classic car restoration
Automobile Maintenance

Auto Advice – 10 Tips for Classic Car Restoration

Are you a car enthusiast looking to turn back to hands of time on a classic car?

Classic car restoration is undoubtedly one of the most fulfilling hobbies if you’re a car lover, but it’s no simple feat.

Restoring what some people may see as a ‘hunk of junk’ into a masterpiece takes time, patience and expertise.

Some may even argue that classic car restoration is nothing short of pure art!

If you are a hands-on car enthusiast and plan to embark on restoring a classic car to its former glory, there are few pointers you ought to know.

In this blog, we highlight 10 handy tips for your classic car restoration.

10 Tips on Classic Car Restoration

While there is much anticipation around securing a classic car, with plenty of potential for restoration, there are a few realities to face first.

As a car owner and enthusiast, you no doubt have an understanding of how to evaluate the condition of a car.

This is the first question you need to ask yourself – is the car beyond repair or can it be viably restored? It’s high time to be realistic about your project.

Here are 10 top tips on classic car restoration to consider:

1. Establish Restoration Viability

This is a serious question you need to consider before pumping hundreds of Dollars into a project which, potentially, isn’t even viable to begin with.

Before embarking on your classic car restoration, you will need to establish these basics first:

  • Your overall project budget
  • A viable, accessible workspace you can access in the time frame you have
  • Establish a realistic time frame and make leeway for project set-backs
  • Establish your skill level and source experts for particular parts of the project, where needed

Once you have established these basics for your project, thereafter everything should run like a well-oiled machine.

2. Will Your Classic Car Retain Its Value?

While there are piles of old, scrappy cars in need of restoration, the worst decision you could make is to settle on an old car, of little value – even once it’s restored.

It’s wise to fork out a little extra in the initial purchase of a car model, as once it’s restored, the value could increase, ten-fold.

Make sure you do a little research on models of cars which hold more value and popularity once they have undergone a complete restoration.

3. Rust Is Not Your Friend

The amount of rust you have to deal with during your classic car restoration depends on the age of the car and where it has spent most of its time.

Rust damage can be an extremely time-consuming and costly task, including full stripping of the chassis and sand-blasting every inch of metal exposed to rust.

If you are dead-set on restoring a rusty hunk-of-junk, be prepared to put in the leg-work.

It’s important to be realistic about set-backs when it comes to sourcing new parts which may need to be fully replaced because of rust damage.

4. How Much Life Is Left in Your Beloved Classic?

If you can get your hands on a car that still starts, half the challenge of classic car restoration has been won!

If not, you will have a fair bit of time and added expense going into your project.

If you purchase a car which doesn’t start and has been standing for a number of years means you will to face one of two realities:

  1. Replace the battery, starter motor or fuel pump
  2. Replace the engine entirely, building it up from scratch

A seized engine is basically your worst case scenario when it comes to classic car restoration, so this is something to weigh-up when purchasing your model.

5. Establish The Level of Restoration Needed

There are four levels of car restoration. Before embarking on your project, you need to decide on the level of restoration you have the time and budget for.

Driver Restoration

This is the most basic level of restoration, ensuring the car is returned to full function, with minor cosmetic additions.

Street Show Restoration

A little more complicated, this bring the car back to full function, while restoring all major cosmetic aspects of the car, including bodywork.

Show Car Restoration

As the name suggests, this involves transforming a car back to full function, while requiring professional bodywork and a close concentration on cosmetics.


The creme-de-la-creme of car restoration, this is where all work is carried out by professionals, including part replacement, cosmetics, and bodywork.

6. How Accessible Are Replacement Parts?

When it comes to replacement parts for your project, it’s important to make sure these are available ahead of time.

A shortage of parts is a sure-fire way to slow your project down to several weeks behind schedule!

If you purchase an uncommon model of car, replacement parts may not be available on the aftermarket or way too expensive – blowing your budget out of the water.

Do some research on replacement parts and plan your project schedule and budget accordingly.

7. Consider the Help of an Expert

When it comes to the final decision on your purchase of a model of car for restoration, consider using the help and advice of an expert.

If you have a friend, acquaintance or know someone in the industry with a little more knowledge on auto restoration, their advice could go a long way.

Feedback from someone with experience and expertise could end up saving you money, time and many an unforeseen setback.

8. Follow a Two-Step Restoration Procedure

If you are sending your vehicle into an auto-shop for the restoration process, ensure a two-step procedure is followed.

This includes focusing on part replacements first, then chassis adjustments if needed.

Remember, there is no harm in visiting the auto-shop as often as you can to check-up on part replacement procedures.

This is a great way to ensure your vision is being brought to life as you’d planned and according to your schedule.

9. Run a Detailed Project Inspection

This is extremely important in ascertaining whether your car restoration expectations have been met – especially if the work has been done by an auto-shop.

Regardless, it’s important to do a full inspection of your fully restored vehicle once your project is complete.

Take it out on the open road for a feel of how it rides, make a report of fuel consumption and listen to how it sounds.

10. Maintenance Is Key

This really is a no-brainer, but since you’ve spent so much time and effort on restoring your classic, maintenance is important to keep things in tip-top condition.

Remember to take your car to recommended service centers and use only recommended parts and products during its upkeep.

The last thing you need to be searching for is a ‘Craig Swapp and Associates car accident attorney near me‘!

Get Serious About Car Restoration

Classic car restoration is not for the faint-of-heart but can be a very rewarding hobby.

If you’re serious about car restoration and want to learn about the detailed history of classic cars, then Motor Era supplies it all.

Visit our blog for all things automotive repair and restoration!