Car restoration is among the most fulfilling endeavors one can have as a car enthusiast. Especially when it comes to restoring a classic car, in which original replacement parts are more difficult to find. It goes beyond a mere vehicle purchase because you’re actually trying to revive the car’s former luster on top of fixing any damage. What should you expect, though? Read on and find out:
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Expectation #1: Car Restoration and a Huge ROI Don’t Always Go Together
There are seasoned pros who intentionally look for vintage or old cars to restore for the purpose of reselling them. They’ve been restoring cars for years, can smoothly negotiate the initial price of a beat-up car, have a solid market and audience for their top-notch work, and understand the ins and outs of holistic car restoration.
It’s not advisable to compete with professional brokers, consultants, and dealers who specialize in car restoration. However, you can join them in this space as someone who simply enjoys giving old cars a second chance at life. A better approach would be to view it as a long-term hobby or as a way to deal with stress.
The entire process should ideally bring more joy than pain, and it’d be difficult to have peace when a return-on-investment is on your mind. If you’re really aiming to sell the car again, though, it’s best to partner with someone who has extensive experience in the process—from beginning till the end.
Expectation #2: Your Chosen Car Dictates the Restoration’s Level of Difficulty
No two car restorations have equal levels of difficulty. Sometimes, it’s easier to pull off complicated repairs and detailing, but it can be extremely tedious most of the time. You’re in luck if the vehicle only requires simple car hail damage repair. Usually, only paintless dent repair (PDR) is involved in this process.
Other than the damage severity, though, another factor would be the make and model that you would choose to invest your money, time, and efforts on. There are actually several car options available if you know where to look and this list from Hemmings provides a good guide on the best cars to restore.
You can aim to get a vehicle that has a relatively large stock and has replacement parts that can be procured more easily if you’re just starting out. Some models would involve more straightforward repair methods, depending on the structural state you buy it in. This makes the inspection phase all the more crucial—and having one of your car restoration buddies tag along will help you find the right car in a reasonable structural condition.
Expectation #3: The Entire Process is More Difficult than It Appears
Being a car owner doesn’t always equate to being a car repair and restoration expert. To be good at something, time and energy must be invested in learning and honing the craft. There can be a $10,000 difference between a novice-led restoration and an expert-led one, especially since the process may take longer than it should without the support of an expert.
If you’re in an area that experiences hail storms every year, you should also be familiar with non-intrusive car repair methods like PDR, but you don’t necessarily have to DIY. It’s easier to just include paintless dent repair cost in your total budget for the restoration so you can focus on the more critical parts of the project, such as the internal components of the car.
What makes car restorations tricky sometimes is having to use alternatives, parts that weren’t designed specifically for the vehicle they’re going to be put in. How well the mechanic makes each component work together in spite of their “age difference” (when they were all originally manufactured) will be observable in the car’s long-term durability and road-worthiness.
Ready to Restore Your Next Car?
Extensive planning and research will better prepare anyone before a huge car restoration project. Also, the process itself doesn’t need to be that complicated the first time. You can gradually ease yourself into such a venture by starting with simpler vehicles. You can be ready to restore your next car if you choose the right one, allocate an adequate budget for it, and seek the assistance of seasoned experts.