Whether you are considering purchasing an antique or classic car, restoring one, or having one restored, understanding some basics of antique car restoration is important. While collecting restored cars or doing a classic car restoration yourself can be both exciting and a good investment, not all restoration projects are the same.
Defining your goals before purchasing or restoring a car is important. If you just want something to own and enjoy, that is one goal. If you plan to buy a car and restore it to sell for a profit, then you will have different goals. You might fall somewhere in between, hoping to own the car for a while, but see a profit when you sell it. Depending on which of these goals fits you best, your restoration approach will be different.
Unless your goal is to own the car and never sell it for profit, be very mindful of the value of the car. If a car has a top value of $8,000, then you don’t want to invest $10,000 in restoration. That would be a losing proposition. So, get a good understanding of the value of your vehicle before purchasing or beginning a restoration project.
In order for a car to qualify as an antique or classic car, it needs to be restored to its factory condition. This means a sunroof on a car that didn’t come equipped with one, excludes it from being classic, and therefore reduces the value. Understand what options were available on any classic car or antique car you plan to purchase or restore.
If you plan to buy a restored car or have one restored, get an understanding of how much restoration work should cost. Paying $10,000 for a restoration job that should have cost $5,000 does not add to the value, but will subtract from your wallet. Similarly, if a seller tells you they spent that $10,000 on a restoration and it should have only been $5,000, they increased the value by $5,000, not 10. In addition, the value of the car will not exceed the top value, so spending that $10,000 on a car that’s worth $8,000, nets an $8,000 vehicle.
Quality work is needed to be considered real restoration work. So, if you are planning to take on the restoration yourself, don’t try something that’s beyond your skill set, or you might be paying to have it redone. Similarly, don’t buy a car that’s been restored poorly. If your idea is to pay for restoration work, ask to see examples of previous work and look for the quality level.
Getting into antique and classic car restoration can be exciting. It can also be an investment that grows in value with time. You need to be mindful of the basics before starting, though, to avoid frustration and overspending on a money trap.