Where can you buy cheap classic cars?

Buying a classic car: How to find the perfect model cheaply

Before you buy vintage cars, you should get a good overview of the market - because it is big. By definition, all cars are considered to be old-timers that are more than 30 years old, but the practical differences between the vehicles are enormous.

How to find the right classic car

In order to be able to differentiate between the abundance of vehicles, further classifications based on the exact production date are used internationally for oldtimers. Closely related to this are the visual characteristics of the vehicles as well as their price, frequency and, last but not least, the maintenance intensity. A look at the classes of the FIA ​​automobile association:

Year of construction until 1904

The “Accestor Vehicles” category includes antique vehicles, which were among the first to drive on the roads. They have little in common with today's cars and are extremely rare. If these old timers are still roadworthy, they can usually be found as exhibits in the museum.

These vehicles are not suitable for purchase.

Year of construction between 1905 and 1918

The "Veteran Vehicles", which were built around the First World War, are a little more common. Some of them already have a rudimentary roof and comfortable leather seats. Due to the low speeds that these classic cars can reach, they are usually only driven on special occasions such as classic car shows.

Only in rare exceptional cases do you have the opportunity to buy such a vehicle.

Built between 1919 and 1930

There is only a real market for vehicles that were built after the First World War. And here, too, the supply is extremely low, and the price of the vehicles is correspondingly high. Those who want to buy such a “vintage vehicle” usually pay a six-figure price - in good condition. Because the vehicles are extremely rare, and maintenance is extremely time-consuming.

These classic cars are suitable if you are a real car lover, have a lot of technical understanding and have a six-figure budget for buying a car.

Year of manufacture between 1931 and 1945

So-called “Post Vintage Vehicles” are also a real rarity, but they are still allowed to be driven on German roads today. They reach speeds of 50 to 80 kilometers per hour, but that is secondary. Because the oldtimers exude a very special flair, because in those days they were reserved for wealthy people.

The Post Vintage Vehicles are also suitable for true enthusiasts who are willing to pay appropriate prices.

Year of manufacture between 1946 and 1960

The “Post War Vehicles” are then more and more reminiscent of the shapes of today's vehicles. Moving away from the angular sedan of the 1940s, there are already the first, sportier models with significantly improved aerodynamics.

Because the vehicles are maintenance-intensive, they are suitable for hobby mechanics who are looking for a stylish “Sunday car”.

Year of construction between 1961 and 1970

The original model of the world-famous “Porsche 911” falls during this period. But not only Porsche, Mercedes also brought a significantly sportier car onto the market with its SL. The selection for classic car enthusiasts is correspondingly larger. In addition, there are already many models from this time that are priced in the lower five-digit range.

Those who like it sportier are in good hands in the 1960s.

Year of construction 1971 up to vehicle age of 30 years

The FIA ​​still lists all cars as oldtimers that are no more than 30 years old. This category includes real classics such as the Alpha Romeo Spider or the Opel Rekord. In terms of price, too, there is much more leeway for car enthusiasts; they may find what they are looking for for less than 10,000 euros.

Younger classic cars are significantly less maintenance-intensive than older models and also require a somewhat lower capital investment.


The last category of the FIA ​​are so-called "youngtimers". They are about to be listed as "oldtimers" because they are already 25 years old. The value of these vehicles often rises sharply because the vehicles currently do not have an H license plate and are relatively widespread. However, as the models get older, the range becomes scarcer, and the price increases accordingly.

Youngtimers can be a good investment and usually serve as a low-maintenance entry-level model.

Value of a classic car

Current value, sales value, collector's price - many buyers and sellers juggle a wide variety of price definitions on the classic car market. But you can confidently say goodbye to that, because even classic car prices are easily regulated by supply and demand. How to determine the value of your dream model:

  1. You can enter your dream car and the desired condition in online tools. You will receive the rough market price within seconds.
  2. With this knowledge in mind, you then go to well-known automobile portals.
  3. Take a look at exactly how much money the dealers charge for cars in the condition categories already presented.

After a short research, you will know how expensive the car is in which condition category. Also, remember once again that when evaluating the vehicle, you should definitely take a look at the prices of the spare parts. Otherwise there will be nasty surprises waiting for you with the first repair.

The most popular models

Every year the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) publishes a list of the classic cars that are most popular in Germany. The order of precedence:

  1. VW Beetle
  2. Mercedes W 123
  3. Mercedes SL R 107
  4. Porsche 911/912
  5. VW Bus

With the exception of the Porsche 911, all models are still within a moderate price range. A well-preserved SL that is around 30 years old costs between 20,000 and 30,000 euros. For this investment you get a vehicle that requires little maintenance for a classic car and is ideal for relaxed Sunday tours. Especially since the SL often has a removable folding roof and can be used as a convertible.

But although the oldtimers mentioned are the most widespread, other manufacturers and vehicles are considered to be much more popular, especially with real car enthusiasts. Alongside the Porsche 911, the rustic, loud Ford Mustang is one of the most eye-catching models. Even old Corvettes exude an extraordinary flair and undoubtedly attract a certain amount of attention.

Capital requirements for classic cars

The classic car prices vary from model to model, but you can rarely find sports cars and convertibles for less than 20,000 euros. If it is the famous Porsche 911, you have to dig deeper into your pocket, then at least 35,000 to 40,000 euros are due.

