If you have an older car that is a bit beat up, you may want to think about having it restored. To decide if this is the right choice for yourself and for your vehicle, note a few commonly asked questions about this work, and then discuss your options with a restoration expert, and even with your mechanic, as needed.
How is restoration different than smash repairs?
Restoration work is often much more extensive than repairs that are handled by a smash shop, as restoring a classic car often means removing lots of rust from the body, rather than just bumping out dents and dings. Smash shops also work on newer cars that are built with newer materials, including paint that is not meant to chip and fleck during a collision, and plastic outer bodies.
A smash shop may also have a catalogue of replacement parts available, so they can simply replace a part that cannot be repaired. A car restorer will need to know how to work on older car parts that cannot be replaced, or will need to know where to find out-of-stock parts. Because of the specialty of this work, choose a restorer when needed, rather than assuming a smash shop can perform the same type of work on your classic car.
Can a person be guaranteed a return on their investment?
It can be difficult to guarantee the value of a car once it's restored, and this may be research you would need to do on your own. You may find that there are plenty of potential buyers for a particular make and model of car, once it is restored, whereas other cars may not be in such demand, even if fully restored. Many car owners invest in restoration work just for the enjoyment of owning the car or for showing it, rather than seeing it as an investment for which they'll get a healthy return.
Does restoration need to be done all at once?
There may be certain parts of the restoration process that should be done together or at the same time; for example, shaving the bumpers at the same time as fabricating the front or back panels, so that everything is perfectly coordinated and fits well, once the pieces are reassembled. However, most car restorers can offer to handle various segments of the restoration work separately, if this is better for your budget or if you want to see how the restoration progresses, and if it's the right choice for your car.