Discover some buying advice to help you make the most of your classic car purchase. Find out what you need to check about the vehicle and its tax status.

Never be the first person to go and see the car. Always let someone neutral and objective (a friend for example) go there on your behalf to spot all the car’s possible defects.

Beware of buying on impulse: "love at first sight" may make you oblivious to defects that you might not spot.

What should i check before i buy a classic car?

Check that the seller has the vehicle documents in their name, to avoid any risk of it being a stolen car. Next, the seller must own the vehicle registration document. This is an important item that we will come back to later. Next, let’s look at the condition of the vintage car: check for traces of rust and corrosion (possibly the sign of poor maintenance), the noise of the engine, open the doors, boot, etc, checking that there are no grinding or squeaking noises, check the bulbs (front and back lights) and finally look closely at the mileage. Mileage which is too low will indicate that the car does not drive much; on the contrary, if the mileage is too high, it indicates that the car has been driven a lot. Find out about the typical defects of the model itself (to identify any manufacturing defects), look at the official price guides and ask how much insurance costs.

Vehicle registration

In France, there are two types of vehicle registration document (carte grise): the normal carte griseand the collector carte grise. The latter has several features: the vehicle must be at least 30 years old, the car can be driven anywhere in France, and it must undergo a vehicle inspection (like an MOT test) every five years. You can swap a normal carte grise for a collector one, but not the other way around: a collector carte grise is irreversible. This is why it is important to know what type of document the vendor owns, as each card has its own advantages and drawbacks.


In France, the seller should have the following papers in order to build to sell you their classic car: the carte grise (normal or collector), the Cerfa form n°13754*02 (declaring the disposal of the vehicle) the certificat de situation administrative, the last vehicle inspection (contrôle technique) certificate and, if possible; the maintenance handbook.

Two men looking at classic cars on a stand at Rétromobile