning a car. Look for groups, and in particular ones in your area, and you can find a dedicated community quite easily.

4. Purchasing your first classic car

The meat and potatoes of classic cars are learning as much as you can about them before you spend a single dime on any car parts or cars. Buying your first classic car will be a pivotal step, and you want to make sure it goes off without a hitch. A good piece of advice is to always search for reputable sellers, always check out the vehicle in person, bring someone along who knows their stuff about classic cars, and always trust your gut. As mentioned, you could be looking at an old car with little to no value in way of repair, so you’d end up spending thousands on a junker. Follow the guides to buying a classic car, and you should be alright. It never hurts to turn down the chance to buy a car if it doesn’t feel right yet.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

5. How to learn car repair

Another major aspect of the classic car lifestyle is knowing how to do mechanical work and repairs yourself. You might already have some idea of how it works already with repairs on your own car, which is a good start. Obviously, a modern automatic car is different in design from a classic manual car, but having some knowledge is always an advantage. You can take online classes or learn from someone you know on how to repair vehicles, but it’s best to understand that you’re going to need some basic chops in this department because not all classic cars will come to you in perfect, road-ready condition. Many of them are years-long, even life-long projects, so you want to be able to hold your own if you want to do repairs yourself.

6. What you shouldn’t do

A few of the don’ts of classic car hobbyism have already been mentioned. Don’t buy the first car you see, and don’t let someone trick or intimidate you into buying something you don’t want. Don’t blow all of your budget on the car itself (you’ll need parts, tools, insurance, etc.), know the difference between an old car and a classic car, and always have someone to help you with some of these decisions. When you know what to avoid, you have a much better chance of enjoying your foray into this world of cars.

Being a classic car person doesn’t mean you have to be wealthy and own an eight-car garage. Many classic car enthusiasts own one classic car, and some own none. The point is that you want to enjoy it for what it is, not do it for the status. Using these tips, you can see how easy it can be to get involved in owning your very own classic car someday.

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