Every petrolhead dreams of buying a classic car and restoring it to concours condition at some point in their lives. The appeal of such vehicles isn’t the fact that they are rare. Nor is it the fact that few people might own such vehicles. The allure is just down the fact that many folks want to own a car they grew up with!
Classic cars are an important part of automotive history. It’s up to car enthusiasts to keep and preserve such vehicles for future generations, not just for themselves. After all; when you leave this mortal coil, you won’t be able to take your car with you!
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Are you thinking of making the dream of owning a classic and cherished automobile reality? If so, you’re perhaps wondering what you should do next.
Some of you might assume that buying a classic car isn’t too dissimilar to getting any other vehicle. However, the process of getting and restoring a classic car is somewhat involved and complex. Today’s blog post will give you a handy primer into the world of classic cars so that you start out fully prepared on what you need to do.
Buying the best car for the money
The thing about classic cars that catches a lot of unsuspecting buyers out is quality and condition. Sure, the model in question might look good on the outside. But it’s those hidden areas in the body and in the engine that can sting you!
When you’re shopping around for a classic car, you need to start out with a good base. There’s no point spending less on the model you want and say that you’ll fix anything that needs doing. That’s because you’ll usually spend more fixing a poor condition example than buying a good one.
Rust is something that kills all vehicles slowly. If you’re buying a car that’s at least 40 years old, it will have more rust on it than today’s vehicles. Sometimes, car makers used poor grades of steel in the past, accelerating the corrosion process.
To disguise rust, some unscrupulous sellers might pack a lot of body filler onto the car and respray the affected sections. When you go out to view a classic car for sale, one trick is to take a small magnet with you. Why? It’s simple: you can determine which body panels have more filler than steel!
It’s also essential that you inspect every inch of the car for sale. That means checking the interior, the condition of the engine and even looking underneath the vehicle. If you’re not 100% sure what to look for, you ought to consider taking an expert or mechanic friend with you.
Transporting the car home
Assuming you’ve come across the “perfect” car and have made an offer for it, the next stage is to consider how you’re going to get it home. If it’s in a drivable state, you might think about just driving the car home.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Even if you live local to the seller, I always recommend putting the car on a trailer and bringing it back that way. There are a few advantages to that approach:
You don’t have to worry about arranging insurance and road tax for the journey;
Breakdowns are also one less issue to concern yourself with;
The seller might not live near an area with public transport to get there.
You can buy trailers from sites like http://farm.autotrader.co.uk to transport any vehicle you’ve got. Some trailers are enclosed, whereas others are open like the one in the photo a couple of paragraphs above.
There is one thing to consider when transporting a classic car home: clearance. It’s no secret that some models have a lower centre of gravity than others. If that’s the case with the classic car you buy, your trailer should have longer ramps to avoid damage.
Doing a post-purchase inspection
As soon as you get your dream car home, you’ll need to determine what needs fixing or upgrading on your new pride and joy. Put simply, this process is about doing a thorough visual inspection.
Sure, you might have looked around the car at length before you bought it. But, now that you own it, you’ll need to compile a to-do list. As you can imagine, on some cars this can take a lot longer than others! It’s crucial that you know what you need to do before you get “stuck into the work.”
The best thing to do is start with the front of the car and work backwards. That means assessing the engine and surround area, the body panels and the back of the car. You’ll also need to inspect the car from underneath while it’s in the air supported by hydraulic ramps or jacks.
Even the interior will need checking over, as you might be missing some parts from the dashboards or seats.
Getting the parts you need
Once you’ve got a shopping list of parts to get, it’s time to source them. One thing you’ll notice with classic car parts is that they are seldom easy to get hold of. If you’re lucky, you might find a company that builds parts to “spec.” In other words, they have the blueprints for the parts. And they can create them from scratch according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Some parts you can get on the used parts market instead of getting brand new. For instance, body panels, interior items and even some engine components like intake manifolds are cheaper used than new.
If you decide to go down the used parts route, make sure the items you’re buying are in good condition.
Repairs and restoration
The final step, and perhaps the hardest of them all, is to start repairing and restoring your pride and joy. If you’ve selected a good base, you should be lucky and not have to do major restoration work.
Some things like bodywork and painting should get left to professionals. But you should be able to do most of the mechanical work yourself.
I hope you’ve found today’s guide useful. Thanks for reading!