What costs will I have to pay for a purchase?

You can of course save money when buying an old vehicle by compromising on the condition or the model you want. However, the additional costs relating to the parking space, for example, are largely uniform. Do you have enough space in your garage for a second or third vehicle? If not, you have to rent an external parking space, because none of the old cars should be outside, the risk of rust is too great.

Taxes are always around 190 euros per year, regardless of whether you drive a Porsche 911, a Corvette or a VW bus. However, this only applies if you receive the H license plate, otherwise your vehicle is not a classic car for tax purposes and is taxed like any other car.

In addition to this, you must of course insure the vehicle, with prices fluctuating greatly depending on the insurance company and the car. However, classic cars are rarely involved in accidents, and they are not driven every day. This keeps the insurance costs within reasonable limits. In stark contrast to fuel consumption, which is significantly higher than in today's efficient cars. An old SL quickly consumes between 14 and 15 liters per hundred kilometers - and that with a comparatively calm driving style.

Old-timer spare parts cost a lot of money

Every classic car sooner or later needs spare parts, which can be really expensive for some models. After all, the old components are no longer manufactured today. And if you want to keep the vehicle's value, you need the original spare parts. Before buying, find out about the availability of spare parts and their costs.

Buy classic cars

You now have a good overview of the current German market for classic cars. If you really decide to buy, however, you have to consider the following aspects:

  • Expertise: If you don't know anything about cars, the classic car is not the right choice for you. Because all old vehicles are prone to damage, which you should definitely repair yourself - at least on a small scale. In addition, you must be able to reliably identify possible defects when inspecting the car in order not to make a bad buy.
  • Private or dealer: Often there are offers for vintage cars from private individuals who have owned the cars for years. But dealers have also specialized in the old vehicles. The advantage: The oldtimers are usually much better maintained or have been overhauled before they are bought.
  • Classic car exchanges: So-called oldtimer exchanges take place regularly in rural areas as well as in cities. Numerous dealers and car enthusiasts from all over Germany come together here to marvel at special exhibits or to buy a vintage car themselves.
  • Research: Research is essential before buying. Get an overview of the prices for your dream car and find out where "popular" weak points of the vehicle can be found.

This is how you save when buying a classic car

Buying a classic car can be very expensive - but it doesn't have to be. In the first step, set a budget that you definitely do not want or cannot exceed. Only then should you start looking for vehicles that fit into the price range. You can often save by looking more closely at the model series of the cars. For example, Porsche also built the 911 as a 912 with simpler equipment - this has advantages in terms of price.

"Buy used vintage cars"

Admittedly, the classic car is always in a used condition, after all it is at least 25 to 30 years old. Car connoisseurs divide the cars into a total of five classes:

  • Note 1: The car is in perfect condition, only original parts are used.
  • Grade 2: The condition of the vehicle is good, all parts are original.
  • Note 3: Either there are minor defects (scratches, slightly defective interior) or parts have already been replaced.
  • Grade 4: The vehicle definitely needs some repairs.
  • Grade 5: Before enthusiasts can drive this vehicle, it has to be overhauled.

It is perfectly clear that you will pay significantly more money for level two vehicles than for the same model, which is classified in the fifth category. But: If you are not a passionate mechanic who can also repair an engine, for example, your classic car should be able to be classified at least in level three.

H mark in level two

Since the revision of the H license plate in 1997, the car has no longer been directly classified by the TÜV. However, it is important that only those oldtimers receive an H mark that can basically be assigned to the second category.

Finance the purchase cheaply

Financing is also possible when buying a classic car. However, very few retailers offer such an installment payment; they would like to receive the money in one installment directly with the purchase. However, you can apply for a corresponding loan from the bank, which you can then use to purchase the vehicle. You can find this via our credit comparison.

There are differences to the financing of new cars in that you usually only receive the earmarked car loan with certain conditions. For example, the bank must be presented with an appraisal that certifies the current price of the classic car by an independent expert. Only then does the bank agree to grant the usually somewhat lower-interest car loan.

Advantages and disadvantages of financing

The question remains whether financing the classic car really makes sense. Always keep in mind:

  • Luxury: Unlike the normal car, you will not need the classic car in everyday life, but use it as a kind of hobby. Financing such luxury goods with credit is only advisable if you can pay off the loan installments securely over the long term.
  • Performance: If you sell the classic car before the loan expires, you are in some ways dependent on the performance. If the sales proceeds are below the current remaining debt, you will continue to pay off the loan in the future, even though you no longer own a classic car.
  • Maintenance costs: In any case, keep in mind that the maintenance costs will not be financed with the loan. Repairs in particular can cause high additional expenses that you have to pay out of pocket.

Does leasing make sense?

Leasing is also a way of financing classic cars. However, it has been shown in practice that financing is often significantly cheaper. Leasing is only recommended if the leasing rate is much lower than a possible loan rate and you want to minimize the burden on your household budget under all circumstances.

compare offers

When it comes to financing, it is essential that you compare the offers from different banks. Because the banks will respond to your financing request with different interest rate proposals. Against the background of the high, usually five-digit loan sums, the loan comparison can save several hundred euros a year.