10 Tips for Classic Auto Salvage Restoration

January 27, 2012

Classic auto salvage pools can provide some great classic cars for restoring. If you are considering such a project, you may want to check out the following tips for restoring a classic car.

Purchase the Car and Parts
When you buy your classic car, it may not be in one piece and you will need to purchase pieces one at a time. However, avoid cars that are heavily rusted. A little rust may be alright, but make sure it's not corroding the structural parts. Try to see the car in person, ask for detailed photos, or arrange to have it inspected for a fee. Be sure you know the car's market value and the cost of restoring it. Also keep in mind how much time and expertise you have. Be aware that you may need to spend a lot of money on parts, tools and equipment. Don't be disappointed if the results don't bring much profit. Be realistic on what you can afford. Make sure to buy professional grade parts and a good engine. Check for vintage parts on the Internet, through classic car organizations, salvage yards, etc.

Make Enough Room
This project will need lots of room. A dismantled car takes up the equivalent of two adjacent garage bays, one to dismantle and keep the parts, the other to build the car up again. You may consider storing parts like the engine, doors, etc. in a dry basement or shed while working on the body.

Expect Setbacks
You may find the restoration can become more involved than you expected. If you need a professional, find one. In the end it may save money and time.

Use Original Equipment
Original equipment is the best to enhance the value of your classic car, so use a much as possible. Hood ornaments, old mirrors, original radios, etc. are popular for car buffs.

Use Publications
For ideas on paint color and more, get your restoration cues from magazines and publications of the era that show your vehicle.

Prepare for Showing
Detail the car by cleaning and polishing. Steam clean under the hood. Try to make the car as mint-looking as possible. Car detailers can help when needed.

Collect Artifacts on the Car's History
This adds to the car's allure and value. Include the car's original maintenance records, sales brochures or anything else can gather to create interest in the vehicle.

Attend Car Shows
Park it prominently near the entrance for car enthusiasts to admire. If traveling a distance, you may want to trailer your classic car to preserve it from road wear or damage. Attach a catchy license plate or add an antique bud vase to interest car buffs.

Consider Selling the Vehicle
If you can part with your classic car, you may have offers you can't refuse from classic car collectors. Remember, you can always focus on your next classic car restoration project.

Consider Storage
Your classic car will need to be properly stored to preserve its value and for protection. Remember to continue to care for the car while it is kept in storage. Classic car restoration can be fun and profitable, but it is wise to plan ahead and gather all the information you can before beginning your project.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Classic Auto Salvage Parts

Whether you're building a classic car from component parts or if you have pre-existing classic car that you're working to maintain, you may be able to find good used salvage parts that you can utilize for your vehicle, although it will take a bit of effort. A quality frame, doors, windshield, seats and many other component parts are potentially available through salvage collectors and markets.

Advantages of Salvage Parts
One major advantage of salvage parts is that they tend to be significantly cheaper than new or factory-direct equivalent pieces. A salvage yard has collections of components from old or otherwise damaged cars. Because the individual pieces may remain in good working condition, they are able to sell those single pieces without the remaining parts. You are often able to find an excellent deal on a single piece or component that you need to replace or to complete your classic car project.

Salvage parts are also relatively easy to come by, provided that you know where to look. Once you've successfully located the scrap yards or salvage dealers in your area, you can contact them for more information about acquiring particular pieces for your classic car. These markets typically maintain good records of the pieces they have on hand. While it may be somewhat difficult to find a unique piece for a very specific car year, model or make, if you're looking for a component that is somewhat more versatile, you should be able to find it in salvage.

Disadvantages of Salvage Parts
The biggest disadvantage of salvage parts is the potential for low quality. With salvage pieces, it is impossible to guarantee that the component that you use for your classic car will be up to the same quality standards as the other pieces of the car. The potential consequences of this are serious. Depending upon the salvaged piece you use, you could run into dire operational ramifications with a faulty component.

Salvage parts also offer no warranty or other guarantee. A dealer or factory-direct piece may cost more money than a part from a salvage yard, but these pieces are tested for quality and typically come with a money-back guarantee of some kind.