How to Restore a Classic Car: 7 Steps

Buying a classic car can be a long, frustrating and expensive process. However, it’s all worth it when you get to start working on it and restoring it to its former glory. This is not necessarily an easy job either though. It can take plenty of your money, time and hard work, not to mention your patience, but it’s also an extremely fulfilling project to take on.

Here are a few important things you’ll need to know before you get started;

How to Restore a Classic Car: 7 Steps

Car Shopping

Finding the very best car to work on is the first and most important step you’ll need to take, and this can take some time to get right, so try not to rush the process. Choosing your dream car is one thing, choosing a fully restorable car is another.

You can shop for your car online, at auto shows, through other enthusiasts in clubs or even in magazines. Make sure to have the car inspected and assessed and ask all the necessary questions before you decide to commit if you want to avoid running into issues down the line.

Sourcing the Parts

You might need to search hard for parts for old cars like a Thunderbird Ford, but they aren’t impossible to find. Once again, joining classic car clubs, finding like-minded people, and using the power of the internet will all be very useful tools when it comes to finding the things you need for this journey.

Start by looking online for the parts you’ll need to get started in restoring your vehicle. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you can start asking around town and seeking advice from others.

Plan Your Restoration

There are four different levels of classic car restoration and the level you take yours to will depend on the purpose you want it to serve. Restoring it for driving use versus restoring it to display at a car show will require very different levels and types of restoration.

Decide on why you’re doing this, and then use the guidelines to help you determine everything that needs to be done on your vehicle to get it up to standard. If you’re doing your restoration purely for the fun of it, this doesn’t matter as much, and you can simply focus on doing what you want.

Start Saving Up

From buying the car itself to paying for parts and equipment, there’s a lot you’ll need to budget for, and a wise decision would be to start saving up before you even begin. Assess your existing budget and then try to plan for what you’ll be spending on your project from start to finish.

You can save money by planning for these extra expenses, reducing energy usage in your home, limiting your dining out and cutting down on non-essential expenses. Saving money can be tough, but then you have a goal motivating you, it’s easier to be more careful with your spending habits.

Read Some Resources

Reading some books on car restoration will help you gain a better understanding of the ins and outs of your project. There’s nothing to beat practical experience, but the more you know going in, the better equipped you’ll be to meet the challenges ahead.

If you don’t way to buy physical books, you’ll find loads of resources online, many of which will be free. Look for websites that specialize in vintage cars and restoring projects, watch YouTube videos that teach you how to do certain tasks and ask for advice from your car-lover friends.

Know Your Skill Levels

Going into this, it’s important that you’re aware of your skill levels and the limitations thereof. Learning is an important part of the process, but overestimating yourself in certain projects could lead to irreparable disasters for the car and even safety concerns for yourself.

Make sure you know what you can handle, and when it’s time to call a professional.

Seek Help

Once you’ve made peace with the fact that you (probably) can’t do it all on your own, you’ll need to actually find the help you need. This is always easier when you know a circle of people who have experience with the same kind of projects as what you’re working on.

Friends will likely be able to direct you to professionals who can help you with what you need, show you great places to buy parts or equipment and even help you handle certain things on your own with their help.

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