Whether you’re shopping for your dream car or already own a collection of vintage vehicles, we at Show Cars of Boca Raton are here for you. As the premier vintage automobile acquisitions and resale dealership in Florida, we’ve helped thousands of automotive enthusiasts across the U.S. find, purchase, and maintain their high-end cars.
Many of our customers are retirees who are finally able to afford the historic sports car they’ve always wanted, but even budding collectors and young families have contacted us for assistance when shopping for a high-end or antique automobile.
Wherever you are on your journey as a classic car owner, Show Cars of Boca Raton wants to support you. That’s why we’ve created this helpful guide that answers the more frequently asked questions about classic cars that we’re asked. We hope this resource will be a valuable tool for you. And if you need personalized assistance, we invite you to contact us.
How to Prepare Your Garage for a Classic Car
Proper storage of your classic car involves more than just what you do to the vehicle; it’s also important how and where you store your historic car. Whether you keep your car in your garage or a specialized storage facility, make sure it has these qualities.
Ventilation and insulation
It’s important that wherever you park your car has proper climate control. If you live somewhere cold outside of Florida, you’ll want to keep your car from freezing by properly insulating the storage room. This includes the doors, windows, and other access points, sealing the edges with weatherstripping to prevent drafts. Insulation also helps maintain a stable temperature in the summer.
A controlled ventilation system can help keep the air from becoming too hot or moist by regulating airflow. Plus, proper ventilation disperses carbon monoxide fumes coming from your car’s exhaust.
The surface on which you park your car also has an impact on how its condition is preserved. How level is the floor? Is it solid concrete or an uneven spread of broken gravel? How easy is the floor to clean when there’s a fluid spill or leak? Does the floor leave dust on the car? The best type of flooring for storing a classic car is one that’s covered in an easy-to-clean, durable epoxy finish.
Lighting and electricity
Not all garages — especially older or detached ones — have sufficient access to electrical outlets. Make sure enough wall sockets are within reach from every angle so you’re not relying on hazardous extension cords. Plus, makes sure the outlets are grounded and not rusted.
Ideally, you’ll want the electrician to have several different circuits running to the garage, including one dedicated specifically to use there. If you don’t have a 220-volt outlet, have one installed. And make sure you have lots of high-wattage lighting to illuminate the space from every angle.
Make sure the path to and from your car is clear and wide enough to pull the vehicle in and out without scraping it. Once it’s parked, give it a wide berth. Don’t surround it with stacks of shelves precariously holding hazardous items that could fall and ding the surface. Give yourself plenty of room around the vehicle to work on it, open the doors, and pop the hood. Keep the space clear of tools, car parts, or items from your other hobbies.
How to Prepare Your Classic Car for Storage
Whether you live near Boca Raton or somewhere else in the U.S. outside of Florida, it's important that you store your classic car properly to preserve its condition. Without taking the correct steps when putting your vintage vehicle in storage, it can be a lot less healthy when it comes out of its slumber.
Prepare the fluids
It’s crucial that the fluids sitting inside your classic car are clean, filled up, and the correct type needed. If any fluids are deficient from usage — or worse, from an unaddressed leak — you need to make sure every reservoir is topped off with clean, fresh liquids. You don’t want corrosive contaminants to settle within the mechanical systems and solidify.
Obviously, this includes giving your car fresh motor oil so that the metal components are preserved and kept lubricated while the vehicle is not being driven. It also includes the coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and gasoline in the fuel tank (with the addition of a fuel stabilizer).
Address the wheels:
Keeping your classic car in one place for a prolonged time puts a lot of stress and wear on specific areas of the tires. Make sure the tires are filled to the proper air pressure to relieve as much stress on the wheels and tread as possible. If a tire has a leak, get it patched before going into storage.
An alternative option is to raise the car up on jack stands and make sure the weight of the vehicle isn’t being put on the wheels during this period. If you do this, make sure you don’t rest the car’s suspension on the jack stands.
Wherever you park your car, make sure it’s on a hard, balanced surface and not one that’s soft or uneven.
Protect the surface:
It should go without saying, but make sure you give your car a thorough wash and wax before putting it in storage and covering it up. Any lingering dirt, sand, salt, sap, or other foreign substance sticking to the surface can eat away at the clearcoat, the paint, and even the underlying metal panels over time. Make sure your vehicle is spotless to avoid this happening.
Does a Classic Car Have Any Special Service Needs?
Finding your rare, retired, or collector’s model is only the start of your journey as a classic car owner. Now you need to make sure it keeps its luster for many more years to come. How do you achieve this? With proper servicing.
Whether it’s 5 or 55 years old, every car requires the same basic maintenance tasks, such as oil changes, air filter changes, battery checks, and bulb replacements. However, older cars that are decades beyond their original production year require special care.
Older cars have more metal body panels than modern, plastic-clad cars do. That’s why antique cars need frequent washes and waxes to protect them from developing rust. While you’re cleaning your classic car, take time to lubricate rubber parts and moisturize the tires — especially if they’re originals!
Old cars also need other fluid flushes more often than a newer car does, such as the transmission and coolant.
