Restoring a classic car on average takes about 1000 hours. It’s hard to do all that work on your own and you may lack some of the technical skills and resources needed to get the job done right. If you need help with your project their are specialized shops that can help with vintage cars. Below I will share where to find a qualified antique car restoration shop, what to expect from there service, and how to use them to your full advantage. I will also share my experience with the classic car restoration near me.
Find a Classic Car Restoration Near Me…
If you’re searching for “Classic Car Restoration Near Me”, see the map below…
Restoring an antique car takes a lot of time money and skill. It also requires tools, workspace, finding parts, troubleshooting, and sometimes finding some help. This is what has led me in my life to seek out the classic car restoration near me. I sometimes start a project and stumble on an issue that I just don’t have tools and expertise for. It’s sometimes easier to pay someone who can be responsible and get it right the first time.
How the Classic Car Restoration Near Me Works
When I refer to a classic car restoration, I am not talking about your local body shop. I am talking about a place that specializes in vintage autos and can completely overhaul your resto from trunk to hood.
Theses are hardcore enthusiast shops with expert mechanic that specialize in different disciplines of restoration. This includes rust removal, structural body work, paint, welding and fabrication, automotive electric work, upholstery work, and more.
You can go to theses places and literally just drop off a car and get it back finished. Now of course that is going to be super expensive. What I really suggest is to use these places as a resource. Use them for advise, guidance, and one off issues you can’t do yourself. This keeps the project in your hands, but you spend money and your time a bit more wisely.
Why Get Help On Your Antique Car Restoration Project?…
I use to feel like doing a vintage car restoration project must be done by me and only me. Maybe the help of a friend or two to get the engine in and out. As I have gotten a bit old and smarter, I have learned to outsource tasks that I am either not good at or I simply hate doing. For example rust work!
It just makes more sense to outsource and pay for someone who specializes in antiques cars who has the tools and equipment to do certain things. The stuff I enjoy doing I would never out source like finding original parts, rebuilding interiors, and putting together the engine.
If you are thinking of trying to outsource some of your restoration project tasks here are a few to consider:
- Repair on the frame (so important the frame is solid and balanced)
- Rust removal
- Instrument & Gauge Cluster Upgrades (Good to get their ideas)
- Powertrain mods and upgrades (Good to get their ideas)
- Suspension mods and upgrades (Good to get their ideas)
- Paintwork (especially if you want something custom like flames or pinstripes)
- Headlight restoration on glass if it is extremely hazy or fogged
- Any frame off services
- Electrical work and diagnostics
- Performance upgrades (Custom tuning)
- Interior upgrades (Adding new technology)
- Chrome work on bumpers, grills, wheels, trim, etc.
- Interior upholstery work
Trying to do everything on your own wastes a lot of time. If you don’t do it right you can also waste a ton of money.
Word of Advice Before You Start an Antique Car Restoration
Before you even start a vintage car restoration find a shop to talk to. Ask them what services they do and what they specialize in. Some may do more paintwork then electrical work for example. Also get advise from them up front about what you are considering. They will know how hard it is to find parts and be able to help you frame your budget and expectations.
When You Call a Shop Be Specific About The Type of Restoration
Are you a purist who wants to keep everything original or do you want to inject some personality into the car?
You need to be very specific about what you want when you get outside help. When you put your vintage car project into someone else’s hands, they may be making important decisions on your behalf. If you want the car to look as close to the day it rolled off the production line then be very clear about it. A restoration with a focus on capturing the original will always get the most cash at resale. Imagine if you dropped off a muscle car for restoration and want it original and get back a chopped and modded hot rod.
My general philosophy though is…it’s your car. Do what you want and don’t let anyone dictate how you spend your money. Unless you are trying to restore a classic car in order to sell it, you should build a car the way you enjoy it and not build it for the next owner. There is nothing wrong with doing a resto mod.
