Ford Mustang or FJ Holden? Some say you don’t choose your ride, your ride chooses you.

If you've made the decision to buy and restore a classic car, no matter what the level of restoration, there are lots of things you need to check off before you actually get into the shed to bring your pride and joy back to life.

Things to think about BEFORE your car restoration

1. Set your budget

Classic cars can be very expensive, choose a make and model that suits your budget. A Corvette could set you back tens or hundreds of thousands, an old Classic Holden much less. Remember a classic car has a ceiling limit of value. Exceeding that limit of spending is unlikely to result in recovering costs if the car is to be sold.

2. Match the car condition to your skill/budget

A shell of a car that doesn’t run is a different proposition to a car that is already driveable. Having to fix an engine plus a body and chassis will be very expensive. Older cars are full of rust in the body/chassis and will likely require specialist help, which means more money. Budget can be a loose concept. Set a realistic budget, but be prepared to spend more.

3. Think about spare parts

Choosing a car that was originally mass produced will make it easier to find spare parts. It’ll be a much bigger challenge to find parts if you’ve chosen a very rare make/model.

4. Be realistic with timeframes

It takes time to fix up an old car, sometimes just finding a part can take months. No matter which car you choose, be ready for a long term investment of time and patience. Remember, you can always buy one already renovated and ready to enjoy.

What else do you need to know?
  • You will need help, especially if you’re not a mechanic (and even if you are).
  • It will never be finished, something will always be needed, or something will break.
  • There is the likelihood that you may never get your car fully registered. So be prepared you may only be able to drive it on a vintage licence, and only occasionally for shows.
  • It still needs to be safe to drive, don’t cut corners that will make your car unsafe.
  • Take photos as you go so you remember what you did to fix the car (memory is never as good as you think it is).
  • The love of  the car has to be the biggest motivation, and unless you are a professional you’re unlikely to recoup your investment.
Good luck! 

Keeping your restored ride on the go

Some companies get nervous about classic cars. However, RAC is not one of them. RAC's Classic Car Insurance will give you trusted and local cover for your pride and joy. Plus, if you were to break down, RAC Roadside Assistance is the only organisation that services all makes and models that are more than 10 years old.

Last updated September 2017