If you’ve been watching a lot of those classic car restoration reality shows on TV, chances are you’re already toying with the idea of giving that vintage beauty rotting away in your or your parents’ garage its second wind. With today’s newer models saturating the roads with sleek designs that come standard with ultra-modern features, it’s definitely a breath of fresh air to see and ride a classic car from a time when things were simpler.
If that idea has you hooked and raring to start on your first restoration project — whether you already have the car, or you’re thinking of going out to get one — spend a good amount of time thinking about the following classic car restoration tips:
- Pick the right car for you. Typically, the rarer the classic car, the more beautiful it is fully-restored, and you get more praise and attention. You might already have a rare one sitting in your garage, or perhaps you found a good deal on a rare model on Craigslist, but don’t bite the bullet just yet! A super rare car — especially for a beginner — may ultimately mean frustration, heartache, and empty pockets.
- Come up with a build plan.
- Set up your restoration space.
Parts will be nearly impossible to find, and even when you do find them, they will cost an arm and a leg. Considering your beginner status too, you’ll probably also end up relying heavily on car detailing and auto repair services. Depending on where you are in the country, auto repair services can range between $375 to $423 on average, so best pace yourself.
You’ll also want to consider the durability of the model, as experts say 4 out of 5 repairs depend on the vehicle’s ability to withstand wear and tear.
This is a best practice tip for even the most experienced restorers. Really look the base car over to know exactly what you’re going to be getting yourself into. Most auto and collision repair service companies have mechanics that dabble in the classics, so they can come over and give you their two cents. Figure out what parts you’re going to be looking for, what auto repair services you’re going to have to avail of, and how much these will cost. Be as detailed and as accurate as possible, and set them on a reasonable time line with enough wiggle room — meaning, don’t book a slot in a car show that’s just around the corner!
It’s also important not to ignore inexpensive repairs, such as a loose or missing gas cap. It may not seem critical, but every year experts estimate that this overlooked issue causes 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate. What a waste!
Car restoration takes a lot of time — even years! You’ll need to commit a decent work and storage area for the car and its parts, away from the elements and potentially irritated spouses.