If you are able to dedicate a certain amount of time and money into a hobby, then car restoration is most certainly a great hobby to pursue. Many people take great pleasure in restoring beautiful classic cars and making them look and feel as good as new. However, not all classic racing car restoration is easy, with some cars being in a worse state than others, whilst others, take a lot more time to restore authentically.
If the restoration job is done correctly, it can result in a wonderful sense of achievement and create an enormous sense of pride because you have recreated something that was once revered in its own time and can now be so again. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind before you start restoring a classic car, as well as during the actual restoration.
1. Choose wisely – How much work is the car going to need?
The obvious first step is choosing which model of car you’re going to restore. Of course, if you have a specific dream car in mind than nothing is likely to get in your way of making the purchase and starting your restoration activities. However, if you have not yet made the choice, remember that you are not limited to classic cars from the 50s and 60s and there are plenty of iconic cars from the 70s and 80s too, such as the DeLorean for instance.
Keep in mind that the older the car is the harder and more expensive it is probably going to be to restore. Having said this, however, it will also, depend on what state the car is in and this can be determined from how it has previously been stored and used. For instance, cars that you find from a dealer might be in a different condition to those found from a private sale or from a scrap yard.
2. Use the internet to research
Once you have identified the car you wish to restore, you should do a lot of research online before buying it, purely so you can gain a good idea of how easy it is going to be to find authentic parts, paints and upholstery, amongst a range of other things.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how much help the internet can be, not only in helping you locate whatever you need for your restoration but also in providing a lot of advice and guidance as to how to go about the actual restoration itself.
3. What tools are you going to need?
A lot of people will already have a lot of the tools, such as screwdrivers, clamps and hammers, that they are going to need to authentically re-form their classic car; however, it is worth generating a check list of every tool that you are going to need beforehand so that you are 100% prepared.
By doing a thorough inventory of your classic car and working out exactly what needs to be done to restore it properly, for instance removing rust, sanding it down, painting and polishing, you can ensure that you have everything you will ever need before you start, so the restoration won’t be halted or hindered by not having the right tools.
4. Be smart with your money
Restoring classic cars does not have to be a hobby that breaks the bank. You have to be smart about it. This doesn’t mean cutting corners and not restoring your dream car properly but it means taking the time to get the best price you can on car parts and also finding good quality used car parts instead of brand new. Doing the majority of the work yourself will, of course, also help to make sure that you stick to any budget you’ve set.
Obviously, if you are not confident about doing certain elements by yourself, that is when it is probably worth investing money to get an expert to do the work. Make sure you get someone who has been recommended and will do the work at an affordable price, alternatively try and link up with other classic car enthusiasts and you may find someone willing to work on the car with you for little or no money at all.
5. Is it personal vehicle or a sales opportunity?
A lot of people enjoy resorting classic sports cars but in order to sell them, not to drive or showcase them. You should make sure that you know which camp you are in right at the start before you pop it on those home garage ramps as this can affect not only how much time and effort you put into the restoration but also how much money you invest.
Obviously if you have plans to sell the car, you need to have an idea about how much it might go for at auction, before you spend thousands of pounds doing it up, otherwise you might find that you lose a lot of money. If you are keeping the car and wish to enjoy it yourself, then it might perhaps not matter so much if some aspects of the restoration are inauthentic, for instance if you have installed a brand new motor instead of rebuilding the car’s old engine.
If you’re keeping the car, it is up to you how you restore it, after all it is your dream car and you will be the one enjoying it. If you are selling it on, however, and want to make a profit then you will need to keep in mind other people’s opinions and desires and restore it in an authentic manner.