Pain Points You May Want to Outsource…
I am not recommending outsourcing everything below, but these are some big bucket items that places like the classic car restoration near me can perform with their eyes closed.
Paint and Body Work
Whether you need cosmetic work like paint or structural body work such as creating a new panel, it’s good to consider the pros.
On a vintage car the paint will fade over time. One of the cool things about a pro restoration shop is the can take the shell and spin it on a spit to paint it. They also can do a lot of custom air brush work that most of us laymen can’t do. You find a custom car painting shop here.
Then there is body work and dealing with rust. Most people are ok banging out dings and dents, but custom fabrication and extensive rust removal is a different animal. While hopefully you chose a project with not much rust, sometimes it is unavoidable. A restoration shop can work the rust or build you a new panel.
When it comes to any body work, there is no easy path. If you see some body and paint issues that are going to extend the timeframe on your project significantly, you may want to consider calling an auto body shop.
Finding Original Parts
The longer an old car sits, the more the parts deteriorate. This leads to rust, corrosions, and seizure. Depending on the project car you can find a lot vintage car parts online, but for some projects it’s almost impossible. Calling a shop that specializes in antique auto restoration is sometimes the best move when you are stuck. These places have extensive networks and are skilled at finding rare parts.
Electric and Wiring Work
Wiring can be a challenge if you don’t have much experience with electrical work. In vintage cars that have been sitting outside, they have been exposed to moisture and rodents. Both of which can cause major damage to a cars wiring components. A classic car restoration will not only to replace the wiring. but they will know in detail how the original wiring was laid and the specifics for the voltage requirements.
Adding and removing mechanical parts is some of the more fun work in my opinion. Where it gets complicated is if you are considering an engine or transmission rebuild. Rebuilding, while more expensive, is often the more reliable option over buying used. If you don’t know how to rebuild through you can impact the timing and cause more damage to the parts then you started with. There are shops that do engine rebuilds and transmission rebuilds for you in just a few days. Many of them offer guarantees on their work as well for unlimited mileage.
Damaged seats, ripped carpets, missing trim, broken gauges, and other interior issues can all be outsourced. What I would particularly seek help with is if you find rotten floor boards, wet carpet, and mold. While removing surface mold in a car is easy, there is clearly something allowing water into the cabin. If you don’t seal where the water or moisture is coming from you are going to have issues in the future.
Choosing the Best Classic Car Restoration Shop
You can find a shop that does complete tear downs or shops that specialize in a specific discipline. I tend to like shops that specialize in something. For example I have paint guy at one shop, but I go to somewhere else for complicated upholstery work. I tend to see better results and it’s a better way to spend my money when I want the best work for my project
When picking a classic car restoration near me here is what I do:
- Call around to different places, get quotes, and talk shop.
- Get before and after pictures of their past projects.
- Read reviews and testimonials on Yelp and Google.
- Get them to estimate how long the work will take.
- Ask about what guarantees and assurances do I have.
If you are working the vehicle to sell it to someone who buys classic cars, carefully consider your budget to leave room for profit.
Classic Car Restoration Near Me – Conclusion
When you set out to do an antique car restoration, you need to be ready for anything. Doing it on your own is amazing, but it takes a lot of time, money, tools, and workspace to get it completed. If the resto is your dream car, then there it makes no sense to concede to anything, but your best effort.
Half the fun of a restoration is doing it yourself, but you should know when to call an expert and get help. Vintage restoration shops do this for a living, they have likely worked a car just like yours, and will know exactly what to do. Even if you choose not to hire them most places will guide you in the right direction to do it on your own. That is my experience with the classic car restoration near me.
