The term “Restoration” can be intrepid in many ways. However, the
process of vehicle restoration should not be confused with the term
“Restored”. Restoration is a process, rather than a condition of a
Generally, a “Restored” vehicle is a vehicle that has been returned
to a “like new” condition. This level of restoration work requires
virtual every part on the vehicle to be rebuilt or replaced with new
components. Considering the number of parts, the time involved and
the financial investment, truly “Restored” vehicle are in the realm
of Concourse, Museum and Show vehicles. There are street driven
“Restored” vehicles, but there’re the exception rather than the rule
in terms of the hobby.
The point is, most of what you see on the street in the way of
restored vehicles really fall into the “Street Restoration” category
and it’s this category that most hobbyists and enthusiasts work
within. There are many different levels of “Street Restorations”,
but generally, the scope is to bring the vehicle back to an “as-new”
condition, in which only parts that need replacing are changed and
good original parts are retained.
How to Select Correctly?
Starting a restoration begins by choosing a vehicle that fits your
interests. Many of you may already have a vehicle in mind or already
have one in your possession. Sometimes, these vehicles have been in
the family or picked up in the name of a “Good” deal. That’s fine,
but if you’re a first time restorer there are a couple of things
that you should consider before making a vehicle choice.
“Is the vehicle in a driveable condition?” This is a very important
point for the first-time restorer. Unless you have a lot of space to
store a vehicle during the entire process, look only for driveable
vehicles for your first restoration. The reason we suggest this for
the first-timer, is that an inoperative project sitting in your
garage will become very unpopular in a short amount to time. A
vehicle that you can drive and restore at the same time will be much
more satisfying. I can’t tell you how many projects that I have
looked at for sale in people’s garages. Most are due to the loss of
interest or the fact that the individual took on too big a project
for their time and/or pocketbook. Save the frame-off projects until
you build some experience.
There are types of vehicles that you should concern before purchase.
The first is a vehicle that does not run and needs absolutely
everything replaced to get to the final product. Next, is the
vehicle that comes in many boxes. Usually these are projects that
others have given up on. Missing parts is the biggest concern here,
not to mention trying to figure out where all the pieces of the
puzzle go. Leave these projects to the die-hard restorer. Most
professional restoration shops won't take these types of projects on
and the ones that do, want a blank check when you drop off the
parts. This type of restoration would eat up a lot of time and cash.
I would rather be working on a vehicle than chasing after a ton of
parts. Look for solid, complete vehicles when choosing. The more you
start with the less you have to buy new or hunt down.
Once a selection has been made, the education process begins. I call
this "Do your homework", because that's really what you'll be doing
once you decide on your area of interest. Learn all you can about
the vehicles. You will want to find out about the history, factory
total of productions and aftermarket parts that are available for
your selection. Good sources for this type of information are the
bookstores, special interest magazines and of course, on our
This process will include requesting parts catalogs from shops
dealing in parts for the vehicle you are considering. Educating
yourself about the cost of parts is a good idea before you actually
make a purchase. You will be able to tell whether a vehicle is in
your budget and if there are adequate parts available to complete
your restoration would be a great help.
The information also helps a great deal when looking to buy. You
will be able to better judge a vehicles condition by know which
parts are missing and the cost of replacing those parts. If you see
a missing part and you know its not available in reproduction, that
could be a deal for you. You can then use this information to
bargain the seller into adjusting his or her price. Information is
important, so learn and save.
Where to find one?
Start the process by reading through local and online classified
ads. This will help you establish the quantity and average price
range of the vehicles. Follow up the best ads with a phone call or
an e-mail. Start the conversation by asking the seller to tell you a
little about the vehicle. This part of the conversation will tell
you right away if you're going out to look at it or not. The best
vehicles come from people who know about them. This is not a
concreate rule, but I have found that people that know the vehicle
they are trying to sell are informative and have some knowledge of
what the vehicle should sell for.
There are a few exceptions. One is a vehicle offered by a private
collections. These vehicles are either sold by a family members or
through liquidations. In either case, don't expect to get any worth
while information out of these sources. You have to check these in
person. Visual details are all you can expect in these situations.
For the first timer, a vehicle that needs more mechanical and less
body and fender work should be your target. Remember a drivable
vehicle is the goal here. This is also a good time to find out the
asking price, whether it is printed in the advertisment or not.
Things change and misprints do occur. If the seller does not have a
price on the vehicle, it's usually due to the fact that they really
don't have an idea what it's worth or the asking price might be too
high and would not attract buyers interest. Do what you can to get a
price out of the seller before you go to look. No price, don't waste
your time because you know your budget.
When find one what's next?
Once you have found a vehicle and you're ready to make an offer,
here are a few tips you might want to consider. Cash talks and
having your finance pre-arranged is a must in leveraging a good
deal. Be ready to lay down a deposit in cash, followed by a
cashier's check. Cash is the key word here. Cash money is the best
bargaining tool you have. The statement "I'll give you .........Baht
in CASH, right now", is powerful and can help to knock off some
amount from a seller's asking price.
Any offer you make should only be good until the end of the day the
offers is made on. Don't let a seller use your offer to boost his
sales with other would-be buyers. Ending your offer at a set time
tells the seller that his opportunity to sell his vehicle is "Right
Now". Making an offer that expires at set time also frees you to
move on to other things without being delay that may go on for
sometime. A big problem that buyers sometimes fall into is that they
fall in love with the vehicle and allow the seller to gain an
emotional foothold. When you go to look, You should go prepared to
buy and also to come home empty handed at the same time.
When the seller accepts your offer, not comes the paper work. If the
title and registration current, you're not far from completing the
transaction. Here's the point where many a good deal have turn to
problems. You like the car, the seller has accepted your offer, but
the title of registration are not in proper order. What, now? If the
problem is minor and you know its' a minor problem, then go ahead
with the sale. This type of situation is an open door to renegotiate
the selling price with the seller.
If the seller does not have current and proper registration and
title of the vehicle, you should bargain the price as low as
possible or walk away. This may seem like a hard thing to do, but
keep in mind these fact. First, it’s illegal to receive stolen
property and without proper documentation, this is what you’ll be
opening yourself up to. Another element, if the registration and
title are not current the back registration fees could come to far
more than what your paying for the vehicle.
Inspection of the vehicle are require on change of ownership. This
inspection requirement is the responsibility of the seller. Don’t
assume or allow the seller to pass on to you this responsibility.
Also you should negotiate on transfer fees with the seller as well.
Last, but not least, get every detail of the sale in writing. If
extra parts or other conditions are part of the transaction or
contingent to the sale, get them down on paper. Also, remember to
get a receipt for any deposits you put down. If you’re leaving a
deposit, make sure your deal is down on paper. Never assume a check
is your receipt. Sellers have been known to take better offers after
deposits have been put down. Get everything in writing.
So good luck! and enjoy your classics.