Restoring an old car is a labor of love. For some, it’s about the end-result – that nostalgic set of wheels that will draw admiring glances wherever it goes. For others, it’s all about the process of restoring the car. When the job’s done, it’s time to sell up and start the next project. Whatever your reasons for restoring old cars, cost is an issue you’ll be taking into account.
Tools and materials like car painting kits are the least of your costs. Finding, buying, or making replacement components will be your greatest challenge and will likely represent a large chunk of your restoration costs. These 5 iconic od car models are among the most cost-effective to restore, and are well worth keeping an eye out for.
1. Ford Mustangs
Most classic Mustangs aren’t that expensive to buy – especially if it’s going to take some work to get them patched up and looking as great as they did when they first rolled off the factory floor. But it’s not only the cost that’s attractive about these classic cars. Even if you don’t have personal memories of driving one, you’ll have encountered the attraction of these all-American, hard rockin road warriors. They have a lot going for them, not least that parts are relatively easily available and cheap. OK, so they’re gas guzzlers, but such a pleasure to drive. Just a side note that not all years and models fit the low-cost profile. For example, the 1971 Mustang Boss is going to represent some cost-related challenges.
2. Classic Dodge Chargers
While restoring a classic Dodge Charger from total wreck status is bound to be an expensive project, parts are relatively easy to come by. So, if you’re lucky enough to snap one up in reasonable condition, renewing it won’t be an excessively costly project. There’s even a full-length book on the process of restoring a Charger that you might find helpful for your project. The aesthetics of the old-time Dodge might not be for everyone, but it’s muscle-car bloodline and classic status can be recognized at a glance.
3. 1963-74 Chevy Novas
While definitely classic cars, the old Chevy Novas are relatively common. However, that could be to your advantage. You’ll be able to get lots of tips and tricks from fellow-car-restorers, and components won’t cost an arm and a leg. Thanks to the ease with which a Nova can be restored, many aficionados recommend this car for first-timers. It sets you up for success and gives you a good grounding before you consider progressing to something a little more complicated. However, classic car restorers hoping to restore before reselling recommend the two-door models rather than the four-door ones since they fetch a better price.
4. Chevy Camaro
The sporty lines of this classic shine through even when the car is still in junkyard condition. If you’re looking for a relatively common classic car that’s also a bit of a looker, the Camaro could be your top choice. Best of all, those in the know say that Camaros are a snip to restore – the process is relatively simple, and the components aren’t that hard to find. Get the job right, and you have a reliable all-American muscle car that should be good to go for another few decades.
5. 1950s Packards
Rock the roads in your Packard and be transported into another decade where big cars with loads of space and powerful engines ruled the roads while still looking way prettier than the average modern-day SUV. The fact that there are still so many Packard enthusiasts out there is bound to be of help. Caring is sharing, and your community of Packard enthusiasts is sure to be supportive, even if you’re a newbie to classic car restoration. Looks-wise, she has the potential to be a beauty, and the restoration process and costs won’t leave you feeling as if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
These Cars have Staying-Power That Beats Modern Cars Anyday
From the rather clunky-looking charger to the gorgeously rounded curves of the Packard, all these cars have one thing in common: you can still get them with relative ease and restore them without busting your budget. They’re more than just nostalgic vehicles. They’re the survivors of an era when cars were built to last. Will your shiny 2020 SUV stand the test of time as well as this? It seems unlikely. No wonder then, that each of these brands has its dedicated 21st century fans. Maybe you’ll be the next person to fall in love with them. You won’t be alone!