For many, they have a burning ambition to restore a classic vehicle at some point in their lives. Long hours in the garage, tools in the hands, and bringing an old car back to its former glory. As rewarding as a restoration is, there are some important considerations before making a huge decision and spending money – especially with a European vehicle.
Before you get started with any restoration, the one thing we would say is that you need to be passionate about the project. Perhaps it’s an old family car or your dream car, maybe you just want to make some money, there still needs to be a desire for the final result. If you aren’t connected and aren’t motivated to see how the car will look at the end, the long nights and weekends will be almost impossible to bear. If you have the passion, all of these other considerations won’t be so much of a problem.
Your Time and Money
Have you ever seen a TV show where they restore a vehicle for very little money and in under two weeks? Well, this is incredibly rare. Not only is vehicle restoration time-consuming, it can also be expensive. When restoring a European vehicle, you might have problems chasing up the right parts, and getting them to your home is another issue entirely. For some, they spend months and even years scrambling for the right parts (and for the budget too!).
Before even starting, we recommend properly assessing the size of the project that lies before you. After doing this, you can research parts and even come up with a budget. For many people, they find the restoration much more enjoyable in the knowledge that they’re sticking within a budget. Otherwise, you’re buying parts and ordering them in without realizing how much you’ve spent (and still need to spend!). Sometimes, this causes rifts in relationships and the whole situation can turn sour.
If you only have a small budget and you haven’t yet decided on a car, we recommend choosing a European model where the parts are readily available. For example, a simple Mini will always have parts available all around the world. When you choose a niche vehicle, you will end up paying over the odds for even the smallest of parts.
Additionally, we always advise people to think about their own skill level. If you’re an absolute beginner, perhaps sign up for a local course in machining, welding, and body repair before buying a vehicle. Often, people think about the time required to restore a vehicle without considering the time needed to brush up their own skills.
For those with not so much experience, we recommend choosing a vehicle that won’t prove too difficult. With cleaning and a couple of new parts, you will learn more about restorations and how they work. As you build confidence, then you can attempt the full restoration.
Finally, what do you actually want to do with the car? If your aim is to sell the model on for a profit, our advice on budgeting becomes even more important. In the past, plenty of people have spent over $10,000 only to discover that the vehicle is worth significant less. If your goal is to have a restored European classic in the garage, budget won’t play as much of a role in your decision making.
As long as you remember these considerations before and during restoring a vehicle, you will be successful (while also having fun!). Good luck!