By   December 29, 2015

Buying muscle cars usually involves working through classified ads, either local ones, or nationwide ones like the Thrifty Nickel papers, or online classified advertising listings like Google Sales, Yahoo Sales, and Craigslist to find muscle cars for sale.

Local classifieds may work for you if the car you want to buy is available from a local seller. It may not be though, particularly if it’s a car that was never made in large numbers, or a car that’s simply old enough to qualify as “vintage”. At that point, you need to broaden your search horizons, and look farther afield. And that usually means going online.

Google, Yahoo and Craigslist replicate the formats of classified ads, even down to breaking them down regionally, but you’ll still have to work directly with the seller. If you want some third party escrow protection, the best place to go is eBay.

EBay seems to be a counter-intuitive place to buy cars, but it’s a good venue to find muscle cars for sale. And not just any cars, but cars meeting specialized tastes and market niches, like vintage muscle cars and hot rods.

A lot of car buyers are nervous about buying a car that they can’t test drive, and while there are hazards to buying a car online, they’re not as pronounced as many people seem to think. EBay and specialized car sales sites like CarsOnline all offer buyer protection programs of various sorts.

If you’re buying through eBay, which has the most extensive set of protection programs, your options include a $20,000 vehicle protection program, a conditional guarantee by the seller, and a roadside assistance program good for the first 30 days of ownership, bought through Hagerty Plus, a nationwide auto services broker.

Before you finalize your purchase, you’ll want to do a title search and check out blue book values; most online car dealerships give you direct links to this sort of information. You’ll also want to check out, which, for a small fee, allows you to get the entire accident history of any car you have a VIN number for. This is a great way to suss out cars that have had serious mechanical issues and verify that the seller is telling the truth.

When looking for a muscle car, be aware that you’re looking for something that is, ultimately, an investment. Muscle cars date back from a time when raw performance mattered more than amenities, and compared to a lot of modern sports cars, muscle cars seem lacking in conveniences. On the other hand, they do have a feeling of raw power when a V-8 engine revs up and propels a solid steel chassis down the road at 90+ mph that really can’t be replicated with modern over-engineered cars.

Muscle cars appeal to a certain masculine primitivism, and are pure testosterone poisoning cast into solid steel. As you hunt muscle cars that are for sale be prepared to compete with other muscle car fans as there’s nothing remotely like these old hot rods being made for the market anymore.

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