Restoring a classic car back to its former glory is a mammoth task and not all owners have the space, time, tools or knowledge to do it. For these reasons, many people choose to send their beloved vehicles to restoration specialists who will do most or all of the work for them. If this sounds like you, it’s important to choose a restoration professional that’s perfect for your individual project, so bear in mind these following tips when making your decision.
Before all else you need to sit down and budget. There’s no point in finding the perfect restorer and then realising you can’t afford them. Remember: restoring a car professionally doesn’t come cheap, so be prepared to part with some serious cash. If you can take on any small restoration tasks yourself this could save you some money. Even if you aren’t able to do all the work yourself, try to establish as much about what work is required to get your vehicle to the standard you demand so you have an educated idea about what costs you could be facing.
Research involves everything from a Google search to talking with classic car owners to see if they have any personal recommendations. Visit car shows that are relevant to your car’s make or model, as this will be your best bet in finding valuable information and the perfect restorer. You may even find a restorer who concentrates on or is passionate about a certain marque – this could come in useful if your classic car has any unusual quirks that could catch out the uninformed.
Keep your options open
What works for someone else may not necessarily work for you. Once you have a few places in mind, visit or call them to discuss your vision. An actual visit will allow you to take a peek at current projects and will allow you to check out their equipment and facilities, as well as seeing the workers in action.
If you are travelling further afield, you could visit local garages or parts shops to ask them about the restoration specialist. Additionally, if you ask the restorers they may put you in contact with previous clients.
Once you’ve chosen the restoration specialist, it’s important to discuss all details of the work so you get a clear idea of cost, including parts and labour. This will be an estimate so you must allow some leeway with your budget. Be prepared with some contingency funds should the restorer encounter any unexpected challenges.
You will most likely have to put down a deposit so make sure you’ve got some money saved for this. Similarly, most restoration specialists will have waiting lists, so get it booked in as soon as possible.
You should be prepared to take your car for a bit of a drive if you really want the best service possible. So, don’t forget to factor in the cost of trailering your car the restorer, or that you may wish to visit on more than one occasion to observe some of the work in progress.