I have been seeing a lot cars being restored these days. Some classic ones and some not so old ones. For the classic ones, a lot of them are ground up restorations. Meaning the car is completely disassembled; the car is just a shell. And the tinsmith repairs all the dents and rusted portions of the body. I have seen shops recreate body panels from scratch and you would swear it was original once it is installed and primered. Some are lucky enough to have a donor car or have replacement panels. A question that usually comes up is to what extent should a restoration go? For some, it has to deal with memories and emotions. If the car brings back memories of childhood or being in college, then that would hard to put a price on it. Or as some wives or girlfriends say, “our loved one is going through another childhood phase.”
How much would a restoration cost? Hmmm… personally speaking the level of craftsmanship to be done should be at least showroom quality or factory specs. Why? For one thing, the car is being given a new lease on life, and bringing it back to its former glory is part of it. Much of the labor would be devoted to making sure the alignment of all the doors, hood, fenders and body lines are correct. How much again? (note: paint and parts not yet included)
While the car is in the shop, another sickness will infect the owner… its called parts hoarding. This is quite normal for a person going through a car restoration. Very normal, it’s part of the process. Not to mention the countless hours of going anywhere or everywhere just to look for parts. Now, don’t be alarmed if he has enough for parts for more than one car. Reason behind that is he would need spare for the car and potential goods for trading to get other parts.
For the painting stage of the restoration, prepping the body is very important. Any flaws in the body will appear when the paint is applied. So body filler and a lot of block sanding will be needed. Don’t be surprised if painting may take more than a month. Once painting is done, reassembly will also take time. Not to mention the making sure the engine, wiring and brakes are done properly.
As one car restorer said, make sure every part on the car done as if it were going to be judged. Even as something simple as a fender bolt. This what makes a car stand out. After all, a well restored classic car can outshine a brand new car.
Now, the kind of restoration being mentioned here is one being factory stock. Now, there are those whose wish to restore a car with period correct modifications. Usually to the engine and aftermarket alloy wheels. Now, we also see restorers bolting on newer, more powerful engines into these old cars. The thing here is to make it look like it was done by the factory. And I would have to admit I have seen some cars with modern engines and they look factory installed. A nice blend of the new and the old.
But I think the challenge here, whether it would be factory stock or modified, is to be able to drive it on a regular basis without much trouble. I love old cars, I drive a 20-plus year old car. And trying to keep it road worthy is a bit of a challenge. Doing any restoration is no easy task. Not just financially, but to be able to keep your focus on the project itself. Problems will be encountered. It is a test of determination and patience. That is why you see a lot of owners of restored cars having a big smile on their faces when people start admiring their prized possession.