Flipping collectible cars for profit

Cars are One of my main hobbies and passions . Old cars , new cars , exotic cars , sports cars - I like them all !! When I was 21 I sold my customized z28 Camaro on eBay (this was the early days of eBay ) and tripled my money , and that’s when I discovered flipping collector cars could be profitable . Over the years I’ve sold many more , always selling on eBay for the ease of the sale , even though it’s not always the place to get top dollar.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned over the years -
1 . International buyers love collector cars - many of the cars I sell are to European buyers and car brokers , which means there’s even more profit in the deal for them to be buying from me , shipping and reselling . Classic American cars from the 1960s-1980s do very well , coupes and convertibles do the best - and in the last 3-4
Years Mercedes Porsche and BMW of this same era have also skyrocketed in interest from collectors.

  1. I find the cars on Craigslist , local auctions and even on eBay . Some sellers just don’t know how to sell a car and the best deals are often ads with poor quality pictures and a terribly written description .

  2. BringATrailer is now bringing higher prices and better qualified buyers then eBay motors

If you’re a car nut and have bought/sold collector cars please share your experiences !!


Here is a recent Mercedes w126 with AMG options I bought for $1500 and sold for $3850


Here’s a Mercedes w126 coupe I sold a few years ago, for this one I enlisted the service of a Mercedes specialist to list it on eBay for me , as he had a stellar reputation in the collectible Mercedes community and online forums . He charged me $1000 as his fee but he got me $10,500 for a car I paid $3000 for


This little 1975 Mercedes convertible I picked up at a local auction for $2500 and sold it for $6000


This 1984 Cadillac eldorado I picked up on Craigslist for $4500 and sold for $8500

This one was

from a daughter selling her late fathers car. There are often very good deals to be found when someone inherits a car they don’t want to keep, as they don’t want to pay for insurance and storage and just want to get rid of it


Do you have a dealer license or do you end up paying the sales tax and registration fees?

No dealer license is needed for selling under 5 cars a year in my state , plus that’s per person so you can sell quite a few between your family members , but it differs in many states .

I do also have an out of state llc and the advantages of that will be the topic of another thread


I have done this a couple times, with my M3s. My latest one netted me about a 15% return, financially. I did put some time into it to do some repairs and upgrades, but otherwise it was a quick flip. However, the wife wasn’t too fond of me spending a couple weekends in the garage. She didn’t mind it when we had an extra few grand in the bank, though.


if you’re into this, you should check out estate sales (someone dies and a company comes in and liquidates as much of an estate as possible - typically for cheap).
My best score was an in good condition 1973 cadillac coup de ville. Bought it for 2100, sold for 9300.
Cars like that don’t alway shit the internet before they’re sold.

I’m curious how people figure out what a probable re-sale price is?
For example. i have a 1979 porsche 924 in my garage. I’ll be honest in that I’ve not been regularly following ebay for sale prices on this car.

ETA. had never heard of bringatrailer before today. similar cars have sold 5600-6800 in the past few months. Thx SiS

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Waiting patiently for this!

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Is it possible to essentially drive a car for “free” using this method? By buying, fixing up, driving around for a few months at a time, and then flipping?

The main problem I have with car ownership is that they are a depreciating asset. If there was a way to buy a car that appreciated, that would be amazing. However, I suspect even if it’s possible to do with these older cars, then it’s not really “free” to drive around, there’s an opportunity cost. Since the car you paid $5k for and could resell for $10k, would resell for $10k whether you resold it immediately or drove it around for a few months.

Unless you consider that these are not liquid like stocks, and it may take a few months to find the right buyer at $10k. Perhaps you paid $5k for the car, could immediately resell for $8k, or if you were patient and found the right buyer, could sell for $10k and so you drive it around for free for a few months until that right buyer comes around.

yes, you could do this and essentially drive classic cars for free (ish), in theory.
you have to pay insurance
you run the risk of wrecking it. Repairing classic cars is usually more expensive due to scarcity of parts.

The biggest expense with this method is the cost of registration and sales tax. This depends largely on where you live, but let’s take your example of paying $5k for the car that you sell for $10k (which is a huge margin in most cases, certainly not typical for a flip). A lot of states calculate sales tax and registration based on book value, so it doesn’t matter that you only paid $5k for the car. This one-time fee is let’s say $500, but in certain states it could be much higher (CO for example). This will eat significantly into your profits.

One way to get around this, is to simply leave the title blank and never register it in your name. When you sell the car, you simply sign the title over to the new owner. However, if you plan on driving it a lot, you are certainly risking getting pulled over. Insurance coverage could potentially be an issue as well.

My best deal ever was a 1949 Simca Cinq (microcar) I found at an estate sale for $600, needing a full restoration and missing some parts. Didn’t even know what it was but looked it up and learned about it after I bought it (French version of the Fiat Topolino). Hauled it home, kept it in the same shape for a couple years (too busy to do anything with it) and ended up selling it in the same condition for $4,500 on eBay.

Here’s a pic of one from back in the day:

Klipnik is interesting site if you are looking for more of a pre-classic daily driver type. They are heavy on older MB and BMWs. It’s not very active but the mods are good about tracking down make/models you are interested in.

Not a car guy but for easy flipping with perhaps just modest profit opportunity, I’d suggest focusing on Miatas. assuming you like sticks and can fit in them.

I’ve been a flipper of everything especially cars. I’ve probably flipped 25 in the past 3 years, anywhere from 200-3000 dollar profit and 250-12000 purchase prices. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t sign a majority of the titles. I used to buy cheap beaters of facebook and flip on craigslist, now I pick up cars on ebay auctions no reserve only. I specialize in flipping rebuilt cars, the market depreciates them more than some individual buyers. I also only buy rebuilts for myself, they offer great value.

did the same with a couple of M3s as well. Bought and held for a year. But I haven’t found a consistent way to find the good ones now, and Enthusiast Auto Group has made a profitable business of buying clean older M cars and reselling at sky high prices. they set their market!

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that’s awesome! i am a junkyard raider myself in the area of antiques and art. my first business ever was reselling bags/hats/shoes (through hot deals sites) on ebay. these days i’m a collector, looking for treasures overlooked by the estate/yard sale resellers.

if you find a good porsche or benz please post. i’m buyin’!

“Curbstoning” is not legal in some states. https://thegarage.jalopnik.com/curbstoning-how-not-to-fall-for-this-one-common-craigs-1683448736

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Where are the deals now? I’ve lost money on my last 2, (charger with a hemi, and g37x)