I see a ton of car ads that tell me how much the owner has invested in the car and wonder whether it is a desperate cry for help or part of the sales pitch.
The truth is a quality restoration, resto-mod or full blown custom job will cost money.
There is a huge difference between a bondo job and a quality restoration; think about the difference between a 7-11 hot dog and a five star restaurant menu to get the picture.
They both serve food-you fill in the blanks on which dining experience will cost more, taste better and build up considerably more points with chicks.
You pay for what you get in a food order or a quality restoration.
However, you cannot expect the next guy to pay full price for your investment in a quality old car restoration under most circumstances.
Exceptions to the rule are rare or highly desirable cars and that price tag is determined by well-heeled car guys with deep pockets and a full load of booze at Scottsdale in January every year.
So the idea of a large investment in a low-end car will bring one response from prospective buyers; “thanks-thanks a lot.” You have done the heavy lifting for the guy and paid for the restoration.
He has no intention of covering the spread between your investment and his fair market value offer for the car, nor should he be expected to pony up the difference.
Quality work by a qualified restoration shop will be well worth the investment if you want to have a long term relationship with the car.
The ravages of age, rust and abuse exact a heavy toll on a car, so the road back to a showroom look is not easy. Most body shops will shy away from this kind of work because it is very difficult and requires a special set of skills to do a good job.
The average body shop will stick with collision repair where body panels are replaced and frames get straightened because there are fewer unpleasant surprises in collision repair.
On the other hand, a restoration job is like an Indiana Jones adventure for body shops-full of twists and turns that can only be seen when you get inside the belly of the rusty beast.
We have seen the kind of evil that lurks under the skin of an old car through our restoration buddy Trevor at Comfort Collision.
We know it is not pretty and it will not go away without a big battle fought by guys who know how to tame the beast. Rust never sleeps and it will never give up without a fight to the death when it grabs onto old cars.
It cannot be overstated: you need to seriously consider an old car to be an emotional investment instead of a financial investment and you should own one simply because you are a car guy.
Old cars are all about Main Street-not Wall Street.
So bring them back to life for the right reasons, namely the pure joy of ownership and the driving experience.