The joy of owning a fully restored classic car is immeasurable. For many people, especially those who have a healthy appreciation for classic automobiles, the process of restoring the car is just as exciting.
Before taking the first step on a restoration journey one must consider the implications of the endeavor. It requires an eye for detail, a knowledge and understanding of a car’s history, and an ability to know when a car is worth the effort to restore. Doing some research and a bit of legwork will payoff major dividends in the form of a classic automobile that will last for years.
Reduce the stress of purchasing and restoring a classic car by remembering the following tips:
- Be open to opportunity. You may dream of owning a particular car, like a 1923 Duesenberg Model A for example, but the perfect one may never come along. On the other hand, you may come across another type of car you hadn’t considered but that could be a great project. Make sure to give whatever car you buy a comprehensive check up before you sign any papers.
- Vet your sources. 30 years ago, the classic car enthusiast had only local classifieds to turn to for finding a car to buy. Now the internet provides many more opportunities for finding the right car at the right price. Hemmings Motor News has thousands of listings and offers advice on buying and restoring classic cars.
- Find adequate workshop space. Space is an often-overlooked need when first time buyers are looking for a classic car to restore. The thousands of parts in a typical automobile, when spread out, can take up more space than one might think. A carport probably won’t provide enough shelter, so make sure you have a garage or can borrow or rent space from a shop.
- Use the right tools for the job. Restoring a car requires a variety of high-skilled tasks. Some restorers farm out more complex tasks, like grinding and welding, but others balk at the labor prices for such work. It’s possible to rent equipment, such as torches, air compressors, and engine cranes, but you should own a full cabinet of wrenches, screwdrivers, sheet metal scissors, drills, wire brushes and electric tools.
- Take time. Enthusiasts often dream of driving a restored classic car their whole lives, but many fail to consider that it could take thousands of hours to restore their dream car. Any successful restoration product requires the owner to have the patience to see it through.
- Budgeting saves time and money. It helps to draw up a budget before embarking on a restoration project. Try to determine the range of acceptable costs before even looking at the first car. With a clear plan in mind a project is less likely to hit costly overruns.
- Consider non-original parts. Purists will insist that a classic car be restored to its original factory parts. This can require countless hours searching for original parts that may cost as much as the car itself. Unless you’re planning to enter a national competition, you can be flexible in your choice of parts.
Owning and restoring a classic car is a creative hobby for car enthusiasts with a refined taste. Call (562) 432-9366 or send us a message to learn more about the world of car restoration.