1. For the love of god, be realistic.

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Decide on a budget, and keep your expectations in check. Don’t forget to factor in maintenance costs for when something goes wrong. Remember it’s a car with age, and even if it’s aged well, something’s bound to pop loose.

  1. Make sure you’ve done your homework.

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Find online forums for every possible car you’re thinking of getting. Study them inside out, know their weaknesses. Pro-tip: research beforehand on how much spare parts are gonna cost you (and maybe try not to faint at how pricey a lot of them are.)

  1. Once you see rust, RUN!

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Unless you’ve got money to burn and a few decades to spare, getting that bad boy to run free again is going to take a miracle.

4. If you can, opt for a newer generation.

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Generally, classic cars are appraised by generations rather than several years, so if your bank account isn’t as deep as you’d want it to be, there’s still a way to get you your dream mobile. By going for a newer generation, you can get the next best thing without getting completely sucked into the somber state of crippling debt.

  1. Get an independent mechanic before you make any final decisions.

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It doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion, especially if you’re not too auto-savvy. Keep in mind though that the upkeep of your classic car will be tons cheaper if you do all the work yourself; so invest in as much auto-care knowledge as you can.

  1. Be open to compromise.

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Sure you might be able to afford a classic car, but it might not be the classic car you want. Unless you’re willing to seek help from a black market surgeon, you’ve got to welcome your second (or third) choice with open arms.

  1. It’s going to be a long, painful process– remember to be patient.

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Don’t just sign a cheque for the first car that comes up available. Wait for the right car. Have the skill and vigilance of a crazy ex and online-stalk the crap out of that classic car until you find the one you see yourself in, driving off into the sunset, kidneys still intact. If you don’t know where to start looking, here’s a place you can check out.

  1. Treat it as if it were your own child.

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Handle it with as much care as you would a rescued animal that needs to be nourished back to health. Treat your newly purchased classic car as if it were the last remaining GT500 in the world and, though you’re no auto demigod, you’ve been given the responsibility to make sure it outlives, well, you. Good luck, and may the horsepower be with you. ­