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Old Classic and Vintage Cars Restored To Look Brand New

Updated on January 30, 2017
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Baby Boomer happy to be at an age where the problems of youth no longer apply. Life is now viewed through very different glasses!

Rusty Old Vintage Car ~ Before and After Restoration

It is hard to fully appreciate the amount of time and effort that goes into restoring a rusty old vintage car until you see 'before' and 'after' side by side.
It is hard to fully appreciate the amount of time and effort that goes into restoring a rusty old vintage car until you see 'before' and 'after' side by side. | Source

I love to see classic and vintage cars on the road. Given the chance, I happily chug along behind any beautiful vehicle that catches my eye. There have been a few times over the years when I've had the opportunity to purchase a vintage car, but the amount of rust and damage was too intimidating for me to take the project on. How rusty is too rusty? How old is too old?

A common problem for anyone who admires the beauty but balks at the work is that lingering question, what does it take for old classic and vintage cars to be restored to look brand new?

I greatly admire the beauty of a fully restored Oldsmobile.
I greatly admire the beauty of a fully restored Oldsmobile. | Source

The Appeal of Classic or Vintage Cars

I have some very clear recollections of trips in our family cars when I was a young child. I suspect much of the appeal of classic and vintage cars is the chance to be reminded of my youth.

  • I remember the sound of my father turning a crank at the front of our car to start it, with my mother being very nervous as we sat in the back wondering how long it would be before we finally got going ... and what those words my father was saying actually meant!
  • Sliding across the back seat as we turned corners.
  • Trying desperately to get a grip on something to prevent me from crashing into a sibling on the opposite side of the car who would lash out with a fist as I careered in their direction. I distinctly recall wishing I was tall enough to see when we were approaching a tight bend in the road.
  • How cold it was in the winter when my father lowered the window to indicate a turn with his hand.
  • Arguments between my mother and father when he insisted on opening the windscreen (it opened on hinges at the top) to try to combat the condensation inside the car.
  • The cloth being passed from between my mother and father to wipe the inside of the windscreen.
  • My father swearing whenever we had to climb a hill in the rain. The windscreen wipers slowed significantly with each uphill climb, then burst into life again at the top of the hill.
  • I recall how excited my father was when he bought a newer car that came complete with turning indicators. Somehow a little marker magically popped out from the side of the car to warn other drivers we'd be soon turning. I clearly remember my father demonstrating it - repeatedly - when he first brought the car home.
  • Disappointment when we no longer had a running board along the length of our car. I'd sat on the running board many times when the car was parked, and it was very comfortable for my very small bottom. I suspect the lengthy demonstration of the new indicators was an attempt to stop my tears and distract me.

Despite the discomfort and the drama of making a long trip in the old Ford Prefect and other cars of my youth, I genuinely missed them when my father upgraded to a modern vehicle with even more fancy indicators. Air conditioning never compensated for the loss of a running board and slippery leather seats.

Getting Rid of Rust in a Vintage Car

Restoring old classic and vintage cars to look brand new begins with a dream. You see the rusty shell, and dream of restoring it to the beauty of its youth.
Restoring old classic and vintage cars to look brand new begins with a dream. You see the rusty shell, and dream of restoring it to the beauty of its youth. | Source

Making An Old Car New Again

Do you have an old rusty vintage car you'd like to restore to look brand new? Compare this 'after' photo to the 'before' photo above. Same car!!
Do you have an old rusty vintage car you'd like to restore to look brand new? Compare this 'after' photo to the 'before' photo above. Same car!! | Source

Why I Want To Buy a Vintage Car

I am now looking for vintage cars for sale. I want to buy a rusty old shell that catches my eye and makes me dream of how magnificent it will look when restored.

The turning point for me was a visit to a car museum I happened to drive past on a trip around Australia. I stopped at McFeeter's Motor Museum in Forbes, NSW for a short break during a long drive. What a brilliant stroke of luck that was.

Outside the entry door sat a 34 Singer showing restoration work by apprentice panel beaters and vehicle painters from the Wollongong Technical College.

But instead of a fully restored vehicle, I was looking at both the old ... and the new. The car was evenly divided straight down the middle. One half had been lovingly restored. The other half showed the condition of the car before work began.

