Get the Most for Your Classic Car With These 7 Consignment Tips

An interview with Alan Huffman
image backdrop

Selling a vintage vehicle is not as simple as selling a non-classic, and you can’t just list it on Autotrader and hope for the best. If your goal is to move the vehicle out of your garage as quickly as possible, then Autotrader may be the way to go. However, if you hope to sell a classic car for what it is worth or more, you need to take considerable time and effort researching its value, restoring it to market condition and finding the right buyer. You may also want to consider consigning.

What Does it Mean to Consign a Vehicle?

Consigning a vehicle works in much the same way as consigning clothes or used furniture—the owner of the vehicle drops off his or her car to a dealer and the dealer handles all the legwork of selling it, including marketing, photography and detailing. When it does sell, the owner of the vehicle receives a check equal to the sell price, less consignment fees. For these reasons and many more, many vintage vehicle owners opt to consign. If you want to sell a classic and want to know what you can do to help the consignment shop help you get the most bang for your buck, consider these seven tips before you consign a vehicle:

1. Prep Your Car

Most people who are interested in vintage vehicles are not looking for a fixer upper. Rather, they are looking for a vehicle they can drive off the lot and show off. Prep your car by doing the following:

  • Make sure all mechanical issues are taken care of
  • Complete any necessary cosmetic work
  • Detail the car
  • Gather any spare parts that go with the vehicle and keep them in a safe, easily accessible place
  • Gather all relevant paperwork, as you will have a hard time selling without it
  • Take good care of it until you bring it into the consignment shop

If you choose to consign a vehicle, you have your work cut out for you, but it’s well worth it once you learn its market value.

2. Get an Appraisal

While most consignment shop owners have a good idea of what many vintage makes and models are worth, it wouldn’t hurt to get your own assessment prior to bringing your classic car in. This can not only help them better understand where you’re at in terms of price, but it can also help you gauge the honesty of the dealer.

Image of/from

3. Research Dealers

Like in all trades, there are good people to work with and bad. Before you consign a vehicle, do your due diligence and research dealers online and talk to people who have consigned before.

4. Conduct Interviews

Interview each potential consigner and ask about their methods for selling vintage cars. Also ask them for an appraisal. This is where your outside appraisal will come in handy.

5. Steer Clear of Hobbyists

Many individuals assume that if they want to sell a classic car, their best bet would be to work with vintage car enthusiasts. This is not always a good idea, as it is not unheard of for enthusiasts to give appraisals that are far below market value, or to even steal vintage or classic cars. Avoid this fiasco entirely and look for a company that is more interested in business than in collecting.

6. Ask About Fees

Many consignment shops offer different levels of consignment services, which may include marketing, photography, detailing and vehicle security. Before you consign a vehicle, make sure that everything you want and need to sell is included in the overall pricing.

7. Trust the Shop You Hire

Once you decide to sell, and once you choose a consignment shop to help you, you need to loosen the reigns and trust that the shop will help you get the most money for your classic. Once you sign an agreement, step back and watch as the dealer works his or her magic.