• Stop being a LURKER - join our dealer community and get involved. Sign up and start a conversation.

Looking for advice or mentor on classic car dealership models


Sep 5, 2022
First Name
I'm 44 and recently purchased a warehouse with that included a small collector car dealership (we bought the name and permit only, no inventory). I have a large collection of 1920s-1970s cars ranging from older restorations to parts cars that I collected on my own and am using as inventory. My goal is to eventually buy and sell 1900s-1940s American classics and I have years of experience in restoration, parts sales, etc. In the past, I've sold cars on consignment for collectors and brokered mid-six figure deals for exotic car buyers, but I'm not your typical charismatic salesman with a huge rolodex.

Ironically, it's been a lifelong goal to become a dealer, but now I feel completely rudderless. We had a couple major wins early on with sub-$10k cars bought from estate sales and Facebook Marketplace, then settled into a buy-and-hold pattern that's not really getting us anywhere. My full time business is selling classic car parts so we've been using profits from that to help float the dealership. So anything we invest in the dealership needs to return at least as much margin as our parts business.

Would love to have a chat with someone in the industry who could give guidance on making a sound business plan. I want to be more than just a car-flipper. Some of my questions include:
What are classic or specialty dealers doing that regular used car dealers don't?
Is it really profitable to source from the mainstream collector car auctions, and why do I see dealers paying what seems like really high prices for mediocre cars?
What kinds of value adds do their models include? What about restoration and sales together?
What profit margin should I expect?
Do you travel outside a particular radius? How often do you come home empty handed from a buying trip?

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Last edited: