Restoring an older car can be an exciting adventure, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard work. It’s likely that it’ll require special tools and at some point, it’s more of a project than it is fun.

When you’re looking for the right auto shop for your restoration project, keep these tips in mind.

Look for a Clean, Organized Shop

A clean and organized shop is a well cared for shop. An organized shop is likely run by organized technicians and allows a shop to work better on a schedule. A clean shop is necessary for a quality paint job and accurate parts installation.

Take a look in the restoration area. Does every car have it’s own workspace? Are the parts being kept on separate shelves so they’re not mixed up?

Your restoration project is one-of-a-kind and you’ll want to entrust it to a shop that shows it cares.

Ask about their Experience

Before you leave your car with an expert, make sure they’re an expert in cars like yours. Ask about their experience with restorations, with your make and model, and with other cars made around the same time.

If you can, look into the work area. Do the employees look like they’re enjoying themselves and like they have confidence in the work they’re doing?

Don’t be afraid to get specific with questions – your restoration project is unique and it should be just what you want it to be.

Ask for an Estimate, Expect it to Change

Unless you allow the repair shop to disassemble your restoration project, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to give you a 100 percent accurate estimate. (It is called an estimate for a reason.)

Even if you’re only requesting part of the project be done in a repair shop, the technicians may uncover additional work that stands in their way during the process. Make sure you leave your contact number!

Look at Reviews

Even if you’ve been to a shop in person, asked questions, and observed the workspace, it’s always a good idea to look at reviews. If you know someone who has worked with a specific shop before, ask their opinion. Otherwise, look on Google or Yelp for reviews from past customers.

Driving a beautiful classic car is a dream for so many classic car enthusiasts! But, the classics are classic for a reason – they just don’t make cars like that anymore! It’s easier to find one that needs a bit of work.

Restoring a classic car doesn’t have to be a challenge, you just have to know where to start. The condition of a classic car is rated on a 100-point system, where 100 is absolutely perfect restoration and 20 or below is un-restorable.

There are four basic conditions to which you can restore your car, each suited to different purposes and budgets.

Restored to Driving Condition

If your classic car’s main function is to get you from point A to point B, it needs to run! If it doesn’t, that’s where you’ll start. Don’t forget to have a professional check it out for safety.

To restore a classic car to driving condition, it might require some cosmetic adjustments and replacement parts but you’re the only one you need to impress.

Restored to Street Show Condition

At this level, your car should look good, drive well, and be ready to impress a professional. You’ll want higher quality parts, professional repairs, and attention to details – at least on the outside.

The 100-point system used to rate classic car condition, a street show condition classic car should fall between 80-89.

Restored to Show Car Condition

At a car show, you’re going to have to impress professionals beyond looks and performance – you need to have professional work and attention to detail over every aspect of the car.

On the point system, a show car condition vehicle would fall between 90-95 when ranked by a professional.

Restored to Concours Condition

As the highest level of restoration for a classic car, concours condition is usually only for auto shows, private collectors, and cars that are never driven. You’ll need a professional with professional tools to get to this level.

Professionally, they’d be rated over 95.

Do select a restoration level that fits your needs.

There are four main levels to which you can restore your classic car, each fitting a different budget and purpose. Will your car be for show only, or will you drive it?

Don’t assume you can use old tools and technology.

If you plan to drive your classic car, it needs to meet today’s legal standards, which may require you to use modified parts, modern technology, and pay a visit to a professional if only to have your car examined for safety.

Do use existing parts when you can.

You shouldn’t have to replace every part of your classic car! Some damaged parts can be cleaned and repaired. Authentic reproduction parts may be costly or unavailable, so consider refurbishments and repairs to save money and time.

Don’t overlook the details

Details can make all the difference! Whether you want to upgrade technology but keep the old look or you’re going for 100% old-school, don’t ignore the small things.

Do consider OEM vs aftermarket replacement parts.

Just like with today’s vehicles, classic cars can be repaired and restored with parts from the original manufacturer or those made by other manufacturers. There are pros and cons to both, from the pricetag to the technology they include and their safety features and customization options.

Don’t go at it alone.

Whether your car is a family project or you’re looking to get it done ASAP so you can go for a ride, don’t think you have to restore your classic car all on your own. Tools, time, and learning to perform safe repairs are all an investment so don’t be afraid to get help from a professional.

Do stay on top of maintenance.

Every car, new or old, needs proper maintenance to stay in tip-top condition. Look online or ask your local repair shop how often you need to do things like change the oil, rotate the tires, and check for major repairs on your classic car after it has been restored.