So you’ve reached that stage in your life where you just can’t hold back any longer. You just have to own one of those gorgeous classic beauties you’ve been idly dreaming about but until now have held back because of all of those terrible stories you’ve heard.

Follow this guide and you should be able to save yourself a whole lot of headache (and heart ache) and find yourself a classic car which will reward you with many wonderful motoring memories.

Manage your expectations

There is literally a plethora of car types and eras to choose from – whilst many of us would love to get the keys to a vintage ’60s soft top for tootling around the countryside and farther afield, the reality will be somewhat different. Older sports cars tend to be cramped, noisy and somewhat uncomfortable on long journeys. This is fine for some, but will be a deal breaker for others. There are some fine specimens from the 80’s and 90’s which will have (most) of the mod cons such as ABS and air-con that you’re used to.

Calculate your budget

This seems like an obvious one, however there are things you need to factor in you may not have thought about such as insurance, tax and delivery fees. These may be considerably more than you thought.

Take your time

Don’t jump at the first thing you like the look of – there are plenty of fish in the sea. Heed this warning or else you are guaranteed buyers remorse a little way down the line when you find the same model with half the mileage on the clock.

Take a good look

So you’ve found a specimen which at first glance passes muster. Let’s take a closer look. The three main areas you want to evaluate are rust, history and a well maintained engineAny rot or badly rusted bits of body work are big no no’s. Older cars will usually have had some restoration work done at some point in their life, so make sure repair quality is good.

Full service history? Make sure there’s the paperwork to back it up. You’ll find this pushes the price up a fair bit but it’s more than worth it.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate on price

What’s the worst than can happen – seller says no! You might be able to get somewhere in the region of a 10% discount if you’re lucky.

Good luck and happy hunting.