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Classic Car Restoration! Is It Worth Restoring Dad´s Car?

Updated on March 14, 2011

Classic car lovers know that restoring classic cars is not considered a labored, dull and enjoy less work! Quite the contrary, it is a hobby that one can take pleasure in while preserving a piece of automobile history and making a bit of money on that same fun!

I do know a couple of guys that all they do is scrounge the market for classic cars that are thirty or more years old, give it good restoration where necessary and sell them off for a profit!

Yep! Money can be made with classic cars, but you have to be a classic car enthusiast and know how to do most of the work yourself! You can get someone professional to restore your classic car, but that will come out very expensive.

Yourself, as a classic car enthusiast will get more pleasure if you restore it on your own.

Theres a wide range of classic cars to choose from!
Theres a wide range of classic cars to choose from!

If you intend to start restoring that classic car that´s been in the garage for decades that once was your dad´s for example, keep in mind that as a novice restorer:

1st - Restoring cars takes time and patience, but this will be a learning curve for you!

2nd- The extra special tools you will have to get could be a good investment if you plan in doing more than one restoration!

3rd- Tag the location of every piece from the car that you have removed to repair to avoid confusion when reassembling!

4th- When you get the car completely restored and in a classic car showroom condition, the pleasure and the rewards will be great and so is the money making opportunities!

Here are some guidelines that can help you make your classic car restoration a bit easier.

Inspect the car meticulously and jot down a list of the things about the car that needs restoration. Back home you will have to do your homework! All the parts that need replacing should be calculated at how much it will set you back! Is the figure too high? Is it worth taking on that classic car restoration?

If it´s a car that has been owned by the family for decades and you plan on keeping it, that´s one thing, now, if you´re planning to make a profit, that´s completely different altogether!


The heart of a car is the engine, and if it needs rebuilding and your budget allows it, have a certified mechanic do it for you! Get a quote beforehand!

If it´s still running and not spewing to much smoke when cold, then you firstly could steam wash the engine and the compartment! How does the engine look after the steam wash? Do valve covers need repainting or re-polishing?

Gear box and Transmission

If you tested the car and it sounded pretty good gearbox wise I would still suggest changing the oil in these two! In today’s car that oil is for life of the vehicle! Thirty years ago it was totally different and the oil in the gear box and transmission had to be changed every 20,000km! So to be on the safe side and then again, the gear box and the transmission don´t take too much oil! Replace it!

Body Panels

Heavily rusted panels should be replaced, but i´m sure that you have decided in restoring a classic car that is not totally rusted up! Again, if it´s not your area or expertise yet, then get a quote!


Nowadays if there is a crack on one and you can´t get that window from anywhere, now don´t get all upset, it could be fixed! There are amazing products that auto glass shops have to restore an original window that the end result is a hardly noticeable chip or crack!


A good polishing should do the job! The chrome polishing products available today are amazing and with a bit of scrubbing you could have that chrome piece looking as new! Careful to have some fresh water at hand for the final washing of that chrome piece because some polishing products are very corrosive and could do more harm in the long run!


Get silicone spray for rubbers and spray on all rubbers! Do it again a week later and you will notice a big difference even as you close that door!

Mechanical Parts

Such as window elevators, seat adjustment tracks and so on, I find that with a bit of patience in dismantling and finding the fault and applying WD-40, it works wonders!

Always take a good and close look at these mechanisms, sometimes there´s a very easy solution to get them back in working order again!


It is always a good idea to remove all upholstery and give them a good wash out side of the car! This way you can clearly see in which condition the floor panels are in your classic car restoration and you could treat a bit of rust here and there in the mean time! You could find some old coins! I have on occasion!

A regular clothes washing powdered detergent is all you need for starters if the seats are not made in leather! I did this a few months ago on a forty year old Mercedes, two washes actually, but the seats came out looking as new!

If leather seats are installed then get some liquid leather solution, making sure that it matches the color of the seats that you are treating the scratches and ware! After this has dried up, allow a few more days pass and get the cheapest body moisturizing lotion you can get your hands on! Make that two bottles! Leather is skin! Just like our own skin it needs to breathe and on harsh climates, once in a while we need to moisturize it!

