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5 Tips I Picked Up While Buying and Test Driving my Muscle Car

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By Andy Dent

My dad taught me a lot growing up, he was the one who got me into most of the hobbies I like today, especially muscle cars. I used to dream about getting a 1969 Camaro x11 when I was a kid, it was actually the first car my dad had when he was growing up. He used to tell me and my mom “This Camaro is the greatest thing man has ever created” (my mom hated that car). The feeling I got from driving this car was one of a kind. I was actually lucky enough to learn how to drive in that very Camaro when I was 14, it was the most memorable experience I’ve ever had. When I turned 25, I decided it was time to get my own muscle car. It was a tough search because I was looking for one car in particular, the 1969 Chevy El Camino SS. The funny thing is I found a few decent looking El Camino’s, just not the one I wanted. Luckily, being picky payed off, after a few months of searching I came across my dream car in an old garage on the outskirts of San Diego, California. I learned so much on this journey that I decided to come up with 6 tips that I picked up while buying and test driving my muscle car.


Be Confident and Pay Attention to Detail
The first thing you need to remember is that no matter what the seller tells you or how much he/she pressures you, the one who is in control is YOU. Since buying a muscle car is not a small nor short-term investment, keep in mind that you have to take your time and check every little detail you can think of. This will raise your chances of finding a great deal.

It’s also a good idea to check the vehicle’s history (it is better to be safe than sorry), you’ll need the VIN number of the car before you visit Carfax to check out the report. Preparing your own paperwork (if you are buying from a private seller) is something I would also recommend. You should print your own bill of sale if you want to avoid any surprises.

Do your homework
You can’t expect to buy a muscle car if you only know the name of the vehicle. Remember that you’re buying a well oiled machine (literally). If you are serious about this investment, it’s important that you make an informed decision. Things will run a lot smoother if you already have one or two specific models in mind. This will give you the chance to learn about the specs of the car. These things are important in order to verify if the cars you are looking at are truly original classic muscle cars.


Examine the exterior
If you can, have a mechanic go with you and double check the overall state of the car. Look for dents, scratches, rust, uneven paint jobs or pieces that look iffy (these might be signs that the car has been in an accident). Check if the car is leaking any fluids, inspect it while the engine is off and while it’s on too. Take a look at the windows and doors, make sure they open and close properly without any weird sounds or excessive force. Lock and unlock all the doors from both the inside and out.


Inspect the tires to see if they are in good condition. If they are too worn out and need to be changed, make sure you mention this during your price negotiations.


You should also open the hood and turn on the engine, listen and see if you hear something out of the ordinary, if you do, DON’T buy the car without getting a second opinion first.


Examine the interior
Looking at the interior is very important as well, be patient and inspect the car thoroughly. Check the control systems, seats, air vents, radio, steering wheel, air conditioning, the heater and the mirrors.Once you have inspected everything and are content with what you see, it is time to take the car out for a spin.


Test driving the car
As I mentioned before, this is one of the most important steps when it comes to choosing the right muscle car. Make sure you test drive the car yourself, don’t just rely on the seller’s opinion. You should also conduct several tests while your driving, for example, speed up to about 60 mph before you start slowing down, this will help you see if the car is veering to one side.If the car shudders while you speed up, check how firm the brake pedal is and make sure it’s not a suspension problem either.


To check the direction and alignment of the car, you should hold the steering wheel as loosely as possible. Don’t forget to visit an uneven road or two, this will make it easier to check the suspension and the overall handling of the car. Also, always pay attention to any strange sounds or odors that are noticeable during the test drive.


Make an informed decision
After everything has been tested and you are satisfied with what you have seen, it’s probably time make a decision. Apart from the functionality of the vehicle you should consider other important factors like how close the car is to its original condition. Is the interior and exterior quality good? You should always keep these things in mind, mainly because these factors can have a huge impact on the overall price of the vehicle.


If you follow the tips I listed above you shouldn’t have any problems with your search. Finding your dream car might be tough, but it’s definitely not impossible. There are a multitude of other factors you might want to take into account before you buy a muscle car, so don’t forget to do further research on the topic. Is there a specific tip you would add to my list? If so, let us know in the comment section below!


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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: 5 Great Tips for Finding Your Ideal Classic Muscle Car - Muscle Car

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