Classic cars provide a unique investment opportunity for the long-term investor, but to really make the best of it, a bit of trend-watching can help increase the return on investment. It's an old saying that everything in life goes in cycles, and it is no different with the classic car market, though the cycles may be longer than the average investor is expecting.
A Special Type of Investment
First though, one thing that makes buying old cars a unique investment opportunity is, these stand-out vehicles are eye-catching and fun to drive. Owning one is more than just owning a valuable car, it is - or can be - a statement, and often part of a fond memory of a time that has passed in one's life.
Bought It Because You Loved It...
If purchased as part of a fond memory or because of a special affinity for a certain car, it may be hard to let go of when it's time to turn it over for sale. This is not an ideal situation when buying these machines for investment value, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. It just makes it a bit harder to let go, but at least owning it for a time is enjoyable.
Buying Purely as Investment
This is where trend-watching comes into play as a valuable tool for an investor. Classic cars are only going to increase in value as they become more and more scarce, but there are still going to be ups and downs in the prices. Adding seasonal trends and long-term trends to your understanding of this market will let you earn the highest return on your investment dollars.
Watching seasonal trends will give you an idea of the best time to buy or sell for short-term investing, and it's fairly basic. Warm weather means summer vacation, car shows, and road trips for many people, so warm months are when demand is the highest - and prices are highest then, too.
While there are always exceptions to every rule, you are most likely to get the lowest prices during cold months. So, typically, you would want to buy when it's cold and unpleasant outside and sell when demand is high in summer months.
Long-term trends are harder to identify when it comes to cars, but you can use a web tool, like Google Trends, or another analytic tool to use Internet searches as a guideline. If you set the tool to show searches for a specific type of classic car, for example, you can see if it is presenting as a downtrend, an uptrend, or if it has flatlined.
Nothing Is Written in Stone, but...
Ideally, if you see a downtrend of about fifteen or twenty years when you look at the long-term history for a specific type of vehicle, it should be due to begin an upward trend, so buying at a low point in the trend gives you the greatest likelihood of making a profit when you are ready to turn over your long-term investment in a piece of vintage iron.