The search for a muscle car dealer begins with the buyer assessing exactly what he or she wants. The buyer needs to decide whether he or she wants a specific make, model and year or just one in general. Different tactics are required when seeking a 1966 Chevy Chevelle with the Super Sport trim package than when looking for simply a late 1960s Chevy muscle car. While a muscle car dealer with an established shop is a good sign of permanence, there are numerous online dealers that can save a buyer significant money through decreased overhead costs.
A good muscle car dealer will have either a wide selection of classic high-performance vehicles in inventory, or the dealer will specialize in finding particular cars for individual customers. For buyers who have only a general idea of what they are looking for, a dealer with a large inventory should be sought, allowing the buyer to browse through a broad range of hot rods and classic cars. For buyers who know that they want one specific kind of classic car, a headhunting muscle car dealer is the best.
With each passing year, the traditional muscle car — North American and U.K. automobiles manufactured between 1960 and 1972 with large, powerful engines — is becoming more rare. This is due to age, classics rotting in inclement weather, junkers sent to the car crusher, and the rising value of classics across the board. To ensure that these increasingly rare classics and hot rods are in top shape prior to sale, a good muscle car dealer will typically partner with an experienced restoration shop. A buyer interested in purchasing a finished classic should inquire about the shop contracted for restoration to ensure that work is performed competently.
For buyers intending to perform the restoration work themselves, a muscle car dealer may be the wrong way to go. A dealer has high overhead. He may also perform restoration work prior to sale, making a car prohibitively expensive for do-it-yourself classic car restorers. A muscle car dealer will usually specialize in finished classic cars, to ensure a high rate of return on the sale.
A small segment of muscle car dealers specialize in restoring their finds and putting them up for auction. Some buyers may be tempted to use the auction route to secure the muscle car they desire. Unfortunately, auctions tend to over-inflate the value of the vehicle, forcing buyers to pay more than they would through a straight purchase from a dealer.