Do not apply directly to the leather seats! Do a 2 in 1 job and apply the lotion to your hands first and then to the seats! In a few minutes when the leather starts to suck in that moisturizing lotion you will notice the big difference for better! Repeat after a few days and your end result is almost new comfy seats!


Is your classic car in need of a new paint job or just a good polish? Remember when you removed the seats and upholstery and steamed wash the engine compartment? Did you notice a different color there than that of the exterior paint color? Probably this classic car of yours suffered a paint color alteration sometime in its life! If this is so the case then keep in mind that any classic car is worth more if restored with the original paint color on the year that the car was manufactured!

You can always contact the manufacturer directly and tell them you´re restoring to its originality a vehicle they once manufactured, and ask them the correct color codes, supplying them the model, year of manufacture and VIN of your classic car!

Classic Car Photos

AC Cobra
AC Cobra
Ford Galaxie
Ford Galaxie


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    • nelson soares profile imageAUTHOR

      nelson soares 

      7 years ago from Sunny Algarve

      Maybe some day rorshak, you never know! Thanks for the comment!

    • profile image

      rorshak sobchak 

      7 years ago

      Nice Hub. Restoring a car is something I have always wanted to do but it seems like I never have time to do it.

      rorshak sobchak

    • nelson soares profile imageAUTHOR

      nelson soares 

      7 years ago from Sunny Algarve

      Thank you John Sarkis!

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I really enjoyed reading your hub, and the pictures are great. I love the yellow Chevelle and the Mustang.

      Thanks again

    • nelson soares profile imageAUTHOR

      nelson soares 

      7 years ago from Sunny Algarve

      Hi Howard and thanks for reading! Yes it does sound like we have common interests! This is where i´m having fun know and it should take me about a year or two before it´s out on the road again!

    • Howard S. profile image

      Howard S. 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas, and Asia

      We have several interests in common. On this one, I recently wrote about my rare Toyota convertible that I refurbished (restored is too strong a word in this case). Today I finished refinishing my SC400. Next week I'll have it painted so I can sell it and get it out of the way. Too many cars around here right now! Next is 1985 Supra.

      Right now I'm supposed to be looking for a link to the best of your XKE stuff.

    • nelson soares profile imageAUTHOR

      nelson soares 

      7 years ago from Sunny Algarve

      Thanks again ClassicCarsResto! Unfortunately not, it was a 1969 Buick Skylark!

    • ClassicCarsResto profile image


      7 years ago

      Darn Right it's worth restoring! Hopefully your dad drove a shelby though!

    • nelson soares profile imageAUTHOR

      nelson soares 

      7 years ago from Sunny Algarve

      Thanks Nano and have lots of fun with your classic car!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice topic!

      Im restoring a classic car! Besides the work that I have, Im very proud of myself because at little years ago, the car was junk. Now is going to be a master piece on the streets.

    • nelson soares profile imageAUTHOR

      nelson soares 

      7 years ago from Sunny Algarve

      Thanks for reading Romantic Susan.

    • Romantic Susan profile image

      Romantic Susan 

      7 years ago from HEART

      excellent job

      i like classic cars

      but i have not any classic car

      vote up

    • nelson soares profile imageAUTHOR

      nelson soares 

      8 years ago from Sunny Algarve

      TnFlash thanks for the read and here´s an update! Very soon I should get a 1980 Mini sport to restore as well!

      The 350SL is a nice car! I once had a 1966 250S!

    • TnFlash profile image


      8 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Great Hub! I'm an old car buff too. I have a 1972 Mercedes 350SL. You have a lot of good advise in this Hub! Voted up and awesome.

    • nelson soares profile imageAUTHOR

      nelson soares 

      8 years ago from Sunny Algarve

      If you like/admire what you are restoring, the process will be much easier!

      So far I´ve restored a 1970 Jaguar E Type and a 1954 Volvo 444.

      My next restoration project will be a 1947 Matchless. Stay tuned, I´ll be making a hub or two on it!

      Thanks for reading Gefforyt!

    • Gefforyt profile image


      8 years ago

      I have been working on cars for a long time but have never actually restored 1. Ive actually just found 68 Ford Ranger that I am tempted to try my luck on. Will keep this page in mind if I tackle it.

    • nelson soares profile imageAUTHOR

      nelson soares 

      8 years ago from Sunny Algarve

      Thanks for the read minimanrob!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Good stuff mate, some excellent tips in there.


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