There are thousands of people across the UK who have a fascination with classic cars. If your bucket list includes restoring a vintage vehicle to pristine condition, you’re not alone. It can be an amazing experience and one that you won’t regret.
Here the team at White’s Bodyworks look at different ways to get into classic car restoration if you’re a complete beginner.
From Derbyshire to West Sussex and as far afield as Scotland and Wales, there are hundreds of classic car groups around the UK. Some of these are dedicated to particular types of vehicles like the Morris Minor or Minis, others are just about the fun of owning a classic car.
These groups regularly hold meets around the country and you’ll often see them driving in convoys along roads at certain times of the year, especially during the summer. Some of these are formal, annual festivals and shows, others are more impromptu and organised online. These are a great way to go along and get to know new people and find out about their experiences. One thing you will find is that their enthusiasm is very infectious.
Classic car clubs are also a brilliant source of information, and advice and can help support you if you are restoring a vintage vehicle. Check out this list of 30 of the top clubs in the country at the moment and visit them online.
Restoring a classic takes a lot of time, effort and money. Depending on the state of the vehicle you buy, you could be spending as much as 1,000 hours restoring it.
For most classic car enthusiasts this is a major part of why they get into it in the first place. Just make sure that your enthusiasm is going to carry you through to the end. It’s a good idea not to try and bite off more than you can chew, at least in the beginning.
Picking the right car to restore is essential. You may already have a wish list but finding a certain make or model can be challenging. It’s important to do your research and discover everything you can, the good and the bad. Start with our guide to restoring a classic here.
If you’re thinking about a particular make of car, then also consider factors such as how difficult replacement parts are going to be to find and what the cost of repairing bodywork is likely to be. Also, find out what support there is locally such as specialist garages and the odd classic car enthusiast who shares your passion and will be willing to help.
While it’s considered a hobby and a passion, the last thing you want is to be lumbered with the wrong car. There are plenty of options for buying including auctions and private sellers. Take your time and make the right choice and don’t be in a big hurry to part with your hard-earned cash.
Most people who get into classic cars aren’t qualified mechanics. You may have some garaging skills that will prove useful, but if you want to have more fun during the restoration learning some new ones will be very advantageous. It can also be fun, invigorating and amazingly frustrating.
In addition to this, you are going to need to cultivate patience. You may have to wait for parts or at least spend a lot of time sourcing them or you might have to learn a new skill before you move on to the next stage of your restoration plan. As with choosing your classic in the first place, don’t try to rush things too much.
Once you’ve got your classic car and are ready to proceed, the next vital step is to budget the restoration and plan it as intricately as possible. If you’re a novice, this may be quite difficult which is why you might want to get the advice of an expert to help you plan. Things you will need to consider are:
A lot will depend on the extent of the restoration, the age of the vehicle and the model and what you want to achieve. In some circumstances, you may not be able to source original parts and might have to have them manufactured or replaced with something similar that works.
The clearer you can be about your plan and how you are going to finance it, the smoother your restoration should proceed. In the long run, you need to be realistic about what you can achieve and how long it is going to take you.
Restoring a classic car can be very hard work and present many challenges but it should also be fun. Most enthusiasts started as beginners somewhere along the line and you’re no different. Enjoy the process and take pride in what you achieve, however big or small.
While you may be able to handle many parts of your restoration yourself, there will possibly come a time when you need a specialist service. White’s Bodyworks is based in East Sussex and has nearly 30 years of experience in handling classic car restorations of all types.
We have an amazing classic car team onsite with all the latest equipment and we’re here to help. Contact us today to find out more on 01273 933633.