Classic Car Restoration as a Hobby

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Classic Car Restoration is Not Something You Should Jump into Quickly or Start on a Whim

Having grown up with a family that loves to restore classic cars I am often asked how you can get into the hobby of classic car restoration. If you would love to restore a classic car in your spare time her are a few tips that will help make the effort more enjoyable for you!

Location

The first thing you need is an actual place to house your classic car during your classic car restoration. There are several things you need to keep in mind when choosing this location:

1) Make sure it can be easily and fully secured. Most classic car restoration projects involve storing many expensive tools, supplies, and hard to find classic car restoration parts on site. With the advent of the internet these classic car restoration items can now easily be sold on line making them a bigger target for thieves.

2) Setting up your classic car restoration in a detached location is a wise move. This is especially true if you intend to work on your classic car restoration on the weekends, after hours, or near your home. The noise, smells, and traffic from deliveries, foot traffic, painting and using machinery involved in a classic car restoration can be very disruptive to your family and neighbors.

3) Most people underestimate the size of the facility they will need for their classic car restoration. Think of the biggest space you may need for your classic car restoration and then try to find a location twice that size. Once you start disassembling your classic car and bringing in spare parts, tools, machinery, and supplies your available classic car restoration space will fill up very quickly! If you are limited in your housing choices building shelves and having vertical storage space helps you stretch the available classic car restoration space. You can also consider hanging a few things like pieces of frames or side panels to free up extra shelf and floor space during your classic car restoration.

Tools

If you don’t have tools of your own to use on your classic car restoration then setting up a network of friends willing to lend you their tools is a must. It is possible to purchase tools as you need them during your classic car restoration but they can be very expensive and sometimes are used only once or twice so the use wouldn’t justify the cost involved. You will encounter many odd and “non standard” fittings during your classic car restoration which means the range of tools needed will be much more varied. Finding a group of other people who are also into classic car restoration could net you a rich network of specialized tools at your disposal!

Parts

During your classic car restoration you will discover a large number of body, as well as mechanical parts, will need to be replaced completely. While these items can be fabricated it is not always easy, or inexpensive, to do so. The difficulty increases the rarer your classic car restoration is. For a first attempt a more common car, like a Mustang or Camero, would be a good choice. Just make sure that you really love the car you are going to restore since you will be putting about 1200 hours into bringing your classic car back to life. You don’t want to get bored with it half way through. Build a network of people who are restoring the same type of classic car you are and trade parts back and forth. Ask people where they obtained parts for their classic car restoration and keep your ears open for as many sources as you can find. These will be invaluable to you in the future!

Cost

A classic car restoration can quickly become a “money pit” if you are not careful. This is especially true if you are determined to restore your classic car to original condition. While this is not always possible, or even desirable, some classic car restoration purist insist that it is the only way a classic car restoration should be done. If this is not important to you then many hours of labor and a substantial amount of money can be saved. Just make sure you set your budget ahead of time, then double or triple it! Most classic car restorations run into many thousands of dollars. Make sure you are prepared for how expensive it could actually end up being.

Time

As I mentioned earlier a classic car restoration takes an average of about 1000 to 1200 hours to complete. If you only have a few hours every weekend to devote to your classic car restoration you could potentially be looking a many years, if not a lifetime, to complete it. Classic car restorations are a labor of love, not necessarily a wise financial investment. The time you put into your classic car restoration most likely will net your nothing but the pride of owning a classic car as well as the feeling of accomplishment for having completed your classic car restoration yourself.

In the end driving down the road behind the wheel of your fully restored classic car can be the ultimate thrill. Classic car restoration, however, is not something to jump into quickly or start on a whim. If you take these areas into consideration your classic car restoration should go much more smoothly!

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