It is possible to restore a classic car on a limited budget, but only when a project has been properly planned. Classic car restoration should never be rushed. It’s more important to learn how to complete the project without spending a fortune.
You will need to make some evaluations and decisions before you start looking for the right classic car and try to locate the best sources for replacement parts. You also need to assess what you are capable of doing yourself and how much you will have to pay for professional services.
Take Time to Choose a Classic Car
First you require a car to restore. Look at classic car ads online and in magazines and start asking around. Another classic car enthusiast might know of something suitable that is awaiting restoration.
The cost is going to be lower for a restoration project that you work on from start to finish, but then you might have to spend more money on replacement parts.
If you choose a car that is already partially restored, because someone has been unable to complete the project, the expense involved in finishing the job will be less. It will, however, cost you more to purchase.
Find the Cheapest Source for Parts
You need to decide on whether or not you are prepared to compromise on authenticity. When you list all the parts that are needed, you have to consider your budget. This will determine which parts you require to be original or branded parts and what you can buy at a lower price.
The cheapest option is to visit car salvage companies and ask if they have parts available from a similar vehicle.
When looking for low cost parts online, the best sources to go to are sites for classic car collectors where members are allowed to list and sell spare parts. You can also search the Internet for similar cars being sold off for spares.
Learn to Make Your Own Repairs
The only way you are going to save money on car restoration is by doing the work yourself. How much money you can actually save will depend on your own skills as a mechanic and your knowledge of classic car maintenance.
You could have problems in diagnosing or fixing something that is best left to a professional car mechanic, and it might cost more money if you make a mistake that later needs to be put right. It can also be easy to mess things up if you don’t seek expert help when you encounter difficulties and when you don’t have the right answers.
Ask for help or advice from classic car enthusiasts who have practical experience in restoration. You can gain access to expert advice by joining an Internet forum about car restoration and by visiting classic car club websites.
Plan Your Budget
Assess the cost of everything that will be required in order to complete the restoration. You will need a garage or a carport that provides shelter from the weather. You should also have an owner’s manual for the model of car and the right tools for the job.
Add up the cost of all the tools you need to buy, all the accessories and parts, the wheels and the tyres, any replacement doors or panels, car paints and any professional services you require. Then factor in the unforeseen costs that could take you by surprise, by adding an additional 30% onto your final figure.
Plan Your Schedule
Planning is important at every stage of a restoration project. If the car needs to be dismantled, this should be planned from the bottom up. Make an inventory of every nut, bolt and part that needs removing so it can be salvaged or replaced. If you compile this list as you work, it will help you to know where each item has come from. The last thing you want is to end up with leftover pieces, not knowing what they are or where they came from.
Depending on how much time you have available, you should allow at least a year to get your project completed. It’s important that you don’t rush to get it finished and that you get plenty of enjoyment from working on the renovation of your classic car.