A classic car, restored, is nothing short of beautiful. If you’ve got the means to go ahead and restore an old Chevy, or whatever your dream classic car choice is, go ahead. It’s a wonderful feeling when you take something that’s been forgotten, or simply not been correctly maintained, and return it to how it looked on the day it first left the showroom.
I have an old 1955 Ford Crown Victoria, a stunning example, cream and red, and quite possibly the love of my life. And I can say that because my significant other has a comparable love of her life … one that comes in the shape of diamond rings. Anyway … you’re here to figure out the basics of classic car restoration, so let’s get to it.
Car Restoration Basic Checklist
There are many tips that you will stumble upon, or be offered, but we’re going to look at the bare bones stuff, the absolute flat out bottom-line stuff that everyone should start with, before they work up to the bigger issues that come with restoration an old vehicle.
Engine – make sure that you give this a thorough going over. Classic is just another word for ‘old’, and you need to bear in mind that some parts may no longer be available, or if they are, they’re expensive. Engine rebuilds can be expensive on modern cars so the state of the engine needs to be factored in.
Gear box – what condition is it in? Is it still in good shape, or has the transmission become choppy? A run down gear box can be an expensive fix, so make sure that you run the car through its gears before you decide to buy it.
Bodywork – it doesn’t matter if it’s not too good – if you’re looking to do a full restore. However, messed up bodywork, rust, busted panels, they’re not good if you’re intention is to pay someone to do the work for you.
Interior – how much work will it need? Check under the seats if you can, inside the trunk, around the foot wells etc. Ok, the less that needs doing the more expensive the car will be, and again this is ok if you want to drive it away rather than restore it.
Cost – this is a general estimate. How much will it cost to renovate? If you’re looking at it being a long term process, the cost will negate themselves over the time span – spending a lot over a period of time isn’t as much as a kicker in the bank account.
Basically all the above are common sense pieces of advice. It will be expensive, but providing you’ve looked into sourcing parts, how much they will cost etc, you won’t (hopefully) be in for any hidden surprises. At least that’s the plan.
Classic car restoration is a wonderful experience, and knowing that you’re responsible for all, or a large portion of, the work brings a sense of extreme satisfaction. Plus you end up with a fabulous vehicle into the bargain. Just remember – be wise, have a checklist and use it, and don’t over stretch yourself.