Choosing A Classic Car To Restore

Man, I know I’m getting
myself into some trouble
here committing myself
to a list of Top 5
Collector Cars
worth the aggravation
of restoring —

Which is what this
Saturday series
is going to attempt to do. 

Cause I really can’t help myself
in throwing my 2 1/2 cents
worth into what is already
a controversial subject.

My perspective is limited,
of course, by the lack of
having a lot of money (any)
to throw at a project –

so, whatever I choose for
my list has to be relatively
economical to acquire and
restore, and almost
completely accessible
to the home garage mechanic.

The after market parts have
to be readily available, too.

And that’s a challenge
in itself–
you can’t just inherit your
Great-Uncle Jeffrey’s 1949
Plymouth Special Deluxe,
tow it off the back 40,
and start restoring it
by ordering a
replacement transmission
from XCheapPartX.Com.

It don’t work that way —
chances are good that
after-market parts for
that thing will be harder
to find than gold nuggets
in a bowl of oatmeal.

And the parts designated
as ‘N-O-S’ –
(or ‘new-old-stock’ –
left over from when
there even WAS a car
company called Plymouth )
are now probably so rusty
and crusty as to be
completely unusable.

Consider —
Gaskets crumbling as
you open the package.
Lost and irreplaceable
repair manuals ?
Part-specific tools
nowhere to be found?
Man, there’s so many
different potential issues –
– it should scare you to death…
unless of course,
you own a machine shop,
are a master machinist
as well as a mechanic,
have oodles of tools
and garage space,
and plenty of time
and money to burn.

It also helps to be deaf,
’cause boy, are you
gonna hear about that
wreck taking up all that
primo storage room out
there that your wife
and kids can’t use
(or even go into).

I’m not hating on the idea,
hey- I’m on your side.

You just gotta be careful
which mechanical zombie
you choose to commit
to bringing back to life.

It just wouldn’t be
ethical to get it half way
and then stop — leaving it
to become just another
vegetable, right ?

So- let’s talk about some
of the important criteria
that will give you a fighting
chance to make this thing
of ours work – which all
comes down to
research ahead of time.

1: Can You Get Parts?
By that, I mean, not
just the chrome hood ornament…

can you get rocker arms,
piston rings, differentials,
water pumps, etc, etc, etc.

Remember a lot of
cars before 1960
used a 6 volt
electrical system —
even this has to be
contemplated.

2: Can You Find A Car
Like You Want That’s
Worth Restoring –
— considering these
especially:

A: Rust and General Body Condition

B: Drive-train , Engine,
Suspension, Brakes

C: Interior, Electrics
and Accessories

In other words,
how much work
does it really need?

This is where you have to be
brutally honest and realistic
with yourself – can you really
replace a rocker panel in
your garage?

Do you have the capacity/desire
to remove an engine
and transmission?

Where you start is often
where it ends–
so, answer carefully.

So you want the best ‘starter’
car you can afford –
with those things you
don’t want to do/can’t do
already done.

The truth is, that the more
common the car is in the
collector market, the higher
the chances that there will
be a good one for a project
out there —
— if you’re thinking
late 1960’s Mustang or Camaro,
you’ll have a lot of good starting
points to choose from.

There are actually companies
that specialize in making
almost every conceivable
part for certain collector
cars like that –

and if you’re not
going to be a total fanatic
about ‘originality’,
it’s even easier.

3: And then — think —
After all the work and money-
Is this car really going
to make me happy?

For instance,
I like Studebakers.
Actually, I love em.
I love the way they look.
Very cool.
But, they were pretty much
rolling junk after 1956.
Honestly, you can throw an
awful lot of cash at one, and
still have something that
handles like their original
model of 1852 Conestoga Wagon.
Go west, young man.

Ok- we’re done with part one —

and hopefully, we’ll ready
to talk about which models
can fit into these criteria.

Next time.

( If you’re really
chomping at the bit,
maybe a clue or two
about the list
might be gleaned
from the cars
featured on this post,
but I dunno….
most of them
just wouldn’t work.)

!!!! HOY !!!!

.

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13 thoughts on “Choosing A Classic Car To Restore

  1. I love the car shows we have here. I enjoy seeing the restored cars and talking to the owners.
    So bring on more car posts! I’m ready! 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂
    PS…Studebakers are super dooper cool! 🙂

  2. Scout Paget says:

    Interesting.

    A friend who’s into classic restoration told me that part of the hobby now is finding parts. He mentioned that there are craftsmen out there who actually remake the parts by hand and sell them – the price being a big deal of course. He also mentioned that with the internet it’s a lot easier finding things today than it was 15-20 yrs. ago.

    I guess auto restoration is a pretty expensive pastime. But I’m surely interested in how this goes! 😃👍🏻

  3. Paloma says:

    Man, the lesson on old vehicle parts has been a bear! Growing up, every old farm in southern Peeay had an old junker Dodge sitting around somewhere …. now, some of the parts are worth their weight in platinum! Ugh! It just wasn’t worth the money to go completely 100% original everywhere. And we have that 6 volt problem, too.

    None of which I knew before starting the Chimera! Lol

  4. Looking forward to this. I’ve given up on restoring. Find what you want already restored, it’s less expensive than what you will spend doing it yourself. No one recovers the total cost of a restoral unless you are Wayne Carini. But it is sure fun to daydream about fixing up an old beauty. 😀 I have my eye on a 57 Studebaker Champion, two door, man I’d love to have it!

  5. GP Cox says:

    The past 2 days I’ve been watching the live broadcasts of the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction going on at Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas on TV. I’ve been shocked at how cheap some of them are going for!!! The red Monaco I would have loved sold for $6,700, can you believe it?
    https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.2OPnbf2dzNKgYgDb4xd6owEgDY&pid=15.1&P=0&w=201&h=151

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