Once the decision has been made to take on a classic car restoration project, the obvious first step is to find a car to restore. On limited occasions, the question of which make and model to rebuild has been taken out of the restorer’s hands.  

These are situations, few and far between, when some lucky individual one is gifted or bequeathed an old car which may have lain in storage for  many years as part of a family or friend’s estate. 

Most people who get themselves involved in a classic car restoration have been thinking about the prospect for years.

More than likely they have been reading about it for years on as well as binge-watching the long list of tv shows on the subject.

Choosing a classic car to restore the first time requires a great deal of care and thought, although it does help to firmly preconceived ideas of the make and model that they dream of returning to its golden years.  

The restoration budget has to take into account include buying the car, renting a workshop, investing in tools and equipment -making sure to leave as large a margin an error as possible.

Early cost projections only can be estimates as the final budget can only be prepared when the car is home and the full extent of its condition assessed. Even then there inevitably be surprises once the actual restoration gets underway.

Having the time and opportunity to check out the car’s mechanical condition and bodywork should be taken with both hands. Meeting the owner is also a major plus.

That’s the reason why most first-time restorers prefer to buy privately rather than at an auction. With a few exceptions, bidding action at classic car auctions is very fast-paced, although some do offer an open day before the auction starts to car out rudimentary checks on the vehicle.

They should be sensible enough to know not to take on jobs that they cannot handle and will have enough of a budget to farm out this work to specialists.
Restorers must always remember that each classic car has been on the road probably for decades and is in a unique condition.

Once the decision has been made on the model of the car to work on, the first significant step the restorer will have to make is the extent of the restoration project they want to take on.

Before making any commitment to buy, it is important to gain a very clear idea of how much time and money the restorer willhave at their disposal. They must only choose a vehicle to restore that fits both their budget and time scale.


On the other hand, some restorers gain tremendous satisfaction in completely rebuilding their classic from scratch.

To succeed at this level, the restorer needs to possess a combination of tremendous knowledge and experience, considerable capital and the proper equipment to handle a project on this scale. 


No matter th levels of fact-finding, the actual condition of the car will only become apparent once it has arrived at the workshop with a major examination of the car’s overall state of health.   

Initial examinations should be focused on the chassis, frame and bodywork, with the mechanical aspects, while significant, surprisingly further down the list.

Once all the information has been gathered, only then wille the restorer be able to compile their overall budget that will cover all aspects of the restoration project.

During this assessment stage, the restorer needs to recognise that if they have only specific skills at their disposal and be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.









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Bargains can be had at auctions - but not always!