Restoring A Vintage Car
by Harvey Ong
A vintage car can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. A non-enthusiast might consider a classic automobile to be little more than an old, outdated model that needs to be replaced with a more practical machine. A collector would see the value in the machine and keep it for that reason. A more sentimental person might find the vintage car as something that invokes memories of his youth, or a specific moment in his past he wants to be reminded of. However, sadly, most vehicles from the vintage era are likely in need of some level of restoration and as such, there are several things that have to be kept in mind whenever one decides to undertake a restoration.
First off would be where to get the parts for the restoration. A vintage car, no matter how well-maintained, is likely going to need one or more of its parts replaced. Up until recently, it was difficult locating components for a classic automobile since the manufacturers discontinued service for the older models; this stopped production on replacement parts. However, several companies have come into play since that time to produce the replacement parts that vintage auto restorers need. While the numbers for classic car parts companies is small in comparison to their counterparts aimed at modern vehicles, the classic car parts companies have become invaluable to collectors and enthusiasts alike. If the owner can't find the parts he needs from the companies, another avenue for getting them would be auctions and car shows, both of which have some people selling rare reproduction parts that may not be available anywhere else.
Most of the time, a vintage car will be sold stock, which means the vehicle is sold as it was built by the manufacturer. However, when restoring a classic automobile, the owner has the option of making a few modifications. Typically, upgrades are made to the overall performance factors of the machine, such as braking and fuel transmission. It is also not unheard of for some enthusiasts to modify or upgrade a vintage auto for drag racing purposes, as popularized by films like "The Fast and The Furious." Other enthusiasts prefer more mundane upgrades, like better sound systems or more comfortable seats. Drastic changes, such as adding completely new components like hydraulics, are generally not done to classic automobiles, though a few exceedingly modified vehicles do exist.
For the inexperienced, restoring a vintage car can be a daunting task because of the danger of permanently damaging the auto. As such, there are a number of companies out there that have gained expertise in restoring a classic automobile to as close to factory fresh as possible. While the price of hiring a restoration company can seem expensive at first, it is worth noting that an inexperienced enthusiast can easily make a mistake that could prove more expensive than paying for a professional restoration. However, if the owner feels up to the task, then performing the restoration on one's own is an option.
The price of a restoration can vary depending on a few factors. The main factor would be the make and model of the vintage car to be restored. Some models have parts that are rarer and more expensive than other models. The second factor would be the purpose of the restoration. The cost can go up or down depending on what exactly the owner wants restored and whether or not anything is to be upgraded. The final factor in a vintage car restoration would be the one doing the restoration. An experienced enthusiast who has already done a few restorations will likely find it cheaper to do the restoration on his own rather than hire someone else. However, someone who doesn't have much mechanical knowledge would be better off hiring a third party to do the restoration, rather than risk damaging the vehicle.
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