Restoring vintage cars is a niche all of its own, and there is a lot to learn when it comes to finding the best parts, choosing the right parts, and saving yourself time and hassle during the restoration process. So, in case you want to restore a vintage vehicle, let’s take a look at 6 tips you should keep in mind.
1. Plan Ahead
Restoring a vintage car can’t simply be looked at as a side hobby that might play out over a handful of years. This will drain the enjoyment out of the process, as many can attest.
If you want to restore a vintage car, you’re going to want to make sure you have the time and resources to get it done within a specific timeframe. That way, you can watch your car come back to life in a more condensed period of time and get much more enjoyment out of the project.
Aside from the hours you’ll need to put in, you need the right-sized budget as well. Different cars can vary in how much it will cost to restore them but you should expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 on average. This price estimate can vary wildly so it’s important to do your research first.
2. Shop Around
If you want to find the perfect project for yourself, you’ll need to shop around at least a handful of different places to find the best deal. If you’re working within a certain budget, checking places like craigslist, eBay, gumtree, and others can be a great way to find a bargain. There are also dedicated classic car vendors that tend to sell higher-value classic cars if you’re looking for something really fancy.
3. Set the Space
Where are you going to work on your car? You need a space where you can work on it, preferably a garage or enclosed building of some sort. It should be big enough to comfortably navigate and hold all of your tools as well.
Speaking of tools, you’ll need a lot of them. Pliers, screwdrivers, a sturdy floor jack, sheet metal scissors, a wrench and sockets, a drill with drill bits, a voltage checker, air compressor, and wire brushes just to name a few. You’ll also likely want access to a welder, blowtorch, engine crane and stand, grinder, and jack stands as well.
These tools are vital to restoring a classic car because you’ll probably be working on it from all angles. Not just mechanical work but detailing as well. The body, under the hood, the interior, and other places are likely to need some work.
4. Originality or Authenticity
Some people like to restore vintage cars to their own standard of beauty and functionality. Others like to restore exactly how they were sold on the market whenever they were still in production.
If this is you, you’ll want to search for OEM parts. Parts made by the original equipment manufacturer are often more expensive but are guaranteed to be compatible with your car and will likely be of higher quality as well.
You can, however, choose to get creative and go with customized parts. They are usually cheaper and afford much more stylistic versatility and originality, though they may not always be perfectly compatible with your vehicle.
5. Check the Electrical System
According to Corey Tyner of Corey Buys Classic Cars, Vintage cars commonly have problems with their electrical systems. Be it from normal wear and tear, animal damage, or weather, the wiring is often faulty in vintage cars. Be sure to check all the wiring and run electrical tests to see if everything is functioning properly.
6. Don’t Be Scared of a Little Mold
Mold on the interior can seem intimidating but it is usually easily cleaned with a regular cleaning product. Mold could indicate water intrusion, though, so check for airtightness in the cabin.
Stick to These Tips for a Successful Vintage Restoration
Restoring a vintage car requires a ton of time and effort, and some know-how as well. By following the 6 tips we’ve laid out here for you, you’re sure to complete your next restoration successfully and on time.