Have you seen the photos of the classic cars that populate the major cities of Cuba? Since Cuba has effectively been isolated from western society for almost 50 years, certain features of its society are locked in time, and automobiles are one of them. Today if you visit Havana, for example, you will find the streets are literally loaded with these 1950s vehicles. They are regularly used for personal transportation and even commercial use. Want one? Well, that might be possible soon.
Restoring a classic car such as a 1970 Datsun 240z or a 1966 Pontiac GTO is a pipe dream for many men. I guess I should not limit it to men, for some women having a muscle car is right up their alley. If you are so lucky to have an old junk car cross your path, restoring it could be a great way to save money while having the classic car that catches the attention of everyone who passes it.
Unless you are an experienced mechanic, a project like this can tie up finances that you may not have. For this reason, those who have this dream often never achieve it. Tackling such a project can be overwhelming to someone with minimal knowledge. This does not mean it is impossible.
A GUIDE TO RESTORING A CLASSIC ON A BUDGET
You first need to find your car if you haven’t already. It is a good idea to look for one that has been partially restored, especially if you lack experience. This will cut down on your cost as well as your labor. Talk to other car enthusiasts, as they may have a lead on a good deal or have the connections to get you on your way. Also be sure to check the web, as you can find a lot of great deals through online resources.
Once you have found your car you need to know what parts you’ll need. You’ll need a number of parts, but you should be able salvage some of the parts already on your car. Know what your budget is and break it down according to your needs.
Look into salvage centers in your area to see if they have a vehicle that includes parts that may be interchangeable. Again, utilize the internet. There are websites dedicated to similar projects and there may be people selling the exact parts you need.
The best way to restore your car on a dime is to do the work yourself. This will require a number of tools, the owner’s manual and experience. If you are lacking in experience it is important to seek out the advice of professionals. For the parts that you are unable to locate, using resources such as The Local Book (yellow pages) will help you find auto repair to fit your needs.
I recently ran into some car trouble that could have been fixed by myself with an appropriate amount of time. However, time is something that I didn’t have. Using The Local Book, I was able to find an Middletown auto repair shop that got me up and running without breaking the bank or causing unnecessary headaches during the process.
Body work is a big part of restoration, as the final outcome is more about how the car looks than how it drives. Most car enthusiasts rarely take these vehicles out and when they do it is all about the show. This doesn’t mean that you want to focus solely on the body; it just means that is equally as important as the internal workings of the car.
Do as much of this work as you can, but don’t try to paint yourself. Put money aside for this job. Prime it yourself to save money, but leave the paint job to a professional.
Remember, that this is a project that should not be rushed. Take your time to find the best sources to save you money on parts, repair and painting. Do as much of the work as possible, and visit forums to get advice when you are stuck.