My Car Quest

April 16, 2024

What Is Your Preferred Way To Sell Your Classic Car?

by Mike –

Below are the options that I can think of for selling a classic car when the time comes:

Auctions like RM, Gooding, Coys, Bonhams, Mecum etc…

This is a very expensive sales approach. The big auction companies take 15% to 20% of the total economics. The seller must transport the car to the auction and back again if it does not sell. Either way your valuable collector car is out of your control for several weeks and you may wait several months for the auction date. Although, the auction companies do print pretty, glossy catalogs and they throw great parties.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

eBay – not really an auction

My experience is that eBay is for buyers who are looking for a bargain and not sellers who are looking for a fair price. As we have discussed here the eBay auction is not really an auction because the seller can end the process at any time which makes it really a glorified classified ad site. Many people will see your car on eBay but you may not be happy with the price.

Iso Grifo Series 1

Iso Grifo Series 1 on Monterey Bay

Classified advertisement like Hemmings, Craig’s List or many other similar services

This shotgun approach is cheap but it may or may not reach the right buyer, may not get the best price and the seller will be forced to deal with lookers who have no intention of buying but will still call you and send emails with many questions. Who knows maybe you’ll make a new friend?

Consignment at a classic car dealer

You lose control of your car while it sits in the dealer’s inventory and almost anyone can drop by and take it for a test drive. I know because test driving sports cars was my hobby in my youth. I drove some great used Ferraris and Porsches that I could not afford. The dealer commands a high commission because his overhead is high with the showroom, the car lot, the receptionist and all.

1963 Studebaker Avanti

Studebaker Avanti – Originally owned by Dick Van Dyke

Sell to a classic car dealer

You get wholesale rather than retail price. The dealer has to make a profit so he must buy low and sell high but you can get the money quickly.

Trade for another car

Maybe a good idea but the probability of finding just the right situation is not very high. This could take years.

AMC AMX/3 by Bizzarrini

AMX/3 by Bizzarrini

Sell directly to the new buyer

This is a great idea – but how do you find the right buyer? Maybe your neighbor wants it.

Put a “For Sale” sign on it and park it where everyone else parks cars for sale in your town

I have done this (in highschool, college and later) and eventually a random person drives by and calls me. I have sold a few cars this way but for our valuable special collector cars this is not a preferred approach. Can you imagine an Iso Grifo or a Ferrari Daytona sitting on the corner with a “For Sale” sign in the window?

Iso Grifo Targa for sale

Iso Grifo Targa

On-line auction

Hmmm – I am liking this idea which uses the power of the Internet to connect sellers with buyers from anywhere in the world. I have been doing this on My Car Quest but not in an auction format. The auction process helps achieve a fair price for both the seller and buyer and because the overhead costs are much lower than a physical auction, or a dealer, the selling fees can be much lower as well.

Here on My Car Quest we have sold several cars over the past two years at a median price of $66,700 USD and an average price of $186,000 USD for a total of nearly $3.4 million USD.

I plan to use the power of the Internet and introduce the My Car Quest Auction On-Line Service very soon, so stay tuned.

What is your preference? What are the good things and bad things about each approach? What experiences have you had? Let us know in the Comments.

All of the cars shown here were sold on My Car Quest along with several others.

Iso Rivolta GT

Iso Rivolta GT

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Apollo GT For Sale

Apollo GT

Iso Fidia

Iso Fidia – Sold on My Car Quest – Arriving in Norway from California

What Is Your Preferred Way To Sell Your Classic Car?
Article Name
What Is Your Preferred Way To Sell Your Classic Car?
There are many ways to sell your classic car - which one is best for you?


  1. Paul Harvey says

    The fastest growing and most successful auction site for quality classic cars is Bring a Trailer.
    The key to their success is the immediacy of interaction between sellers and the knowledgeable BaT subscribers. During the auction process many experts will add independent information about the car on sale giving enormous confidence to any buyers, even if they are not marque experts themselves.

  2. Jim Petersen says

    One thing NO one does.. that i think would add a great amount of value.. is to have a PPI done by an independent source… REALLY check the car out.. and POST the results.

    • Jim,

      That is a great idea. There are inspection services but I don’t believe they are marque experts. But even if they did a detailed inspection including putting the car on a lift that would be a big help. I have hired individuals to do this for me but then I kept the information to myself.

  3. On BAT most of the cars are under 50 K so I don’t think people worry as much about PPI’s

    Auctions really don’t have PPI’s either you can look it over and kick the tires, but your not going to get to do a leak down or compression test.

    IMO a PPI is good if you can’t see the car in person or the car has very expensive drivetrain like a Ferrari or Lamborghini.

  4. Georgeg20 says

    the idea behind BaT auctions was car enthusiasts selling to car enthusiasts. Barat has crossed the 400 vehicle mark very recently. Their premise does not escape an occasional misrepresentation. One was a 60’s T-bird that went to a buyer in Europe. Upon receding the car, the buyer was immensely disappointed with the quality of the car and seller’s failure to disclose many of the shortcomings.

    PPI is very useful, even when buying a car in person. It becomes almost crucial when buying a car over the internet. of course, someone buying a million dollar plus car can and must spend several thousand on inspection. An inexpensive vehicle will require a simpler PPI. average quality PPI runs about $200. A PPIsaved me from buying a misrepresented motorcycle on the opposite coast. The value of the bike was quite low – $5500. The biggest set back with being swindled over the internet is a feeling of disappointment when getting your new toy.

    • PPI’s for $ 200 ? Heck the travel time to the car costs that much. A lot of car i purchase need restoration or help so I don’t worry about PPI’s. I use my knowledge and eyes to guide me. I guess if you want a top notch driver there is a place for it, but $ 200 dollars seems pretty cheap for a good inspection.

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