Car restoration: Getting started

Car restoration

Car restoration has been rising in popularity recently. You’ve probably seen more than a few classic cars driving around and the way they turn heads wherever they go. Who among us hasn’t seen one driving and thought “I should do a car restoration myself?”

This is how many car restorations begin, however, if you want to see it through, there are a few things that you should consider before getting started.

The financials of car restoration

Restoring projects can get expensive in a hurry. Having an emotional connection to it can help you swallow the rising cost of the project.

Fixing that old car your dad used to drive you to get ice cream in can be incredibly rewarding, and those memories can help you sign that check you are reluctant to write.

Even if you have an emotional connection to the car, having a realistic budget might be necessary to see the project through.

You will pay for every step of the car’s restoration, whether with your hard-earned cash or with some old fashioned elbow grease.

DIY or have someone else do it?

Some people are happy to buy a classic car and take it to a shop to be fully restored, not seeing it again until its ready to hit the streets, there’s nothing wrong with this approach, it certainly is effective.

However, every glance it receives by awestruck onlookers is all the more satisfying when you know you took part in at least some of the restoration process.

It goes without saying that the less work you are willing to do yourself, the higher your budget should be.

Even if you are not a technical person, there are certain parts of a restoration that anybody can do, like:

-Taking it apart

-Doing a thorough clean

-Spending the time to look for missing parts

-Picking up the parts up or arranging delivery

The less time a project is held up by a missing part, the faster you’ll get your car running. You can leave the more technical elements to professionals like the ones found on our site

Getting a professional opinion

One important thing that nobody should skip on, is getting a professional to take a look at the car before buying it or deciding to start the restoration project.

You might know a lot about cars, but classic models have all sorts of kinks that can develop into expensive hickups in your restoration.

There are hundreds of professional restorers that specialize in a specific brand; they know the kinks and can warn you about pitfalls that might turn an easy project into a money pit.

Independent car restoration online research

If you want to do the project all by yourself, you should take the time to do research online about the specific car you’ve got your eyes on. Figure out the kinks and potential situations you might have to face.

There are many online forums dedicated to car restoring. If you’ve seen a car that’s worth working on, then odds are somebody has done it before you.

Keep in mind that working on a car with hard to find spare parts can exponentially increase the cost and time dedicated to its restoration.

Patience: the master of all virtues

The most important thing to remember is that in order to see a project through, you are going to have to be patient.

You might get lucky and find no hiccups during your restoration, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Be ready to find rust in unexpected places, a part that needs replacing and cannot be found, a mechanical failure that you can’t explain and so many more. All this can set you back in money and time; you must account for that in your budget and your expectations.

Many people get easily frustrated when they find obstacles in a project; their first instinct is to abandon the project entirely, those people should refrain from starting a restoration. 

Car restoration is a journey

Restoring a car can be as much about the journey as it is about the finished product.

In order to see a car restoration project through you have to look at it as an adventure; you don’t know what you’ll find when starting a restoration, so be ready for obstacles and delays.

The hardships along the way will make crossing the finish line all the more rewarding.

A bonding experience

A setback can help you bond with whoever’s working with you. Brainstorming solutions to a problem you didn’t know you would have, will help you build up relationships. 

As a bonding experience, it is unmatched. The car you build today with your son could be driven by him twenty years from today. It could even be passed on to your grandchildren and become a family heirloom.

When you look at it, it’ll bring back memories of the hours spent together getting it to run.

It’s the overcoming of adversity that makes for great stories. Stories that you’ll tell at every gathering where someone asks you about your classic car.

Those stories make restorers keep coming back for more, they enjoy the challenge presented to them by these machines.

One of the beauties of car restoration is hitting the asphalt with it, and having people turn to look. They are not only appreciating how good the car looks but recognizing the amount of work it took to get it in pristine condition.

Do you have it in you to do the same? We’ve put together a directory with resources to help you accomplish every restoration project you set your mind to.