Automotive Restoration: Everything You Need to Know About Restoring Your Old Classic  

Restoring classic cars is an incredibly rewarding and entertaining hobby that does not require a large amount of effort. Restoring classics is all about taking the time and doing things right instead of rushing to get things done. The amount of money spent is up to the one doing the restoring, but typically when bringing something back to life it is worth it to spend the money to truly make the car look spectacular.

What Kind of Car Should I Restore?

This is one of the best parts about restoring classics: it is whatever you want and can find. Whether it be a hand-me-down antique that needs some refreshing or a rough find on its last leg, anything can be restored with the right time, effort, and patience. Most people enjoy classic muscle cars, such as an old Mustang or some type of Chevrolet. Other collectors enjoy restoring classic European cars, such as Volkswagen Beetles or classic BMWs. It is entirely up to you. Each car has its own set of problems that will prove challenging, but with the right mindset the car will come.

What Should I Look for When Choosing A Vehicle?

When choosing a vehicle to restore, the biggest enemy you’ll fight against is rust. Rust is incredibly difficult to remove when restoring classic cars, especially considering the different kinds of metal older cars are made out of. Rust eats away at the body, making holes and chips that show the car’s age and take away from its appearance. Rust usually requires extreme body work effort, including extensive patching and sanding to fill the gaps caused by rust. Rust also is not able to be painted over, so be careful when choosing the right car. If appearance is what is sought after, rust will be the single greatest factor limiting your car from shining brightly. Another aspect to look out for in choosing a classic car to restore is body work. On older cars, especially ones made with different metals, there is a lack of material ready to replace parts on cars requiring body work. The older and less common cars are rarer making parts hard to come across. When seeking a vehicle to restore, it is generally considered good practice to find a car without extensive body work, and if so another car to piece parts off of and replace. Finally, find a vehicle with a good community backing to access when things get difficult. It is not necessary to do so, but a good resource to have in order to fall back on when running into problems.

What Will Need Restoring?

Besides from the paint and body, the drivetrain will typically need at least some servicing, and at the worst an entire replacement. According to Cascade Collision, a company that specializes in auto body repair in Park City, older vehicles may have outdated technology that might not be serviceable, or contain parts that are no longer available. It is a good idea to have an idea of the intended effect for the car you are restoring, such as keeping the car’s original form, or making a hybrid of old and new. Suspension components will especially require servicing as well, experiencing extensive wear from the environment. Replacing suspension components allow the vehicle to be driven safely and comfortably.

How Long Will It Take Me? How Much Will It Cost?

This is entirely up to the restorer. Besides the original purchase price for the vehicle intended to be restored, expect to spend at least a few thousand to restore a vehicle back to acceptable condition. When immaculately restoring a vehicle, it is not uncommon to reach the five digit range making sure every single detail is complete. As for time, take however long you want, making sure to do things right and on your own time.

Restoring classic cars can be one of the most rewarding hobbies out there, seeing something that looks useless at first come back to life to something extraordinary. If you are wanting to take on one of these projects, make sure to plan accordingly, and most importantly have fun.

My name is Lizzie Weakley and I am a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. I went to college at The Ohio State University where I studied communications. I enjoy the outdoors and long walks in the park with my 3-year-old husky Snowball.

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