Body Shop or DIY? A Quick Guide to Restoring Your Classic Car

Can you hear the roar of the engine? Can you see the gleam of the sun as it reflects off the pristine paint job? How beautiful it is: the love enthusiasts have for their classic cars! Have you ever dreamed of rolling up your sleeves and getting elbow-deep into hands-on repair or restoration of a classic car? If this is the first time you are considering a DIY restoration operation, take a look at these pros and cons before making your decision.

The Pros of DIY Restoration

  • Great Support – There is a large community dedicated to car restoration and the Internet makes it easier than ever to communicate. When you have a doubt, concern or need for a rare part, it’s easy to find the answer.
  • Quality – You can be sure that you won’t skimp on a quality job. All the long hours and attention to detail are part of the journey.
  • Customization – You are the one calling the shots! You make all the decisions. If you want a custom color, accessory or even change the steering wheel shaft, you are the one with the power to choose.
  • Personal Rewards – Choosing to take on a huge project and knowing you have completed it on your own is rewarding. It is also cause for a celebration and years of bragging rights!

The Cons of DIY Restoration

  • Time – If you are not an expert in restoration, working on cars, and especially, if you don’t have an entire body shop at your disposal, it can be incredibly time-consuming. The amount of time spent searching for parts, putting in elbow grease or just sanding away can take away from time you need to dedicate to other projects.
  • Cost – Searching out individual parts and specific high-quality materials can be costly. Even when participating in junk-yard events that offer discounts by letting you find and retrieve your own parts, you may not get the greatest deals. You might also have to factor in the cost of transportation if the car doesn’t run properly. And you may have to purchase more than one costly and job-specific machine. Will you use these tools again? Or try to sell them afterwards to earn some of your money back?
  • Little Value – After all of the time, money and effort put into your car, you may not make a profit off of it. If the plan is to keep the classic beauty for personal enjoyment, the value is sentimental, but if the plan is to sell it, make a budget first.

Consider This

It is important to think about a few things before you get started.

  • What is the reason for taking on this project? Starting retirement or having loads of free time might seem like the perfect time to take on a project such as at-home car restoration. Did you see the car on the side of the road and now you want to buy it on a whim? Consider the situation carefully.
  • What state is the car in and how much restoration is needed? If the car has been abandoned, unloved and left to rust in an old barn for decades, you must evaluate it carefully. Think logically about how much of a commitment you can make to this damsel in distress with your time and your money.
  • Who gets to keep it? If your plan is to make this baby shine like new again and take her out for joy rides around town, well, that sounds splendid. If your idea is to work on this with a relative as a gift project and bonding time, that could work, too. If you want to clean it up and turn it out at an auction, carefully examine the current state and its profitability.
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