Essential guide to leasing a classic car

Lotus Espirit

Lotus Espirit - Credit: Archant

Did you know you can now lease classic cars? Here’s what you need to know...

Classic cars have moved into the spotlight in recent years as values have gone up along with desirability. However, a modern motoring solution is open to those who fancy a bit of traditional driving in the shape of classic car leasing.

With new cars, around 90 per cent of those registered now are funded through some sort of finance rather than the customer paying cash out of their own pocket. It makes sense for monthly budgets when you can put down a deposit and pay a fixed monthly sum, and it lets many drivers have access to cars they otherwise could not afford to own outright.

Apply this thinking to classic cars and it makes perfect sense. After all, if you don’t have a lump sum to invest in a classic but love the idea of an older car for fun at the weekend or even everyday use, it could be the only way to enjoy this kind of motoring.

Just as with any other form of lease deal, the companies now offering classic car deals ask for a deposit up front. This is a percentage of the car’s value at that point. You then agree how long you want the deal to last and how many miles you will cover during that period. For instance, you might decide to put down a 10 per cent deposit and cover (up to) 5,000 miles per year for three years.

Based on that information, the lease company can calculate the wear and tear, and depreciation the car is likely to endure in that time. It also means the company can make an educated estimate of that car’s future worth. The difference between the car’s value now and its future price is the bit that you fund.

As with modern lease deals, many classic car leasers will offer you the chance to pay to buy the car outright, or you can simply walk away. The big differences with classic car lease deals are the amount of maintenance and use the car gets, and its potential future value. With servicing, classics need more care and attention to keep them running properly. That also means they need specialists to look after them, so you will need to agree who services the car with the lease company.

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As for use, most classics can be used daily with a few simple precautions. Regular maintenance is vital, but so is full breakdown cover and an understanding that elderly electrics, brakes and mechanical components will not take the same carefree pounding as modern ones.

When it comes to values, many classics will be worth more in the future than they are now. The good news with this is can help reduce your monthly lease payment, so long as you look after the car properly. Do this and you could be driving the car of your dreams for a lot less than you imagined.