Peter's Marina Motors

Buys, Sells, Restores and Maintains Classic Cars.

Peter is a master mechanic, and has been restoring/collecting classic British automobiles for over 3 decades. His collection and knowledge is unique. If you are in the area drop by and say hello. If you want to send a message to Peter eMail him your message will be forwarded to him. He is often busy at the garage so calling him on the telephone is the best way to reach him. for more information Please call Peter: 310-399-8313

Established in this Location Since 1970

When Buying a Classic Car.

Some general considerations: If you fall in LOVE with the car buy it .... forget what is written below ... if you don't you may regret it .... deal with the problems later .... there will be problems ... restoring a classic car is complex. If you are interested and have lots of time and energy to put into it here are some tips in how to buy a classic car .... otherwise find a good mechanic like Peter, who specializes in the make you are looking for and he will advise you


Research the car. Reference books are available for almost all marques. The world wide web now has endless amounts of information. Find out the details about the rarity of the make and model. Find out what original equipment came with the car, etc. If you are the club joining type look for a club ie: "The Austin-Healey owners Club of America" "The Vintage Triumph Register", etc...... They have lots of social and car related activities. Land Rover owners clubs, get together and go on rallies and camping trips, something for the whole family. This is a great hobby and you choose how involved you want to be.


If you want a "daily driver" a car for occasional use, or a "concurs" example "best in it's class" trophy winner. Go to some car shows and see what is available, the owners usually love talking about their pride and joys. Do you want a car that has been completely restored or one that needs restoration. If you buy a car that needs restoration can you do it yourself? Do you need to have it done professionally?

(Take a look at a Jaguar XK 140 that Peter's Marina Motors restored)

Some collectors love to tinker with cars and are quite capable of restoring them in their garages. But you better have lots of time, money, and a very understanding family! It takes a brave soul to dedicate themselves to restoring a classic car, but the rewards are well worth it.

Some folks have part of the work done professionally and do some themselves. Consider all these options before you buy.There isn't much that can't be fixed on an old car if you have the skills, time and money.


What to take with you when going to look at a car:

Flashlight (To see those hidden spots)
Screwdriver (Flat in case you have to scrape or poke)
Magnet (The rust factor)
Rag (Big enough in case you want to kneel or look under the car)
Mirror (Some spots are inaccessible)
All of the above and an expert mechanic.(There is no substitute for having an expert)

What to look for

Probably your worst enemy in older cars. Buying cars in California, Arizona or other dry states is beneficial because of the kinder weather. The bottom line is that you want a car with the least rust as possible. Check for frame rust, some rusty spots are easier to fix than others. Fixing the frame is a big and expensive job. Sometimes impossible to fix right. It can compromise a car's structural integrity. Unless it is a priceless classic and you have a ton of money, stay away from it.
Generally the more rust you find the less the car is worth. Look for spots where the water could accumulate and where there is a welded joint. This is where the screwdriver comes in handy. You may have to scrape away some of the undercoating to see if it is just surface rust or real "cancer" rust. *

Body Work!

Remember body work is more expensive than mechanical.

Is it Complete?

Look for a complete car. Finding the little finishing details and replacing rare original parts may be more of a problem than you anticipated.

Paper Work:

This will vary from state to state or country to country. Again, find out what the requirements are before you buy. Make sure that the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number ), chasis numbers, engine numbers match. Are all the signatures are there that are required there. You may need some special forms the DMV (Department of Motor and Vehicles) or Customs require. Aquire these ahead of time. ie: "Bill of Sale" "Power of Attorney" etc.


Here are some questions you might ask when you are ready to call for a car for sale: Ask them to describe the car and its condition. Ask to rate it on a scale of 1-10 Ten being concours One a baket case.

Why are you selling it?
How long have you owned the car?
How long have you had it for sale?
Where is the car located?
Does it run?
Is it currently registered and licensed?
How is the body & paint? Interior?
Has it ever been hit or in an accident?
What problems have you had with the car?
How is the car generally driven?
What is your asking price?
What regular maintenance was done?
Do you have Receipts?
Who was your mechanic? name/address/phone?
Names of previous owners and any interesting history?

Some thoughts about the value of a Classic Car:

Location, condition, mileage, current market, etc. all can effect the price of a car.The final value will always be determined by the selling price on any given day. What a seller wants for his car is often higher than a buyer is willing to pay. (None of this is written in stone it varies)

Take a minute and Read our Guestbook share your English Car story or comment..........


Written by Ana Petrova. Have questions or comments send us a note: e-mail:

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