Classic cars are fun. Working to restore a car and then enjoying it once it’s road-ready again is one of the most fulfilling activities anyone could hope to undertake. And if you’ve got that one perfect car in mind that you want above all others –– then we say go for it. Car restoration is a passion project, first and foremost. So don’t settle for anything less if you’ve already got your dream car picked out. However, if you don’t have one particular car in mind –– but want to get into the restoration game all the same, then consider these factors first before you shell out any cash on a project.
Fully Inspect the Car
Merely kicking the tires just won’t do if you’re going to find a restoration car that’s worth pouring your energies into. Take the time out to perform a full inspection of the car’s interior and exterior first. That includes checking for rust, noting missing or broken parts, marking tears in the lining or seats, and checking for chipping paint. Some issues should raise red flags immediately. While others, depending on the car, might not be as daunting as they seem at first blush. The car’s mileage can be one such element; a well-maintained car with high mileage shouldn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker. Whereas a car that hasn’t been driven as much, but also hasn’t received the same amount of care might actually prove more difficult to properly restore.
How Rare is the Car?
Some classic car collectors will go bananas trying to find rare vintage cars that don’t have widespread availability. While the rarest of cars can fetch a higher price at auction than cars that are more common, they also present a unique set of problems to the buyer. So before you make a big purchase, first do your homework and research how easy or difficult it will be to secure parts for the classic car you want to buy. Also, consider the extra money and time you’ll need to spend on a unique car project.
The Car Condition –– And Your Motivation
More important than the condition of the car is how hard you’re willing to work on it. Sure, some projects are more-or-less unsalvageable, while others might not require much work at all. However, you should be honest with yourself about what your intentions are with the car first. If you’re buying a car for your own personal satisfaction, then you can forgive a model plenty of sins. On the other hand, if you’re trying to “flip” a car quickly, you need to be wary of every little detail –– and fully understand the market you’re in. A good rule of thumb to follow: you should always care more about the car restoration project itself than the payoff that might follow. Keep that in mind when you go to make a purchase.