Is Restoring a Classic Car the Right Hobby for You?
There are many reasons that a person may become enamored with a particular make and model of car. Perhaps he or she saw it on a movie or television program growing up. Common objects of this sort of media-inspired automotive lust include the DeLorean DMC-12 from the “Back to the Future” films and the Ferrari Testarossa from 1980s cop show “Miami Vice.” For other people, landing on a favorite car may have a less certain origin. Maybe there is just something about the looks, attitude, or history of a particular model that speaks to them.
Unfortunately, by the time most people are able to actually afford their dream car, it has already been out of production for a very long time. Consequently, they are stuck with choosing between either a perfectly maintained and/or restored example — which is often very expensive — or a well-used one with various issues and problems.
The Appeal of D.I.Y.
While the car-show-perfect option is certainly nice if your bank account can handle it, the latter path is more practical and accessible for most folks. Even if money is not an issue, though, many enthusiasts are still drawn to the automotive “fixer-upper.” Taking a car from a state of neglect and disrepair and bringing it back to its former glory is an exciting and rewarding process. It creates a connection between the owner and the car that wouldn’t exist if the vehicle was perfect from the start.
Don’t Think of it as An Investment
If part of your motivation for restoring an old car is the desire to eventually sell it and make a profit, you should stop right now. While it is certainly true that many classic cars fetch wildly high prices at auctions, these are the exceptions. The vast majority of restored classics sell for substantially less than their owners have invested in them. Especially as a first-timer, put any and all thoughts of your car as an investment out of your mind. This should be a hobby, not a get-rich-quick scheme.
Devise a Budget Before Jumping In
Between the cost of the vehicle, parts, labor, and the countless unexpected expenses that are a standard part of the restoration process, taking a past-its-prime vehicle from beater to beautiful is never cheap. It pays to know what you’re getting yourself into. Sites like Blue Sky Classic Cars allow you to request a quote on your restoration project. This can be a very useful way to get a realistic idea of what the process is actually going to cost you.
If you’ve ever decorated your bedroom walls with car posters or been entranced with a particular vehicle you saw speeding down the highway, you known the unique allure that these machines can have. Restoring a classic automobile can be a fun and rewarding undertaking, just be sure you’re prepared for the unexpected and are willing to learn a lot along the way.