If the apprentice panel beaters and vehicle painters from a Technical College could achieve such a remarkable result, it was suddenly obvious that my fears of 'too old' and 'too rusty' were completely unfounded.

I had seen vintage cars for sale in similar condition to the one on display, but had passed on the chance to buy them. Admittedly the sign on the restored 34 singer didn't say how many hours the work had taken or the approximate cost of the repairs, but I was instantly sold on the concept.

There are plenty of panel beaters and vehicle painters in my part of the world. When I next find a classic or vintage car that catches my eye, I'll be buying it.


Want To Restore a Classic Car?

Classic car restoration in a form I could fully understand and appreciate. This vintage car is fully restored on one side (inside and out), and left in its unrestored state on the other half. A brilliant demonstration of restoring a vintage car!
Classic car restoration in a form I could fully understand and appreciate. This vintage car is fully restored on one side (inside and out), and left in its unrestored state on the other half. A brilliant demonstration of restoring a vintage car! | Source

Wheel Before Being Restored

Original old wheel before any effort was made to restore the vintage vehicle. Hints of red paint remain.
Original old wheel before any effort was made to restore the vintage vehicle. Hints of red paint remain. | Source

I had seen many old classic cars fully restored, and looked at vintage cars for sale - both before and after restoration, but never managed to make the mental connection between what the old car was, and what it became after panel beating and painting.

Wheel After Restoration

Close inspection shows this wheel is less than perfect, but it has been restored enough to look far more impressive than it was. Not brand new, but greatly improved.
Close inspection shows this wheel is less than perfect, but it has been restored enough to look far more impressive than it was. Not brand new, but greatly improved. | Source

Understanding Car Restoration

Antique Car Restoration And Upkeep: Newbie’s Guide On How To Restore A Classic Car With Tips On Car Body Repair, Interior Car Restoration, Mechanical ... Classic Car Parts And Auto Maintenance
Antique Car Restoration And Upkeep: Newbie’s Guide On How To Restore A Classic Car With Tips On Car Body Repair, Interior Car Restoration, Mechanical ... Classic Car Parts And Auto Maintenance

I have begun collecting and reading car restoration manuals like this one. I'll have to pay someone else to rebuild an engine, but now I know what's involved. Plus I can personally get involved in restoring car interiors!

 
Whenever I am on the road, I keep an eye out for classic and vintage cars. Can't resist stopping for a look.
Whenever I am on the road, I keep an eye out for classic and vintage cars. Can't resist stopping for a look. | Source

Do you own a classic or vintage car?

Perhaps it is not restored yet, but have you ever purchased a true classic, antique or vintage car?

See results

How Most People View Restored Vintage and Classic Cars

Vintage Car Exhibitions

As much fun as it is to visit a vintage car exhibition with restored vehicles in all their former glory, I don't think you can beat seeing antique cars in their natural setting.

Take a look at the following video where vintage cars struggle through muddy, unsealed roads. I laughed at the commentator commenting on the good weather and good conditions, given the mud and the trouble the cars had climbing hills.

But in the real world of driving in the 1920s in England and other parts of the world, perhaps this poor condition of road was the best one could hope for during much of the year. Watching passengers bumping up and down in the seat, I wondered if that was a common technique for keeping cars moving over muddy puddles in yesteryear.

The BEST Way To View Vintage and Classic Cars

How Well Do You Know Classic and Vintage Cars?

If you have a good knowledge of classic cars and would enjoy the challenge, the following video shows about 180 classic and vintage cars stored in Portugal. The ex-Stig has asked for help identifying them.

For those who don't know who the ExStig is, hunt down the British version of the 'Top Gear' television show.

Special Treat For Classic Car Lovers

Imagine the value if all these old classic and vintage cars were restored to look brand new. Compared to the 34 Singer at McFeeter's Motor Museum, the task doesn't look too hard ... particularly if you have panel beaters in your family!

© 2014 Alex Finn

Are You a Classic/Vintage Car Enthusiast?

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    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 3 years ago

      I love classic cars! Thank you for a very interesting hub. Thumbs up!