How to Restore a Classic Car: The Top Tips for Beginners

Monday, December 23, 2019

So you're going to do it!

You're going to give some attention to the classic car that's been sitting in the garage for a long time, and you plan on restoring it.

Learning how to restore a car isn't that difficult—what is difficult is putting a solid plan into action that fits your specific budget and commitment to the restoration process.

There are several things you still need to know when it comes to restoring older cars. Check out these tips on how to restore a classic car.

Working Out a Plan of Action

First of all, you need to layout the groundwork because let's face it—restoring a classic car is a big commitment and will require a lot of time and money.

Take some time to do some research on the car you plan to restore. Look up the prices of paint, parts, and tools you may need to get the job done.

Set a Budget

Once you have an idea of the cost of equipment needed for your restoration, set a budget, and stick with it. Remember, there are lots of different directions you can go with a restoration—some are more expensive than others. For example, if you want your classic car to be all original, exterior, and interior, it may be costly to find original parts.

If you want your interior to have a modern design with all the tech and gadgets, your budget may have to increase to keep up with your customizations. Simply put, set a budget that you know you can afford.

Body Work

If you are on a budget and just looking for that exterior showroom shine, consider at least restoring the body. This includes means restoring:

This process will take a lot of skill and time. There's no secret that there are no shortcuts to this—you need to hammer out dents, rebuild panels, and possibly sculpting new parts out of sheet metal. Make sure your skill set is up, consider taking welding and auto body work courses before attempting this part of the job.


Restoring the interior is a point of personal preference. You can go all original, bare basic or teched-out with power windows and a fancy command center with a 6" screen.

Whatever you choose, make sure you take care of any signs of mold, decay rust. Taking care of these issues will save you a headache down after the restoration process is complete.


If you've got the exterior looking great and the interior is where you want it to be, it's time to look at the performance side of things. Make sure all of the following is in good working order:

If any of these systems fail on your inspection, you need to get them back in shape. Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.

Adding an aggressive exhaust system and upgrading intakes or swapping engines will boost your classic car performance and give it a meaner sound.

The Keys on How to Restore a Classic Car

Skill, money, and patience! Those are the keys when it to restoring a classic car. Make sure your skill set is solid on the basic mechanics of cars and metalwork. The money will determine how much personality and originality you can put into your vehicle. Finally, you're going to need a lot of patience.

You may install parts that won't work out requiring you to start over, or your tools are parts needed may be on backorder. Whatever the case, don't give up and see the job through! If you like enjoyed this article on how to restore a classic car, check out more car-related articles on our blog page!

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