Preserving History – Storing Classic Cars
The classic car could be the ultimate ‘toy’ for the high net worth individual, with many beautiful cars taking pride of price in the discerning collector’s armoury, but how should these pieces of history and works of art on wheels be stored? Whether you're an avid collector or just an enthusiast, the proper storage of classic cars is crucial to ensure they retain their value and beauty throughout the years.
Choosing the Right Storage SpaceSelecting the right storage space is the first and most crucial step in preserving your treasured classic cars. Here are some factors to consider:
SecurityEnsure the storage space is secure to prevent theft and vandalism. Consider installing an alarm system and surveillance cameras, if necessary, ideally installed by an accredited company and linked to an alarm receiving centre which can be alerted immediately. Have CCTV installed both inside your storage space and outside, and you may want to consider anti-ram bollards across any obvious entry points. You can also make sure your vehicles aren't detectable from the outside by covering any windows.
Adequate spaceCars should have enough space to allow for proper access and maintenance. Space your vehicles out so they can be easily moved in case of an evacuation and try to have a plan set for such an eventuality, including the order in which you will safely remove your cars. For a large collection of cars, you may want to consider multiple storage spaces, so all your classic cars are not at risk at once.
Climate controlIdeally, your storage facility should have a climate-controlled environment to protect the car from extreme temperatures, humidity and moisture.
Fire safetyEnsure your facility is fitted with fire protection such as sprinklers and/or water mist, and make sure the electrics are up to regulation standard and regularly maintained and serviced.
The roofMake sure the roof of your facility is free of any leaks or danger of falling debris.
Vehicle maintenanceConsider having any maintenance or repair work done off-site to avoid flammable materials, dirt or dust compromising the safe storage of your cars. Your facility should be clean and dirt and dust free at all times.
DocumentationIt would be best policy to keep important documents such as manuals, maintenance and repair history, and provenance documents at a location other than your storage facility, so if your vehicles are stolen or tampered with you have these at hand for verification.
Pre-storage preparationYou may want to consider these tasks before putting your classic car into storage long-term.
- Clean inside and out. Wax the paint and consider using a rust inhibitor on the undercarriage.
- Change fluids. Replace the oil, coolant, brake fluid and transmission fluid. This prevents moisture build up and potential corrosion.
- Add a fuel stabiliser to the petrol tank and run the engine for a few minutes to ensure it circulates through the system.
- Disconnect or remove the battery to prevent it from draining or corroding. Store it in a cool, dry place.
- Inflate the tyres to the manufacturer's recommended pressure to prevent flat spots.
- Invest in a high-quality, breathable car cover to shield the car from dust and other contaminants. Avoid using plastic covers, as they can trap moisture.
Regular maintenanceAlthough your classic car is in storage, it's crucial to perform regular maintenance:
- Run the engine periodically (about once a month), or take the car out for a drive, to circulate fluids and prevent seals from drying out. Be sure to let it reach operating temperature.
- Charge the battery or use a battery maintainer to keep it in good condition.
- Check for any signs of leaks, pests or damage during your visits to the storage space.