Our expert guide to classic car restoration

Classic car restoration: not for the faint-hearted

Our top tips on classic car restoration

Classic car restoration is exciting and rewarding but it can also be time consuming and frustrating although in the end the rewards speak for themselves when all that effort and planning finally becomes that dream classic in all its splendour, what a buzz! Heritage Insurance is here to try and help you make some important decisions when it comes to classic car restoration.

What classic car to buy?

Choosing the right car to buy can be a dilemma. Do you go with your heart or with your head? Well it’s important to bring some passion to the table so choosing a car you have little connection with may prove to be more of a task than an interest and with best intentions many restoration projects never get completed. Don’t buy something too rare as parts may not be readily available and as weeks become months your initial motivation starts to waver.

A Mini or a Beetle can make ideal restoration projects with relatively simple mechanics and basic construction. And as values are rising constantly if you were looking to sell when you complete the project you wouldn’t have any problem with either. Or maybe something a bit more traditionally classic like a British 60’s roadster MG’S and TR’S are big favourites for the enthusiast and make an ideal first project. Choose wisely when you pick your project car and keep your options open.

Buying the right car!

When you have chosen the car you want to restore; it’s time to take a look at the options. Always buy the best you can afford even if you are looking for a restoration project and you will get more for your money if you buy private. Think about the work you need to carry out on the car, the parts you will need and the time it will take to complete as well as how much money you will have to spend. Join one of the many clubs in the UK specifically aimed at the car you buy, they are a great source of information and other club members are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to sourcing parts and technical information.

Get Nerdy!

Swat up on your choice of car; find as much information about it either in magazines, on line or through other members of a car club so that you get an idea on how the car is meant to be inside and out. Check current market values to make sure you don’t over spend have a budget and try and stick to it (this can be more difficult than you might think, believe me!)

Reliability is key so spend what you need to (not what you want to) get it running reliably with regular use. Low mileage vehicles are a buyer’s delight but this is a myth, cars used more regularly can be better runners. Don’t be fooled by some low mileage cars they may not have been driven for years.

It’s time to get your hands dirty

Stripping the car down is your first practical task. This is an arduous undertaking so break it down into small chunks and concentrate on one area at a time. This way you will feel like you are achieving something and you won’t become too overwhelmed with the work involved.

If you need to repair any panels then practice makes perfect so buy some cheap old spares and work on these first until you have perfected your skill. This way by the time you come to repair your usable panels you’ll be confident enough to do a good job. If you need to attempt any welding then if you haven’t done it before you may wish to take a short training course and then practice on scrap panels to hone in your skills. Make sure you keep an accurate log of all parts and take some photos or draw sketches to make sure you know where everything goes, there’s nothing worse than putting something back together and finding out you still have parts left over.

Classic car restoration can be very rewarding; bringing a forgotten car back to life takes a lot of dedication and skill. The results can be outstanding, contributing to motoring history for us all to enjoy for years to come.

Heritage Car Insurance can insure you classic car under laid-up cover whilst you work on your project and when it’s ready for the road we can continue to cover your finished car with agreed value. Find out more about our classic car insurance here.