Does My Classic Car Still Need Serviced If I Rarely Drive It?
Even if you don’t drive your classic car often, it needs engine oil flushes every six months to rid it of contaminants that natural build up over time, as well as replacing the old oil with a fresh liquid.
We typically recommend using synthetic oil for classic cars. Specially treated with ingredients that keep old engines clean without harming them, synthetic blends for high-mileage or racing automobiles are worth the money.
Regardless of how often you take your car to a show, make sure you drive it around the block every month when the weather is good to work the motor and brakes. If it’s wintertime, make sure you properly store the car by cleaning it, removing the battery, emptying the fuel tank, and keeping the garage dry and warm.
What Maintenance Issues Do Classic Cars Face?
Leaks are a common yet major problem that can plague many antique vehicles. Because of the old age of the vehicle, many of its components naturally deteriorate over time. This can result in cracks and holes, such as rusted metal pipes or rotting rubber hoses. Belts, gaskets, and even weatherstripping can deteriorate over time and need replaced, too.
Overheating is also common for classic cars that haven’t been maintained well. This can result from low coolant, a faulty cooling system, or clogs in the pipes. Old motors can also suffer from internal wear on parts like the valvetrains, bearings, piston rings, and cylinders.
How to Register Your Classic Car
At Show Cars of Boca Raton, we’re committed to helping automotive enthusiasts, collectors, and everyday dreamers find the car they’ve always wanted. Once you acquire your dream car, it’s important that you properly register it. Because historic vehicle registration is different from standard DMV registration, here’s some information to get you started.
What you should know about registration
Vehicle registration requirements and procedures vary in the U.S. from state to state. That variation extends to old cars, which can be categorized under a select designation such as vintage, antique, historic, or classic.
The requirements to register a classic car in Florida may differ drastically from even other nearby states like Georgia, Texas, and Tennessee. That’s why it’s important to verify the specific rules that your state by going through its Department of Motor Vehicles. With that in mind, here are some basic similarities in the registration process that most states follow.
How to qualify
If you want to designate your old vehicle to be a classic car to receive this distinctive classification, it needs to meet established criteria. Generally, this means it should be old enough to qualify (typically 20-30 years).
When you register your classic car, you need to affirm that you are only using it as a collector’s item and not as daily transportation. That means you can only drive it to specific automotive exhibitions rather than running errands or taking joy rides around town. To prove this, you may need to record and report the mileage you put on the odometer every year to prove you’re following the rules.
Some states only have one type of classic car registration, such as a historic designation. Here in Florida, we have two main license plate categories for vintage vehicles: Street Rod/Custom Vehicle for older cars you intend to modify and race, and Permanent Antique for models solely owned as a collector’s item.
Why register your classic car with special tags?
These special plates for classic cars come with many benefits, such as demanding a lower annual registration fee than a daily driver vehicle, are oftentimes permanent and will last the life of the car, and can help you qualify for discounted insurance coverage.
Otherwise, registering a classic car follows the same application procedure as any new or used car you’d buy. You’ll submit an application with information regarding your identity as the owner, the vehicle’s description, and payment.
Classic Car Costs and Expenses
The cost of owning a vintage vehicle goes well beyond the initial price of purchasing it from Show Cars of Boca Raton or any other vendor. In addition to the initial price tag to acquire the classic car, you’ll have to pay other expenses over the course of ownership. Knowing these common expenses will help you budget accordingly — especially if you plan to own multiple classic cars.
Classic car insurance is different than the coverage on your everyday commuter car. Much like registering a classic car, you’ll need to make sure it meets the qualifications of being an insurable classic car. This usually includes having a relatively clean driving record, limiting its usage, and properly storing it. The benefit of classic car insurance is that it’s usually far cheaper than typical insurance, depending on the value of the vehicle.
Maintenance and upkeep
Like any car you own, you need to ensure it’s properly serviced to preserve its condition and performance. That means you need to budget for seasonal oil changes, new tires, washes, and wax coats. If the car is very old and/or high mileage, you may have to pay extra for fluid flushes, belt replacements, and exhaust system fixes.
Repairs and parts
If something breaks or dents on your car, you’ll need to pay for repairs. Antique vehicles typically cost more money to restore due to their value, aged condition, and older design. Plus, replacement parts for classic cars are often very expensive and hard to find — especially if you opt for only using original OEM parts.
You should plan to keep your classic car somewhere that’s temperature-regulated and away from exposure to the elements. If you can’t store the car in your garage, you’ll have to pay to park it in a public storage facility that charges a monthly or annual fee.
Contact Show Cars of Boca Raton to Find Your Next Classic Car!
As you search for your next classic car, let Show Cars of Boca Raton be your resource for information on buying, owning, and selling vintage models. Our sales and service staff have an abundance of experience they’re happy to use to your advantage.
Our many years of experience navigating the premium auto market has given us an abundance of sales connections that extend far beyond our physical location here along Florida’s southeastern coast. We’re able to locate even the rarest models and ship them anywhere in the continental United States, so you don’t even have to reside in Florida to do business with us.
Contact Show Cars of Boca Raton to kick your classic car search into high gear!