If you estimate it will take 1,000 man-hours to complete the job, and you have 20 hours a week to work on it, the job will take you 50 weeks to complete. That's almost an entire year. If you have someone willing to put in the same amount of time, that cuts it down to six months.How do you know if your classic car is a frame off restoration? ›
It's easy to tell when a classic car has had a true frame-off restoration, because you can look underneath and see the complete lack of rust, paint damage, and other telltale signs of wear and tear.What is the difference between original and restored classic car? ›
Original classics are very rare and therefore hold their value. Restored cars, by definition, are transformed and may or may not garner enough to cover the cost of restoration. And resto-mods are the hardest to predict.What is the easiest classic car to restore? ›
- 1967 – 69 Chevrolet Camaro. ...
- 1967 – 76 Dodge Dart. ...
- 1971 – 72 Pontiac GTO. ...
- 1970 – 72 Chevrolet Chevelle. ...
- 1970 – 74 Plymouth Barracuda. ...
- 1968 – 72 Oldsmobile Cutlass / 442. ...
- 1968 – 70 AMC AMX. ...
- 1966 – 70 Dodge Charger.
If you plan to restore the car and then sell it, the process might be a good investment. Restored classic cars can easily sell for tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the make and model. If you want to keep the car for yourself, though, you won't recoup the money you spent to restore it.In what order should you restore a car? ›
- Reassemble your brake system.
- Refit your fuel system.
- Refit your front and rear suspension.
- Install wiring. ...
- Install the engine and gearbox.
- Install the cooling system.
- Re-fit the rubber and front and rear windscreens as well as windows.
- Impact wrench. An impact wrench is an absolute necessity. ...
- Air compressor. Several of the tools you will be using need to be powered by an air compressor. ...
- Creeper. ...
- Paint stripper. ...
- Grinder. ...
- Auto jig. ...
- Lift. ...
- Hand tools.
Learning how to restore a classic car only requires a few simple steps, but implementing them will take time and budgeting. Time is an important factor in full restoration projects since it can take around 1,000 hours to fully restore a classic car.What is the difference between frame up and frame off restoration? ›
Some restorations are done in stages and are a combination of functional and cosmetic, but the gold standard in restoration is the frame off or frame up restoration. Frame off or frame up both refer to the same sort of restoration. It is a restoration where the entire vehicle is disassembled down to the frame.How much rust is too much to restore a car? ›
Anything more than surface rust or light pitting is considered 'bad' rust and should be assessed by a professional mechanic immediately. Bad rust can quickly spread from small areas into larger ones, leading to compromised structural integrity and further corrosion issues over time.
Although it's easier to restore a frame and body separately, body-off restorations usually require a few extra months to complete compared to body-on restorations for the simple reason that there's so much more time-consuming work to be done.What is the most sought after classic muscle car? ›
The 1969 Dodge Charger is at the top of classic car enthusiasts' wish lists, often fetching more than six figures at auctions. The classic muscle car has a sleek, curvy body and classic design.What makes a classic car more valuable? ›
A classic car valuation or appraisal is based on factors like supply and demand, make, model, condition, miles, features, trim package, and much more. And like the stock market, the value of any classic car can fluctuate.Is a classic car worth more with original paint? ›
If a classic car has been kept in great condition and it has no rust spots, chips, sun damage, or other issues, changing the paint from its original colour can reduce the car's value.How long does a full restore take? ›
This is certainly not normal! Generally speaking, if your computer configuration and the hardware are in good condition, the system restore will take about 15-45 mins, rarely more than one hour. System Restore needs to be run through the backup created on your hard disk.Do cars become classics after 20 years? ›
For insurance and registration purposes, the age of a classic car, in most cases, is at least 20 years old but not more than 40 years old.What does it mean to fully restore a car? ›
What is Full Restoration? To fully restore a car is to take it completely apart and replace each part to get it driving again. Some vehicles are restored because major systems have failed. Some vehicles are restored because they are old or “classic” cars that no longer drive due to their age.Do classic cars go up in value? ›
Key Takeaways. For the automotive enthusiast, one way to diversify an investment portfolio is to start collecting classic cars. Most cars lose value immediately after they are driven off of the dealer lot, but classic cars gain in value over time, due to rarity, performance, or special attributes.