September 20, 2013
Muscle Car Restoration Part One - To Buy or Not to Buy, That is the Question
More than any other group of classic cars, there is a certain mystique surrounding the muscle cars of the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Immortalized in song and story, the immense power and sleek styling of these rock stars of the quarter mile have guaranteed their place in history. Today’s classic car buffs are still as smitten with the muscle car as were the original owners more than 50 years ago. When considering ownership of a muscle car, the subject of muscle car restoration is an inevitable topic of conversation. The cost of a fully restored muscle car, depending on the make and model, can easily extend into the six figure range, making such cars inaccessible for the average buyer. The alternative is the acquisition of a “fixer-upper”, with the intention of restoring it to its former glory. This strategy, however, requires that you do your homework before you shop.
When assessing a muscle car candidate for restoration, it is always a good idea to have a professional mechanic take a look before you buy. The cost for this service is generally reasonable, often a hundred dollars or less, and you will get an accurate picture of the pros and cons of the vehicle. In addition to the mechanical components, take a careful look at the exterior. Is the undercarriage solid or will extensive frame reconstruction be required? Is the body simply in need of paint or does it need replacement parts? How badly worn is the interior? Take your time. Look at everything. Ask for professional input when necessary. It’s better to be aware of problems before you buy, than to have them bite you in the budget later.
Muscle Car Restoration Part 2 – How Low Can You Go
Setting a budget is an absolute must. Be honest in determining what you can afford and diligent in sticking to the budget you set. Be sure to build in a cushion of 25% to 35% above actual cost to cover those inevitable overages. The purchase price of the muscle car, itself, is just the beginning. What you plan to do with the finished product will determine the extent and authenticity of the restoration. Is cruising in a muscle car the fulfillment of a lifelong dream? Are you a member of a muscle car club that exhibits at Cruise Ins and County Fairs? Are you intending to restore the car to original specifications for entry into classic car shows? Will you be doing the restoration yourself or will you have it done by a muscle car restoration professional? The choices you make will determine the budget you will need.
Obviously, doing the work yourself will be the least expensive alternative. You must, however, be brutally honest about your skill. Costs that begin well within your budgetary guidelines can quickly skyrocket when mistakes are made. Again, do your homework first. Research the original specifications for the make and model of your choice. Decide if you will go totally authentic using all original parts and accessories or if you will use replicas when possible. Check legal requirements, like emission control standards, for current street use. Find interior, exterior and engine compartment pictures to use as reference during the restoration. Determine if you have the tools and equipment necessary to complete the restoration. If not, are they readily available from a rental source or friend? Check the price of everything that will be needed, like parts, paint and upholstery material. Also, check the prices of local Muscle Car Restoration Specialists in case you want, or need, to outsource portions of the work.
Muscle Car Restoration Part 3 – Where To Go when You Need A Pro
If you decide to have your entire muscle car restoration done by a professional, or if you find that you need professional help with a portion of your “do it yourself” project, how do you choose the right professional for the job? First, limit your search to classic car restoration specialists. Their expertise will ensure that your muscle car restoration will be completed to the appropriate specifications for your make and model. Talk with mechanics, body shops, friends and family members. Word of mouth is a good way to get information on who’s hot and who’s not. Check the web for reviews of classic car restoration specialists in your area. Educate yourself about what to expect before, during and after your muscle car restoration. This will give you a distinct advantage when asking questions and negotiating price.
Your muscle car restoration is important to you. It should be equally important to those you engage to do the job. Gulf Coast Classic Cars, located just north of Austin, in Liberty Hill, Texas, offers all services related to classic car restoration. Established in 1987, Gulf Coast Classic Cars has restored nearly 100 classic cars from the ground up. Whether your restoration choice is a frame up make-over or frame off re-do, our master mechanic has the knowledge and skill to bring your muscle car to life. Love classic cars, but don’t have a muscle car. Not to worry. Gulf Coast Classic Cars is still able to give a new lease on life to your oldie but goodie. The restoration of classic cars is our specialty and we pride ourselves on our ability to restore these beauties to their former glory. Whatever the make and model of your classic car, you can count on Gulf Coast Classic Cars to make her shine.
Contact us today to discuss your classic car restoration needs.
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