Classic Cars Restoration
While this is a very exciting activity, a car owner must know how to properly evaluate the condition of a car and then establish the level of restoration to such a vehicle. There are 4 levels of classic car restoration, each one of which can be applied on the kind of project, budget and purpose. These are the top 10 tips for those cars who are aficionados who want to reverse the effects of the sands of time on their vehicles:
- Sit down, grab a piece of paper, a parts catalog which will be relevant to the model you want to restore and run some numbers within your budget. Never deviate from it, otherwise the results will be obvious.
- Inspect your car very carefully, top to bottom, inside and out; Use strong flashlights to inspect the trunk, the engine area, etc. This will help you see the kind of repairs you need to make to this vehicle. If there is a car shop where it is possible to take a good look at the condition from beneath. Here you will determine if the restoration process is worth the time and money.
- After inspecting the vehicle, it is also important to consider whether you have a ‘solid’ car which can be restored without replacing the entire frame, floor, axles, etc. It would amaze you how this step can save you major dollars (Euros, Yens, etc.). By ‘solid car’ we are inferring that the car structure should be strong, as well as the floor; A little rust can be repaired but a completely rusty car which has the entire frame compromised will eventually crumble.
- Decide whether you want to work with a “friend who knows how to repair cars” or a professional. It is not often recommended to involve friends and family on such projects as the time and money invested on this process may cause some trouble if the right procedures are not followed. Cars restored by people other than professionals tend to run for a couple of years and some cases start to breakdown thereafter.
- Have a car restoration professional run some numbers and make sure they are close to the numbers you ran on step 1.
- Decide the level of car restoration:
* Driver restoration: is performed in a fully functional and operational condition.
* Street Show: This restoration level involves getting a car into a fully working condition and repairing all major cosmetic problems (body work is required). If judged by a professional it should fall within the 80-89 point range.
* Show Car: A classic car that requires a lot of work, if restored and refined in a 90-95 point range.
* Concours: This is the highest level of car restoration possible. All the work should be done by professionals, from part replacement to body work. These types of cars are intended for auto shows or private collections and not be driven. Obviously, the original car needs to be repaired.
- Start the restoration process, if possible following a 2 step procedure (part replacement and chassis adjustments). Visit the car shop as often as possible to make sure the right work is being done. If this is not possible then you can send me periodic picture updates via email.
- After the part replacement process is done, visit the shop again to re-inspect the chassis repairs.
- When all major restorations are done, a complete and detailed inspection is done. Take it for a ride and see if it works correctly.
- Remember to give proper maintenance to your newly restored classic.