If you have a passion for the most beautiful cars of yesteryear, you’re certainly not alone.
Thousands of Brits count classic cars among their hobbies, with fairs and shows across the country proving more popular than ever. But keeping these ageing masterpieces in good condition is no easy feat, and every classic car needs lots of care and attention to look its best - that’s where classic car restoration comes in.
Restoring a car can be a rewarding experience, and could even benefit you financially if you plan to sell the vehicle once you’ve completed the work.
If it’s all new to you, don’t worry: here are some of our top tips to help you get started on classic car restoration.
1. Join a club
A large number of classic car enthusiasts are member of one or more owners’ clubs. Provided you live within reach of a medium-sized town or city, there’s likely to be a club in your area, and this should be your first port of call.
Not only will you meet like-minded people and hopefully make some new friends, but your club will be your one-stop-shop for spare parts, advice, expertise and encouragement. You may even be able to get some extra hands on deck.
2. Get some practice
Unless you’re a car mechanic, you’re likely to come across processes you haven’t encountered before when renovating your vehicle. This could include anything from welding and electrics, to painting and upholstery.
While club members may be able to give you a hand, your best bet is to arrange some training at a local college or community group. That way you can get some practice in before you take out your skills on your classic car and you might even pick up some certificates or qualifications for your efforts.
3. Do your research
Before you take the plunge and pick a car to restore, make sure you know all there is to know about the model, and how feasible restoration of it is.
For some vehicles, even finding the most basic replacement parts can be a real struggle. That could result in your restoration project taking far longer and costing far more money than you anticipated.
As a beginner, you’re probably best seeking out a model where you can source parts easily, from both from online dealers and in person.
There’s no getting around the fact that restoring cars can be an expensive hobby.
In order not to end up with a half-completed and useless pile of metal sitting in the garage, make sure you do your maths and be confident you have enough money to see the project through. That will need to include the cost of any equipment, parts, and professional services.
Because things can go wrong along the way when it comes to classic car restoration, take your total and add at least 30% on top to account for this, before deciding whether it’s worth getting started.
5. Be patient
Once you get going with your project, patience will be vital. Classic car restoration is a time consuming hobby, and you shouldn’t expect to see results right away.
You should be prepared to put a lot of work in before you see things coming together and it’s important you don’t let any setbacks that come your way knock your spirit.
6. Enjoy yourself
If you truly have a passion for classic cars and the thought of restoring one has been on your mind for some time, then odds are you will love the process.
Refurbishing a classic car is a labour of love, and once you see the finished product coming together, you’ll be likely to find the experience incredibly rewarding.