Classic Car Restoration: 5 Things You Need to Know

October 27, 2021

Classic car restorations are more popular now than ever before. Some decide to restore their classic car themselves while others choose a reputable classic car restoration shop near them. Either way, the classic car market is rising. So we're going to tell you the top five things you must know before you begin your classic car restoration.

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Begin Your Classic Car Restoration

1) Know the History

There's two ways in which we see most of our customers acquire their classic car: either through purchase or inheritance. When it comes to purchasing a hot rod, you can do so through a private seller, a classic car reseller, or a classic car auction such as Mecum or Barrett-Jackson.

The second most popular way our customers become hot rod owners is by inheritance. Either their dad or grandfather had one and they want to restore the vehicle to relive the good ole days.

However you acquire your classic car, it's important to know as much about the car's history as you possibly can.

Past Locations of the Vehicle

Knowing where the car has spent the majority of its life can reveal a lot of information. For example, if you recently purchased a '68 Mustang at an auction in Texas but it came from North Dakota then you will definitely want to check the underside for rust. Specifically, you'll want to check the floor pans and along the bottom of the body right behind the wheels. Winter is harsh on older vehicles in general. Vehicles from the northern part of the United States are especially prone to rust due to the salt placed on the roads.

Any Mechanical Work that Has Been Done

The iconic American muscle cars that we all know and love from the 1950's to the 1970's are at least 50 years old today with many being much older. Over the decades, it is a safe bet that there have been several mechanic issues arise and the chances that they were all fixed by the same mechanic are slim.

On the flip side, there may have been a previous restoration, engine swap, or other performance upgrades done.

Either way, be sure to get as much information as possible about any previous mechanical work or restoration that has been done.

2) What will you be using the car for?

The second thing you need to know before diving head-first into a classic car restoration is what you will be using the car for. For example, if you want to take your newly restored hot rod to the drag strip on the weekends then that is going to be a very different build compared to someone that wants a complete concourse build that is reminiscent of when the vehicle originally left the showroom floor. The future use of the vehicle will dictate what it needs to be made of to make it down the road. (pun intended!)

3) Have a Plan

This expands on the previous point. Before you start searching for a shop to restore your hot rod or classic truck, figure out what you kind of restoration that you want. Do you want a concourse restoration or a modern restomod? Gather up some photos by searching on google or going to a local car show. This includes knowing what you want for the interior and the mechanical work as well. Now, what if you don't know what you want? No problem! If you choose to have your classic restored with us, we can help you figure out what you're looking for.

4) Choose a Reputable Restoration Shop

Perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle before starting a restoration is choosing the right shop to do the work. There are lots of shops in the United States that are capable of restoring classic cars. Be sure that the shop you choose is capable of completing your project. Here are some things to look for to gauge whether or not a restoration shop is the right fit for your project.

What current projects are they working on?

If you have a shop in mind, go by and take a tour of their facility. While you're there, take a look at what current projects they have going on. If you walk in and there's nothing but general auto repair work, then that may not be the shop for you. However, if you see jobs in progress that are similar to what you're wanting done then odds are that shop is capable of taking care of your hot rod.

Is the shop insured?

Perhaps the most overlooked question to ask when visiting a shop is if they carry insurance and will your car be covered while it's a their facility. For instance, at Bumbera's Performance, we carry insurance that not only protects our facility but also everything inside of it. As an added precaution, we also ask that the customer's car be covered by their own insurance as well. This ensures that in the event of a fire, hurricane, or accident, that everything will be taken care of.

Do they understand your vision?

What good is a restoration job if it's not what you wanted? Be sure that the shop you choose fully understands what your expectations and desires are so that they are able to not only meet those expectations, but hopefully exceed them as well.

5) Potential Value

There's two reasons why one may choose to pursue a classic car restoration: either for an investment or personal enjoyment/sentimental value. If you're restoring the vehicle because it holds sentimental value to you then you already know that you can't put a price on that. So this point is more about knowing the potential value from an investment standpoint. The classic car market is rising and so more and more people are choosing classic cars as an investment option. Just like when you're restoring a house, the most important thing to keep in mind is not to overdo it. Yes, the improvements will add value but at some point you will price yourself out of the market. So, if you're restoring for the purpose of a quick investment turn around, just keep in mind what the potential value will be after the restoration and try not to spend over that. The classic car restoration shop that you choose should be able to help you navigate this part.

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