Pre-Purchase Inspections

Don't Get Burned on the Purchase of a Classic Mustang or Shelby!
Mustangs, Shelbys, and Cobras that pass our pre-purchase inspection qualify for an optional collector car warranty!*

Our pre-purchase inspections provide prospective buyers with a comprehensive look at the classic, muscle, or special interest car they plan to purchase.

We offer two options for our customers:

  1. With our certified inspection service, we use our copyrighted check list as the basis for our evaluation. We ship the car to one of our affiliate garages where a line item check of structural, mechanical, electrical and cosmetic components are inspected. The mechanic evaluates the car and debriefs us afterward with a narrative on the items which need attention. Our inspection program provides the due diligence required in a comprehensive pre-purchase inspection. You get a ten page evaluation of the car, along with a detailed set of photographs, our evaluation of the report, and an appraisal of current market value. You are armed with the information you need to make an informed decision regarding the quality and value of the car. Afterward, we send the report to you and discuss details with you by phone. Based on the results of the report, we issue a written appraisal of the car to you, valid for insurance purposes. In short, you find the car, we do the homework and provide the facts for your consideration. You negotiate with the seller, confirm the title is valid with no liens, organize the delivery, and take care of the title transfer to your name. The cost for this service is $1,500 including ground transportation of the car to the mechanic, the garage inspection fee, and our evaluation and recommendations.
  2. Our locating, inspection, and appraisal service is designed for people who don't have the time or the expertise to locate, evaluate, and negotiate the purchase of a classic Mustang, Shelby, Cobra, or other classic. With this turn-key service, we search North America and Europe for investment quality classic cars suited to your specifications. Our search is done using the internet, an extensive contact database of people we know in the classic car business, and our own internal database of thousands of cars. Our internal list is compiled from people we have done business with over the years, including car and parts customers, correspondence for technical support, and thousands of people who have written to us over the years. We find the car, make sure it is a quality vehicle, inspect and appraise it, negotiate with the seller, handle the logistics of payment and title transfer, and organize transportation. It is a time consuming process, highly valued by our customers. We charge a fee of 10% of the selling price of the car (with a $2,500 minimum fee) and typically save our customers that much, or more, in the process. Most importantly, you get the assurance that you are buying a quality vehicle.

We evaluate each prospective purchase vehicle carefully and analyze a broad range of information and data. Here is a partial list of more than 150 inspection points:

  • VIN - Decoding Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and data plates to determine if numbers match, where the car was made, and what modifications have been made since manufacture.
  • Original Equipment - We request a "History 999" report from Ford Motor Company which tells us information about the original equipment on the vehicle (the next best thing to having the original window sticker, or a Marti report).
  • Maintenance - We review all maintenance records, as far back as possible.
  • Structural Integrity - A thorough inspection of the body and frame is completed.
  • Rust - Carpeting is removed from critical locations to inspect floor pans for rust. Why do we do this? It is common for a heater hose to break in 30 years of driving, and if the car was not properly repaired, including removal, cleaning, and drying of the carpeting, floor pans are very susceptible to rust over 30+ years. F.Y.I., rust is a common problem on early model Mustangs, especially those made in Michigan and New Jersey, due to the harsh winter climate. While there are many excellent Mustangs around manufactured in the East and Mid-West, we prefer Mustangs made in San Jose. The VIN identifies the plant of manufacture.
  • Car Body - We inspect body panels, seams, and do a magnet and visual test for body filler. We inspect the paint thoroughly for quality and condition.
  • Interior Soft Trim - The interior is inspected including headliner, upholstery, carpeting, seats, tracks, seat adjustments, parking brake, etc. Seats, tracks, seat adjustments, parking brake are tested for proper working condition.
  • Electrical Components - All exterior lights are tested. Interior electrical components are tested (panel lights, interior lights, horn, gauges, cigarette lighter, ash tray, glove box light, console (if applicable), and shift selector light.
  • Under the Hood - Visual inspection of engine compartment including all fluids, belts, hoses, wiring, filters, battery
  • Rolling Gear - Remove wheels and inspect brakes, shoes, drums, calipers and pads, wheels, tires, and tread depth. We inspect for uneven tire wear which indicates an alignment problem or worn suspension parts.
  • Under the Car - The car is put on a rack and the under side is inspected for damage, worn bushings, worn drive shaft and universal joints, differential seal leaks, transmission leaks, engine leaks, proper rear end grease levels.
  • Road Test - The car is thoroughly road tested on both the highway and city streets. We look for how the car tracks down the highway, handles turns and winding streets, wind noises, vibration, smooth up and down shifting, acceleration and brake test.

Note that our inspections cover items which we can inspect without disassembling the car, something most owners will not allow. Since we have no way of looking at the internal components of the engine, transmission, or drive train, no warranty is expressed or implied by this service. What we offer is due diligence and a reasonable assurance that the Mustang, Shelby or other classic or performance car you are planning to purchase is solid. Although we don’t recommend it, cars passing the pre-purchase inspection qualify for an extended power train warranty covering engine, transmission, and differential at extra cost.

If your are purchasing an investment quality collector car and need a "numbers correct" report, it may require removal and reinstallation (R&R) of the cylinder heads, starter motor, or other components to determine correct casting numbers and date codes. Items that need to be inspected include engine block, intake and exhaust manifolds, carburetor, accessories, etc. There is an additional cost for this service that covers the extra shop time necessary to complete this type of inspection, which varies based on the kind of engine (manufacturer, big versus small block, etc.) and the accessories on the car. Call us for details.

Remember, classic cars are notorious for rust, and there are some very clever ways to disguise problems. If you're not familiar with them, you may learn a very expensive lesson unless you perform the requisite due diligence. So, whether you hire us, or someone else, the best money you can spend on the purchase of a classic car is on a pre-purchase inspection. There’s no substitute for it, and it is money well invested.

We hope this answers your questions. If you would like to learn more, or would like references, drop us an e-mail with your name, phone number, and a time convenient to call. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have, and provide a list of business, banking, and customer references for you to contact.

* A collector car warranty is an extra cost, limited warranty covering drive train, suspension, cooling system and other components. Please know we do not recommend them, but they are available if you insist. Click here to contact us for more information.