Many of us dream of owning a classic car, but we don’t always consider the potential difficulties associated with restoring it back to its former glory. Without careful planning or specialist expertise, your restoration dream could turn into more of a nightmare, so we’ve compiled a list of ‘must dos’ for ensuring that your restoration project doesn’t get stuck in its tracks.
Choose a classic car that will retain its value
You are likely to spend rather a lot of time and money on your restoration project, so if you’re buying a classic car to restore, it’s worth purchasing a model that will retain its value for years to come. Certain makes and models, such as the Jaguar XJS, are becoming highly sought after, meaning that they are likely to fetch a higher price if you choose to sell up. Of course, for many people it’s all about the passion they have for a particular marque, and the financial value is a secondary factor.
Inspect your vehicle top to bottom
Before commencing your restoration, inspect the vehicle very carefully, top to bottom, inside and out to assess the kind of repairs needed to restore your car to its former glory. Don’t know what you’re looking for? A classic car specialist will be able to thoroughly examine the classic car, to assess whether the project is viable and worth your time and money.
Work towards a budget
It can be difficult to forecast the exact cost of your restoration but it’s worth estimating the likely expense of your project before getting work underway. A specialist in classic cars will be able to assess the condition of your vehicle, estimating an approximate overall cost and schedule for the restoration. Based on this advice, you can decide whether the restoration is feasible given your budget, and then plan your project accordingly. Like any major project, it’s useful to earmark some contingency funds for unanticipated upgrades. A specialist will also be able to guide you on the wisdom of restoring certain examples that because of poor general condition will continue to be a money-pit.
The right parts are key
It’s all well and good purchasing your dream classic car, but your project may stall if you can’t obtain the right replacement parts. Before undergoing your restoration project, spend some time researching whether the parts for your chosen vehicle are easy to come by. If your car is particularly rare, aftermarket replacement parts may not be readily available, meaning that expensive custom parts will have to be purchased as an alternative. We have the necessary contacts and knowledge to source the correct parts as part of our classic car restoration service.
Check for rust
Dealing with rust can be one of the most expensive and time-consuming aspects of your restoration project, especially if a full re-paint is needed. If your vehicle has a history of being kept in cold, damp and wintry conditions, the chassis is likely to have rusted. This creates obvious safety issues, as the vehicle’s structure can become unstable and MoTs will be failed. Sandblasting can remove surface rust, but other parts in poor condition might need to be replaced completely or repaired with sheet metal and welding. Someone who knows your car marque inside out will know where to look for rust, and which parts and structures are particularly vulnerable to rusting. Having an expert who is very familiar with your car model inspect the state of the rust during the condition assessment will save you a lot of time and hassle and improve the chances of a successful restoration.
What’s inside counts too
Restoration isn’t just about the exterior appearance of your classic car; it also includes what’s inside and, perhaps most importantly, the engine. A full restoration project can include replacing many parts with a modern equivalent, which will outperform the original part and result in a better driving experience. Using an interior design and car parts that are in keeping with the vehicle’s age can ensure that your classic car retains its authentic looks.
The engine is often the most difficult part of any classic car restoration. In larger scale projects, the engine may need to be completely dismantled and then rebuilt – having an expert do this will result in a better, longer-lasting result.
Don’t forget the after care
Having spent a significant amount of money on restoring your dream car, it is vital that a good specialist is contracted to maintain it in top condition. Regularly driving the car is also important – alongside expert maintenance it will ensure that your vehicle remains supple and responsive.
Seek specialist help
This is your own personal project and probably something you’d like to complete independently, but without consulting the professionals you could end up spending more time and money than necessary. Professional guidance will help you to keep to your budget and schedule, produce a better outcome, avoiding any disasters along the way.
Don’t want to leave your classic car to chance?
Why not let the experts help? KWE is a leading specialist in rebuilding, upgrading and repairing Jaguar XJ-based cars. If you’d like us to assist with the successful restoration of your classic car, call us on +44 (0)1635 30030.