How To Plan For A Car Restoration Project

Are you thinking of restoring an old or classic car? To help you with that, we’ve teamed up with Whites Body Works to give you a couple of pointers about where to start and what needs to be planned beforehand.

1. Budget

The first thing you need to do is to figure out is how much cash you are willing to spend. Having a small budget is alright, as long as you carefully plan for the project. While planning is essential, it becomes more critical when you have a limited budget since mistakes can quickly become very costly. When it comes to it, we recommend that you avoid doing things cheaply. Spend money on things that you really care about to a higher standard to create a car that you are proud of.

2. Buying the Vehicle

When it is time to buy the vehicle, you must resist the urge to go for the cheapest car you come across and get a ride that you can work with and which works for you. A rotten piece of metal parts is best left where you found it as it will cost so much more in the future, even if you got it at a bargain. We recommend that you tag along with someone who has a clue of what you are looking for and can keep your enthusiasm on the check. For more details on buying a classic car, read this guide.

3. Ambition

Take time and consider how far you are willing to go with your project. Is a job that just needs some work to make it safe, usable, and reliable, or will it end up becoming a nut and bolt restoration? The bigger your ambitions, the more time you will need to commit and cash you will end up spending.

4. Location

Where do you plan on handling the project? It is worth keeping in mind that once you have stripped the car down, you are going to need a space that’s roughly the size of the vehicle to store all the stuff you rip from it as work on it. At the same time, you will need a good-sized area with enough space for you to work on the car.

You will be amazed by how much space parts take up when they are not on the vehicle. Having finished a very long project recently and sold another project car earlier this year, I am still in shock (at the same time pleased) by all the extra space we have acquired at the workshop. The interesting thing is that our project cars were both pretty small.

5. Style and Theme

Styling and theme are some of the more fun parts of working on a project car. Think of how you want your car to look. For ideas, consider browsing eBay, looking through some magazines, and getting a Pinterest Board on the go.

Seek ideas of what you want the car to look like once you are finished before you even start so you do not make decisions on the go and end up regretting your decisions.

Take time to think about how everything will work together as a whole – paint job, wheels, interior, etc. For more on how to plan a project car’s aesthetics, read this article and then get back to work.

6. Timescale

How much time do you plan on committing to the project? Check your calendar and note what you are going to do and when you are going to do it. Set achievable goals – it is essential that you be realistic when it comes to this. Set a deadline and then double it.

7. Get Some Help

Who’ll be doing all of the work? You and your mates? Professionals? Get in touch with people in your area for advice and quotes or identify and contact friends that you know can commit their time to work on the project with you.

If you plan on working on the project with your friends, always make sure you give them something in return for their help, even if it is a couple of beers at the end of the day or a meal. Otherwise, those people who were willing to help you out at the start will soon drop out. Whatever you lure them in with, make sure you provide it!

8. Tools

Do you have all of the tools that are needed to get the job done? If not, can you afford them? Borrow? Rent? Steal? Just joking, we do not condone theft (never steal tools, I’ll say that again, NEVER steal tools.) Think about this and how you will manage so you can stay on schedule.

Need ideas? Read my article on 10 Tips on How To Save Money on Tools for pointers.

9. Research Parts Availability

While it is almost impossible to tell what needs to be replaced before you have bought your project car, take the time to research places you can source parts, so you have an easier time ordering them when they are needed.

It is worth noting that the well-advertised online specialist companies aren’t the only place you can buy parts and are not the cheapest. So, spending a bit more time to research earlier in time will save you both money and time.

10. Get your Hands on your Car’s Repair Manual

Your car’s repair manual is your best friend here. There is plenty of useful information you will not find elsewhere easily, such as how to strip down and service parts, torque settings. These manuals are readily available, often quite inexpensive and very helpful.