Finding rare cars before the internet usually involved going to lots of car shows and auctions, making friends with every dealership you could find, and networking with other rare car enthusiasts. Now, some people find listings for rare cars with a simple online search. That can yield many results, but it won’t uncover every gem that’s out there. With tools available today, you can become a digital sleuth and find rare cars from practically anywhere in the world.

Developing Your Digital Sleuth Skills

There’s no guarantee that digital sleuthing will turn up the rare car you want at the price you want, but you’ll turn up a lot more leads than if you do nothing.

  • Subscribe to Newsletters: Everyone from dealerships and auction houses to forums and podcasters usually has an email newsletter that they like to send out. You can even set up an automated Google search to be sent to your email box every morning with the latest rare car listings from across the country. You can have options and information about rare car opportunities delivered right to you on a daily basis.

  • Visit Auction Sites: Rare car auctions still take place in physical showrooms, and some of them are even bigger than ever because of the internet. In fact, you can bid on many of them online from thousands of miles away. So, use your online connection to participate in actions you’d never be able to visit in person.

  • Participate in Forums: Online forums are older than social media, but they’re also places where specific websites can have users communicate with each other. You’re more likely to form personal connections with private sellers here than anywhere else, and that’s how you can find under-the-radar deals before others do.

  • Listen to Podcasts: Podcasts are where a lot of information is presented these days. This content medium has replaced a lot of radio programming and even books in some niches.

  • Join Social Media Groups: Rare car groups on Facebook and Twitter are good places to start, and you should follow any relevant pages on Instagram. It might seem like a lot of daily content to sift through, but you’ll get adept at scrolling through it quickly.

  • Network, Network, Network: This is just as important online as it is offline. Form as many contacts as you can, keep in touch with them and let them know what you’re looking for.

  • Practice Unconventional Thinking: One of the best ways to potentially find rare cars other enthusiasts miss is to remember that not all rare cars are owned by car collectors. Estate sales are great places to look for rare cars since people later in life are more likely to be able to afford them. If they pass away, the family might be looking to sell cars that are rare, but they might not go through a custom auction. Craigslist is also a good place to check for listings by owners who are looking to unload a rare car locally without selling through places you’d expect rare cars to go.

  • Email Your Area Pawn Shops: Alternatively, contact them on social media privately if they do that. Just ask them if they have any rare cars for sale. Even if they don’t, these are professionals who network with lots of collectible owners in many niches. They might just know a seller they can connect you with or be the middleman for.

The best thing you can probably do is be flexible in what you’re willing to accept. If you only want a rare car that is complete, operational, and in great condition, then your options are going to be a lot more limited. However, if you’re okay with restoration projects, then you are far more likely to find the rare car you are looking for.

Factor in Shipping Costs

What is Freight Shipping? A Guide on Everything You Need to Know

When looking at the prices of the rare cars you find, remember to factor in car shipping quotes from reputable companies into your budget. Chances are pretty good that finding a rare car you want will mean it’s not within your practical driving radius where you work or live. You’ll need to get it shipped to you.

Unfortunately, there’s no universal flat fee for car shipping. The farther it needs to be shipped, the more it will cost since charges are typically by the mile. The flip side to that is that longer trips usually have a lower average per-mile cost than shorter ones.

You’ll have to make a decision about enclosed versus open carrier trucks. The overwhelming majority of auto transports are open vehicles. That means they’re cheaper and have a lot more availability. You’ll likely arrange one easier and faster so you get your rare car sooner.

On the other hand, enclosed carriers offer a lot more protection, and that might matter to you if you’re shipping a rare vehicle. You can have peace of mind in knowing it has protection not just from below but all the way around and from above.

What Is a Rare Car?

As you let people know you are looking for rare cars, be it a specific one or just any you can find, you might find yourself correcting them if they say you are looking for collectible cars. Collectible cars can overlap with rare cars, but collectible doesn’t always make a car rare.

Hertz simply states that rarity indicates low numbers. A car is rare because there just aren’t many of them out there.

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Many cars might be rare because there is high demand for them but limited supply. On the other hand, some cars became rare because they performed very badly and not many were made. Certainly, some awful Hollywood movies become cult classics after they bomb their theatrical release.

Cars can be rare for certain circumstances, including:

  • Distinct features other makes and models don’t have

  • A limited production run of a specific model

  • Older makes or models that have dwindling numbers that are still intact

  • Specialized factory modifications other models don’t have

  • Famous histories, like VIP ownership or a film appearance

Rare Means Not Easy to Find

The Internet has literally millions to potentially billions of different websites and pages. Rare cars are there on some of them, but you need to be a digital sleuth to find more than what turns up to those who stick to simple Google searches alone. With all this technology, some get turned off by how much work it might be, but the treasure is there for those who seek it enough.

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