There’s something inherently nostalgic about restoring an old automobile. The smell of motor oil and grease-stained jeans are enough to give any car enthusiast a trip down memory lane, but a complete, self-produced restoration may be the pinnacle for any man or woman who enjoys a piece of classic American lore. It may be a goal of many, but the reconstruction or rehabilitation of an old automobile takes time, patience and a responsible budget to accomplish. According to Cars Direct, a full-scale project takes nearly 1,000 hours to complete, so car lovers should realize they’re in for a large undertaking.
That said, for those entirely dedicated to the cause, listed below are four tips to consider before and during a classic car restoration:
1. Invest for the future: More often than not, an older vehicle is on the market because it is in need of a makeover. There’s nothing wrong with settling on a cheaper model, but AOL Autos recommends researching a handful of vehicles before pulling the trigger and placing one in your garage. The resale value post-restoration is something that should be accounted for unless you want to keep the car for yourself. An automobile with higher appreciation value may require a greater initial investment, but a return on your purchase could pay dividends in the end if you choose to sell after the project is completed.
2. Make sure the parts are available: Once you select the vehicle, the next logical step is to see if the missing parts – or the ones that need to be replaced – are available on the resale market. Savvy car owners will likely know how to salvage certain parts if need be, however, most older vehicles need new components to run properly. A quick Google search will yield several options. You can also contact a local repair shop to see if it has industry contacts who can point you in the right direction.
3. Establish a budget: Everyone who attempts to restore a classic car will likely work at their own leisure, but it’s important for those watching their spending to have a realistic budget that correlates with the project at hand. A broad schedule may not be a bad idea either in terms of capping your spend because the longer a car sits in your garage, the less money you’re making or time you have to enjoy it. Although restoration is a recreational hobby for most, it never hurts to set pragmatic goals and strive to achieving them.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Even the most knowledgeable car aficionados may run into issues here or there, so a simple consultation does not mean defeat. In fact, AOL Cars highly advises those new to restoration to accrue as much information and advice as possible prior to greasing up the skids. An expert’s eye can save both time and money down the road.
Do you have experience restoring your own classic car? What tips do you recommend to those embarking on their own car restoration journey?