The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Classic Car Restoration

classic car restoration advice

If you’re a frequent visitor to our blog (welcome back!), then you know that we like focusing on solutions in here. After all, classic car restoration is exciting, fun and incredibly rewarding. Besides, we figure that you probably get enough bad news from TV, other websites, and maybe even your next-door-neighbor who won’t stop talking about killer bees. We don’t want to add to your burden.

However, sometimes you can’t always say that the glass is “half full” — because, well, it’s also “half empty.” And so, you’ll forgive us if we temporarily break with tradition, and spend a few minutes sharing the worst advice we’ve ever heard about classic car restoration.

What’s more, this isn’t just about us venting. Our goal here is to help you steer clear of myths, misinformation and outright lies, because your classic car restoration experience should be rewarding — not regrettable. Ready? Here we go:

1. You should view classic car restoration as an investment vs. a hobby.

Without a doubt, the fastest and easiest way to turn your classic car experience into a nightmare in so many ways — financially, emotionally, and you may end up sleeping on the couch or in the spare room for a while — is to go into it as an investment vs. a hobby.

This doesn’t remotely suggest that you’re headed for an endless money pit, because if you do things the right way, that definitely won’t be the case. However, you need to appreciate that this is a passion and not a vocation, so that you can ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF IT! Otherwise, you’ll set yourself up for disappointment on several levels (and that couch can get uncomfortable after a while!).

2. You can handle all aspects and phases of classic car restoration yourself.

This one has us speechless, and so it’s a good thing we’re writing an article instead of giving a lecture. Please understand that we aren’t questioning your mechanical skills, and you may have advanced abilities that save you and others thousands of dollars in maintenance and repairs. You should be commended for your knowledge, and appreciated for your talents.

But take it from us, please: classic car restoration is not merely a discipline, it’s a specialization. It’s like the difference between being a general practitioner and a surgeon. Yes, you can do many things on your own to reduce some costs, or simply because you want to be more hands-on. But there are so many details (and then details about details), that the DIY route will have you sending out an SOS.

3. All classic car restoration shops are basically the same.

All doctors aren’t the same, all lawyers aren’t the same, and even all barbers aren’t the same (although they all seem to have that same blue Barbicide stuff). Well, not all classic car restoration shops are the same, either. Some are safe to work with, and others are disasters waiting to happen. For tips on how to make the right choice, read our article here.

4. Car restoration and car refurbishment are basically the same thing.

Mark Twain once said that the difference between the right word, and the almost right word, is the same difference between lightening and a lightening bug. Well, if he was alive today, Mr. Twain might use car restoration and car refurbishment as his metaphors of choice.

As we’ve discussed previously (read the article here), car restoration involves stripping a car down ENTIRELY and then rebuilding it from the ground-up to match, as closely as possible, the manufacturer’s original specifications. Conversely, car refurbishment is a used car (and not necessarily a classic or even an old car) that has undergone improvements.

5. Once you’ve finished a classic car restoration product, your work is done.

There’s some yes and no on this one. Yes, once your beautiful and beloved restored car is in your garage (or other enclosure), you’ve taken care of the biggest piece of the puzzle. But no, you can’t set-it-and-forget-it. You need to keep your classic car rust-free and properly maintained. This is another reason why working with a reputable and qualified classic car restoration shop is essential, because they’ll ensure you know what needs to be done. After all, they’ll love your car as much as you.

Learn More

We hope that you’ve found this trip down misery lane enlightening. To connect with a team of experts that emerging and devoted classic car owners have trusted for years, contact us toll free at 1-844-652-1966 today, or email me directly at [email protected]. We love talking about classic car restoration, and can’t wait to help you with your next project!