Understanding Levels of Car Restoration and Costs Involved

Filed under: Classic News |
Some of us wait our entire lives to find that perfect classic car that we’ve always dreamed of owning. Now you’ve found it but it isn’t exactly in the condition you’d always imagined it. Yes, you got a good deal on buying your vehicle and now it’s time to get it back to some semblance of its former glory. While there are plenty of guides online that give you step by step instructions on how to restore old classics and how to determine costs involved, there’s a somewhat easier way to determine if it’s something you really can afford. The secret is in understanding what level of restoration you’d like to take on. From there, you can pretty well estimate the costs you will incur. Royalty Free Photo

1) Concours – Mint Condition

The highest level of classic car restoration is referred to in the business as ‘Concours,’ from the French, Concours d’Elegance. The lay person would simply say it is ‘mint condition.’ Did you ever wonder where that expression came from and why we say ‘mint’ condition? Think of that classic car like a gold coin. When it’s freshly minted it is all shiny and bright with not a scratch or mark on it. That’s a mint car – factory condition. However, a Concours vehicle is often restored to mint condition and beyond. It takes a lot of money to restore a classic to Concours condition so you might not want to buy a new car just about yet. Perhaps you would be better to check out some car lease deals so that you don’t have a $500 car payment each and every month. You’re going to need that cash to restore your new/old baby!

2) Show Cars

The next step down the totem pole is to restore a classic to show car condition. If it is going to be judged by professionals at one of the amazing car shows around the world, you’d better have a good deal of the work done by a professional as well. Some of the restoration must be complete down to the finest detail and a professional judge will surely know the difference. That low-cost leased car is sounding better all the time, isn’t it? You’ll need that extra cash.

3) Street Show Quality

At this level of restoration, you will want the car to look good and drive well. Most of the body work should be of high quality and if you are really going to show it in ‘Street Shows’ judged again by professionals, get some professional help at least on the finer details of body restoration. However, street show can also mean bringing a classic to the point where you will WOW anyone on the street who happens to catch you driving by.

4) Restoration to a Driver Level

While you will also want to get those covetous glances as you drive down the street, the main purpose of driver quality restoration is for your personal satisfaction. You simply want to start by getting your car in good operating condition and at least minimal body work done so it doesn’t completely rust out. Each of these levels of restoration can take a good deal of cash no matter how you look at it. Unless you are independently wealthy, understand that restoring a classic can be quite costly and you’ll want to make a few sacrifices wherever possible to keep some money on hand for your restoration project. So then, by looking at these levels of restoration, you can probably gauge just how much you’ll need to spend, at least a ballpark figure. Now decide how far up you want to bring it and you’re on your way to that classic car you’ve always dreamed of.