Classic Tips

What is Restoration?

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 vehicle.

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 website.

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.


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