How To Restore A Classic Car On A Budget


It only takes a few simple steps to learn how to restore a classic car. The actual process of restoration, however, requires lots of time and proper budgeting for the same. It can take up to 1,000 or even more for one to restore a classic car fully, a reason why one should plan his/her time accordingly.

Car restoration also means you will need lots of new parts, which also translate to money. The money factor shouldn’t, however, stop you from achieving your goals and dreams.  Outlined below are a few tips on how to restore a car on a budget.

Finding/Identifying A Car

You need first to identify/find a car to restore.  You could either start by looking for partially restored classic cars (will cost more upfront) or simply scout for a complete project to work on. Many of the people that start on a car restoration process do not complete the project- This may be due to either time or financial constraints. Such partially restored projects will only require less money and parts to complete. Identifying a complete project to work on can be quite tasking. You might not only have to talk to classic car enthusiasts for leads, but also check online ads and magazines to find one.

classic carsIt would, however, be advisable to take your time and consider each prospect carefully before making a decision. One thing is, however, for sure, the more work a car needs, the more parts you will need, and the longer it will take to complete.

Finding Parts For The Project

The car will, without a doubt, need quite a number of spare parts. You might be able to reclaim some from the car and engine but will still have to spend money on lots of other items and parts for the car to start running again.

parts for classic carsThe first and cheapest route to take when shopping for vehicle parts is the vehicle salvage center. Be sure to check with all vehicle salvage centers to see if they have the parts you are looking for before making an order. You might also want to check online for the same as well. Online car collector groups may save you lots of trouble finding parts that are no longer in production. You might also get most of these parts at a discount as well.

Restoring The Car

The only logical way you could save money restoring a classic car is if you do it yourself. You will, however, need a garage to be able to do this. In addition to a garage, you need to have plenty of experience in cars, the owner’s manual, and a wide range of auto tools as well. While it might be challenging, car restoration is one of the most enjoyable activities for many car enthusiasts, which is why you could ask a friend (with a similar passion) to help out. He/she must, however, have plenty of restoration experience to be of help.

restore a classic carAlthough the condition of the car dictates how much work needs to be done, we would recommend taking on the bodywork yourself.  Handle much of the tough work such as panel beating, realignment, and priming if you can. This way, you’ll only spend money on a professional paint job, saving much more in the process.

As mentioned earlier, the process of restoring a classic car takes time.  This is because you will be sources for parts elsewhere, doing much of the work yourself, and still handling other aspects of life. Don’t be surprised if the restoration process takes up to a year to complete. Patience is key here. For help with you r restoration project visit

Planning A Car Restoration Project

Proper planning is key to a successful restoration project.  Several factors/evaluations ought to be put into consideration before starting on the project.

✔ Assess the car: Assessing the car first gives you an idea of how much needs to be done. Some of the factors to assess include: Is the vehicle in a good running condition? Was it damaged from an accident? It is an old rusty basket or has it been off the road for a long time. Some cars will require minimal restoration, while others demand a lot.

✔ Decide on authenticity: You will obviously need to buy several parts for the restoration. Do you wish to stick on brand/original parts, or are you willing to make compromises here and there?  While it would be advisable to stick to original parts on certain parts, you can as well compromise on a few, non-vital parts.

✔ DIY: Trained mechanics will have a good time working on a do-it-yourself restoration project. The same cannot, however, be said with someone with little to no experience in car mechanics. Although you could save a good deal of money in a DIY, you probably will save even more going to a pro in the first place. This is particularly recommended if you have little knowledge, experience, and skill in this. Even the experienced mechanics ask other professionals for help too.

✔ Determine a working budget: The only proper way to do this would be by taking inventory of everything. This includes panels, doors, wheels, tires, pains, auto parts, and accessories. Be sure to include professional help in this as well. Once sure everything is accounted for, you should then add 30% of the total amount to the budget, to act as a buffer. This will protect you in case of extra expenses and fluctuating part prices. Taking all these into consideration also lowers the risk of nasty surprises.

✔ Plan/create a work schedule: Run a review of everything that needs to be done on the project car. Will it require dismantling? If so, remove all the parts that ought to be replaced and restored while taking a catalog of the same. You don’t want to be left with a jar of bolts and nuts that weren’t used in the project. Allocate enough time for each process, and start from the bottom up.

✔ Seek help: As mentioned earlier on, even the most experienced professionals in car restorations do need help at some point. You are not any different.  The risk of messing up is higher when working alone, than if you had a friend or another expert lending a helping hand. Simply talking to other professionals, and seeking advice on certain parts and approaches can help make your work much easier, and the restoration process a success.

restoration project

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