For anybody interested in restoring a classic car, it’s a fun hobby with hours of satisfaction. Unfortunately, it’s also a process full of potholes, no pun intended. Here are a number of tips that can help you get started:
Look for the Easy Restoration
Depending on your level of knowledge, consider finding the easiest cars to restore. The makes and models that you see available in a sale qualify when they have a significant parts network and a robust Internet support base. The 1970 Ford Mustang and a second generation Chevrolet Camaro are good examples because the parts are around and enthusiasts come out of the woodwork. The 1928 Ford Model A and the 1929 Chevrolet Cabriolet were both hugely popular cars in their day, and you can still find them abandoned in barns or fields. The availability of parts is often a make-or-break aspect of car restoration. Many enthusiasts post thoughts on the Internet, so finding intriguing discussions can be an important resource.
Consider the amount of money you’ll need
Salvage yards should not charge more 40-percent of the retail cost of parts and could go as low as 20-percent, so the junkyard is an inexpensive source for parts. Be sure to know the price of new or refurbished parts before you crawl under cars with tools in hand. Newly manufactured or refurbished parts often sit on a shelf waiting to be sold, so you can purchase parts faster, but it’s more expensive too. The cosmetic parts of cars like trim pieces, side mirrors and headlight rims are often manufactured for the collectible market.
The real cost of restoration multiplies if you hire someone to do it for you. Unfortunately, you might find that you’re underwater with your investment after you hire a professional. If you can afford it, a professional car restoration can be the best way to go. On the other hand, if you do it yourself, you’ll save thousands of dollars. In addition, you must take care to get the right gas pump or canvas roof piece if you’re doing an authentic restoration.
Consider foreign made cars
European cars like the Volvo and Volkswagen from the 1960s and 1970s enjoyed significant sales in the United States. They’re in vogue today. Sometimes, they’re easier to find than the ’71 Ford Mustangs or the ‘62 Chevy pickups. Foreign cars also appreciate significantly in value so you could actually see a return on investment. It should be obvious that this is one item on your list that requires research.
The Bondo body repair on a car isn’t going to be even marginally acceptable with collectors, so unless you believe you can find a fender for a rusty ’71 Nova for sale, don’t buy the car. Some states use heavy road salt and it's not a good idea to buy that state's cars. Cars that lived their life near a saltwater body like the Atlantic Ocean are also suspect. Be sure to closely examine the body and the frame. If the frame has rust problems, do not purchase the car.
Anybody with an interest in restoring a classic car should never believe it’s out of their reach. Do your homework and get started. It’s a fun hobby.