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Classic Car Restoration Planning Guide

Part 2 of a series on vehicle restoration


Classic car restoration always sounds like fun to auto enthusiasts. Of course, there is a lot of work involved with these projects, as well.

Details By Mark can provide professional advice for any classic car restoration. Remember that every project is different — you may need to have some specialized work done for the restoration to be a success.

What makes a project a classic car restoration?

As discussed in part one of this series, restoration means getting any damaged car back into driving condition. Classic cars are popular choices for any such project.

Everyone has their own definition of classic, but here is the general idea:

  • Any vehicle that is at least 30 years old (per the Classic Car Club of America)
  • Older vehicles that have sentimental value, but have been parked for a very long time
  • Damaged or totaled vehicles you wish to revive from car death


How can I plan for a classic car restoration project?

This depends on the exact nature of the vehicle. If you just need to replace a few old parts, drain some old fluids and give her a fresh coat of paint, you can probably restore a classic car in a few days for under $500.

However, if you come across a 70th anniversary ’72 Cadillac Coupe de Ville in a junkyard, stripped bare and just a shell of its former glory? You’ll need a few weeks, maybe months, to find all the engine and body parts needed to restore that sweet machine. You’ll also need deep pockets to do the job right, so consult with a restoration professional as you plan this type of project.

Does a classic car restoration have to take place at a professional garage?

Strictly speaking, you could do all the work at home. Without a lift, however, some of the work will be impossible. Without a network of professionals to help you find parts, it will take time to avoid getting ripped off on body or chassis items.

Most of all, working with classic car experts means you will have experience on your side. If you have never tried replacing a damaged piston on a rusty engine block, your top dead center might be off — meaning you will just end up having to do the work all over again.

It is much better to let a pro give you a hand now than it is to nickel and dime yourself into the poor house trying to restore a classic car by yourself.

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