The pre-purchase inspection is a crucial part of buying an expensive used car, especially an exotic. Getting the car inspected by an expert can help you negotiate a better price or avoid a bad deal altogether. The technician who inspects the vehicle will also be able to tell you what will need replacing soon, what service needs to be done, and the general condition of the car. Don’t rely on yourself for the pre-purchase inspection: the investment is worth it.
The car has been sitting for a long time.
Avoid cars that have not been driven for an extended period. When a car sits for a long time without being driven, a lot of parts deteriorate. Seals dry out and crack, and electronics corrode, rubber hardens, etc. Sometimes an owner will leave a car sitting because the car needs servicing and the owner can’t afford it. This is especially an issue with older cars like Ferrari 308’s and old Lotus Esprits. Stay away from cars that have been in storage for years, or in the garage waiting for service.
The car has passed through multiple owners
One or more of the previous owners may have abused it on the track or neglected its maintenance needs. The more holders in the chain, the more likely that one of them did this.
The car has a hidden problem that makes buyers resell it quickly. Look out for cars that have changed hands multiple times in a few years.
The ideal situation is to buy the car from the original owner, who has driven the car regularly and taken good care of it.
Body damage can be one of the most expensive things to repair in an exotic car since these parts don’t regularly fail and may not be as readily available as something like a brake rotor or head gasket. A car that has been in an accident will never quite be the same. Even with a relatively minor collision, a shock is sent through the entire body of the car. The chassis can torque, bolts can loosen or snap, and a host of other problems can occur when a car is hit. With exotic cars, these repairs are costly. Only buy a damaged car if it is a total steal.