Should you build or buy your dream second-hand car?

·3-min read

Not everyone shares the same taste, especially when it comes to cars. That said, a dream car isn’t exactly "one size fits all." Some like fast and modern rides like Lamborghinis while others like to keep it old school.

The used-car market offers plenty of options, from bone-stock units to modified pre-loved vehicles that browsing online listings can sometimes feel like opening a box of chocolates.

Today, we break down the pros and cons of building and buying your second-hand dream car — just in case you haven’t put a finger on how to go about it yet.

Alright, first let’s define what build means. If you look it up, its meaning is to “construct (something) by putting parts or material together.” The term is also loosely used to express one’s attempt to modify a vehicle by “building” it to one’s preferred specification or aesthetic appreciation.

This brings us to one of the advantages of building your second-hand dream car — having it your way.

With the right parts, you can turn a Mitsubishi Lancer EL into a Lancer Evo III. Case in point, Ramon Bautista. The local celebrity has done more than just to replace the body kits of his 1995 Mitsubishi Lancer EL. He reveals in one of his YouTube videos the process it took him to achieve the looks and the performance he’s always dreamed of.

Another advantage of building your second-hand dream car is that it’s relatively easy on the wallet. Sure, you may have to spend some of your savings on hard-to-find parts released in certain markets — if you want to keep your build as accurate as possible — but the price of the actual unit won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Plus, it won’t hold you to a five-year commitment.

Conversely, second-hand cars typically have problems with reliability. Because they’ve served previous owners, these cars come with wear and tear and should receive more attention if you plan to make it your daily driver.

On the other hand, there’s a chance that you can come across your dream ride in the second-hand car market — if you have a specific model in mind.

Fans of Subaru’s sporty sedan have better chances of finding a second-hand Subaru World Rally Cross (WRX) than winning the lottery. Fancy driving like Mark Wahlberg in the Italian Job? There’s a market for used Minis. And just in case, your dream car is also the "Godzilla," there are listings for used Nissan GT-Rs.

nissan gt-r
nissan gt-r

Not having to build these vehicles from a different model is definitely a lot more convenient and a lot less risky. It can get a little pricey, but you pay for the whole package which is definitely an advantage.

Another benefit of buying your second-hand dream car is that it can be cheaper than driving a brand-new unit from the dealership. The average depreciation value of cars is 15 percent per year. That’s how much savings you’re getting compared to the car’s actual sticker price.

But like life, the used-car market can also give you lemons. Some owners opt not to declare hidden problems from buyers who will later find the issue when they least expect it. That’s why it’s important to buy your second-hand dream car from trusted names like us, at Carmudi Philippines.

So, build or buy? What’s it going to be?

If your dream car is a unicorn, then you might be better off building it. But, if what you’ve been dreaming of riding isn’t exactly a needle in a haystack, then there’s a good chance you’ll find a good deal on your dream car on the second-hand market.

Photos from Lamborghini and Nissan

Also read:

5 Steps to Planning a Successful Project Car

Is it worth modifying a 1993 Honda Civic ESi today?