So, you’ve managed to track down the classic car of your dreams, and you’re pretty certain that it’s going to be worth quite a lot more one day to boot. Now comes probably the hardest part of investing in cars – if you’re passionate about them.
Not driving it! Much, at least.
Obviously, classic and investment cars are not intended to replace your daily driver. Sure, taking it out every few weekends, or even every couple of months perhaps, to dazzle the audience at your favourite classic car get-together, is probably a risk you’re going to feel is worth taking. But just remember, the more kilometres you stack up onto that odometer, the less it will ultimately be worth. Not to mention increasing the risk of experiencing a (probably quite costly) failure of some nature. Or worse still, accident damage!
So here are our top tips on storing your investment vehicle with an eye on maintaining future value.
Location. Sun is the enemy. So is exposure to excessive moisture, especially if it’s of the salt-infused seaside nature. A washed out paint job and dry, cracked upholstery do not “add character” – they rob value! A shaded storage spot, preferably indoors, is a must.
Wrapping it up. Naturally, you need a fitted car cover. Tarpaulin sheets and plastic-based covers are not the answer. These materials don’t breathe, causing moisture to build up beneath the cover, which will end up settling on and start to eat away at the paintwork and exposed metal. Cotton breathes well, and is soft enough to not scuff even the most delicate coachwork going on or off.
Preparation essential. You can’t just park your classic car up in your garage, whip the cover over its shapely bodywork, and walk away. If your intention is to store it for quite a while, take the time and drain the fluids. It’s difficult to get all the petrol out and can be dangerous for your fuel pump as well, so get hold of a fuel stabiliser, pour it into a full tank, and drive around for 15 minutes to get the compound mixed through your entire fuel supply.
Also ensure that joints and fittings are well greased. Spray some silicone-based lubricant onto metal not protected by the paint, such as door hinges and boot and bonnet catches. Finally, a light, see-through lubricant should also be sprayed over the interior seals and linings, so they don’t disintegrate while standing or permanently adhere to the windows.
Meticulously clean. Make sure to hand wash the exterior before dropping that cover. First, clean thoroughly, followed by a chrome treatment, generous waxing, and don’t forget to take similar precautions in the interior with high grade upholstery treatments.
Put it on a pedestal. Well, not really. But jacking it up will ensure those period tyres don’t get nasty flat spots, requiring a costly change of rubber. Drop the air pressures in the tyres dramatically, just remember to pump them back to the recommended pressures before heading on any planned outings.
Sealing up. Make sure the ventilation system is set to the recirculate position, and stick some steel wool wrapped in a plastic bag into inviting apertures like the exhausts and air intake.
Hydraulics. To prevent the clutch sealing up completely over time, use a sturdy anchor to jam the clutch pedal to the floor. Regularly pump the brake pedal to ensure hydraulic fluid remains in the braking system.
Following these tips may look a little expensive, with all of the specialist lubricants, polishes and treatments to get hold of. But when it comes time to capitalise, these costs will all be more than paid back by the new buyer based on the exemplary condition of the vehicle. Or if the investment in time seems too onerous, consider employing the services of one of the many classic car storage and maintenance specialists in major cities to do all of these small but crucial steps on your behalf.