thinking of restoring classic car


Old 04-30-06, 10:40 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 28
thinking of restoring classic car

Hey everyone,
I've been thinking of restoring a classic car for quite some time now, but I've never done anything of the sort. Is there any good material out there for reading that will help me get a better grasp of what i can expect? Magazines, books, etc. i need to make sure this will be a good investment.
what kind of cars is it easiest to find parts for? i'd be pretty upset if i started one that i couldnt even find parts for.
thanks for any advice!
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Old 05-01-06, 05:15 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Cinti, OH
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Classic car restoration is a great hobby. The one thing to remember is that they are rarely ever considered an investment because you will have more money and time in them than you can resell it for. 2nd generation Camaros and Novas are very easy to get parts for. There are also several models of Fords like Torinos and Fairlanes that can be relatively easy to get parts for. Mopars are hands down the most expensive car to restore but will be worth the most when done.

the number one thing to look for when shopping for a project is rust. Especially frame, and under body. So be prepaier to crawl underneath before deciding.
Old 05-01-06, 10:09 AM
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If you're married, how does the spouse feel about the idea? It will be time & money consuming and a lot of wives don't like to put up with it.
Old 05-01-06, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 4,320
It will only be a good investment if you enjoy it
It is never a good financial investment
You will put more money and time into it than you will recoup if sold when finished
If you are looking for a financial investment, it's better to buy one already restored

That doesn't mean it's not a great hobby that I enjoy immensely
It's just not a good "investment" for money making purposes

A good overview of such a project is "The Classic Car Restorer's Handbook" published by HP Books

A good magazine is Auto Restorer

The Hemmings publications are also top-notch and full of good information
Hemmings Motor News etc:
Old 05-01-06, 02:53 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 28
Originally Posted by slickshift
It will only be a good investment if you enjoy it
It is never a good financial investment
i'm not looking forward to this being a 'financial investment' just a hobbie that i can do when i'm older with my kids. i'm talking something like 10 years down the road here.

Originally Posted by slickshift
If you are looking for a financial investment, it's better to buy one already restored
i was also considering buying one partially restored. i've heard many people saying that the best investment is to get one that someone has already started, that way you dont loose AS much money.

thanks for the magazines and books, i plan to do ALOT of research before starting this. i want to make sure i know what i'm in for and dont turn out to be the one selling a partially finished car.
Old 05-01-06, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 4,320
It sounds like you've got a handle on it then

Somebody's 1/2 done project can be a great deal
(Just make sure anything in boxes is priced accordingly
Just because it looks right doesn't mean the part will even fit-if it's not on the car-assume it doesn't fit)

A little research can go a long way
That's the way to do it
Look for parts availability, repro companies, swap meets etc...

It will help as you don't want it right away, so you can wait until the right deal comes your way

Don't go by price now, ten years ago you couldn't give away a Dodge with a trunk full of beer and a glove box full of free pizza coupons
Now "Hemi" clones (plain-janes duded up with the muscle car engines and stuff) can fetch over 100K

Hemmings will have publications in various niches of collectible/restorables
They can be helpful in suggesting future trends, availability of parts, and affordable now-get'em while you can projects
As well as actual project cars for sale

The Eastwood Company is also a great resource for the actual hands-on work
They sell restoration products, but are extremely involved with the hobby, and very much into providing good information to the hobbyists (and professionals)
Old 08-01-06, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 18
First off, if you restore a classic car IMO it's a labor of love. You asking what kind of a car to purchase makes me doubt your passion of the hobby itself; therefore, I question how serious you are about this hobby and if you will have what it takes to complete it.

I don't mean that rudely, just stating that it's always easy to see a nice car all fixed up and think Wow! but w/o the true passion to build and own one, you will bore and frustrate easily and most likely give up.

Other things to consider:

- Wife's opinion. There will come a time when you spend more time on the car than her, and it can cause problems. Make sure she supports your decision.

- Cash flow. Restoration = $$$.

- Time. Do you have any to spare? Sounds odd, but many people like myself always find themself running here and there and don't have much time at home to tinker.

- Daily driver. Do you have another vehicle to drive while this is being restored? Preferably a truck so you can easily haul parts, tires, etc.

- Tools. Do you have the necessary tools to complete a restoration? Or at least the financial resources to obtain them. The more work you do yourself, the more you save but also the more tools you normally require. Granted, you will likely have the tools the rest of your life, but they still cost $$$ up front.

- Knowledge. Do you posses a good mechanical knowledge on how to piece things together? Can you build an engine? Can you do body work? While you can certainly hire all this out, you need at least a general knowledge of how it all works.

Again, I'm not being negative. Just think about it before you jump in. I personally love old muscle cars and would love to restore either a '68 Camaro or '67 Mustang. I can think of a few Mopars too, but those 2 are my favorite. If I find either for a decent price I will have a project myself, but I already know my answers to the above questions.

If you have the passion and ability, I can't think of a better thing to do. But I love cars, and if my $$$ resource was unlimited I'd own dozens of them.

Good luck with it!
Old 08-01-06, 09:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Town of Islington
Posts: 5
You give some great advice.
My wife looks at it like this, at least I'm in the garage and not out at the Gentlemen's Clubs

I have been working on someones half started project. I do expect it to take up to 5 yrs or more to complete (by all means not a concourse restoration either.) more like a 10 footer.

Take your time to find a vehicle that you will enjoy working on, I bought an "ODDITY" only cuz thats ME! The 58 Chevy was a one year deal, the body style was not carried from 57 nor did it continue on to 59.

Last edited by mattison; 08-02-06 at 05:44 AM. Reason: Links to outside forums removed.
Old 08-03-06, 05:47 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 157
Keep in mind that a full restoration can sap the enthusiasm pretty quick I bet. Imagine a project with your kids that takes many years. Only incremental return during that time. What I mean is you can appreciate the door panel that you fixed up, or getting the dash back together, but no cruising for years.

Maybe you can get a drivable car that needs a lot of work. A few years ago I inherited my grandfather's '60 T'bird. It was in running condition when I got it, but after a few short drives it was clear I needed brakes bad. After those were done, I wouldn't run cool so I put in new hoses, a thermostat and radiator cap. Then, it would run and drive pretty good, so I've been able to enjoy it each year as I work on other stuff. And there's always plenty of other stuff!

I've got a growing list of projects (redo-ing the interior panels, new seat covers, new top, new front suspension components, new shocks, repair the power windows, etc) but I can enjoy it as I go. That might go over better with the kids (and you).

The other thing is to find a forum like this one for your car. There are several for my 'Squarebird' and they are great sources of help, advice and sometimes even parts. Do a Google search and check places like Yahoo Groups.

It can be a lot of fun.
Old 08-06-06, 05:00 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: elkton,Md
Posts: 27
70 nova

I got a 70 nova .Parts are easy to get .I got most of mine through the internet .Sits like and the .Ive been working on it for about 8 years or so.Its a good hobby .I like working with my hands,getting a little dirty dosen't hurt.I would post a picture but for some reason they will not let us on this sit .dont be in a big hurry if you plane on restoring a car .I do a little at a time.when I get the extra money I put into my car .
Old 08-06-06, 06:13 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Cinti, OH
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You can host your picture on a free site like photobucket and the provide a link from here.

I had a 73' SS Nova 350 built, 4spd muncie, 12 bolt 3:73. That was a very fun car. The guy I sold it to, trashed it and crashed it.

My current project is a 79' Z-28. I've got the rear end out now. It wont hook up and my 60' time in the 1/4 mile stinks. I'm adding a posi "3:73", sub-frame connectors, and adjustable traction bars "Cal-Tracks"

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