Classic car restoration is a very rewarding experience and nothing can surpass the enormous feeling of satisfaction you will get when you take ‘her’ out for a spin for the first time! It can, however, be a very expensive business and, consequently, you will need to consider your budget very carefully.
Much will depend on the make and model of classic car that you intend restoring, of course, and a sensible starting point would be to conduct an informal ‘cost/benefit analysis’. This will help you determine your budget. In simple terms, it is about arriving at the right amount of money to commit to the project in relation to the anticipated value of the car, once restored. It’s much like property development in this respect. There is no point spending £250,000 renovating a house that will be worth £220,000 when you have finished and, likewise, there is little point in spending £25,000 to restore an MG Roadster that will only be worth £15,000 when you have finished.
There are people for whom money will be no object, of course, and also those for whom the sentimental value of their classic car will outweigh all budgetary considerations. But for most of us the budget must bear some relationship to the value of the car.
Once you have settled upon your budget you can then set about starting the restoration itself. Needless to say, the more work that you are able to do yourself the cheaper will be the restoration but using a professional restoration company is a realistic option for many, especially if you do the preparatory work yourself.
There are specialists in the UK skilled at restoring just about every classic car part that you will require. There are also manufacturers of new and reconditioned parts for the most popular of classic cars and so replacing a worn out part with a new one may be a cheaper option. Again, remember the ‘cost/benefit analysis’!
Choosing your restorer will be perhaps your most important decision. If your classic car has an owners’ club, seek a recommendation there. Some owners’ clubs also have their own workshop, for example, the MG Owner’s Club in Cambridge, and they will be the obvious starting point. Try classic car magazines and local shows too and, as with all such decisions, word of mouth recommendation carries a high premium.
Once you have chosen your restorer, agree the budget with them and insist that they notify you immediately should any additional work come to light. Again, keep in mind your ‘cost/benefit analysis’ when considering any further expenditure. Stay in touch with the restoration too and all being well you will end up with a classic car to be proud of!