Buying a Hobby Car
By Jim McGowan/autoMedia.com
Follow these rules religiously for success! -
The first commandment of becoming a car restorer is deciding what car to restore. You must first love the vehicle or the project will be an exercise in frustration. Most people have a favorite make and model, possibly the first car they ever owned or one they always wanted but couldn't afford at the time. Before you begin your vehicle search, do your homework.
|Check the availability of reproduction or original parts such as exterior trim, interior seat-cover kits, and engine and suspension replacement parts. The Internet is an excellent source for this research. Buying a car you can't find parts for is a major cause of project burnout. Carefully consider the vehicle, whether car or truck, and make sure you really want to emotionally and financially tackle the restoration. If you don't choose wisely and simply buy on a whim, the consequences can be costly.|
The second very important commandment is deciding how much you have to spend. You must establish a budget and timeline for your restoration. The budget should include the cost of the vehicle (your homework again), body and paint work (usually the second most expensive phase) and all the other items that might be needed—such as shop labor if you have two thumbs per hand. Obviously, if you want the resto done quickly, the cost will increase accordingly. If you aren't in a hurry, set a completion date of one or more years, tailored to fit your financial situation. Always budget high: part costs can increase, and there will always be hidden expenditures you didn't count on. Remember, more is always better than not enough!
Do It Yourself
Are you a wrench? Having some mechanical ability is an absolute requirement. Knowing the basics of how a vehicle works, what goes on inside an internal-combustion engine, or the components of a suspension are all important to success. The only way around this is to spend big bucks to have your automotive love massaged by some other guys. Decide what you can accomplish and what you need help to finish. Most DIY restorers don't tackle the bodywork and final paint because this is such an important part of the finished project. But, with a little self-education, even basic bodywork can be learned by a novice restorer. Commandment three is to save as much money as possible by doing thy work thyself.