Buyer Tips

Can You Get a Classic Car at a Dealer Auction?

By Mike Richards Updated: 12/04/2017 Posted: 05/23/2017

Are you someone who has yearned for a classic car most of your adult life? Are you also pretty sure that your budget is not going to ever have enough breathing room to get you into your dream ride? Well, have you considered a dealer auction? While it was once an activity restricted and limited only to those with dealer licenses, you can now find a “virtual” seat in hundreds of thousands of auctions, and maybe even get your hands on that care of your dreams.

Understanding a Dealer Auction in the Modern Era

In the past, a dealer auction occurred in one physical location and dealers from all areas had to make their way there to place bids and acquire new inventory. Some auctions were strictly for salvage vehicles, but many were for recently turned in leases and unwanted inventory that a dealership couldn’t afford to hold. There were also surplus auctions and others. In all instances, it was licensed dealers able to make bids.

They would take cars and trucks for bargain basement prices and then turn around and sell them to buyers at premium prices, and no one was the wiser. Today, many consumers know that a dealer auction is a great way to get a vehicle, but that need for the license still exists.

Fortunately, there are ways around it thanks to the Internet.  Some online dealer auction sitesare able tolist vehicles from certain dealer-only auction houses on their site so that you get access to this inventory at great prices. The way it works is simple – you go to the website and register for an account. You look through the current inventory, which is spread out in all corners of the country, and if something appeals, you contact your agent. They discuss such matters as the budget or highest bid you will place, what it might cost to ship the vehicle if you win it, and other issues.

Then, it is in your agent’s hands, but you can also track the progress of the auction in real time. If you want to change the bid, this is possible too. When the dealer auction is done, and if you are the winner, your agent does the paperwork and gets the vehicle on its way to you.

Does this mean you can also find classic cars? The great news is that the inventories of dealer auctions change all of the time, and the best sites make simple search engines available. Enter the year, make, model and even the type of vehicle (sedan, SUV, etc) and see what’s around. If your dream car happens to be there and you are ready to purchase, you can place a bid.

Remember, it is dealers you are bidding against, not fellow enthusiasts. This means that the prices tend to be pennies or dimes to the typical dollars, saving you enormous amounts. Even if your dream car is in salvage and in need of repair, you can still get it at the lowest possible price point, enabling you to slowly and affordably restore your dream car and bring it to life.